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HindustanTimes Thu,24 Apr 2014

Matunga institute wins $1,60,000 for innovation

Snehal Rebello, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, May 24, 2013
First Published: 01:36 IST(24/5/2013) | Last Updated: 01:36 IST(24/5/2013)

It’s raining accolades for the Institute of Chemical Technology at Matunga.

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Within a week of winning $60,000 for their solar conduction dryer to preserve fruits and vegetables, the institute has been recognised by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for its project on using solar energy to increase the shelf life of food grains.

On Thursday, the foundation awarded the institute a grant of $1,00,000 — possibly a first for agriculture in Asia — to develop a mobile, solar-powered grain dryer.

Fifty-eight other innovative projects from across 18 countries received the prize money.

“There is around 10% loss in food grains owing to improper storage. The dryer will have a processing time of just one day as against five to 45 days for one-acre produce,” said Vaibhav Tidke, a PhD student, who is heading the seven-member team working on the project.

Last week, the team had emerged winners at the Dell Social Innovation Challenge 2013, competing with around 2,600 entries from 110 countries.

“The device traps only infrared rays to dry the fruits and vegetables, which regain their original properties when put in water,” said professor and PhD guide BN Thorat.

The team has already installed two such dryers at Sindhudurg and Mumbai.

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