A team of three IIT Delhi students have come up with a prototype called FAME One. Their innovation can help small-scale hotels, restaurants and households to convert waste cooking oil into biodiesel. Their innovation, which looks like a washing machine, is not only eco-friendly but also affordable. Taking roughly an hour to complete the process, it can be used in rural setups to convert oil seeds into diesel.
“We read somewhere that India generates the highest amount of waste cooking oil and this is what drove us towards creating a technology that could actually compensate for more that 30% of the country’s energy deficit. If people adapt to this change we can have a better India,” said Mohit Soni, a student.
The students have tested the product for feasibility and said this is an efficient way to not only cut down on diesel usage, but also sustainably dispose of the waste oil that hotels generate every day.
“The project in its current state is suitable for big hotels while for an individual consumer, this technology may need further development. The demand for eco-living is not every high in the Indian setup as of now but people will gradually realise its value,” said Harshit Agarwal, who worked on the innovation.
The project is being taken forward under the guidance of Prof Ashok N Bhaskarwar, department of Chemical Engineering, who is helping the students develop it further from the first version prototype that they have produced.
The professor will help the students add automation, generate possible sources of Intellectual Property Rights and most importantly conform to the global quality standards. “There is a dire need for the product to find its use beyond the hotel industry so that people can use this technology as an eco-friendly, energy efficient and easily adaptable source to our existing energy scheme,” said Abhishek Sharma, another innovator.
Despite having the potential of a biodiesel producer, India hardly contributes to 0.1% to global biodiesel production. Students feel that hours spent in collecting waste cooking oil from their own homes and the hostel mess was finally worth the trouble.
“If India produces so much waste cooking oil, we thought that there has to be a way to use it in a productive manner. So we connected with hotel chains and utilised the oil that gets wasted every day,” said Mohit.
The students say the technology is simple and adaptive. The process, known as trans-esterification, converts carboxylic acid ester into a different carboxylic acid ester. Apart from the waste cooking oil, it requires water, alcohol and a catalyst. The amount of biodiesel generated is the same as the amount of oil fed into the system. The system cost them Rs 30,000.
The students, who recently won the GE Edison challenge and a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh, plan to utilise the amount on further research on the product and its market launch.