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IIT Madras int’l team wins first 2 rounds of ‘Waves to Water Prize’ contest by US Energy Department

The Indian Institute of Technology Madras’ (IIT-M) researchers international team has won the first two phases of the ‘Waves to Water Prize’ in a contest organized by the US Department of Energy. The objective of the competition was to design a wave energy-based desalination system to provide post disaster drinking water supply to coastal areas.Team ‘Nalu e Wai’ is a collaboration between the US, India and Sweden, a release from IIT-M said on Monday.

Team ‘Nalu e Wai’ (Hawaiian for ‘waves into fresh water’) was working on a rapidly-deployable, small-scale wave powered desalination system. Deployment of substantial numbers of these devices in such water-scarce regions could produce life changing results for water starved coastal communities. It said the Waterpower Technologies Office of the US Department of Energy organizes the ‘Waves to Water’ Prize to challenge innovators to submit ideas and to develop wavepowered desalination systems.

The collaborating universities in Team ‘Nalu e Wai’ were IIT-M, University of Hawaii in Honolulu, US and Uppsala University, Sweden. Team ‘Nalu e Wai’ was among only 17 winners, out of more than 100 global teams, in Rounds I and II. They were awarded monetary prizes for these selections.

Prof Abdus Samad, Department of Ocean Engineering, IIT-M said, “Our team’s primary driver for this submission was the water shortage in India and to supplement our knowledge in the area of wave energy conversion.” ”We felt strongly that we could devise a system that would achieve the prize-motivated benefits of applicability to disaster-stricken areas and remote communities, while also being scalable to larger community applications such as Chennai, or in developed countries with water shortages, such as coastal California”, he added.