Vikas Brahmavar, a local of Bengaluru, remembers his days working in London earlier than transferring again to his hometown in 2008. On workplace days in London, throughout his lunch break, Vikas would take a stroll on Tower Bridge, one of many metropolis’s most well-known landmarks.
“Whereas strolling on the bridge, I used to be shocked to note that there was completely no scent emanating from the River Thames. It was a stark distinction to our lakes in Bengaluru. In the back of my thoughts, I at all times had this urge to return again residence and do one thing in and round water infrastructure,” remembers Vikas, an engineer, in a dialog with The Higher India.
Upon transferring again to Bengaluru, he determined to work in direction of constructing a sustainable wastewater infrastructure for Indian cities. Establishing Trans Water System, a water therapy enterprise, in 2011, he targeted on non-chemical water therapy within the preliminary years. In 2014, he took it up a notch and sought to create a bigger affect by specializing in recovering wastewater.
“We realised there are numerous people who find themselves engaged on sewage therapy vegetation (STP). Nonetheless, the intention of organising an STP was to fulfill authorities norms and to not save water. We did a survey for about 200 flats and located that solely 20% of STP (sewage therapy plant) handled water is reused for backyard and flushing functions,” explains Vikas.
“The remaining is distributed to the drain. It is because there isn’t any avenue to make use of the surplus water. It is a frequent downside in Indian cities. For a rustic that faces extreme water scarcity yearly, wastewater holds nice potential to deal with water shortage in our cities,” he provides.
He additionally realised that huge volumes of water get utterly wasted and this is without doubt one of the major causes behind the air pollution of Bengaluru’s lakes, extreme borewell exploitation and water shortage. Developed cities in different elements of the world plan their water administration based mostly on the wastewater going out of town because it’s extra predictable.
“They don’t rely on rain to handle their water necessities. In Indian cities, we rely solely on rainwater for our water necessities. We wished to alter this infrastructure and deal with recovering potable water from wastewater. That is the one method by which our cities can cater to the rising demand for water and grow to be extra sustainable,” says Vikas.
In 2019, below the aegis of Trans Water System, Vikas and his buddy Gowthaman Desingh, a software program engineer, launched Boson Whitewater system that converts handled wastewater (STP water) into “high-quality potable water”. The setup has superior an IoT (Web of Issues) and AI (synthetic intelligence) enabled 11-step filtration system to cut back the assorted bodily, chemical and organic contaminants current in handled wastewater.
“Boson Whitewater (BWW) was launched to produce the very best high quality water produced from wastewater. It was launched in 2019 after just a few years of analysis, product improvement and sensible implementation on websites to make the product economically viable. At present, we work with industries, IT parks, malls and house communities in Bengaluru and extra not too long ago in Hyderabad, and recycle their wastewater. We’re targeted on making a round financial system in decentralised wastewater restoration and reuse,” says Vikas.
On the finish of their 11-step filtration course of, Vikas claims that the water doesn’t have any contaminants. “E Coli, coliforms, heavy metals, excessive hardness, pesticides, herbicides are all eliminated and the water is crystal clear and potable,” he claims.
“Nationwide Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) licensed lab reviews point out the water is drinkable. Our IoT platform collects varied parameters at each stage of filtration and makes use of AI algorithms to detect the assorted anomalies like filtration efficiencies, variation within the lifetime of filters and pump failures,” he provides.
11 steps to wash water
Within the first 4 levels of BWW’s 11-stage system, handled wastewater is taken by way of varied filtration programs to cut back the turbidity, odour and iron current within the water utilizing their “distinctive filters”. Often, folks use varied varieties of sand media (a sort of filter) for turbidity discount. However regular sand media fouls (when contaminants accumulate on the floor or within the pores of a filtration membrane) for organics and wishes substitute each six months.
“We use a specialised aluminosilicate materials produced utilizing crushed glass materials and it doesn’t foul, offers 80% higher turbidity discount and wishes substitute solely after 5-6 years. For iron discount, we use a manganese dioxide-based ore which absorbs the iron. With none chemical substances we will scale back the iron stage from 1.5 ppm (elements per million) ranges to lower than 0.3 ppm ranges,” claims Vikas.
For individuals who don’t know, iron could cause turbidity, a foul odour which may result in quite a lot of well being issues whether it is present in excessive focus in water.
“The opposite two levels are media filters utilizing clinoptilolite supplies for TSS (complete suspended solids) discount which is once more a sort of ore which does filtration down to five microns. We obtain a really excessive discount in TSS. All these levels are very distinctive and make the entire proposition viable for the organisation. We additionally use specialised impregnated carbon which has larger TOC (complete natural contaminants) removing and we use this for odour discount,” says Gowthaman.
Within the subsequent 2 levels, BWW makes use of various kinds of dosing programs to cut back the natural contaminants current within the water, adopted by completely different ranges of micron filtration programs.
“The dosing programs are regular pumps designed to dose about 6 litres of oxidation agent per hour. The oxidation agent we use ensures a drastic discount of BOD (organic oxygen demand). Not like typical chlorine dosing which might have chloramine points, we now have natural dosing materials which is efficient and provides higher worth than typical disinfection strategies. We use cartridges which obtain 1-micron filtration ranges with bodily filtration,” explains Vikas.
Low BOD signifies that the water is much less polluted by natural matter.
After this stage, the wastewater is taken by way of the Boson excessive restoration, low fouling membrane system which is designed to take away viruses and dissolved salts current.
“Boson Excessive restoration system filters particles all the way down to 0.001 microns. The viruses are usually within the 0.1-0.01 micron vary and simply get filtered. The dimensions of most dissolved particles is within the vary of 0.01- 0.001 and subsequently even most salts and heavy metals ions get filtered with membrane filtration. Not like typical membrane which rejects/wastes plenty of water, we recuperate greater than 75% of water within the first cycle and the remaining 25% is given again to the enter cycle with environment friendly water stability, pH neutralisation and dilution. This makes the Boson system the very best restoration system and most viable commercially in India,” claims Gowthaman.
Publish filtration, any residual micro organism and viruses current within the water are eliminated utilizing an ultraviolet (UV) disinfectant system. For extra security, and when exterior water is blended with the handled water, BWW employs a SS 304 housing-based high-contact UV disinfection system. These UV programs go 254 nm (nanometre) rays to disinfect the water.
Deploying AI, IoT and promoting potable water
The BOSON IoT platform is an built-in platform to gather the assorted system parameters, water high quality and amount from the BWW system.
“It’s designed to gather the assorted system parameters like stress at completely different levels and water high quality parameters to measure the system effectivity which helps us in operating the system with lesser downtime. The startup operates a completely automated system the place no manpower is deployed to function and keep the system. Via our IoT platform we get real-time updates that assist us in managing the system remotely,” explains Vikas.
The BOSON IoT platform collects varied parameters at each stage of filtration and makes use of AI algorithms to detect varied anomalies like filtration efficiencies, variations within the lifetime of filters and pump failures. These datasets assist them in managing their inventories and manpower higher.
Going additional, each water therapy system wants many parts to make it totally built-in and practical. Few core parts like membranes are imported and few ores can be found regionally from varied Indian cities. The problem is to assemble all the things, make all of it work collectively and complement one another and chemically fulfill the water traits.
“The BWW system is presently designed from 30,000 litres per day to 4,00,000 litres per day. Based mostly on the requirement it may be designed and provided for any required quantity. For one of many largest malls, we’re recovering about 1,50,000 litres of water per day,” claims Vikas.
Boson Whitewater is presently being offered on the ‘Opex mannequin’, the place the system is put in and maintained by Boson and water is offered to clients on a per litre foundation. It’s frequent for house complexes, IT parks and malls with centralised air-con to purchase water in tankers, which is then handled on-site and employed in cooling towers. Below the BWW mannequin, these clients solely need to pay for recycled water which prices lower than tanker water. Set up and operational prices are absorbed by BWW. This enterprise mannequin helps IT parks, malls and house complexes considerably scale back their dependence on tanker water.
“The price of Whitewater is between 8 to 10 paise per litre on common, nonetheless, it will possibly go to 14 paise relying on the kind of contaminants within the water. The price of putting in a 100 kilolitre system prices us roughly Rs 35-37 lakh. BWW is presently capped at a minimal quantity of 30,000 litres per day because the economics will not be viable for decrease quantity, therefore we’re focusing largely on Bulk wastewater mills. Finally, there will likely be a day we can have programs viable for the home residential phase,” he notes.
Vikas additionally emphasises that at current flats don’t use the handled water for ingesting functions primarily due to a “notion subject”.
“After we use the time period ‘recycled water’, most individuals by no means consider potability reuse. They at all times assume that recycled water is only for secondary use. The water is clear and can be utilized for all functions, together with ingesting. At present, the surplus water is being despatched to close by industries and malls for all their inner use,” he says.
Shameer Abdul Rasheed, a resident of SJR Verity house advanced in Bengaluru, tells The Higher India how BWW arrange their system earlier this yr in March 2022.
“On a per-day foundation, their system treats 70,000 litres of wastewater. We use the handled water for gardening and different functions. However as an alternative of losing the surplus handled water, it’s put by way of extra purification and despatched out to laundry providers, hospitals and different industries close by. These entities now not need to buy freshwater or extract additional groundwater for his or her cooling programs or different functions, however as an alternative, use the potable water generated by BWW’s system. BWW makes use of our area, for which they pay us a specific amount every month, electrical energy (which they reimburse) and so they promote the purified water,” says Shameer.
The startup has not too long ago raised $419,000 (Rs 3.45 crore) in funding from the Indian Angel Community, a gaggle of primarily Indian angel buyers funding early-stage startups.
Boson Whitewater was additionally not too long ago chosen for ‘India Water Pitch-Pilot-Scale Begin-Up Problem’ by the Ministry of Housing & City Affairs (MoHUA). The enterprise is one among the many 76 startups chosen for the problem from throughout India to work within the discipline of water provide, used water administration, water physique rejuvenation and floor water administration.
“Wanting forward, we need to set up our Boson Whitewater system at 10 extra massive flats on this monetary yr, save moreover about 50 crore litres of water and arrange related programs in IT parks and malls. We now have not too long ago launched operations in Hyderabad. By the following monetary yr, we’ll broaden to Chennai. Over the following few years with our collaboration and partnership with varied citizen boards and industries we should always attain 500 crore litres of water created from handled wastewater,” says Vikas.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)
(Photos above courtesy Boson Whitewater. Function Picture with Vikas Brahmavar and Gowthaman Desingh)