IIT Madras to collaborate with Teerthaa, a sustainable technology company producing Air-to-Water Generators for last 14 yrs, to develop ‘NERO’



Chennai: Indian Institute of Technology Madras is going to collaborate with Teerthaa, a sustainable technology company, to develop a device that can generate potable water from atmospheric air. Called ‘NERO,’ the optimized desiccant solar still device will produce 4 to 5 litres of potable water per day.

The developed product will:

Ø Be cost efficient as it is intended to reach the mass market at affordable prices,

Ø Have negligible operating costs as its power source will be Solar Thermal Energy, and

Ø Have minimal maintenance cost as there are no moving parts involved in the equipment.

Teerthaa is a Sustainable Technology company that has been in the business of manufacture of atmospheric water generators and is focused on Research, Development and Commercialization of equipment that extracts atmospheric moisture for consumption.

The MoU was signed on 06th March 2019 by Prof. Ravindra Gettu, Dean (Industrial Consultancy and Sponsored Research), IIT Madras, and Ms. Durga Das, Chief Executive Officer of Teerthaa in the presence of Dr. M.P. Maiya, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Madras, who will be coordinating the project and Dr S.S. Sivakumar, Mr. Jayakar Rao and Mr. Iftekhar Pathan, cofounders of Teerthaa.

Highlighting the importance of this development, Prof. Ravindra Gettu said, “The collaboration is expected to have a major impact on remote areas and persons who are isolated from conventional water sources.”

Speaking about this collaboration, Ms. Durga Das said, “We are interested in exploring and perfecting different technologies of Atmospheric Moisture Extraction (AME) as a part of our major national mission of availability of potable water for the masses. At present, we are producing AMEs based on vapor compression refrigeration technology in several output configurations. With NERO we will bring to light and enhance the lives of millions of homes in the villages where water is scarce. Creating impact that reaches the masses is a mission very close to our hearts. We brought the 1st Indian built atmospheric water generator in India 14 years ago and hold a patent for the same. Now we will bring the first solution that will generate 4-5 litres of water without any electricity and maintenance free.”

Sharing more information about this collaboration, Prof M.P. Maiya said, “Atmospheric air is not only a major source of fresh water but also universally available. However, it is in the form of vapor, and the challenge is to collect it as liquid. The proposed solar still based on desiccant technology traps water molecules from the atmospheric air during the night and yields water during the day by utilizing solar energy. It would be a boon to places where even the brackish water is not available. M/s Theerthaa, formerly known as Akash Ganga, has pioneered the technology of extracting water from thin air and delivered systems to 2800 customers in the past 14 years saving six lacs litres of water every day. It is great that they are diversifying their activity by venturing to this new technology to serve society better with pure drinking water.”