Students from the Amrita School of Engineering, Coimbatore recently came up with an innovative idea of using a regenerable adsorber bed as an alternative to expensive membranes for possible use in the case of renal failure.
Renal failure refers to that medical condition wherein kidneys fail to adequately perform their task of filtering waste products from the blood stream.
The students’ novel idea won them the first prize in a national contest organized by Titan’s Innovation Council. Undergraduate students from all over India submitted their innovative ideas meant to benefit people at the bottom of the economic pyramid, to participate in the contest.
“Dialysis treatment is very expensive, with average costs of Rs. 20,000 per month. In India, less than 10% patients are able to avail such treatment facilities, both due to cost and logistical reasons. Dialysis units have expensive membranes for selective removal of uric acid. Most patients with renal failure cannot afford them,” the students explained.
Elaborating on their project that seeks to develop a regenerable adsorber bed as an alternative to expensive membranes, they explained, “The novelty in our idea is in the usage of adsorption as the main separation technique. This method makes use of an adsorber that can be engineered to efficiently expunge toxins while allowing other essential elements in the blood stream to pass through.”
“A semi-permeable membrane has a fixed life, and needs to be constantly replaced. For the adsorber, our proposal is to regenerate it, so that the need for replacement is eliminated. Moreover there is no need of a solvent or a dialysate,” they added.
The students are working with this idea for their final-year project, hoping to finally make a Regenerable Adsorber for Haemodialysis.
The team includes Alvin John, Amrutha Lakshmi, Dharani Sundara Rajan, Mythreyi Unni and Santosh N.S, all final-year BTech students of Chemical Engineering. The winning students received a check of Rs. 30,000 for their innovation; they were also offered an opportunity for placement with Titan Industries.
The Indian Society of Hemodialysis estimates that 1.5 lakh patients annually suffer with kidney failures in India. Most of them do not live longer than five years, due to the acute shortage of dialysis units in the country.
“I am extremely happy about the success of the students. They did a thorough literature survey on what works and what doesn’t. They were really inspired by the idea of providing health care at lower costs to those at the bottom of the pyramid. Of course, the idea has to be proven after conducting experiments and preliminary testing. The next four months will be critical,” informed Dr. Udaya Bhaskar Reddy Ragula, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, who guided the winning students.
February 2, 2013
School of Engineering, Coimbatore