My Story: Anirudh Ravi

Posted on Sunday, February 09, 2014 by LEAD

Anirudh Ravi (GIT, Belgaum)

“Success is not about money or fame.  It’s about the internal satisfaction you get from getting the job done.”

I always had an interest in contributing to society.  In fact, before college, my friends and I had goals to start our own NGO to help children of blind schools throughout Bangalore.  I joined LEAD just over one year ago after starting college at GIT Belgaum because the program catered to my interest for social service and his passion for technology.  Shortly after joining LEAD, I completed my first project, “Electric Cycle”, an initiative to help daily wage laborers, who rely heavily on cycles for transportation, preserve some of their physical energy and travel faster at a low cost.  My cycle, costing just Rs. 2,000, is powered by a motor with a rechargeable battery.  The battery can last for up to 100km and bring the cycle up to a speed of 35km per hour. 

After the success from my first project, I dedicated myself to work on bigger challenges.  Accumulating waste is undoubtedly one of the greatest problems India is currently facing; a problem that assaults us on a daily basis.  We see it everywhere we go-those mountains of trash that plague our neighborhoods and never seem to get any smaller, and the nets of litter that cause our river water to turn black. Many trust their cities to take on the waste burden and deposit their billions of tons of waste into neatly planned landfills. Other individuals set their waste aflame and watch it shrink to ashes. Our futile attempts to manage this waste do more harm than good.  Landfills only segregate the problem and by the burning our trash, we just create clouds of smoke filled with toxic fumes that pollute our air and our vulnerable lungs.

This problem is not unique to India.  Around the world, countries struggle to find a healthy, long-term solution to manage their waste accumulation.  While it’s true that some countries have been managing waste more effectively than others, no country nor person has yet to identify or implement a solution that can permanently protect us from the dangers posed by accumulating waste.

The Trash-A-Nator
To solve this problem, I invented the Trash-A-Nator a device that can burn up to 200 liters of dry waste in a short period of time. The Trash-A-Nator may be a big name, but this machine was constructed with simplicity in mind.  The main components of the Trash-A-Nator include a commonplace oil barrel, a burner, and a blower.  The oil barrel has a capacity of 200 liters and is coated inside with heat resistant paint, which can withstand temperatures up to 600⁰C.  A 300 watt blower is fit to the exterior of the barrel.  The blower is the only part that requires an external power source.

How It Works
Dry waste is placed into the barrel.  A matchstick is used to set the waste on fire.  The lid is closed and the blower is turned on.  While the waste is burning inside the barrel, the blower pumps oxygen into the barrel to continue feeding the flames. In addition, the oxygen that is fed into the barrel helps convert the deadly carbon monoxide byproduct of the burning into carbon dioxide, which is healthier for our lungs and for the environment. A mesh is attached to the top of the barrel to prevent heavy particles, such as soot, from flying into the air. 90% of the waste will be completely burnt, and the remaining 10% will be converted into ash. 

Future Plans
The innovative nature of my project helped me win the "Best LEADer" award by Dr. T.V. Mohandas Pai at Yuva Summit 2014.  As emissions for the Trash-A-Nator remain under the limits set by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, this machine clearly has a lot of potential to be marketed as a product. Furthermore, the Trash-A-Nator is affordable: I estimate that once I receive more orders for the Trash-A-Nator (he has already received two from major industries), the price for the machine will probably run between Rs. 6,000 and Rs. 7,000. The current Trash-A-Nator model is rather large and most suitable to be used by industries that produce large amounts of waste.  However, I am currently working on building a smaller mode that can be used in homes and purchased at a lower cost. I am also finding a way to mix the remaining ash from the burnt waste with manure so it can be used as plant fertilizer.

LEAD has given me a lot of really good opportunities.  I've learned a lot, but I think the most important things I've gained are a platform to execute my ideas without fear of failure and the confidence to present my ideas without fear of criticism. 

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