Chennai Climathon: Solutions to make Chennai Carbon friendly – 80+ Innovators hack together

Participants at an event in Chennai came up with new solutions for “Building a Climate Resilient Smart city addressing: Disaster Management, Urban Transportation, Air pollution & Waste Management” as part of a 24-hour global challenge to solve climate change.

University students in Chennai joined others in world cities such as Paris and Shanghai simultaneously taking part in the hackathon-style Climathon event.

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The Climate-KIC Climathon brought together major cities across six continents to solve city-wide climate challenges. In Chennai, nearly 84 participants took part from 27 until 28 October 2016 and focused on solving “Building a Climate Resilient Smart city addressing: Disaster Management, Urban Transportation, Air pollution & Waste Management”. It was organised by DHI LABS Business Accelerator & Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (CED), Anna University, Chennai, India.

The event kicked off with inspiring speeches from Dr. G. Ravi kumar, Director, Center for Entrepreneurship Development, Anna University, Dr. A. Ramachandran, Professor Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation Research, Anna University, Mr. A. Vijaya Kumar, Founder & President, India Trust and Mr. P. Anbarasu, President, World Youth Federation. The dignitaries shared their views about the local climate change problem from their personal experiences and motivated the participants.

During the two day sessions, the participants were guided by the team of the mentors to shape their idea to a viable business solution. The participants came up with 17 innovative ideas addressing the local city climate change problem and the top 9 potential ideas were presented in front of the local jury.

The winning teams were judged based on the parameters – Climate impact, Innovativeness, Team configuration and Business feasibility. Team “Carbon to Cash” from Thiagarajar College of Engineering (TCE), Madurai won the completion follow by Team “Dronix” from the Panimalar Institute of Technology & College of Engineering, Guindy, Chennai (Runner-up 1) and Team “Waste to Wealth” from R.M.K Engineering College, Chennai (Runner-up 2). The top two winning teams were awarded with the cash prices from World Youth Federation (WYF), a local student entrepreneurship developmental body. The second runner-up is awarded with 8 week online mentorship program from DHI LABS Business Accelerator, India.

The global event, the second of its kind, was organised by Climate-KIC, the EU’s climate change innovation partnership of universities, businesses and the public sector.

Building a Climate Resilient Smart City addressing – Disaster Management; Smart Urban Transportation; Air pollution & Waste Management

On 6th December 2015, Chennai recorded its highest rainfall in 100 years and has witnessed the costliest natural disaster. Due to improper Urban planning more than 500 people were killed and over 1.8 million people displaced. After the water receded, waste was strewn all over the city causing spread of epidemics.

Addressing this issue collectively, Climathon Chennai 2016 focused on bringing out innovative solutions for Effective Disaster management, air pollution control, waste management and smart urban commute.  After an intense Climathon event, the participating teams were highly motivated and proposed innovative solutions for the given problem statement.

Climathon winning solutions – Cash to Carbon, Dronix & Waste to Wealth

After 24 non-stop hours of collaboration, excitement and solution-finding during the Climate-KIC Climathon, the best idea was selected by an expert jury consisting of Mr. Mr. Balram Nair, Vice President, Chennai Angels Network; Mr. Shyam Sekar S, Chief Mentor and Strategist, Start-up Xperts; Mr. V.D.Anandan, Deputy Director, Entrepreneurship Development Institute, Chennai and Jaydeep Halbe, Founder, Halbe Innovations. The teams Carbon to Cash, Dronix and Waste to Wealth were selected as the winning ideas from the lot.

  1. Carbon to Cash

Team members – Ganesh Bala S, Karthick Srinivas M, Lokesh S and Sam Moses S

The team of four Environmental Engineers from Thiagarajar College of Engineering (TCE), Madurai came up with an idea to capture the flue gas effluents from the thermal power plants using micro algae, thus eliminating a major threat to climate change. The food for the micro algae is the flue gas thereby achieving zero smoke discharge. The revenue streams in by selling the fully cultured micro algae to cosmetic industries (“Omega 3 – fatty acid”)/ Aquaculture franchises (“Hatcheries”) / wastewater treatment plant (“Nutrient removal”).

Ganesh Bala S (Clean-tech start-up enthusiast & Waste water treatment expertise); Karthick Srinivas M(Expertise in the field of air pollution and stack monitoring, Management and Administration guru); Lokesh S (Background in the study of environmental situations in India CSE, Delhi); Sam Moses S (Technologist with experience in field of carbon capture and storage).

  1. DRONIX

Team members – Prof.Ganesh Subramanian, Ranjith Samuel S, Simeon Jebaz Asir, Arjun R and Sarath Chandra

Team Dronix from Panimalar Institute of Technology, Chennai developed a cost effective and on demand Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) based Air pollution Control. The idea is to provide a more real time data about the Ultra Fine Particles (UFP) suspended in the air through a UFP filer sensor attached to the drone. The statistics shall be more accurate due to the air bone nature and effective processing. The information will be fed to the pollution control board as well as to other research institutions to identify the exact industries and other polluting sources of UFP pollution, thereby enabling them to take appropriate remedy measures.

Prof.Ganesh Subramanian (Electronics and Communications background and P.hD – Efficient and Secure Routing Protocol for Wireless Sensor Networks); Ranjith Samuel S (Drone pilot & controls professional); Simeon Jebaz Asir (Public relations officer in the team); Arjun R (Background in the Drones design and official spokes person); Sarath Chandra (IT architect and Backend  program developer for the air quality monitoring).

  1. Waste to Wealth

Team members – Kishore Kumar C, Praveen Kumar P, Keshev Kumar K, Dhananjayan M, Pragatheeswaran K.R, Kapil Raj J, Harish L and Elanchezhiyan D

The team proposed a solution to recycle the Construction & Demolition (C & D) waste produced in the city. C & D waste produced in Chennai is nearly 700 Metric Tonnes per day. Considering the enormity of C & D Waste accumulated in Chennai City, the idea is to reuse by recycling it and establishing a C & D waste processing facility to adhere by the existing regulations. The crushed recycled product is used as partial replacement of Sand (aggregate) in the concreting works of the building. This effectively reduces sand mining which is taking place at an exponential rate and neutralizing the Climate change impact caused by it.

Kishore Kumar C (Technical expertise – C & D waste steams), Praveen Kumar P (Design background – Plant equipment), Keshev Kumar K (Public relations executive), Dhananjayan M (Quality and testing), Pragatheeswaran K.R (Human Resource development), Kapil Raj J (Financial analyst), Harish L (Environmental Engineer), Elanchezhiyan D (Project planning).

Participating teams described their experiences as follows –  

 “It was a great opportunity to attend this global Climathon event. The mentors accompanied us from the beginning and helped us to organize our jumbled ideas into a meaningful order. Also the pitch competition gave us a motivation to come forth with the best idea. This event organized by DHI labs is doing a great work in encouraging all the budding entrepreneurs to help them to identify that climate change is not only a global spotlight but also an area for profitable ventures similar to other start-ups.” – Team Carbon to Cash

“It’s a perfect platform to project your innovative ideas and get recognized at a global level”- Pragatheeswaran K.R, Team Waste to Wealth

Next steps

The participating teams had a great amount of learning experience and it was first time the university talents are introduced to the intense Climate Hackathon format. The teams quickly adapted, absorbed the enormous amount of information and came up with the interesting solutions to the given problem statement.  

Dr. G. Ravi Kumar, Director, The Centre for Entrepreneurship Development, Anna University indicated the interested teams will have the access to the on-campus incubation centre for further development of their ideas.  Similarly, the Entrepreneurship Development Institute, Chennai invited the participating teams to apply for the government aided start-up funding program and pre-incubate their ideas. In addition, DHI LABS Business Accelerator has offered one month online mentoring sessions to the winning teams to refine their business models.

Mr. Veera Abhilash P, Founder, DHI LABS added in his thanking note that “The Climathon was well received by the participants and the local partners. The Climathon doesn’t end here, we will keep supporting the interested teams to take their idea further and validate their business models”.

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