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  Life   More Features  10 Oct 2017  Team Shunya’s day in the sun

Team Shunya’s day in the sun

Published : Oct 10, 2017, 12:10 am IST
Updated : Oct 10, 2017, 12:10 am IST

A team of students from IIT Mumbai have created a prototype for a solar-powered house which saves electricity exponentially.

The house will not just be sustainable in and of itself, but will also be able to give electric power to the local grid.
 The house will not just be sustainable in and of itself, but will also be able to give electric power to the local grid.

Imagine living in a house, which draws zero electricity and also generates electricity for future use. In March last year, Team Shunya came up with this idea.  The students are now all set to build their prototype at their next challenge — the Solar Decathlon 2018 to be held in Dezhou, China.

“We’re the only team from India to have been selected for the competition, so it’s quite a proud moment for us,” says K. Naga Bhavya Jyothi, the electrical head of the team. “Although we have already participated in a similar competition in Europe in 2014, this is the first time that we are heading to China,” she adds excitedly.

The team has been divided into groups according to their tasks such as the electrical team, the civil team and the architecture team. Using a hybrid architecture plan, Shunya plans to take readymade walls and floors and create the house at the destination within the span of 12 days. “There are over 70 students that are working on the project. We are trying to create a structure where the electric current will power the appliances as direct current instead of needing to convert it into alternating current. This is bound to cut down on the energy it takes to convert the current and will power the house more effectively,” explains Bhavya.

It’s not just the house itself but also all its appliances, that will run on solar power. “We have a solar-powered oven and cooker, among other implements. We are looking to have a modular wiring system so that we don’t even need to run cables throughout the entire house. This will ensure a faster and more efficient wiring and less safety hazards as well,” she adds.

The house will not just be sustainable in and of itself, but will also be able to give electric power to the local grid. “It is only at night that they would need to take power from the government electricity grid. But even then, the amount of power that the house will require to take is going to be less than the amount of power that it can give back to the grid as surplus,” she explains.

Armed with its many innovative creations, the group is now set to face a month-long rigorous test of their talent at the Decathlon. “We will have to build the house within a week’s time. After that we will have to face several tests. We have to throw a dinner party for the judges, as well as a movie night, using all the implements of the house. We’re going to be tested on 10 categories in total such as innovation and technical know-how,” Bhavya explains.

The relevance of the project doesn’t end with a competition however. Project engineer Gunjan Auti explains how it has the potential to power Indian cities, if properly funded. “The smarthouse is a model which will run on sustainable energy, keeping in mind the affordability of a middle class urban family. A hybrid grid with each house having an independent grid will be the future of urban housing. This technological revolution if collaborated with government bringing in private investments will lead to mass production and thus the technology could reach the middle class Indian population at affordable rates.”

Tags: solar-powered, iit mumbai, team shunya