IIT Madras chemistry professor gets VinFuture Prize for developing low-cost filter for groundwater

IIT Madras chemistry professor Thalappil Pradeep has won the award given to ‘Innovators from Developing Countries’.

IIT Madras chemistry professor gets VinFuture Prize for developing low-cost filter for groundwater IIT Madras Professor Thalappil Pradeep (Source: Official)
Vagisha Kaushik | Dec 28, 2022 - 2:45 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: Professor Thalappil Pradeep from the chemistry department of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras has won the ‘VinFuture Prize’ for developing a low-cost filtration system to remove arsenic and other heavy metals from groundwater. Professor Pradeep received the prize at the award ceremony in Hanoi, Vietnam, on December 20, 2022.

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The award won by Pradeep is dedicated to ‘Innovators from Developing Countries’ and the recipients of the prize were selected from 1,000 nominations from 70 countries.

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The VinFuture Grand Prize is valued at 3 million US dollars. It also includes three special prizes, each valued at 500,000 dollars, given to female innovators, developing country innovators, and innovators with outstanding achievements in emerging fields.

Professor Pradeep has been recognized earlier with Padma Shri, Nikkei Asia Prize, and Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water and his technologies are delivering clean water to over 1.2 crore people, according to a statement from IIT Madras.

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Thanking the awards jury for recognizing this research, Professor Pradeep, Institute Professor, Department of Chemistry, IIT Madras, said, “This recognizes everyone who worked with me, everyone who has been benefited from the work and those who enabled the translation of our work. At the same time, I am aware of the huge gap yet to be bridged to deliver clean water to everyone. I hope that this recognition will help in realizing that dream. I thank my institute which gave me everything. I thank my country, which made me stand up.”

Professor Pradeep discovered affordable and sustainable nanomaterials to produce clean water. The arsenic and other materials removed by these materials do not impact the surrounding environment. This method, employing simple designs, provides a means to purify groundwater at a low cost to reach millions of impacted households. In remote areas, this technology is more advantageous because it does not require electricity.

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