Student Start-up and Young Entrepreneurs From Kerala Develop India’s Cheapest Water Purifier
The Young Indian Entrepreneurs
A 2016 student start-up was registered in Kochi on April 23, 2018, as Lamaara Technologies Private Limited. Anto Patrex and Thomas Cyriac, the young Indian entrepreneurs from Kerala developed an organic water filter that became India’s cheapest water purifier.
As per WaterAid’s, The State of the World’s Water 2019 report, 12% of the Indian population is still deprived of basic clean drinking water.
The Energy behind the Student Entrepreneurship
When on a road trip in 2017, Anto P Biju and Thomas Cyriac, were served dirty drinking water, at a highway restaurant, they decided to address the issue to provide cheap and clean drinking water.
Anto and Thomas studying at St Joseph’s College of Engineering and Technology led a team of 10 fellow engineering students to develop a non-electrical, low-cost, low-maintenance, and easy-to-use water purifier.
Their first invention shaped like a pen received due attention at the innovation competition organized by Kerala Startup Mission as it could detect the impure elements in the water, but it failed to purify the water. The purpose was lost.
What followed over the next two years were rigorous experiments, more designs, and more learning from experts. Beyond the expertise of their college professors, the team contacted scientists at Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology (IMMT), Bhubaneswar, and Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology (CIPET) to acquire a deeper understanding of mini-cartridges that filter impure water using activated carbon to provide pure drinking water.
After over 60 variations of water purifiers being rejected, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certified a cheap non-electric prototype that could convert up to 30 liters of water into potable water within hours and needed replacing the cartridge only once in 5 years which cost INR 60.
In 2017, the invention received a seed funding of INR 2 lakhs from the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM).
During the Kerala floods of 2018, when people in the flood-affected areas of Kottayam district were left without food and basic drinking water, Lamaara Technologies, donated around 200 purifiers costing around INR 2,000 to the relief camps. Today it has sold another 200+ water purifiers in the state and aims to grow with their recently acquired funding of Rs 4.5 crore to develop and market the products.
The Lamaara patented filtration technique
It consists of 3 layers-
1. The Core: It is the filter made up of the Nanofibre membrane with a pore size of 0.2 microns that blocks up to 99.9999% of microorganisms (bacteria and protozoa) from passing through the water.
2. The Carbon: The coconut activated carbon removes the odor, chemicals and chlorine content from the water.
3. The Complement: The filter has a mineral add-on feature that will enhance the water with minerals to make the water slightly alkaline and more valuable to maintain good health.
Lamaara’s single filter can purify 1000 liters of polluted water.
Further research and development
The same patented filtration technique is now adopted to manufacture ‘iBo’ (iBo Alpha, iBo Beta, and iBo Gamma), the world’s smartest water bottle. The alpha version launched has an inbuilt filter in a bottle (@INR 499). The beta version has a user-friendly mobile application for dehydration alerts and the gamma version makes the liquid hot or cold by using the mobile app. Both beta and gamma versions are soon to be launched.
Water – a social responsibility
March 22, International World Water Day is a UN initiative to bring awareness to the world’s water crisis where 748 million people do not have access to drinking water. While the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 6 aims to provide pure drinking water for all by 2030, Lamaara Technologies, is taking small steps to solve the drinking water problem faced by millions in India.