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Video: A water-powered auto rickshaw

Last updated on: July 29, 2009 

Now, a water-powered auto rickshaw

Vicky Nanjappa

Ever dreamed of running your vehicle on water? If yes, read on.

Nine students of the RV College of Engineering (RVCE), Bangalore, have made running a vehicle on water a reality. Together they have developed a water-powered hybrid auto rickshaw.

The team has developed an inexpensive and simple retro-fit kit for auto rickshaws. This kit performs hydrogen enhancement of conventional fossil fuel.

The kit produces hydrogen, which is the best fuel in the world, and oxygen which is the most necessary element for combustion, from the most abundant commodity in the world -- water. This is produced on demand and on board, and supplied to the internal combustion (IC) engine making the auto rickshaw partially powered by water.

The kit is customisable according to the needs of the auto rickshaw driver, and team RVCE has also successfully managed to develop software to bring this into effect. Says Karthik Sivaram, First Year, Industrial Engineering and Management, who is part of the team, "According to our estimate the cost price of the best performing kit would be a maximum of Rs 4,000, thus making it affordable for every auto driver. Thus we believe we have achieved the perfect balance between sophistication and affordability."

He also says that they have found an increase of 20 per cent in fuel efficiency and a decrease of 12 per cent in acceleration.

How was it done?
The team explains that, as with any technical project, funding plays a very important role. RSST, the college trust, was kind enough to cover the majority of the costs (development costs totalled about Rs 90,000). They were also supported by Bosch India Limited.

Team RVCE was blessed with excellent technical advice from the alumni of their college, the chemistry department as well as professors from the Inidan Institute of Science. They were also provided with a workspace by the college and unlimited access to all its resources. Bajaj Auto and Exide Batteries also advised the team.

The youngsters recently participated in the Hybrid Auto Rickshaw Battle held by Enviu, at the SRM Campus, Chennai. Participating colleges were from the Netherlands and India, including TU Delft (regarded as one of the best technical institutes in the world). "This was ample opportunity to display our skills on an international platform," the team members explain.

The team also says that plans are already afloat to develop an improved kit. This will be much more complicated than their previous venture. The designs have been drawn up and potential sponsors identified.

The Team

  • Karthik Sivaram, First Year, Industrial Engineering and Management
  • Abhishek Khamrai, Third Year Electrical Engineering
  • Varun Mundra Third Year, Electrical Engineering
  • Rajiv Basavaraj Hirur, First Year, Mechanical Engineering
  • Shrey Tamhaney, Third Year, Mechanical Engineering
  • Ashwin Gopalakrishnan, Fourth Year, Mechanical Engineering
  • Abhinandan Shetty, Fourth Year, Mechanical Engineering
  • Chetan L, Fourth Year, Mechanical Engineering
  • Shrey Tamhaney, Third Year, Mechanical Engineering

Image: .
Video: Vicky Nanjappa