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Vaibhav Bahadur (VB), Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at UT Austin published research concerning biomass gasification-based atmospheric water harvesting in India in Energy, an international, multi-disciplinary journal in energy engineering and research.

The research discussed in the Energy article focuses on the problem of smog-filled cities in India. This is primarily due to field burning of crop residue, a popular solution to get rid of waste among farmers. However, this process is detrimental to the environment and public health. Burning crop residue releases greenhouse gases and particulates into the atmosphere, which is primarily responsible for smog in cities like New Delhi. Another problem this research could solve is the lack of potable water availability. Water supply systems in rural areas in developing countries are inadequate to provide enough clean, potable water for everyone.

VB collaborated with Professor Rishi Raj and Ajay Thakur from the Indian Institute of Technology in Patna, India. This team proposed a first-of-its kind concept system that harvests water from the atmosphere in two steps. First, crop residue is converted to producer gas through a sequence of thermo-chemical reactions. Next, this producer gas powers an industrial-scale refrigeration cycle, which condenses moisture from humid air.

The vision for this project was inspired by VB’s recent work on atmospheric water harvesting for the oil-gas industry. With over 60 journal/conference articles, VB continues to contribute valuable insights and new ideas to solve problems in the areas of energy, water and the environment. His research has been featured on the cover of ASME’s Mechanical Engineering magazine, in multiple journals, and has been highlighted by NBC News.

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