Kota’s Ankita Vijay (32) has won the ‘Grignard Research Award 2015 in Photocatalysis’ by International Agency for Standards and Ratings (IASR) for her research work. While the award was declared in 2015, Ankita only recently received the official certificate. She was also named among the World’s 500 Most Influential Chemists for Year 2015 on Earth, out of a total of 4771 research works of International chemists who had presented their research work for the competition held last year. Ankita had sent her research work online for the competition of IASR in 2015.
Ankita is a Lecturer in Chemistry at the Maharishi Arvind International Institute of Technology, Kota and is also pursuing her PhD in Chemistry from Mewar University, Gangrar, Chittorgarh under the supervision of Dr Shipra Bhardwaj. Dr Bhardwaj is a Lecturer in Chemistry at the Government P.G. Meera Girls College, Udaipur, Rajasthan.
Speaking about her research, Ankita said that textile mills are major consumers of water and consequently also cause intense water pollution with effluents containing a wide range of chemicals including dyes. “Treatment of dye waste in the textile industries is focused on the removal of colour for which several biological and other methods are available, but such methods have high operating cost and are of limited applicability,” she said. Ankita explained that through her research, she had discovered Photocatalytic detoxification as an alternative method to clean up polluted water. Ankita said that her technique adopts the possibility of combining the heterogeneous catalysis (water insoluble catalysis) with sunlight to achieve mineralisation of toxic pollutants present in textile wastewater. She said that removal of colour from wastewater is required otherwise it may cause disturbance to the environment.
Giving details of her research work, she said that she has used the semiconducting properties of tungsten compounds which have proven to be an excellent catalyst in the photo-degradation of organic pollutants especially dyes and this technique appears to offer a great deal of scope in treating hazardous and toxic chemical wastes and converting them into harmless end-products using sunlight and a minimum amount of semiconductor which can be reused. “This makes the process cost effective too. The treated water can be used for irrigation, washing, cooling, and other works but it cannot be used for drinking purposes,” she said.
She said that the process is found beneficial for cleaning hazardous textile wastewater from the environment in an eco-friendly manner.
Ankita’s research also appeared the ‘International Journal of Photocatalysis’. Ankita has forwarded her research work to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) office for its use in the treatment of textile wastewater.