Water-deficit railway stations located in hilly terrains and dense forests of the Eastern Ghats that fall under the Waltair division of East Coast Railway (ECoR) will soon receive a unique apparatus, which will allow it to harvest potable water from atmospheric moisture. The name of the equipment is Atmospheric Moisture Extractor (AME).
Nearly 15 to 20 railway stations located along the Kothavalasa-Kirandul (KK-line) railway line does not have access to safe potable water sources owing to their geographical location.
Railway officials are exploring the possibility of using AME, which has already yielded successful results at Rauli, a small railway station under the division, near Rayagada in Odisha. Named Akash Ganga, the project is the first-of-its-kind to be taken up in the Indian Railways. The railways introduced AME at Rauli this summer and got successful results.
Speaking to TOI, Waltair divisional railway manager MS Mathur said, they would identify the railway stations at hilly locales that lack access to safe potable water and would implement the AME method.
A technical railway official said, the AME draws air from the atmosphere and the air is passed over condenser so that the water vapour in it is transformed into water due to heat exchange. It works at low relative humidity level such as 50% and ambient temperature in shade 90-95° F. The output of AME is about 120 litres per day usually and energy consumption per litre is 0.35KW to 0.40 KW (kilowatt).
“The AME method at Rauli station has been a boon to the railway staff and passengers at the station, which had water problem for decades. After examining various methods, the authorities decided on the AME and installed it at Rauli in April end this year,” the railway officer, added.
While the cost of AME is around Rs 2 lakh, the maintenance cost is considerably less.
“The railway stations, which have water problems and do not have access to proper water sources, can use this machine to get water. The only requirement is the stations should have good atmospheric moisture,” the railway officer said.
The officer revealed that there are nearly 15 to 20 such railway stations along the KK-line, which passes through the Eastern Ghats in the division limits. The stations depend on stream water to meet their needs. Moreover, the water collected from hill streams is unfit for drinking. “We will examine the installation of this AME at the KK line stations,” the railway officer added.