Nualgai: Clean & green

Nualgi is a made in India nanotech breakthrough that treats water bodies and absorbs greenhouse gases, offsetting the effects of global warming

This bit of nano-technology fits perfectly into the setting of Made in India overdrive, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and the clean river programme. Nualgi, a breakthrough nano-technology used for cleansing polluted waters in rivers and drains, lakes and ponds, bays and coastlines, was developed in Bengaluru by T Sampath Kumar, a national awardee for innovation in 2013.

In the process of treating water bodies, it absorbs greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, checks water acidification and works against the effects of global warming. The technology promotes exceptional water quality, converts organic pollutants into healthy food for fish, creates aquatic biodiversity and replenishes dwindling aquatic life in water bodies.

The technology has been adopted by San Diego, US-based Nualgi America, which has been investing in promoting the product in aquarium, pond and waste water management.

The company has set up facilities and a team of research scientists from Mississippi State University to perform a 52-week study to review Nualgi’s safety and effectiveness at reducing water pollution to improve water conditions in a commercial setting.

“Nualgi is a carefully manufactured formula and not an ‘organic’ product, which may concern some environmental communities. However, being a nano-scale solution, it is added in relatively minuscule quantities and uses the existing natural process by growing the diatoms in the water, which empowers the aquatic food chain and benefits all aspects of the ecosystem,” said Sunil Nanda, director of Nualgi America.

Existing methodologies used for water treatment involves bacteria and enzyme dosing and oxygenation, which is significantly more expensive and, therefore, create a chain of vested interests that would likely resist change.

Nualgi America has set up a crowd-funding programme called Kickstarter to carry out the university-level research for aquaculture and lake remediation. “If funded, university-level testing will once and for all silence the critics of this revolutionary new technology,” Nanda added.

So how does Nualgi work?

Nualgi America promotes the product as nature’s solution to water pollution and toxic algae. It is a patented nano-scale nutrient formula in the range of 5-100 nanometers. At this scale, elements react differently with each other, remain suspended longer, disperse easily across the water column, and are therefore ‘bio-available’ to marine organisms.

The liquid additive contains 10 essential micro-nutrients in a nano-silica base that acts as a nutrient and a carrier. These micro-nutrients are specifically chosen to stimulate diatom growth in the water column.

They release oxygen and consume carbon dioxide, dramatically increasing dissolved oxygen level, an important parameter to measure water quality and which is an essential factor for aquatic life. This helps aerobic bacteria break down organic matter (pollution).

Diatoms, a ribbon-like group of algae, are among the most common types organism found in oceans, seas and freshwater basin ecosystems. Diatoms are favourite food for zooplankton, the primary food for fish, crustaceans, and other organisms.

By boosting diatoms, Nualgi empowers the natural food chain at the source! The diatoms outcompete blue green algae and other toxic algae producers for nutrients and are then consumed by zooplankton and fish. Nutrient pollution is converted to fish biomass, toxic algae is eliminated, and healthy balance is restored in the water body.

Diatoms play an important role in global ecology, producing about a quarter of all the oxygen within earth’s biosphere. “We want to represent these unappreciated jewels of the water with some unique rewards for our backers,” Nanda said.

Every water body is different, which raised the risk that Nualgi may not perform in a particular environment. But diatoms are ubiquitous, which can significantly reduce the risk of Nualgi not being effective.

Globally, there have been instances of people desperate to reduce harmful algae trying to dump copper sulfate into the water, which kills just about everything. In one case, copper sulfate led to 88 deaths, mostly children in Bahia, Brazil in 1988 during attempts to kill aquatic cyanobacteria at a water reservoir.

Very recently on September 30, 2014, an estimated 280,000 salmons died due to toxic algae off the coast of British Columbia and 95 per cent of fish died at Lake Van in New Mexico after another toxic bloom in October, 2014.

“When Sampath Kumar first told us about his formula, it sounded too good to be true. But after seeing the amazing results in our trials first hand, we knew that it that it could reverse the damage being done to water bodies the world over,” said Nanda.

In the US, over 10,000 customers have tried Nualgi in their ponds and aquariums with amazing results, sometimes as early as after the first dose.

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Nanda claims Nualgi can work wonders in any water body, and even in a flowing river, to naturally improve the health of the aquatic ecosystem and reverse damage from water pollution. The formula is certified non-toxic and has been successfully used in large water bodies in India.

“Nualgi is the economically viable and eco-friendly solution we need to address water pollution,” said Nanda. “It is safe enough to drink, though it tastes terrible! It improves the health of fish and plants by empowering the natural food chain,” he added.

Through last year, Nualgi America worked hard to spread the word about the formula’s environmental benefits and its potential for eliminating water pollution in lakes, rivers, bays and oceans.

First used to target toxic algae responsible for mass killing of fish, the product has already entered India and is seeing scattered, experimental use. The New Delhi Municipal Corporation asked the company to treat the dirty water ponds alongside the Rajpath connecting India Gate to Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Using Nualgi three times in three weeks, the company claims it removed 85 per cent of the six-inch thick algae level, completely eliminated the stink and turned the water friendly for aquatic life.

Citing from a CSR report of Ashok Leyland, the company shows how the automaker managed to restore ponds around its facilities using Nualgi and turned them liveable for fish.

The company claims in a specific case like the Delhi stretch of the Yamuna river, Nualgi can neutralise the hazardous sewage that flows into the river and increase the population and size of fish there, turning it into a ‘waste to wealth’ solution.

Nualgi also has preventive effects on curbing vector-borne diseases, something cities like Delhi struggle with every summer. Nualgi does not attack the larvae directly, but prevents growth and neutralises existing larvae through aquatic balance in a water body.

Nualgi can be used in static water like ponds and lakes, bays and coastlines; slow moving waters like drains and even in fast-moving waters like canals and rivers. “It is effective in fresh waters, brackish waters like in delta regions, marine waters, sewage-affected waters as part of a larger solution and even in industrial waste water as part of a larger solution,” the company claimed.

 

View original article at: Clean & green

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