Nikhilesh has always been inquisitive since his childhood days. At an early age of 13, he find out a way of using waste like human hair, bird’s feather, sawdust to clean oil from water.
With a keen interest in science, he was eager to find a greater solution of oil pollution in water, after attending an exhibition on pollution. He used his creative mind to figure out the possible remedy instead of just following the internet. He had faith on his own instinct that drove him to recall how, during his childhood days, his mother would oil his hair.
He realized that human hair has potential of separating oil from water. Then began his experiment. He collected a beaker from his school lab and some waste hair from a saloon. He mixed motor oil and lubricant with water and saw a layer of oil form on the surface of the water. He then used the hair to absorb oil from water. He found that 90 percent of the oil got soaked within 30 seconds.
Another idea came to Nikhilesh’s mind after he saw a documentary on migratory birds that died because of the spillage of oil in water. Bird’s feather can soak oil. He remembered of reading somewhere that oil gets stuck to bird’s feathers while they reach the water surface to catch fish. The oil stuck to their feathers lead to their death. This made him deduce the second ingredient — bird’s feather.
The third product was sawdust which he found when he saw a carpenter using it to soak the oil from the ground.
With these three elements, Nikhilesh prepared a model with waste ingredients. The model has won him many accolades including being shortlisted by National Innovation Foundation. He also is the recipient of an award from President Pratibha Patil in 2009. He won an INK fellowship in 2011.
He wants to pursue greater things with science. Presently he is pursuing his undergraduate degree in physics from Guwahati, Assam. He wants to do more research on how to address issues related to air pollution.
The Logical Indian wishes him all the best for his future.