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While the whole nation was reeling under a cash crisis caused by the scrapping of high-value Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes, a 17-year-old science student from Odisha’s Nuapada district was busy inventing ways to generate electricity using demonetised notes.

According to the Deccan Chronicle, Lachman Dundi, a science student at Khariar College in Odisha’s Nuapada district, claimed that he succeeded in generating electricity using the silicon present in the old Rs500 notes.

He was quoted as saying, “On exposing these notes to sunlight or any other form of light, the silicon produces electricity. A silicon plate is needed to be attached on one side of the note.”

His innovation has attracted national attention, with the Prime Minister’s Office directing the state science and technology department to submit a report on the project, reported the Times of India.

A laborer’s son, Lachman pays for his education by selling LED bulbs he has assembled in the local market.

After being exposed to sunlight, the note needs to be connected to a transformer with a wire, and it can then light an electric bulb or rotate a fan, he said. “We can use the electricity for 24 hours if it is stored in a battery,” he added.

“Following demonetisation, I tried to discover the best possible way of using the banned notes. I tore up a note and found the silicon plate. From there, I started my research and succeeded in producing electricity,” he was quoted as saying, adding that it took him only 15 days to come up with the dynamics of the project.

Dundi has so far only demonstrated his project at his college. “When nobody took notice, I wrote to the prime minister and chief minister,” he said.