Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Renewal of the Renewable

The Renewable energy and Energy Conservation Exhibition held at Ernakulam Town Hall recently was a major eye-opener.It was a clear sign that 'renewable energy in India' was not just a word chanted by students in school and college (thats 4 words by the way), but a movement being pursued strongly by both government and private parties alike.

Especially in the light of the recent rise in oil prices, the nuclear power deal going nowhere, Iran pipeline still being in the pipeline [:-)], and the increase in electricity prices in this power ridden Gods own country, the fact that renewable energy is all set to renew the bleak horizon of the energy security of the country is very relieving.

The exhibition showcased different emerging technologies utilising renewable energy, some gave even live demos of how renewable energy is tapped, and gave an outlet for renewable energy companies, especially in the solar power field, to market their products.

(This poster has nothing much to do with this exhibition. This was just a last-minute poster made by Me, Naren, Joseph and Lakshmi that won us a prize at ESCT conference in NITC.)

Some nice stuff I noted from the exhibition:

1. The Bio-Diesel dream is not dead, and is being pursued in a major way by some companies. It will soon hit the market.
2. LED lighting bulbs rules the market, even beating CFLs now. It is pretty widespread.
3. Solar water heaters are a moving product.
4. Wind power players like Suzlon and Bio-gas plants are coming on at really low costs, and will soon spread over India fast.
5. Environmentally friendly products that cost 0 power to produce are another way to reduce power consumption.

The bio-diesel production stall was one of the major highlights. It was a relief to know that Indian railways has taken up bio-diesel research in a big way, and even has set up some plants to produce bio-diesel, if only for test purposes at the moment. Also, it has started running trains on bio-diesel blends now! Soon, railways will set up more plants in different parts of India. 'Jatropha curcass', the plant that is most utilised for bio-diesel production, is now being cultivated in some parts of India too!

It was a solar-water heater market, as major players like V-Guard, Hykon, Technomax etc set up stalls to market their products like Solar heating, Solar lighting etc. Most of the stalls innovatively used panels set up outside to light up their own bulbs.The LED bulbs shown used lesser power apparently, and gave better light than even CFL Lamps. whats more, replacement cost for an LED bulb is much lesser!

There was more. A couple of Saint Gits college students showing their major project of diesel production from another source. KSEB demonstrating hydro-turbine power generation. The superior Electronic chokes performance being demoed. All in all, a tree-huggers and Energy-engineers paradise.

Lets hope the movement gains more momentum and becomes a household phenomenon.


Abhi said...

Just hope tht th widespread use of these devices brings down th cost, coz cost is a MAJOR reason why many ppl don't switch over to these devices. Nice info btw

ആ‍പ്പിള്‍ said...

informative article.

Agency for Non-Conventional Energy and Rural Technology (ANERT)has taken initiative to install bio gas plants in districy/taluk hospitals and local self government institutions.

and to tell u, there is a market at sreekaryam, a place near to my home, some months back people find it very difficult to enter the market or even to pass through the nearby road cuz of the wastes and bad smell coming out of it. but now the situation is changed as the panchayat has installed a bio gas plant in the market, which uses the waste from the market for operation. all the lamps in the market are powered from this plant now and the market is really clean.

let the energy conservation and renewable energy spread over the whole state.

Vinitha Vasanth said...

Good post .. really informative .. and posted at the right time 'coz The National Action Plan was unveiled y'day ... it's a relief to know that the Govt. is taking up such initiatives ...
Pvt firms like V-guard do play a major role in promotion of products that use renewable energy esp. thru their ads ...

Quoting our PM's words : " Our ppl want higher standards of living but they also want clean water to drink, fresh air to breathe and a green earth to walk on " ... so as you said ..may this movement gain momentum !!!

Mahesh Mahadevan said...

I am for most renewable energy products. But I'm rather skeptical about bio-diesel (which I think, is hyped up).
The major issues are whether it truly is 'greener', and the food-for-fuel debate (both of which are being extensively discussed in literature today). The wait might be longer to see good technical strides to envision a more innovative solution.

Hari Vishnu said...


yea cost is a problem for sure.. nut u know wat, the progress made in these technologies is so impressive now, and also the prices of oil are sure to rise, that im sure these sources will soon permeate into our elives veryday usage..

Hari Vishnu said...


another good eg.. thank goodnes some ppl atleast in kerala have sense..

Hari Vishnu said...

yes, lets hope :-)

hmm, ur doubts are wat are there in a million other minds too...esp wen the world itself is beginning to see a food shortage too..

but i still think the bio-diesel crop will spread.. because now its cultivation will make agriculture a more economically viable option.. this hopefully will bring more farmers who once gave up back on the scene, instead of replacing food crops, which india cant afford much..

Unknown said...

adding to mahesh's point, a lot of amazon basin's real thick forests had been cut up for corn plantation which r used in bio-diesels...so more agriculture might just mean less forests......

Hari said...

Being the son of a top KSEB Employee, I've grown up learning/hearing about electricity problems... It was nice to listen to sources of alternative energy. But the technical hurdles are immense. It's upto brightly talented electrical engineers like you to solve them all and usher our country into perennial energy efficiency! Don't forget that when you live your life @ Nanjiang!

@ ആപ്പിള്‍
Ma'am (I realize you're Hari Vishnu's prof), so you're my neighbour! :-) Anyways, I've seen that system function with full efficiency. Indeed, that NGO (forgot the name of that company) has done a great job. I hear they're planning more initiatives all through the state. And yeah, during a recent power failure here; that lamp was the only source of light for the Sreekariyam Junction. :D

Hari Vishnu said...

well well u do expect too much of this engineer dont u?.. actually energy securty was really the field i was interested in for higher studies, but i really couldnt give up this opportunity.. and anyways engineers like u r still here to help india arent they?:-)

btw nice to know ure ആപ്പിള്s neighbour

@ vivek

thanx for the info dude.. true thats a bad trade-off for the fuel shortage.. forests are gold any day..