Friday, November 13, 2009



Tremendous research is going on in western countries for development solar energy as a corollary to electrical power generation in universities. The cities where further power generation is not possible solar power would substitute for conventional power usage ! The demand for power have multiplied in some of the states. But in case immediate generation is not possible dependence on alternative energy sources have become imperative. The educational and Research Institutes and Industrial Houses have collaborated to find out the solution. Can similar exercise be taken up in Assam.?

Habib-Ur Rahman Baruah, have been in America for last four decade working as a Professional Engineer. For the first time he mentioned to me, in a recent discussion, that America is at present in need of vast energy resources and research is going on how to generate electricity out of non conventional energy utilisation. One most important identified areas has been the Solar energy beside, Sea energy and Wind energy. The demand for electrical engineers in USA have become so high, despite recession, that almost all the retired Electrical engineers have been summoned back to join jobs in this sphere. Baruah, himself a retired electrical engineer, of seventy two years has joined back job in power generation. He said that shortage of electricity has initiated lot of research in the field of energy. The experienced electrical engineers may seek opportunity in America who have experience of power generation.The next decade will be the age of energy as was IT few years before, according to him. Another energy project based on sea waves have been initiated by a well known Assamese scientist based in Canada. Recently, Biswadeep Baruah , has joined as CEO of an iit cell for development of new project. Can he take some initiative on this kind of project now ?

I myself saw an experimental project in Los Angeles area where air conditioning plants are operating from the solar energy. This is an experimental project only and further development in the area is expected to make it cost effective. The project engineer with whom I talked expected that when successful the project would bringing down air conditioning cost by 60% from the conventional electricity mode. This is eased the power requirements for lighting and irrigation etc.
"When we tell people we heat water up only to cool it down, they don't get it at first," said David Berokoff, a technology development manager at So Cal Gas. "But all this technology has been around for a while. We're just trying to bring it together so we can get it out to our customers as soon as possible."

The initiative is the latest in a move by SoCal Gas and its parent, Sempra Energy, to wean businesses off gas and push them to use more solar power. For businesses, the technologies could mean substantial savings.

Beyond the potential environmental benefits -- the sun is a nonpolluting, renewable source of energy -- the solar systems undergoing tests could help businesses slash air conditioning costs as much as 60%,we were told.

It was understood that the research project is only 4 months old and solar-powered cooling probably won't reach the gas company's customers for another year or two, but the gas company is already wooing businesses to the rooftop of its Downey research facility.

The Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Southern California, is observing the tests to see whether such technologies would make sense for several of its bottling plants. "It's a very long-term view, but it's the right view to have." This is where the matter attracted my attention. In the research project both education and business have gone hand in hand. Can this hand holding initiative be started in Guwahati between IIT, Guwahati and AIDC or IOC or Oil India?

The industries in Assam also needs lot of air-conditioning. These can be developed as unit wise smaller projects where air-conditioning are required. Even the entire Capital complex of government of Assam including the residences of ministers, secretaries and officials can be air conditioned if IIT, guawhati can develop a projnect like this .Initial research cost of the project need to be shared between the IIT ,government and OIL.IIT can support with brain and human resources and rest would expected to fund the research.

The gas based research company, in USA , has been checking out competing solar-thermal cooling technologies from two companies to see which would work best on the roofs of warehouses, manufacturing plants and other commercial buildings. Presently no residential building have been included in the plan. But it would extend to Housing estate later.

I also read in an article in LA Times later where it was stated that the rooftop prototype systems, which include the mirrors, pipes and computer-automated solar trackers, cost about $200,000 each -- about the same cost as the entire traditional air conditioning system installed in the 45,000-square-foot Downey building, The researcher hope to slash that price by at least half before it reaches commercial customers.

The research project is comparing systems developed by Sopogy Inc., based in Honolulu, and HelioDynamics of Britain. Both use mirrors to aim the sun's rays at water pipes, and when sun isn't available to heat the water -- at night, for example -- both rely on gas as a backup.The differences lie in the shape and size of the mirrors used and in the placement of the water pipes.

Sopogy uses several 12-foot mirrors that curve upward, reflecting sunshine onto a pipe running just above the center of each mirror. HelioDynamics uses slabs of small, flat mirrors that reflect the sun's rays onto a single pipe above them.

Both systems use computer-automated trackers to tilt the mirrors throughout the day as the sun moves across the sky.

The hot water in both systems is heated to temperatures just under 200 degrees and collected in a storage tank. Then it goes through an absorption chiller that cools the cold water used in the building's fan units.

The solar systems can work alongside existing gas and electric system .Non-solar systems use gas or electricity to heat the hot water before it goes through the chiller.

Nathan Olivarezgiles of LAtimes praised the effort of researchers and stated that
people want renewable sources of energy, but people don't expect a switch that just happens overnight. By using gas or electricity as a backup, customers not having to replace their infrastructure, and customers know they won't have to get into something experimental."

"The promoter gas company is giving researchers a stage to demonstrate what they can do for their customers". Can Similar arrangements be made between Oil India and IIT , guwahati. In case such collaboration succeed it will change the face of Assam. Power is really short in Assam. If solar energy can take care of air conditioning of industry and large industrial estate at much reduced cost then there would be substantial availability of power for common people of Assam.. It helps Government and society tremendously. IIT, guwahati's research has already resulted in low cost cycle rickshaw beside other projects. This energy research project can be given a head start through the good office's of Minister of Industry by organizing a meeting of chairmen of OIL, AIDC and Director of IIT to give concrete shape to such a public -private research project which can give benefit to industry, Government and to society as a whole.


1 comment:

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