Innovations in sustainable energy solutions for rural villages across India
September 27, 2014, India
Amma's 61st birthday celebrations saw the unveiling of a host of innovative sustainable energy solutions developed by our own Amrita University with the potential to help solve some of India's most pressing problems, transform the lives of millions of rural Indians and make a dent in CO2 emissions.
Solar Home Lighting System
Our Solar Home Lighting System, developed entirely in-house, is a low-cost package consisting of three LED lights, a radio and a mobile-charger powered entirely from solar panels. The system has been designed to ensure power for the homes we build, as well as the 101 villages we've adopted, guaranteeing consistent power during regular blackouts as well as for homes that are completely cut off from the grid. And as a sign of our commitment to helping transform the energy landscape of rural India, we also announced a program to provide comprehensive solar-powered electrification to the entire rural village of Motakkara in Wayanad, Kerala.
Our new microbial fuel cell utilizes energy from bacterial growth in wastewater to generate electricity while simultaneously bringing about purification of the wastewater. We plan to bundle the fuel cell with an ongoing project to decontaminate wastewater using bacterial viruses. The decontamination project is being developed by Embracing the World researchers at Amrita University’s School of Biotechnology and funded by the Gates Foundation. Coupled together, these projects hold the potential to make positive inroads in sustainability in both wastewater treatment and energy.
Biomass Fuel Generator
Our biomass fuel generator turns organic waste into cooking briquettes through the power of the bicycle, thus promising to improve the lifestyle of villagers and reduce carbon emissions through environmentally friendly solutions; biomass briquettes are a low-emission alternative to the precious resource of wood. The design also uses a bicycle pedaling mechanism to create the briquettes, thus reducing the time, effort, and cost required to produce the briquettes while dramatically increasing the yield.
Solar Vegetable Dryer
Our solar powered vegetable dryer processes fruit, vegetables, and herbs, thus helping small independent farmers preserve unused produce for leaner times. The solar dryer uses passive heating as an energy source, which not only reduces energy consumption, but also saves time, improves food hygiene, and preserves the nutritional value of the produce. The solar dryer is compact, easily assembled and made of low-cost materials readily available in a rural setting.