Friday, August 21, 2009

the ENERGY TOILET - biogas human excretia

one could produce energy from a public toilet!!!

Sulabh Flush Compost Toilet is a pour-flush water-seal twin-pit toilet that
is technically appropriate, socio-culturally acceptable and economically
affordable. It is an indigenous technology and the toilet can easily be
constructed by local labourers and materials. It provides all the health benefits
by safe disposal of human excreta on-site. It requires only 1.5 to 2 litres of
water for flushing and thus conserves water. It does not need the services of
scavengers to clean the pits. There are two pits; size & capacity of pits vary
according to the number of users. The capacity of pit is kept generally for 3
years. Both the pits are alternately used. When one pit is full, excreta is
diverted to the second pit. In about two years rest period, the sludge gets
digested and is almost dry and pathogen free, thus, safe for handling
as manure. Digested sludge is odourless good manure and soil
conditioner that can be dug out easily by the beneficiary and used for
agricultural purposes.


Delhi Sustainable Development Summit 2004
Organised By
TERI, New Delhi
4th to 7th February, 2004
India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road
New Delhi
Sulabh Sanitation Technologies to achieve Millennium
Development Goals on Sanitation
Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak
Ph.D., D.Litt.
Sulabh Sanitation Movement
Sulabh International Social Service Organisation
Sulabh Gram, Mahavir Enclave
Palam-Dabri Marg, New Delhi-110 045, India
Tel. : 011-23381686, 23073753, 23073672, Fax : 011-23381511
Sulabh Sanitation Technologies to achieve Millennium
Development Goals on Sanitation
Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak*
Due to burgeoning population, rapid urbanization, industrialization and
uncontrolled use of natural resources, there has been gradual imbalance of
ecosystem in recent years causing severe health hazards and environmental
pollution, resulting in poor economic growth in developing countries. Continued
urban migration, congregation of urban poor in slums without safe water
supply and sanitation facilities and increasing resource constraints have all led
to rapid deterioration in quality of life and community health.
There are 2.4 billion people in the world who either have no organized
system of sanitation or have access only to a noxious and unhygienic facility.
The health implications for this state of affairs are appalling. Globally, 2.2
millions people die every year from diarrhoeal disease (including cholera)
associated with contaminated water supply, sanitation and hygiene. The
majority are children under the age of five in developing countries. Improved
hygiene and sanitation help reduce sickness from diarrhoea considerably.
Intestinal worms infection about 10% of the population of developing countries,
can be controlled through better sanitation, hygiene and water supply.
Sanitation facilities help check transmission of many faecal – oral diseases by
preventing human excreta contamination of water and soil. Epidemiological
evidence suggests that sanitation is at least as effective in preventing disease as
improved water supply.
In India, out of the total population of 1027 million, according to 2001
census, about 736 million people lack basic sanitation facilities resulting in
high mortality and morbidity and poor economic growth. One of the challenging
problems of the country is to abolish the inhuman practice of manual
scavenging. There are still more than 500,000 scavengers engaged in the
demeaning practice of cleaning and carrying others’ human excreta from over 7
million bucket privies.
Low sanitation coverage in India is primarily due to insufficient
motivation/awareness of people and lack of affordable sanitation technology.
Most of these people are from lower socio-economic groups and are not aware of
the health and environmental benefits of sanitation. It is still not seen as a high
priority, resulting in absence of people’s participation. The lack of choice of
toilet design, area-specific technologies, inadequate supporting delivery systems
and absence of trained masons, skilled workers and technical manpower are
the factors for low coverage. Additionally, by tradition, Indian society and
culture value personal hygiene, but give little importance to a clean and healthy
community environment. Sanitation is regarded as a matter of individual
initiative and not as a collective obligation of the community. In this sociocultural
background, environmental sanitation has not been given required

The Millennium Development Goal aims at halving, by the year 2015, the
proportion of people who do not have access to basic sanitation, which would
include action at all levels, to develop and implement efficient household
sanitation systems, improve sanitation in public institutions, especially schools,
promote affordable and socially and culturally acceptable technologies and
practices, promote safe hygiene practices and integrate sanitation into water
resource management strategies. One of the important questions is which half
part of the population should be focused upon to provide sanitation first?
Sanitation in rural areas is an urgent priority; so also uncontrolled population
growth in urban and peri-urban areas resulting in increase in slums where
health & hygienic conditions are even worse than in the rural areas. Should we
begin with the need for creation of awareness or should we without further
delay, straightway start acting and implementing programmes creating
sanitation facilities. A realistic programme has to commence by creating
awareness initially, followed by formulation of plans, strategy and
implementation. The concept of creation of awareness does appear to be rather
amorphous and intangible. But, the acronym IEC, though hackneyed, is
significant. Years ago I asked myself when I founded Sulabh in 1970, how I
come into the picture in all this? We began with the beginning. Sulabh when
was a child, first practiced IEC on itself and subsequently used it for spreading
the Sulabh concept. I should acknowledge the lesson I learnt from the WHO
publication (Excreta Disposal for Rural Areas and Small Communities” by
Edmund A. Wagner and J.N. Lanoix) wherein it is said “Suffice it to say here
that out of the heterogeneous mass of latrine designs produced all over the
world, the sanitary pit privy emerges as the most practical and universally
applicable type”. This was the seed which germinated; this was the genesis.
The point is why did I need technology of twin pit pour flush Sulabh
system. I remember the days when I was in the Gandhi Centenary Committee.
Gandhi’s ideas and idealism influenced and inspired me to try to remove the
stigma of untouchability attached to the class of people known as scavengers
who manually clean the excreta of others. They clean but the world continues
to treat them as unclean. They touch the excreta of others and in turn become
untouchable themselves. The task is demeaning. Unfortunately, attitude of
others towards them is more undignified than the indignity attached to the
profession. I decided to wage the battle. I started as a one-man army. As they
say “Karvan Chalta Gaya, Log Shamil Hote Gaye” and the one man army by now
has grown into nearly 50,000 soldiers of sanitation.
The strategy that I adopted was to devise technology which would
eliminate the need of excreta being cleaned by scavengers. This was the twin pit
pour flush system.
Sulabh is the pioneering organization in India, involved in development
and implementation of socially and culturally acceptable sustainable
technologies in the fields of low cost on-site sanitation, public toilets, recycling
and reuse of biogas from public toilets, wastewater treatment through
duckweed and composting of biodegradable waste matter. The Sulabh Flush
Compost Toilets developed and modified by Sulabh is nationally and
internationally recognized design for safe and hygienic disposal of human
wastes. The new design developed by Sulabh for efficient production of biogas
from community toilet linked biogas plants, is approved by the Government of
India for its implementation in different states. Wastewater treatment through
duckweed and its economic return from pisciculture developed by this
organization is perhaps only technology having direct economic return out of
wastewater treatment. The technology is gaining momentum in different states
of India. Sulabh Thermophilic Aerobic Composting (STAC) a technology that
biodegrades any organic matter within ten days is a landmark achievement of
Sulabh in the field of solid waste management. The technology does not require
manual handling of solid wastes during composting period. Details of the above
technologies are described in the following pages.
Sanitation Technologies
In developed countries, the standard solution for the sanitary disposal of
human waste is water borne sewerage. Due to severe financial constraints and
exorbitant cost, sewerage is not the answer to solve the problem of human
waste management in India. Sewerage was first introduced in the world in
London in 1850, followed by New York in 1860. Calcutta in India was the next
city in the world to have this privilege in 1870, yet only 232 towns/cities out of
4,700 have sewerage system that too with partial coverage.

Septic tank is beyond the reach of the common man as its cost is
unaffordable to common people. It requires large volume of water for flushing. It
has other problems like periodic cleaning and disposal of sludge. Effluent
disposal is a potential source of foul smell, mosquito breeding and health
hazards, if not properly disposed of. After the tank is filled, it contains fresh and
degraded excreta mixed with water. Since mechanical device is rarely available
to empty the tank, it has to be cleaned manually by scavengers, which is an
unsocial and unhygienic process. The Government of India has banned the
system of scavenging, but unless the technology of septic tank is completely
banned, it would be practically difficult to ban scavenging. Even after the
septic tank is emptied mechanically, its sludge has to be kept in ditches for at
least two years to make it free from pathogens, which is a very cumbersome
process. Generally, such undigested human wastes with water are discharged
into open drain or on soil surface causing nuisance, health hazards and
environmental pollution.
Sulabh Flush Compost Toilet
Sulabh Flush Compost Toilet is a pour-flush water-seal twin-pit toilet that
is technically appropriate, socio-culturally acceptable and economically
affordable. It is an indigenous technology and the toilet can easily be
constructed by local labourers and materials. It provides all the health benefits
by safe disposal of human excreta on-site. It requires only 1.5 to 2 litres of
water for flushing and thus conserves water. It does not need the services of
scavengers to clean the pits. There are two pits; size & capacity of pits vary
according to the number of users. The capacity of pit is kept generally for 3
years. Both the pits are alternately used. When one pit is full, excreta is
diverted to the second pit. In about two years rest period, the sludge gets
digested and is almost dry and pathogen free, thus, safe for handling
as manure. Digested sludge is odourless good manure and soil
conditioner that can be dug out easily by the beneficiary and used for
agricultural purposes.
Again talking about goals and targets I would like to mention that Sulabh
has constructed more then a million Sulabh toilets in individual households.
Lest I may sound boastful, let me remind that use of Sulabh toilets by over 10
million people on a daily basis juxtaposed against 700 million indulging in open
defecation may seem insignificant. But the technology devised has had its own
role to play especially considering that it was implementation of a new
technology. It was a pioneering effort to eradicate the evils of open defecation
and scavenging. The figures given above give an idea of the effort made on the
one hand and the colossal magnitude of the problem on the other and
establishes that only one organization cannot solve all the sanitation problems
and there is need for others also to come in. I am glad to say that others have
also entered the field. I only wish they display the same dedication as was
expected of Sulabh and which it has fulfilled and continues to do so.
Though legislation prohibits scavenging, it required technology back up
and its implementation to create conditions which eliminate the need of
employing the scavengers. A large number of towns have been made scavenging
free and more than fifty thousand scavengers have been liberated. They have
found other avenues and employment like cleaning streets etc. Efforts of Sulabh
did not end here. To prevent children of the scavengers reverting to the
profession of scavenging Sulabh has started, vocational training institutes,
where training is imparted in different trades like in the field of computers,
motor mechanic, tailoring and beautician courses etc. Besides a school is run
for children of the scavengers on the basis of mixed grouping concept with ratio
of 60:40 between children of the scavengers and those of other classes.
The sum and substance of what has been said above is that Sulabh has
developed a technology which is practical and cost effective as opposed to water
borne sewerage and septic tank based ones. The Sulabh technology has also led
to social transformation serving a social purpose.
Sulabh Public Toilet Complexes
Provision of public toilet complexes at public places and in slums
on pay and use basis is an important landmark of Sulabh in the field
of community health & hygiene and environmental sanitation.
Although in 1873, the then Bengal Government enacted a law to set
up toilet facilities in Calcutta, due to one reason or another such
facilities could not be provided / maintained. During the 100 years
between 1873 and 1973 public toilets could not be made practicable.
The concept of implementation of public toilets and its maintenance
on pay and use basis, originated by Sulabh in 1974, got a roaring
success throughout the country. It was felt that along with the
community toilets, if facilities for bathing and washing clothes could
also be provided and above all they could be kept clean, people would
have no hesitation in using them and pay for the use.
Sulabh has constructed so far nearly 6000 such toilet complexes
in different parts of the country, where maintenance is provided
round the clock. These complexes are located at public places like
bus stands, hospitals, markets etc. and slums. For the construction,
operation and maintenance of these complexes, the organization plays
the role of catalyst and a partner between the official agencies and the
users of the toilet complexes. The system of operation and
maintenance of community toilets evolved by the organisation has
proved a boon for the local bodies in their endeavour to keep the
towns clean and improve the environment.
This is a unique example of partnership of local authorities, nongovernmental
organization and the community. The local government
pay only once for the construction of toilets. Sulabh constructs the
system and takes its maintenance guarantee for at least 30 years from
the amount received as users’ charge, without any burden on local
Community Toilets Linked with Biogas Plants
Recycling and reuse of human excreta for biogas generation is an
important way to get rid of health hazards from human excreta. Sulabh is the
pioneering organization in the field of biogas generation from public toilet
complexes. After a series of experiments, the organization developed a more
efficient design of biogas pl ant that has been approved by the Ministry of Nonconventional
Energy Sources, Govt. of India for its implementation through
state nodal agencies. Human excreta contains a full spectrum of pathogens,
which cause over 50 infections when transmitted from one diseased person to
healthy ones. During biogas generation, due to anaerobic condition inside
digester most of the pathogens are eliminated from the digested effluent making
it suitable for using it as manure. Thus, biogas technology from human wastes
has multiple benefits - sanitation, bioenergy and manure.
Based on ‘Sulabh Model’ design, 118 nos. biogas plants of 35 to 60 cum
capacity have been constructed by Sulabh in different states of the country so
far. The Sulabh Model of Biogas Plant does not require manual handling of
human excreta and there is complete recycling and resource recovery from the
wastes. Digester is made underground into which excreta from public toilets
flows under gravity. Inside digester, biogas is produced due to anaerobic
fermentation by the help of methanogenic bacteria. The biogas, thus produced,
is collected inside digester itself due to liquid displacement chamber. One cft of
biogas is produced from the human excreta per person per day. Human excreta
based biogas contains 65-66% methane, 32-34% carbon dioxide and rest
hydrogen sulphide and other gases in traces. Biogas is utilized for cooking,
lighting through mantle lamps, electricity generation and body warming during
winter etc. Cooking is the most efficient use of biogas. Biogas burners are
available in a wide range of capacity ranging from 8 cft to 100-cft biogas
consumption per hour. Biogas mantle lamp consumes 4-5 cft per hour having
illumination capacity equivalent to 40 W electric bulb at 220 volt. Motive power
can be generated by using biogas in dual fuel internal combustion (IC) engine.
At optimum condition only 20% diesel is required, rest (80%) is substituted by
biogas. Biogas consumption by engine is 15 cft /BHP/hour. A public
convenience visited by about 2000 persons per day would produce
approximately 60 cum of biogas which can run a 10 KVA genset for 8 hours a
day, producing 65 units of power.
Sulabh Effluent Treatment (SET) Technology
Produced biogas from human excreta is being used for different
purposes e.g. cooking, lighting, electricity generation and body
warming. Besides, effluent of biogas plant can be used as fertilizer, as
it contains good percentage of nitrogen, potassium and phosphate.
But simultaneously its aesthetically bad colour, odour and presence
of pathogens, limit its use for agricultural/horticultural purposes.
Since Sulabh is maintaining over 6000 public toilet complexes
spread all over country, out of which 118 are linked with biogas
plants, it was an important task for the organization to make effluent
free from odour, colour and pathogens, to use it safely for agricultural
purposes. After a series of experiments, the organization has
developed a new and convenient technology by which effluent of
human excreta based biogas plant turns into a colourless, odourless
and pathogen free manure. The technology is based on filtration of
effluent through activated charcoal followed by ultraviolet rays. The
filtration unit makes it colourless, odourless and free from organic
particles and UV eliminates bacteria. It reduces BOD, COD of the
wastewater drastically. Since such wastewater is from human wastes,
its BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand) is around 200 mg/l that comes
down to <10 mg/l after treatment- safe for aquaculture, agriculture
purposes or discharge into river or any water body. It can be used for
floor cleaning of public toilets in drought prone areas.
Advantages of Sulabh Biogas plant with SET system
§ No manual handing of human excreta is required.
§ Aesthetically and socially acceptable.
§ Technically appropriate and financially affordable.
§ Operational & Maintenance cost very low.
§ Biogas is used for different purposes.
§ Treated effluent is safe for reuse or discharge into any water
§ In drought prone areas treated effluent can be used for
cleaning of floor of public toilets.
§ Direct economic return by using effluent in agriculture and
Duckweed based waste water treatment
One of the major problems with wastewater treatment methods is
that none of the available technologies has direct economic return.
The available technologies are unaffordable due to high capital and
maintenance costs. Due to non-economic return, local authorities are
generally not interested in taking up treatment of wastewater causing
severe health hazards and environmental pollution. In our country
out of about 5000 towns / cities only 232 have sewerage system that
too partial.
Sulabh has demonstrated projects on duckweed based cost
effective wastewater treatment in rural as well as urban areas with
direct economic return from pisciculture. Although duckweed is found
in ponds and ditches, due to near complete absence of know-how of
any such technology in the country, potential of duckweed for the
wastewater treatment, its n utrient value and economic benefits have
not been exploited.
Duckweed - a small free floating and fast growth aquatic plant
has tremendous ability to reduce BOD, COD, suspended solids and
bacterial and other pathogens from wastewater. It is a complete fe ed
for fish and due to high content of proteins and vitamins A & C; it is a
highly nutritious feed for poultry and animals. The yield of fish
increases two to three times when fed with duckweed than with
conventional feeds in ponds. Reduction of BOD, COD of effluents
varies from 80-90% at the retention time of 7-8 days. The first project
funded by the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Govt. of India was
completed in collaboration with the Central Pollution Control Board,
New Delhi. The CPCB has made a guideline on the use of duckweed
for the wastewater.
Sulabh Thermophilic Aerobic Composting (STAC)
Sulabh International Institute of Technical Research & Training
has developed a new technology - Sulabh Thermophilic Aerobic
Composter (STAC) that requires only 8 to 10 days to make compost
from any biodegradable waste without any manual handling during
composting. It is based on thermophilic aerobic method. The
technology does not require recurring expenditure. The plant is G.I.
sheet made having double wall filled with glass wool, partitioned with
perforated sheet into three chambers. After biodegradation, liquid is
collected in bottom chamber that can be easily taken out and used for
agricultural/horticultural purposes. Manure that contains 30-35%
moisture can be directly used for agriculture/landfill purposes or it
can be dried, granulated and stored till further use. The practical
utilities of this technology are: (i) organic solid waste can be
efficiently converted into manure and soil conditioner having
direct/indirect economic return, (ii) it controls diseases transmitted
from wastes, as at high temperature pathogens are eliminated from
the waste, (iii) due to reduction in volume, carriage cost of wastes to
disposal site as well as area needed for landfills will be drastically
reduced, and (iv) spread of weeds from wastes will also be controlled.
The technology is more suited for rural areas as its by-products
(compost) can be readily used for agricultural purposes,.
The appearance of Sulabh, a pioneering voluntary organization,
principally dedicated to eradication of scavenging and liberation of
scavengers through low cost technologies, has proved to be a
significant milestone on the road to human waste management. It is
evident that the government or non-governmental organization alone
cannot fulfil the gigantic task of sanitation in India. The problem can
be solved effectively where both work in cohesion. Our experience as
NGO has been that the Government alone cannot face the challenge of
carrying out community centered social development programmes.
NGOs are used to adopt innovative approaches and provide services to
support sustainability and effective use. NGOs with trained social
workers work as activators and good communicators. The Millennium
Development Goals can be achieved when government bodies in close
co-operation with NGOs/CBOs/community work together for
dissemination and implementation of cost effective technologies for


Pune : The organic farming movement, which is still at a nascent stage in the country, will get a big boost with Asia’s first research and development centre for organic farming coming up at Maval, about 50 km from here.

Work on the centre is already underway, but it will take at least another year to start functioning.

At present there are only about three such institutes in the world in the US, in South Africa and in the UK.

The centre, to be funded by the International Institute of Sustainable Agriculture (IISA), will be run jointly by city based Maharashtra Organic Farming Federation (MOFF), V.B. Foundation, an NGO, and the Organic Farming Association of India (OFAI).

The 55-acre research centre will also have a training institute, records office, library, lobby office as well as a certification office for participatory guarantee scheme.

“The training institute will also offer certificate, diploma and post-graduate courses in organic farming,” said MOFF vice-chairman Dilip Baradkar. “The courses will focus on farmers who want to shift to organic farming courses for upgrading knowledge of organic farmers, courses for upgrading knowledge of organic farmers, trainers courses for trainers, awareness sessions for consumer groups, and training for school children for introduction of organic kitchen garden.”

SWATI SHINDE, 6-05-2008

When a Portable toilet is a precious gift!

What qualifies as the perfect marriage gift? Jewellery, dress, diamonds or a luxurious car? None of the above, feels Savitri Mane, who has decided to give her niece the most ‘precious’ gift of all – a portable toilet.
Katraj-resident Savitri’s niece Raksha is marrying a youth from Bhor this week. When Raksha’s parents noticed that the groom’s house does not have a toilet, they decided to gift the bride one.
“It has become a trend nowadays to buy portable toilets as gifts. The demand is on the rise this reason. Parents, whose daughters are marrying rural youths, have added a portable toilet to their list of gifts offered to the groom,” said Ramdas Mane of Mane Industries in Bhosari. His firm has received orders for more than 1,000 toilets in the past few days. “Already, we have provided 2,500 toilets in 200 villages in Pune, Satara and Kolhapur,” he said. Many other small firms are in the portable toilet business and share Mane’s experience.
“Girls these days refuse to accept a groom whose house does not have a toilet. Even low-income families in city have toilets. But even some rich families in villages feel that a toilet is unnecessary,” said Ramesh Sonawane, who has gifted his daughter one. These toilets cost between Rs 7,000 and Rs 12,000, depending on the quality.
These toilets come with ready-made RCC walls and a sceptic tank which could be carried easily. While the tank is ideally placed by digging a hole, it takes hardly two hours to fix the walls.
“Basically, girls from urban areas are not willing to marry into rural families. A girl from the police lines in Pune was married in Sangli and had to suffer a lot because there was no toilet facility,” said Pratima Joshi of Shelter Associates. She added that city girls make sure that these basic amenities are available in their in-laws’ houses before getting married.
“When my uncle asked about the marriage gift, I suggested a portable toilet. As a new bride I would not be in a position to ask my in-laws to construct a toilet at their place. So while leaving Pune, I will carry my toilet,” said Ekta Tare, who is getting married to a youth from Khatav In Satara.
The government is also taking initiative in providing low-cost toilets. In Satara district, the zilla parishad has developed a model of low-cost toilet. “The response has been good. Even people from Pune have approached us. Many villages have decided that girls from their village will marry only to those boys whose house has toilet facility,” said Irshad Bagwan, information and communication officer in Satara.

Courtesy: Times of India Pune, 3-5-08

Prabhakar Wawge brings solar energy to every home

Energy conservation is the ‘in’ thing today, but using alternative methods are not easy. Keeping this in mind , a city-based researcher has acquired a patent for his innovation which promises to bring solar energy to every home.
Conventional solar heating systems use large space and have to be placed on open premises only. But Prabhakar Wawge, a renewable energy engineer and consultant, has invented a solar collector which can be used in multi-storied buildings without using the terrace area. That means any flat owner can install and utilize this system in whatever place is available.
Describing the system Wawge states, “This system reduces the cost by Rs. 300-3500 in comparison with a normal solar system. It can also be used as a wall integrated solar collector and does not require any pumping mechanism for circulation.” Wawge has recently received the patent from the Government of India, for which he has applied in September 2005.
According to Wawge,”Even though people have funds to install solar systems, bad aesthetics and lack of space do not allow them to do so. However, this system, which is basically a flat plate collector system, can be integrated in the wall. It has been devised keeping in view seasonal changes and the path of the sun for the whole year.
Incidently, Wawge approached MEDA so they could exploit his invention, however authorities asked him to approach private companies which Wawge refused.

Courtesy: Pune Mirror, May 2, 2008


If the mission of a Pune-based private firm bears fruit, three villages may get over the water shortage and will soon see filtered drinking water flowing through their taps.
Aar-em Electronics Pvt.Ltd, makers of Champion UPS, is all set to go ahead with the goodwill gesture once the technology, which uses solar energy to pump water from wells gets ready.
“The firm will be using membrane filter developed by National Chemical Laboratory and already got in touch with manufacturers of the membrane filter. Water is cleaned of viruses and bacteria while passing through the membrane, which was developed by NCL’s polymer division. The membrane allows only tiniest of molecules to pass through it. NCL’s membrane filter, which received a US patent last year, works on gravity.
The success story of Mohri, a village situated about 100km from Pune, where the firm put an end to the 60-year-old electricity blackout by installing equipment that works on solar energy gives them the backing.
Once the firm succeeds in providing light and water to three villages (using solar energy), they plan to get in touch with the Maharashtra Government in order to replicate their Pune model across the State.

Courtesy: INDIAN EXPRESS, apri,16th 2008

This charka can light up bulb and radio!

Now, you can spin the yarn, and through that, listen to the radio and do some reading as well. This is thanks to rural development minister G Chinna Reddy on Friday launching e-charka, an electric improvisation over what was made famous by Mahatma Gandhi.

Attached with a specially-designed portable generator, the e-charka can help a person earn his livelihood by spinning yarn or handloom. In addition, thanks to the attached generator, the person gets seven hours of electricity which will enable him to listen to a transistor and afford one light bulb.

Speaking to the media after the launch, the minister said the e-charka has been developed by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission in association with a Bangalore-based company and that it would enable the spinner living in the hinterland to spin yarn and earn anything between Rs 15 and Rs 60 depending on the size of the charka.

There are four variants, from two spindle to eight spindle e-charkas.

The base model of the two spindle charka costs Rs 5000.

The KVIC would buy the yarn from the spinners, the minister said. The government would also examine the possibility of giving subsidy for the financially weaker sections to buy the charka.

This could provide additional source of income particularly for the beedi rollers which mostly consists of women mainly from the Telangana region. With the danger symbols on beedi packets becoming mandatory, the beedi rollers fear that they may soon be out of job and this charka could come handy for them.

Since the two and four spindle charkas are easy to operate, even women and children can spin it and contribute to the family income, he added.

Mohri Village lights up with solar energy

Till recently, the villagers of Mohri 100 kms from Pune in Velhe taluka used kerosene lamps. But today, the village is the proud advocate of solar energy. Mohri is a sleepy hamlet with 25 houses belonging to shepherds, woodcutters and small farmers.

Ranjit Mohite, a Pune-based UPS manufacturer, on 18th March installed two KED (light-emiting diode) lamps in the homes, along with solar streetlamps for the entire village. Today the village is 100 per cent powered. Having used polluting kerosene lamps all this while, the villagers are now getting used to the new power, self-financed by Mohite at a budget of Rs. 4 lakhs. Each home now has two solar lamps, support by a solar panel and a battery, which are used for two hours in the day and for five hours every night.

LED bulbs last 10 times more a compared to conventional compact fluroscents (CFLs) and 50 to 100 times longer than typical incandescent lamp or bulbs in everyday situations.

Courtesy: Maharashtra Herald Pune

Mahajane villagers tap biodiesel alternative

When it comes to using ecofriendly energy, the residents of Mahajane village in Raigad district have shown the way. They use karanj oil to operate tractors and machines and save on fossil fuels.
Pune-based Applied Environmental Research Foundation (AERF) has begun a project in which oil is extracted form karanj (Pongamia pinnata) seeds to help meet the energy requirements, provide employment and increase the income of the 800-odd villagers in Mahajane.

It is one of 17 projects in the world and one of the three projects in India funded by the World Bank to generate biofuel to improve rural energy services and reduce proverty.

Speaking to TOI, deputy director and project-in-charge, Jayant Sarnaik, said that Mahajane had been chosen since it has the highest density of karanj trees. The seeds yield 25 to 30 per cent oil.

AERF has set up an oil-extracting machine at a cost of around Rs 1.5 lakh in a two-room house in the village. The machine has the capacity to crush 20 kg of seeds per hour. Two village youths, Manoj Avachatkar and Devidas Patil, have been trained to operate the machine.

Sarnaik said that the seeds are bought at the price of Rs 6 per kilo while the oil is to be sold at Rs 30 per litre and oilcake at Rs 9 per kg to villagers and Rs 10 per kg to outsiders. “The oil needs to be filtered and heated to 60 or 65 degrees Celsius to make it thinner, so that it can be used as fuel in vehicles,” he explained.

Elaborating on the uses of the oil, Sarnaik said that it can be used to run tractors, powertillers, flour mills and vehicles, The Mahajane villagers have tested and reported that a 5 HP engine operated on one litre of biodiesel functioned for 15 minutes longer than one operated on diesel. He said that within a year, the use of biodiesel is expected to go up in the village once they start getting a larger quantity of seeds. Resort owners in Nagaon Akshi, located nearby, have shown a willingness to use the oil in gensets if it is provided at a lower price than diesel. “The oil could be also used to run a genset for the village to generate power during load-shedding”, Sarnaik stated.

Courtesy: Times of India, June 28, 2007

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Architecture is not just the index of civilisation, but also a celebration of life, says noted architect and planner Christopher Charles Benninger, based in Pune

Benninger's focus has been on "the Middle Path in Buddhism", the balance between humans and nature and between the built fabric and its natural terrain. Using INTELLIGENT URBANISM, Benninger tries to find a balance between humans and nature in his designs

In 1968, Benninger, an alumnus of the Harvard Graduate School of Design and Urban Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, first came to India on a Fulbright scholarship. Three years later, this disciple of Spain's Jose Luis Sert and a former member of the Delos think-tank on modern social and urban planning returned to India as a Ford Foundation consultant to set up the School of Urban Planning at Ahmedabad. But this time around, he was here for good.

For Benninger, moving to India has spelt liberation from various "forms of entrapment". Being in America and Europe, he notes, would only have dissolved him in a mob goaded in "one, pre-defined right direction" by media, money, fame and a smothering sense of self-importance. "America is great because you can pretend to be what you aren't, but India is great because you can find yourself and be what you are."

Self-imposed exile
For well over 35 years since then, this American has lived and worked in a "self-imposed exile" in India, conceiving award-winning designs for institutions, residential schools, hotels, corporate offices and large-scale housing projects, preparing plans for the governments of Bhutan, Nepal, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India, and advising the World Bank, UNO and Asian Development Bank on development projects in Asia and Africa.

In Pune, among some of his works are the Mahindra World College and the Centre for Planning and Architecture, both of which have used traditional Marathi wada styles of achictecture

As an architect, much like a cinematographer, Benninger programmes human experiences of moving through the spaces he designs. Informing this preconceived "kinetic architecture" are real people who transform these spaces into "places", imbuing them with life and meaning.

What fascinates Benninger about Indian architecture is its vacillating context defined by the happenings within, a far cry from "the dull, fixed images of packaged consumer items" that pass off as architecture in the West. He makes no secret of his dismay, and surprise, at the Indian awe of Western "stunts parading as architecture" that he equates with children screaming for attention. To qualify as true architecture, a structure, he believes, must span the continuum of time. "What are more interesting are the precursors to the events that give shape to the form, and the impact of the forms on future events."

To Benninger, the very chaos, uncertainties and contradictions that fetch Indian cities generous disparagement are indeed the "raw material of creativity and free thought". "While everyone has heard of Newark or New Jersey where there is no soul, no life and just empty shells and lost memories, Indian cities represent the dynamism and energy that thrive out on the periphery of the global system." This is perhaps why he is pained to see India redefine itself based on "consumption and the false sense of personal power it engenders".

Compiled from HARSH KABRA , Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Sunday, Jul 16, 2006

posted by deepamariam @ 10:26 PM 0 comments
Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder of Sulabh International, has been conferred this year’s Energy Globe Award. Dr. Pathak is the leader of a national crusade for restoration of human rights and dignity to millions of scavengers traditionally known as untouchables by providing safe and hygienic human waste disposal system. This is a multipronged effort to bringing scavengers into the mainstream of national life and has taken the shape of a movement for social justice. He is now an internationally acclaim medical expert on sanitation and has developed and implemented on pan-Indian scale a low cost and appropriate toilet technolgy recommended by UN bodies for about three billion people across the globe.

The widespread phenomenon of open defecation remains grim even after 50 years of independence. Especially women have to suffer a lot due to non-availability of toilets. Even today 110 million Indian houses have no toilets and 10 million Indian houses have bucket toilets causing filth and disease. The situation is so appalling that about half million children die every year due to dehydration caused by open defecation.

Dr. Pathak is probably the first person in the world who has promoted on a massive scale, the idea of obtaining biogas from human excreta collected in large-sized public toilets used by 2000n to 5000 persons a day. It has been amply demonstrated by him that in the absence of sewerage facility, the best option for human waste disposal to be used in conjunction with large public toilets, is the biogas plant. It has the added advantage of being a source of renewable energy which is lacking in the septic tank system. Another first to Dr. Pathak’s credit is the granulated organic manure obtained from the dried sludge of biogas plants.

After Gandhi, Dr Pathak is the man who has championed sanitation and upliftment of the untouchables. For the last three decades Pathak has been working relentlessly to keep the ecosystem clean and bring the marginalized sections of the society in the mainstream. He has given a new dimension to the Gandhian movement and broad-based his principled fight against all kinds of discrimination. He knew that slogans alone will not help and hence developed a technology which has become a credible alternative to toilets.

Courtesy Maharashtra Herald, December 20, 2006

posted by deepamariam @ 10:53 PM 0 comments

Anil K Rajvanshi, a Phaltan-based IITian, who has devoted his life to addressing the energy needs of rural India, has developed an innovative stove and a lamp that works on locally made “low concentration ethanol”. This fuel is much cheaper than kerosene and has distinct advantages over biogas which requires bulky equipment for gas production.

Rajvanshi, who heads the Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) at Phaltan in Satara, received the 2001 Jamnalal Bajaj foundation for the use of science and technology in rural development. His institute has pioneered a number of initiatives in agriculture, renweable energy, animal husbandry and sustainable development.

The large scale production of this fuel in rural areas, through simple distillation of any sugary biomass as sugarcane or sweet sorghum, would not only provide a very safe and efficient cooking fuel but also go a long way to reducing the hardship of women who use firewood, biomass or kerosene for cooking. Some women who cook on kerosene stove said this stove is much better than the kerosene stove because it is completely silent and no smell comes out after extinguishing it. Some of them also felt that it is much safer than kerosene stove since it requires much les pumping.

While the stove could be mass-produced for Rs. 800-1000, low concentration ethanol could be produced around Rs 16 per litre which is highly affordable as compared to Rs.25 liter for kerorene or Rs.310 per cyclinder for LPG.

There is a need to change government policies so that low grade ethanol can be made available as a cooking and lighting fuel for household purposes. It will not only improve the quality of life for the rural population but also help in creating wealth in these areas.

Courtesy Times of India Dec 2006

posted by deepamariam @ 10:44 PM 1 comments
Sunday, April 09, 2006

Pune based World Institute of Sustainable Energy WISE has prepared a draft law to exploit renewable energy resources. Among some of the provisions of this law are:
Mandatory solar water heating by 2012
Solar lighting in govt. buildings by 2010
Captive diesel plants to be converted to bio-fuel
Trade of renewable energy certificates between states
Renewable transport fuel obligations for oil companies
Policy of automotive bio-fuel expected in six months
Energy efficiency programme for railroad and air traffic

The draft law does not put any financial burden on state governments and no subsidies have been proposed. It recommended the setting up a separate fund for encouraging renewable energy sources. Inorder to facilitate effecting enforcement of the law, several existing laws such as the Boiler Act, Motor Vehicles Act and the Environment Protection Acts would need to be ammended. This draft law if passed will be a roadmap for a new independence in energy resources.

posted by deepamariam @ 12:19 AM 0 comments

Dr. Priyadarshini Karve , a local college teacher has been awarded the prestigious World Technology Network WTN Award 2005 for her innovate smokeless chulhas which she designed with the local NGO ARTI Pune. Charcoal is made by burning agricultural waste in an oxygenless condition and then crushing the charred remains into a fine poweer. The fine powder is then compressed into small cubes, which are fed for the specially designed chulhas designed for optimum combustion. This way the harmful affects of indoor pollution which claims lives of more than five lakh children and women in India is prevented. Dr. Karve has also been involved in designing a special cement kiln which burns wood efficiently thus not producing smoke. ARTI has sold more than 50,000 of such chulhas in the villages and in the last two years, it has trained nearly 140 articsans from villages to mass produce these smokeless kilns.

Courtesy Indian Express Pune

posted by deepamariam @ 12:16 AM 0 comments

The Maharashtra Energy Development Agency MEDA is planning to set up a biodiesel park – the first of its kind in Asia at Tathwade Dairy. The 100 acre park will comprise a research laboratory as well as a plantation area for different species of oil producting plants like jatropa, karanja and castor. The park will be used for research, publicity and training of farmers on bio-diesel. MEDA is also working out plans to counter the energy crisis plaguing the State. Starting 2006, 240 villages are to be electrified through solar energy. Currently 600 MW wind energy is being produced through windmills and an addition 600 MW wind energy is to be added by March 2006 in Brahmangaon in Dhule district.

Courtesy Indian Express

posted by deepamariam @ 12:13 AM 0 comments

Shirke Biohealtare, a private Pune company, has started supplying 5000 litres of biodiesel through mobile vans in different areas of the city. The company has entered into an agreement under contract farming arrangements, with the Bank of Maharashtra and farmers for promoting cultivation of Jatropha the seeds of which are used for producing the biodiesel. Biodesel is available at the same price as diesel but provides 14 percent more mileage than diesel. The refinery capacity of the company is being increased to 50,000 litres per day for which it needs 1 lakh hectare Jatropha cultivation. Loans are provided to farmers at competitive rates for Jatropha cultivation. The company also wants to promote the cultivation of other plants that can yield biodiesel.

Courtesy Maharashtra Herald Pune

posted by deepamariam @ 12:11 AM 0 comments

Biogas has see many changes with voluntary organizations and environmental groups developing indigenous units to make the technology urban in outlook and use. Pune’s Appropriate Rural Technology Initiative ARTI has developed a compact unit that is made of plastic and is as big as a refrigerator. It comes in two variants of 500 litres and 750 litres. The initial cost of the apparatus is between Rs.6000 and Rs.7000. Dr. Anand Karve, chief functionary of ARTI says that family kitchen waste of even rotten fruits, potato peels or spoilt milt, produces far more methane. A family spends Rs.10 a day on LPG and this can be brought down by bio-gas. Space may be the only major hitch when it comes to erecting a bio-gas plant for a housing society of 200 families.

Few other NGOs in Pune like Jnana Probhodini and BAIf are also working on the concept.

Courtesy Maharashtra Herald Pune

Der Inder Bindeshwar Pathak hat für ein billiges und umweltverträgliches Toilettensystem für Slums den Stockholmer Wasserpreis 2009 erhalten, der anlässlich der Weltwasserwoche verliehen wurde.
Pathak erklärte, er werde das Geld für die Bildung von Kindern der Dalit-Gemeinschaft verwenden, die in Indien Latrinen leeren. "In meiner Heimat Indien stehen die Unberührbaren auf der gesellschaftlichen Leiter ganz unten", sagt der Preisträger." Ich hab sie gesehen wie sie immer wieder gezwungen wurden, die Latrinen auszukratzen. Die einzige Sache dem zu entgehen ist eine einfache Toilette mit Spülung. So kann man den Menschen die Würde wieder zurückgeben." Pathak ist Gründer der Sulabh-Sanitärbewegung.

Pathak erhalte die Auszeichnung, weil er "ein verblüffendes Beispiel dafür geliefert hat, wie ein Einzelner das Wohlbefinden von Millionen Menschen erhöhen kann", heiß es in der Begründung der Jury.

Mehr als zehn Millionen können das System nutzen
© Weltwasserwoche Lupe
Bindeshwar Pathak freut sich über den Stockholmer Wasserpreis 2009
Das simple Toilettensystem des 1943 geborenen Inders nutzen mehr als zehn Millionen arme Menschen der extrem dicht besiedelten Stadtslums gegen geringe Gebühren in 7000 Stationen an öffentlichen Plätzen. Es ermöglicht neben hygienischem Schutz vor oft lebensbedrohlichen Krankheiten auch die Nutzung von Exkrementen als Biogas zum Heizen, Kochen und der Erzeugung von Elektrizität. Als einen der wichtigsten Erfolge des Systems hoben die Juroren vom Stockholmer Wasserinstitut heraus, dass Pathak und seine Mitstreiter Betroffene von ihrer bisherigen Nutzung von Eimern als Toiletten abbringen. Deren Inhalt werden in der Regel in offene Latrinen oder einfach irgendwo in der Umgebung entleert.

UN-Organisationen für Entwicklungsländer empfehlen die Verwendung von Pathaks System zum weltweiten Einsatz für insgesamt 2,6 Milliarden Menschen. 2008 wurde der Brite John Anthony Allan für sein Konzept des "virtuellen Wassers" ausgezeichnet. Damit lässt sich unter anderem der Wasserverbrauch für die Produktion eines Hamburgers berechnen.
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