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Coimbatore college invention could boost wind power in rural India

According to reports, a city-based college has developed a 500 Watts class  wind turbine that could help resolve  power shortage in  rural areas. TK Seshachari, a retired air vice-marshal and director of Aeronautical Studies at the  Park College of Engineering and Technology in the outskirts of the city, claimed the turbine he designed is smaller in size compared to the present ones in use and could be transported in small trucks or vans.

“In rural India, only 20% to 30% residents have a power connection. Turbines like these could be easily erected in villages and electricity could be generated in a decentralised manner,” said Seshachari. He is planning to build a more sophisticated version of the turbine. “At present many agencies are trying to develop similar models of what we have developed. We think we will be able to develop commercial versions with more power generation capacity in the coming months,” he said. J J Isaac, advisor at the National Aerospace Laboratory, Bangalore, and a member of the team that developed the turbine, said they designed the turbine keeping in mind indigenous needs. “Wind turbines which are imported from other countries cannot withstand the Indian conditions.

This model attempts to address that problem and help produce power in a decentralised manner,” he said. The turbines which are imported usually develop complications when insects smash the blades. This affects the velocity of the turbines. “Maintenance of the turbine is affected by weather and climatic conditions. Our model is built keeping in mind local conditions and will provide solutions to many problems we face while generating wind power,” he said.

Moreover, a decentralised turbine does not depend on grid connectivity, a major challenge in the wind energy production. The new model when developed with more capacity can generate power sufficient for a village or a locality, he said. Similarly, depending on the wind velocity the turbines are usually shifted to different places. “This turbine can be transported in a pick up van or a small truck,” said Isaac.

However, the present model is on a trial stage. The team hopes to come with versions that could be marketed in the coming months. They expect to come up with versions of the turbine that could be erected in places in the North-East, Jammu and Kashmir and other areas, where power connectivity is relatively less. “We are also trying to develop small models that can be carried by people themselves,” said Isaac.

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