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Hybrid System to Power Remote Areas

According to reports, the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) is gearing up to launch a 500W wind-solar hybrid system that can power standalone utilities including borewells, pumps and other light loads, especially in remote hamlets.

Developed in partnership with private firm Aparna Renewable Energy Source (ARES), the hybrid system promises to aid areas that are deprived of a steady supply of power.

NAL director Shyam Chetty told Express on Thursday that the solar system has been developed in line with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) mandate to focus on technologies relevant to societal missions. “The wind turbines from abroad are efficient only at higher speeds, which rarely occur in India. We developed the hybrid system at the Centre for Societal Missions and Special Technologies (CSMST). For CSIR-NAL, hybrid systems will be a thrust area to pursue in the future for both rural and urban applications,” Shyam said.

The system consists of five main modules — a wind turbine, solar photovoltaic unit, charge controller, outdoor control panel and a battery bank.

“We have been exploring the application of aerospace technologies for exploiting renewable alternative sources of energy. We have developed a wide range of technologies related to wind turbines in the past decade which are akin to helicopter blades. Advanced carbon composite materials were used for the blades with the aim of minimising the environmental impact,” Shyam said.

He said advanced research is on to switch over to natural fibres with a higher degree of environmental friendliness.

Each new system will cost around Rs 3 lakh and Rs 2 crore has been spent in the last four years as part of the development.

During the development stage, NAL scientists simulated the entire range of wind speeds (3-15 metre per second) likely to occur while the system is in service, at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s airstrip in Bangalore.

“This is an aerospace spin-off system as many advanced processes and materials have been already developed for various aircraft programmes. We have the expertise to develop more efficient wind turbines compared to those available in the Indian market,” G N Dayananda, chief scientist and head, CSMST said.

He further said that cost effectiveness is key and they have already demonstrated it with the new hybrid system.

He said NAL has already received encouraging responses from various renewable energy departments in the North-East region.

M Satyanarayana, CEO, ARES, said the market is flooded with Chinese turbines which are not suitable for Indian conditions.

“Our challenge was to develop wind turbine blades which could generate power at speeds of less than 5 metre per second,” he further added.

In South India, they can be used in areas such as Kodagu, Chikmagalur, the high ranges of Kerala and the Nilgiri, he said.

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