According to reports, even as the state government is planning generation of 200MW solar power using roof top panels, solar cookers, pumps, water heaters etc, city-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (Neeri) has come with more efficient and affordable models of these equipment using different and newer materials instead of the conventional heating materials like copper.
Neeri has put all these equipment for permanent display on its premises. Some of these are being locally manufactured while others are in collaboration with international agencies.
Sadhana Rayalu, the head of Environmental Materials Division, Neeri, told TOI that the displayed equipment in the park is a result of over four to five years of work. The support from a local manufacturer, Greenlife Solutions, has been the key to success of the project, she said. “As scientists, we have developed new materials (which can’t be disclosed at present as they are under patent process) through translational research which have increased the efficiency of each of the solar equipment manifold. In fact, our solar cooker takes just 30-40 minutes to cook as compared to over two hours taken by conventional solar cookers. We are using plasmonic materials for increasing the efficiency,” she said.
The park, developed by funding from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) under the ‘Technology and Products for Solar Energy Utilization’, park is unique in various ways. It has apparently the world’s only solar thermal concentrator system which uses a parabolic cone dish of 10sqm. “It can raise the temperature up to 800 degrees Celsius at the receiver end and is good for any industrial use where heat is needed in large quantity. We are one of the authorized manufacturers for the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy,” said Sudhir Sarawat, the director of Greenlife Solutions.
The Neeri’s multipurpose solar dryer is particularly suitable for agricultural purposes (drying their produce) and industry. It can even be used for drying up the solid waste generated in huge quantities in cities. The dryer is much cheap and smaller in size. Compared to conventional drying temperature of 45-50 degrees, the temperature in Neeri dryer can reach over 60 degrees. But, it doesn’t use copper for heating.
The solar water heater uses specialized evacuated glass tubes instead of copper coil. This has increased its efficiency 3-4 times. The Neeri Solstill, a distillation unit to clean water, can distil water at a rate of about 5 per litre as compared to those available in market. “The peculiarity of this unit is that it is non source specific. It means that it can remove impurity of any water like fluoride, arsenic etc in concentrated form which is easier to dispose as a pollutant,” said Rayalu.
Another major equipment developed for rural set up is an autoclave or a sterilization machine which can be used at primary health centre level to sterilize equipment.
The EMD team besides Rayalu comprised Nitin Labshtewar, A K Bansiwal, M D Goel, Tanvir Arfin, G K Hippargi, Suhasini Hore, Sandeep Chidmalwad, Abhay Kotkaondwar, Anushree Chikalwar, Nilesh Manwar and research fellows.
As part of CSIR foundation day celebrations, Neeri kept the park open the whole day for schools on Saturday and 500 students visited.