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City innovator’s cheap, green plan for Mutha turned down by govt. Chandrakant Pathak’s load-shedding solution gets many sarkari accolades but no funds. They ask him to install it at his own cost!
Posted On Sunday, April 18, 2010 at 01:28:54 AM
But picture this, the steady flow of a canal on our rivers can generate enough electricity to light up tubelights in offices and homes around its banks.
Load-shedding and power cuts could then become a thing of the past. However, this solution is not something that has to be developed.
A city-based engineer and National Innovation Foundation award-winning innovator has proposed an idea of generating electricity by simply putting turbines in the Mutha’s right bank canal.
As per his plans, electricity from two to five kilo Watt hour (kWh) could be generated with the installation of a single turbine. If 100 such turbines are mounted, then energy equivalent to 200 kWh could be generated.
Sounds like a good idea? Well, wonder why government agencies aren’t as excited about it?
Unfortunately, when Chandrakant Pathak wrote about the proposal to various government agencies for approval and funding for a pilot project, he received an approval from the irrigation department, but on the condition that it should not harm the canal and that he produce all the equipment on his own.
The pilot project needs an investment of Rs five lakh as all the necessary permissions are ready with Pathak, but he still needs funds.
60-year-old Pathak has already approached government agencies like Maharashtra Energy Development Agency (MEDA) and Rajeev Gandhi Science and Technology Commission, but the response he got was not all that encouraging.
Although the irrigation department at Khadakwasla granted him permission to install turbines to generate electricity for the pilot project, the letter also says that “The equipment cost has to be borne by Pathak and no harm should be done to the canal.”
Pathak has proposed the micro hydel project using a water turbine wheel which converts kinetic energy into electricity.
As per his plan, the water turbine wheel has to be installed in the right bank canal of the Mutha river which flows from Khadakwasla to Indapur.
His proposed design is that the water wheel consists of 12 spokes and at the end of each spoke a curved vane or bucket of PVC half-round pipes will be fixed.
The wheel is proposed to be mounted across the canal. The velocity of canal will accelerate the turbine and the ratio of wheel could be used to produce electricity by attaching it to DC generator.
Pathak has already worked out a prototype model of this water power generation machine by using a brushless DC generator.
“We have already installed a prototype machine in one canal in Kanhe Phata near Kamshet around 80 km from Pune in an energy park designed by us.
It is generating 200 watts of energy although the turbine we have used is smaller than the one which is proposed to be installed at the Mutha canal.
The proposed turbine has a capacity to generate a minimum 2kWh electricity which can light up 40 tubelights at a time. The capacity could be enhanced to 5kWh,” he said.
He elaborates, “The cost of the project is a one time investment, as maintenance is free. What’s more important is that electricity that is eco-friendly and almost free.
I have proposed to install the pilot turbine near the Central Water and Power Research Station near Khadakwasla. The office could be lit by power generated from the project.
At night surrounding homes could also get free power.” The requirement of the project is that the water should flow at a speed of two metres per second and the discharge rate should be 500 to 1,500 cusecs, which is common for canals like the Mutha right bank which is flowing throughout the year.
“During the monsoons, the small streams all over, could be used to generate electricity like this. If 200 turbines are installed we can generate 200 kWh energy which could help in bringing down load-shedding”, he concludes.
The micro hydel project uses a turbine with 12 spokes. At the end of each spoke is a curved vane or bucket of PVC half-round pipes. It has to be mounted across a canal in which water flows at a speed of two metres per second at a discharge rate of 500 to 1,500 cusecs.
Electricity is produced by attaching it to a DC generator, where kinetic energy will be converted to electricity. The proposed turbine can produce a minimum of 2kWh electricity which can light up 40 tubelights at a time.
Green’s the colour of his passion
All of Chandrakant Pathak’s invetions are used to harness alternate sources of energy. And though they are in use and in demand, he hasn’t applied for a single patent. Arundhati Ranade tells his story
All you need to do is swing. A biproduct of this simple pleasure is the plants in your garden or terrace getting watered. You could even get your laundry done or charge your phone.
No, you’ve not plugged it in to the AC mains of your house. It’s the swing at work. Dubbed ‘Magic Swing’, by the Pune-based engineer and innovator Chandrakant Pathak, it’s being used to harness power.
Pathak’s used a similar mechanism on stationary bicycles, so that while you exercise, you can grind masala for the evening’s meal or the flour for chappatis, light the room with six bulbs of 5 watt each, or wash your clothes.
Pathak’s innovations are that they are not limited to theory or paper alone, they are actually installed in various places like education campuses, individual fields, resorts and energy parks.
One such Magic Swing was recently installed at the campus of University of Pune and at the Aksharnandan school.
His equipment is also installed at the Agro-Eco tourism resort near Baramati by the Agriculture Development Trust. Pathak, a recent recipient of an award by National Innovation Foundation, is always busy looking for ways to generate energy from day-to-day life activites.
In a small room attached to a workshop in a small lane of Narayan Peth, Chandrakant Pathak is busy training people to make them ‘skilled labour’.
‘Pathak Uncle’ is a famous name among students too — he provides help for their project work. “Engineering students from various colleges come here to get help. We give them technical inputs regarding assembling, designing machines, etc.
I guide the students who are mainly interested in doing projects involving renewable energy sources,” he said.
Inspite of inventing so many new techniques, Pathak has not applied for a single patent.
When asked about it he said, “I believe in the sharing knowledge that I have. So, I keep on training students and make them think of such other practical innovations.”
Pathak began his work with an institute called Modern Technical Centre. “I started off the centre with the aim of training unskilled labour to work in newly developing industrial areas in Pimpri Chinchwad, Hadapsar etc.
The Industrial Training Institutes were not producing enough skilled labour. The demand was much more those days,” he added. Currently, he is devoting all his time inventing other machines like these.
An energy park created at Kanhe Phata near Kamshet about 80 km from Pune, saw his long-time dream come true. The park is open for school kids, tourists and all innovation lovers like him.
All his ‘magic equipment’ is installed here. “All the energy equipment is recognised by government agencies like MEDA, agriculture department,” he said.
The swing has a pulley attached to it. The to-and-fro motion of the swing is utilised for operating the pulley. The pulley is attached to a single piston water pump which is capable of lifting water up to 30 meters height and has a suction depth of 10 metres.
A sprinkler is attached to the pump installed near the tank. The sprinkler can discharge 20 litres per minute of water.
On one side of the swing, another pulley is attached with a drum connected to a water pipe and a drain pipe. It acts as a washing machine. With the same to-and-fro motion of the swing, the drum revolves and within 15 minutes, the washing is done.
Similarly the stationary bicycle can revolve the drum attached, to wash clothes. The cycling motion is converted into electricity by a DC generator. A water pump, sprinkler, juicer, cutter could all be made from the cycle.
The cost of these cycle driven machines starts from Rs 7,000 and is not more than Rs 20,000.
The cycle pump has been approved by the Government of Maharashtra’s Agriculture Deptartment. This means that if a farmer approaches them with 7/12 documents (proof of ownership of a farm) in order, the machine is subsidised to Rs 3,500.
The machines are currently being used in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka as well.
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