Category: Ensuring access to energy in developing countries
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The development in the sector of energy management should be based on resources that are available, ideally inexhaustible and, most importantly, sustainable. The typical approach towards this crux is to have a model which encompasses both a sustainable and efficient management of resources and a revenue-generating business proposition. In the current scenario, there is a significant gap in energy demand and supply in sub-urban areas and villages, especially in developing countries. There are many clean and sustainable solutions at our disposal to mitigate this problem. These solutions can be made attractive to keys players in energy sector via profit-generating schemes.
An interesting approach in this context is to set-up integrated hubs in sub-urban communities-Power Kiosks. The entire concept is supported by well-organized energy generation from renewable sources, mainly agro-based wastes. Any form of renewable energy source, specific to a village, based on its geographic location, topography, etc. can also be considered such as wind farms and solar energy plant. It is later distributed to the immediate local community. The agro-waste from the nearby villages and communities are delivered to the kiosk. The waste is then segregated on the basis of its potential use. A fluidised bed-type furnace is set up for thermal power generation, where the use of fossil fuel (coal) is reduced and is replaced with husk.
Another part of the agro-waste is used for biogas generation. The biogas can be supplied via proper network of pipelines. Further, the by-product from the biomass plant is bio-fertilizer which is supplied to the farmers. This is a substitute for chemical fertilisers. The local community is provided with electricity, biogas and bio-fertilizers, equivalent to the wastes deposited by them at kiosks. Any excess usage of electricity, biogas etc. can be charged against a fixed tariff. The Power Kiosks at nearby location can have the flexibility to integrate among themselves micro-grids integrated to form larger hubs of electricity.
The excess power generated is stored using simple techniques, which can be used during peak power demand. Alternatively, these hubs of Power Kiosks can be connected with central supply grid of a nearest city. The excess power generated can be made available to the central grid. Power kiosks can be installed in remote areas and thereby reduce load on central grid as well as power transmission losses. Revenue stream is generated from pay as you go model for electricity and biogas, bio-fertilizer sales and lastly from the excess electricity provided to the central grid. Thus, the idea of Power Kiosks is a multi-fold solution to energy crisis, waste management, environmental and socio-economic issues.
Power Kiosks envisions a well sustained agro-based village model which is self-sufficient in it energy needs. Such sustainable villages can also be seen as places for future human settlements.
The Trilemma of energy, land and food can be tackled in an efficient manner by meeting energy demands through naturally renewable energy sources with conglomeration of simple and diverse technologies.
Waste is not waste if we waste it to produce useful by-products.