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Turn your Kitchen Waste into Biogas for Cooking!

  • Wednesday, 25 March 2015
  • by
  • Rajesh K
  • In the kitchen (and sometimes outside it) we produce a lot of organic waste. When we mix this waste with plastics, metal, chemical waste and send it to a landfill, it not only creates a lot of pollution but also makes it difficult to separate and recycle waste. All the smell from the dustbins/landfills are caused due to this organic waste from kitchen, mostly. 

    So can we do anything about it?

    Yes. We can collect organic waste (food waste, vegetable peels, fruit leftovers, cooked meal leftovers, etc.) and inorganic waste (plastic, metal, etc.) in separate dustbins and deposit only the inorganic waste in the dustbins/dumps. 

    But what do we do with the Organic waste?

    Turn it into money! You can generate both biogas for cooking and compost for plants in the garden if you deposit the organic waste into a biogas digester plant.

    But aren't the biogas digester plants very big & require a lot of space?

    Some are, not all. There are small biogas digester units for homes/families too. For example, a 1m3 (one meter cube) biogas digester plant requires a space of 4 x 5 feet only. It generates 1m3 of biogas when 6 - 10 Kgs of organic waste is digested by it, which gives a continuous flame for 2 hours. The biogas stove/burner is separate from (but similar to) the normal LPG stove/burner and requires simple piping system for carrying the gas. It may not replace LPG cylinders but can reduce the no. of LPG cylinders required for a family. 

    What about Compost?

    After organic material is digested, compost will come out of the digester (as a byproduct) which is mixed with water and can be used as manure for home/kitchen garden. Note that this byproduct may induce some smell and hence need to be stored in closed containers. However, there will be no smell coming from the main unit unless there is a leak. There is no need to buy or make compost for your garden/kitchen garden if you have this system.

    Can I Install it in my House?

    Yes, if you have some space - preferably open space exposed to sunlight - you can install this unit in your house/terrace. 

    Of course, there are separate (larger) biogas plants for organizations like eateries, hotels, etc. that generate a lot of organic waste. 

    If you live in Chennai, have a look at B-Sustain who offer Biogas Digester plants in varying capacities. Or you can contact Vibrant Marketing if you have any sales enquiries.

    Please note: This website is not affiliated with the above mentioned companies in anyway. I am just trying to help spread the word as the product generates biogas, which is renewable energy. Readers are requested to verify & evaluate the products and services offered thoroughly before buying.

    Sun On Wheels: Solar + Energy Efficient Appliances on a Van (Basil)

  • Wednesday, 18 March 2015
  • by
  • Rajesh K
  • Basil Energetics is an innovative company focused on providing Solar Power + Energy Efficient appliances, based out of Chennai. They recently demonstrated the effectiveness of their Energy Efficient appliances powered (only) by Solar Panels mounted inside/on an insulated container of a Van, in the recently concluded REnergy renewable energy expo at Coimbatore. I met the Chairman of the company at their Ambattur office in Chennai yesterday.

    The best thing about their innovative system is: It powers 1 x 1.5 Tonne AC, 1 x 300L Refrigerator, 4 x LED Lights, 2 x Fan using a set of 4 x 4 Thin Film Solar Panels of 100W capacity each (Total: 1.6 KW) that occupies an area of 125 sq. feet. This is possible because they have designed all the above mentioned appliances to be highly energy efficient. 

    You can see their (partial) setup in the above photo. They have not used batteries in this system, and hence, I was informed that the entire system was running using the solar power generated on the premises on the day of the expo. The heart of the system (if we can call it that) is a controller (iGrid) that looks like this: 

    This controller monitors and measures the available power from the solar panels, and also monitors the load requirement for any given time (continuously), and:
    • If there is adequate power from the solar panels, it will run all the (DC-based) appliances directly using solar power.
    • If there is insufficient power from the solar panels, it will run as many appliances as possible using solar power, and will run the remaining appliances using the grid power (if connected).
    • If there is no solar power (during the night - for example), it will run all the appliances using the power from the grid. 
    • Excess power can be fed back to the grid if the system is enabled to do so. A few Indian states pay consumers for receiving power generated by their rooftop panels. (If grid-connectivity is sanctioned and appropriate devices as recommended by the electricity board is used.)
    If required, they can also provide batteries (to store solar energy) and micro-inverters (to run other appliances). However, batteries are not recommended due to their high cost, frequent replacements, and other limitations. Besides, electricity from the grid is mostly available during the night in many places. 

    Here's the Zero Energy Home chart prepared by the company: (Click to see a larger picture)

    They have taken the common appliances used in a typical home and the number of hours they are used, and have calculated the electricity consumed by each over a day. The first five appliances are the energy efficient ones sold by them and the remaining five are common ones sold in the market. According to this scenario (provided to me by the company), the electricity consumption per day comes to 7.15 units and the energy fed back to the grid using a 2 KW solar panel system comes to 7.35 units. That means, the house can produce more electricity than it consumes! Please note: Since there is no battery/charge controller/inverter involved, this is applicable only in states that have grid connectivity and feed-in tariff option. Also, there will be variation on case to case basis.

    You can read more about their energy efficient appliances, and how much power (and money) one can save by using energy efficient appliances from here.

    Basil Energetics has introduced another interesting product: Battery powered electric bicycle (iZip)

    This is an indigenous electric bicycle that uses a brushless HUB motor (back wheel). They have used contactless throttle for stepless variation of speed and removable lithium-ion batteries that give 6-times more life compared to lead-acid batteries. Max. speed is 20-15 KM. Range is 25 KM per charge. Time taken for charging is 45 - 90 minutes, depending on the state of battery discharge.

    Here's the company website for further information/contact details: Basil Energetics

    Disclaimer: This article has been written based on the information provided to me by the company officials. The photos have been published with their permission. Readers are requested to verify all claims while engaging with the company/products. This article is for your information only (not promotional) as I think they are doing something very interesting. This site is not affiliated to the company in any way.

    Solar Impulse 2, the Solar Airplane, will Land in India today (March 10, 2015)

  • Tuesday, 10 March 2015
  • by
  • Rajesh K

  • Solar Impulse 2, the Solar Airplane, will land in Ahmadabad, Gujarat, India - today night around 9:30 PM (March 10, 2015) from Muscat. It is expected to dock in the Airport for a couple of days and will leave to Varanasi, thereafter. During that time, the co-founders of the Solar Impulse project - Bertnard Piccard & Andre Borschberg, and the Solar Impulse team are expected to promote green technologies around the city. I guess visits for public and school children have also been arranged. If you are in/around these two cities, you might want check it out! :)

    BTW, Solar Impulse 2's mission is to show the world that it is possible to fly around the world using just solar energy/stored solar energy in batteries, and nothing else. Let's hope Green Tech will make this world a better place to live, without exploiting/destroying natural resources.

    You can follow the journey of Solar Impulse 2 LIVE on their website

    Here's another interesting video that shows the making of Solar Impulse 2:


    My Bold Step: Becoming a Professional Blogger

  • Monday, 9 March 2015
  • by
  • Rajesh K
  • I don't know if my readers know this, but I am a professional blogger. That means, I create content for my blogs full-time (I have two more blogs - Technical Blog, Personal Blog), and I (try to) earn money through blogging. That can be done through advertisements, sponsorships, etc. from vendors who are in related fields as it will help them get more visibility for their products/services. 

    I think this is the boldest step I have taken in my life, especially since I quit a well paying technical sales job. I have been working full-time on my technical blog for more than four years now, and it generates some revenue. This renewable energy blog is more of a social enterprise, but the extent of monetary returns/revenue will determine if my content has actually reached people/creating a difference. But I will continue writing here even if there is not much returns for a few years. My personal blog is more for fun and sharing interesting/useful things I learn.

    Needless to say, I became a professional blogger because I love writing, and learning. The first three years were not productive (revenue-wise), but the last one year has been OK. But I am still nowhere near what my friends/former colleagues earn now. 

    Besides, I have been taking more risks - starting and running this renewable energy blog without a proper monetization plan/timeline is in itself a great risk. Especially as I have decided to visit five major renewable energy exhibitions across India and write about interesting products/services I find there, from this year. I have also written a short novel (fiction) that I am proud of - it doesn't generate revenue, of course! But since I get a lot of happiness when I write stories, it's fine. 

    I am proud of the fact that I have even been able to survive by blogging full-time, over the last four years. My savings from my previous jobs got exhausted quickly, but some part-time writing jobs have helped me along the way. Needless to say, I made a lot of sacrifices in my personal life, including spending very less for entertainment, etc. for a long time. Fortunately, I have crossed that stage now. In a way, that was good as I have realized the value of money now, and I have decided not to waste money on health-depreciating activities like eating fast/unhealthy food frequently, etc. 

    It's also been a mind opening experience. Since I didn't have money to splurge and show-off, my ego was crushed and I was more open to new learning/experiences. I have learned the importance of discipline, determination, and persistence in the face of repeated failures. More than all, I have learned humility and since then, surprisingly, my fear has reduced and I have become bolder. I guess this is why we need to take up (some) big challenges in life! 

    This post has been written for Housing.com where you can evaluate, rent, and buy houses across India. The opinions mentioned in this post are my own and are true. 

    Have a look at Housing.com's Promo Video embedded below: #StartANewLife 


    Green/Net-Zero Houses: Optimism & Hope for the Future, at last!

  • Thursday, 5 March 2015
  • by
  • Rajesh K
  • The moment I came across/learned about Green, Sustainable & Net-Zero Homes is the moment that filled me with optimism and hope for our future.

    Although I run two blogs related to technology, I am usually skeptical about tech. That's because, I feel, we invent new technologies more to satiate human greed than to create a difference in other people's lives (especially disadvantaged and downtrodden). And with every technology we invent, we invariably seem to harm the nature in some way or the other. For example: Air, water, soil pollution, CFC, e-waste, etc. 

    But when I learned about Green Tech, I was very glad and was filled with optimism and hope for the future because, technology, for a change, can now be applied to reverse the damage we have inflicted on nature (and ourselves) instead of contributing further to the mess. 

    But how can individuals apply Green Tech to their daily lives? Simple: By building and maintaining Green/Net-Zero/Sustainable Homes

    OK, but what is a Green/Net-Zero House?

    A Net-Zero house produces as much (if not more) energy as the inhabitants use, by itself, using renewable energy technologies like solar, wind, bio-gas, geothermal, etc. It can even transfer the excess (unused) energy to the grid that can be used by nearby/other homes. Net-Zero houses are generally off-grid, meaning they do not need a connection to the grid/utility to buy electricity. Some homes do connect to the grid for backup/export purpose. The great news is, many Indian State Governments now allow homes to export excess energy generated using solar panels to the grid, today. This trend is only going to get better, in the future. 

    But is a Green/Net-Zero House Only about Renewable Energy?

    Definitely not. Here are some more aspects that make a Green/Sustainable/Net-Zero Home ~

    • Using energy efficient appliances like LED lights, low-energy consuming fans, refrigerators, air conditioners, etc. (BEE/Energy Star 5-Star rated, Inverter-based appliances, for example). 
    • Using solar water heater & solar cooker (that uses the sun's heat).
    • Using smart sensors to switch off unused appliances automatically.
    • Using the ambient heat and ambient light as much as possible during the day time. 
    • Planting cooling plants/trees around the house. 
    • Using bio-degradable materials and waste materials (as far as possible) to construct the house.
    • Having a garden/kitchen garden, and growing our own organic fruits and vegetables.
    • Making our own compost using the organic waste. 
    • Splitting the sewage connection into two, composting the solid waste, recycling the grey water using organic methods. 
    • Using rain water harvesting techniques. 
    • Using sensors that alert us when water is empty/full in the tank and when there is a leak.
    • Wearing organic/handloom clothes, using organic soaps/detergents. 
    • Eating organic vegetables, fruits, grains, etc. 
    • Using electric bikes and electric cars for mobility, that are powered by renewable energy.
    • Trying to use wooden/recycled furniture instead of using plastic-based ones. 
    There are many more aspects that make a green home, but this should suffice for a start. There are architects who build green homes or incorporate many of these green elements in their constructions, today. If you are an environmentally/socially conscious citizen, you should try to buy/build a house that incorporates green principles.

    By the way, did you know you can search for houses faster and more efficiently using India's No. 1 housing portal, Housing.com. Check it out!

    Disclaimer: This post has been written for indiBlogger Happy Hour contest in association with Housing.com. I agree to keep this post up for at least one year from the date of publication. The opinions mentioned here are my own.

    Solar PV & Electrical Component Testing Services: STQC

  • Tuesday, 3 March 2015
  • by
  • Rajesh K
  • Standardization Testing and Quality Certification (STQC) Directorate is a Government of India enterprise that provides quality assurance services for both public and private companies. These services include testing, calibration, IT & e-governance, training, and certification. I met their representatives at the recently concluded HYREX 2015 expo, Hyderabad. 

    STQC Laboratories have established test facilities for performance evaluation of Solar Panels and PV cells. Products tested include Solar PV Lanterns, lighting systems, batteries, etc. It seems this Solar PV test facility is available at their Kolkata, Bangalore and some more laboratories. Even their Hyderabad center is expected to get it in the near future. Learn more about Solar PV testing here.

    STQC also offers testing facility for electrical components related to Solar/Renewable energy systems like UPS, Energy meters, Inverters, Stabilizers, etc.

    According to their website, STQC test laboratories are recognized by National Accreditation by NABL. Their laboratories are recognized by BIS, DOT, RDSO, ISRO, DRDO, MNES, etc.

    Further Information: STQC Website.


    Solar Thermal Heating Systems in India: SunX Solar

  • by
  • Rajesh K
  • SunX Solar is a Hyderabad-based company that manufactures Solar Water Heating systems, among other solar products, in India. I met their company representatives in the recently concluded HYREX 2015 expo at Hyderabad. They have their own manufacturing facility in Bangalore and another manufacturing facility for solar water heating systems in Hyderabad.

    Here's a gist of some products they manufacture and supply (click on the links to their site to know more):

    Further info/Vendor's website: SunX Solar.

    Disclaimer: Information given here was taken from the vendor's website/brochure. It is subject to change anytime. Please check once again with the vendor's site to get up to date information. This blog post is only for your information and is not a recommendation.

    Andromeda Energy Technologies: Solar Lanterns, Modules, Inverters

  • Tuesday, 24 February 2015
  • by
  • Rajesh K
  • Andromeda Energy Technologies is a company based out of Secunderabad, Telangana. They have branches in Kolkata & Delhi, and support customers in many locations across India. They manufacture/sell Solar PV & Solar Thermal products. Among other products, they provide Solar Lanterns, Solar Panels, Solar Inverters and Solar LEDs. 

    I met their representatives in the recently concluded HYREX 2015 expo at Hyderabad, and they provided me with a brochure containing the following product details: 

    1. Solar Lanterns: 

    2. Solar Modules: The company manufactures Solar Modules in the following capacities (at the time of writing this article): 5Wp, 8Wp, 10Wp, 12Wp, 14Wp, 18Wp, 20Wp, 30Wp, 35Wp, 37Wp, 40Wp, 50Wp, 70Wp, 80Wp. Details about their Solar Modules can be found on their website

    3. Solar Inverters:

    In their brochure, they say that their Solite Inverters are designed to produce and provide home quality pure sine wave 230V AC to run electrical appliances. This inverter, it seems, uses sunlight to produce electricity. 

    Inverter models: 

    a. SOORAJ AETPL_100 ~ Battery: 12V/75Ah; Invertor: 400VA, 230V AC; Load operating hours: 396 Whrs.
    b. SOORAJ AETPL_150 ~ Battery: 12V/120Ah; Invertor: 600VA, 230V AC; Load operating hours: 616 Whrs.
    c. SOORAJ AETPL_200 ~ Battery: 12V/150Ah; Invertor: 600VA, 230V AC; Load operating hours: 736 Whrs. 

    Please note: Technical information provided here was taken from the brochure provided by the company representatives during the expo. These may change with time and hence it is recommended to visit the vendor website for the latest information about their products. 

    Further Info/Manufacturer's website: Andromeda Energy Technologies.

    Solar Power Plant with Solar AC: Titan Power Grid

  • by
  • Rajesh K
  • Titan Power Grid, based in Hyderabad, India, offers Solar Power Plant with Solar AC, among other solar-based products/solutions. I met their representatives at the recently concluded HYREX 2015 Solar Expo at Hyderabad. 

    This is the Solar AC they had displayed in their stall. It seems they make the Solar AC in association with SHARP. As you can guess, the Solar AC uses Inverter AC technology that can adjust the speed of the compressor based on the ambient air temperature which results in lower energy consumption/energy bills, and quieter operation. 

    But the Solar AC developed by Titan Power Grid, the company representatives say, is more efficient than Inverter ACs because they use more energy efficient parts and power the motor, compressor, fans, etc. through solar. Hence, their 1 Tonne AC is rated at 560W that can be provided by 600W Solar Panels, which is lower than the 1000W+ power rating of normal ACs (according to their website). 

    They provide three options for Solar AC: 

    • Stand-alone energy efficient Solar AC that is not powered by Solar Panels.
    • Solar AC powered by Solar Panels and with AC Synchronization Controller to enable the AC to be operated with Solar power or Grid.
    • Solar AC with Solar Panels, AC Synchronization, and Batteries to enable the AC to be operated with Solar Power, Grid or Saved solar power in the batteries. 
    For further details on Titan Power Grid Solar AC, please refer to their product page. It seems, currently they are offering Solar ACs only along with 3KW (or more) Solar Power Plants. Right now you can find the prices of Solar Power plants from the right-hand side news section of their website. Their representatives told me that they hope to sell Stand-alone Solar ACs shortly.

    Also, have a look at their excellent guide (pdf) explaining the basic components that go into the making a solar power plant.

    HYREX 2015: Inaugurated by Shri. Muhammad Ali, Deputy CM, Telangana

  • Friday, 20 February 2015
  • by
  • Rajesh K

  • The fifth edition of HYREX 2015 - Renewable Energy Expo with focus on Solar and LED - was inaugurated today by Shri. Muhammad Ali, Deputy CM, in Hyderabad, Telangana. He was accompanied by Shri Hanumantha Rao of TRS. Mr.  Sundara Murthy, the organizer of this event from Spoorthy Padham, a Telugu Magazine, introduced the Dignitaries, and the expo.  In the below picture, you can see Mr. Muhammad Ali speaking with the mic in the center of the photo, and Mr. Sundara Murthy on the left corner of the photo.

    Prior to the inauguration, both Shri. Muhammad Ali and Shri. Hanumantha Rao, visited the various stalls in the exhibition, and went through the products and offerings provided by the vendors. While speaking, the Deputy CM assured Government support for the expo, and for popularizing renewable energy in the state.

    I'll feature some interesting renewable energy products, services and companies I found in this expo, shortly.

    Prepaid Solar Electricity for the Masses: Simpa Networks

  • Tuesday, 17 February 2015
  • by
  • Rajesh K
  • Simpa Networks is an Indian company based out of Bangalore that offers prepaid solar electricity in a pay-as-you-go model. 

    How does it work?

    In this model, for a small fee, the company provides a solar home system (solar panel, battery, control circuit, LED lamps, charging points, etc.). After the initial payment, consumers can use their mobile phone to top up their solar home system and pay an amount to unlock/access only the amount of electricity required by them. 

    This amount, the company claims, contributes towards the ownership of the provided solar system. When the cost of the solar system is paid in full after multiple installments, consumers own the system and they no longer have to pay to access electricity.

    This is an interesting model for three reasons: 

    • The consumer need not pay the entire cost for the solar home system upfront, and pays only a small portion of it (not sure how much that small portion is, will try to update if I get the info).
    • Consumers need not pay regularly (weekly or monthly), which they may not be able to. Instead, they pay when they have money and when they want electricity.
    • Each payment also includes a small amount towards the ownership of the device, and consumers can own the device after a few months/years depending on their usage. 

    The company has integrated the solar home system and mobile payment technology into a single solution, and has introduced the progressive payment system where customer pays when he wants to access electricity, much like a prepaid mobile, which are all excellent. 


    However, if the consumer does not pay for a long time, the generated electricity (beyond what can be stored in the battery) becomes a waste. Also, the battery needs to be changed after its lifetime (which is generally limited), and it's not clear who bears this cost or if that can be done and how much replacement batteries will cost. 

    You can get more details about their system from Simpa Networks website and the contact details of the company is here.
    In this blog, I am taking baby steps to enable myself (and others) to adopt renewable energy technologies. Only if we know all the options available to us, we will be able to take informed and meaningful decisions, right?

    Let us learn what renewable energy technology options we have, who provides them and at what cost.

    Frankly, renewable energy in India (and perhaps the world) is still in its adolescence - Let us help it become a confident Man/Woman! And in the process, let us debate, analyze, form opinions and break them so that we can achieve the Utopian dream of Energy Security through Renewable Energy. Are you with me?

    Rajesh K - solarwindhydroenergy[at]gmail[dot]com

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