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What I want in my Dream Home: Geothermal System

  • Tuesday, 18 November 2014
  • by
  • Rajesh K

  • PORCELANOSA is a Spanish group with eight companies manufacturing a wide range of products including kitchen/bathroom equipment and state-of-the-art building solutions. Their products are available in more than 100 countries around the world.
    In this post, I'd like to share the product/solution from PORCELANOSA I want in my dream home -
    Geothermal Energy System
    The temperature 6-10 feet inside the earth, below our houses, remains constant irrespective of whether the season outside is summer or winter. In winter, the temperature below the earth is hotter than outside and in summer, it is cooler. This temperature difference can be used to provide heating and cooling (to power HVAC systems) throughout the year using geothermal energy.
    In this system, water is sent into the ground through pipes and is pumped up. In winter, the water coming from the ground will be hotter and is run through a heat exchanger to deposit heat, which is distributed to HVAC systems for heating. In summer, the reverse process happens: the excessive heat in the house is absorbed by the water, and is deposited into the ground where the temperature is lower. Thus, the geothermal HVAC systems can heat/cool the house during winter/summer, respectively. 
    Geothermal systems are a form of renewable energy. Even though they consume some electricity for the operation of the pump, etc. they produce 4-6 times more electricity (or save that much). They don't pollute, they are not noisy, they use renewable source of energy that is available just below the earth almost throughout the earth.
    A geothermal system has three components: heat pump, heat exchange medium (water), air delivery through ducts. Some electricity is used to power these components, but 5-6 times more energy is produced by the system.
    Geothermal systems are somewhat expensive (per kWh) when compared to other renewable energy technologies, but they last for multiple generations if installed and maintained properly. These systems can be installed anywhere, even in places where there is not much open land, as vertical pipes can be used instead of horizontal pipes for creating the earth loop. And since these pipes are buried into the ground, the real-estate space on the ground is not wasted.
    The same system can be used for both heating and cooling, and that's a big advantage. Water is used as a refrigerant, but it is recycled after use - hence not wasted. One system can be used to heat/cool multiple systems simultaneously if the installed capacity is sufficient.
    Geothermal systems are a mature technology and have been in use for more than 60 years in residential applications. They are also used for large-scale commercial power generation, but that's a different system. They don't generate any noise and save a lot of electricity. They use the earth's heat that is always available, everywhere.
    Click here for a visual representation of the residential geothermal solution and further details.
    Sponsorer's message: If you live in Pune, and you are looking to buy great houses/apartments have a look at 24k province.
    Read More...

    Why not Build Toilets powered by Renewable Energy?

  • by
  • Rajesh K

  • Toilets are vital to any home. But what happens to all the output that go via drainage pipes? Aren't they let out into the water bodies or sea? Is that the best way to manage our waste?
    India still has 597 million people defecating in the open. But the waste generated by them, when let out on the earth decomposes and even provides manure for plants to grow.
    So which system is better? Having toilets and polluting water bodies, or not having toilets and defecating in the open?
    Neither.
    The problem with cities is: There is no space or free land where human waste can be left to decomposed. The problem with villages is: There is not enough resources to build toilets and maintain them.  There is also another problem: The perennial shortage of water.
    These problems can be tackled effectively with one solution: Renewable Energy-based toilets that recycle urine/feces to create manure (reducing waste at source), and automatically release the optimum water after every use to utilize just the right amount of water that is needed.
    Renewable Energy-based toilets exist today: Have a look at this and this. I also saw a compostable toilet designed and sold by The Rain Center, Chennai.
    So, at least in outskirts of the cities (where there is no drainage facilities) and in small towns/rural areas, why not build renewable energy-powered toilets that can save water and create manure (thereby reducing waste that clogs pipelines and waterways)? We should look at implementing this either through private initiative or government supported schemes in India.
    Domex, a popular brand in toilet cleaning solutions, has come up with an interesting campaign called - 'Toilet for Babli'. Since open defecation and poor cleaning are known to cause diseases, and since people (especially women) need a toilet right in their homes/near their homes in order to be able to use it at any time,  it's important to make villages open-defecation free.
    You can bring about the change in the lives of millions of kids, thereby showing your support for the Domex Initiative. All you need to do is “click” on the “Contribute Tab” on www.domex.in and Domex will contribute Rs.5 on your behalf to eradicate open defecation, thereby helping kids like Babli live a dignified life.
    It's good to note that corporate companies are pitching in for building more toilets in India. It will be better if they insist that their contributions are used to create renewable energy-based toilets, so that they are used effectively, and become sustainable and useful on the long run. Another advantage is, once installed, solar panels/concentrators can power these toilets for more than 25 years without additional cost. The maintenance is also minimum. 
    Clean energy for clean toilets. Don't you think that's a great idea? Do visit the Domex web-page link given above and click on the contribute button. Your clicks and shares can make a difference to many people without toilet facilities.
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    The Energy of Touch (Short Story)

  • by
  • Rajesh K
  • "Who is this Sridevi?" she asked, just as he opened the door and entered the living room. He had a hectic day at office, and the last thing he wanted now was another fight. Over the last six months, she found some reason or other to pick up fights in the evenings. His hectic job schedule added fuel to the fire. He wished they could go back to their courtship days two years ago.

    "Not now. I am tired. I need to eat and watch some TV. Let's talk about this in the night," he replied.

    "So that you can think of some elaborate story in the meanwhile?" she asked.

    He sat down on the sofa, removed the shoes and socks. His phone was buzzing but he switched it off. He looked around for the TV remote and found it on the tea-table. He switched on the TV.

    "You don't pick up my calls, you don't reply to my messages, and now you don't want to talk. Does this relationship mean anything to you, anymore?" she said, shouting at the top of her voice.

    "I was busy at office. Now I need some time alone with the TV. Did you hear me? ALONE," he raised his voice, emphasizing that last word.

    She looked at him for a couple of seconds, turned around, and walked towards the room. By the time she opened the door and fell down on the bed, her eyes were filled with tears. Before she realized it,
    she dozed away.

    She was awakened by music. The song, 'vaseegara', though sensuous and melodious, was playing on the computer speakers behind her in high volume.

    "You won't even let me sleep in peace?" she asked.

    He didn't reply.

    She turned back and was ready to fire some of her chosen torpedoes for the occasion, but he was sitting on the bed next to her with dinner that she forgot to eat.

    "Are you trying to bribe me out of this Sridevi-issue by serving me dinner at bed? It won't work Mister," she said firmly.

    "So you read the letters?" he asked.

    "How else did you think I found out about the affair," she said.

    "If I wrote those letters for someone, why do you think I didn't send it to them? Why did I leave them locked up in my drawer?" he asked.

    "How am I supposed to know? Maybe you wanted to give them all at once and surprise her. Or maybe you didn't have the guts to give it," she said, and smiled at the thought.

    "Don't be crazy. Sridevi is the name I have given to our daughter," he said.

    "But we don't have a daughter," she said.

    "We can, if you want," he said, placed the dinner plate on the bed next to him, and placed his left palm on hers. He moved his palm over her hand, her neck, and then to her cheeks.

    She was looking away but eventually shifted her glance towards him. She smiled once she saw his smiling lips, and placed her palm over his, which was affixed to her cheek. "OK," she said.

    "But first you need to have your dinner," he said and smiled once again.

    ** This post has been written for Parachute Advansed Body Lotion that contains 100% natural moisturizers and enables you to get beautiful and soft body skin. #BringBackTheTouch. Have a look at the promo video embedded below: 


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    We need to build Green Homes in India

  • Wednesday, 12 November 2014
  • by
  • Rajesh K
  • Green Homes use renewable energy, and utilize lowest possible energy (or better produce more energy than what is used). It is possible to build a green home in India today and every customer should push their builders to incorporate as many green elements into their homes. Green homes is not only environment friendly, but also saves a lot of money in the long run. Let's look at some features of green homes, below.

    • Utilize renewable energy to create power. Store energy in batteries or sell excessive energy to the grid. 
    • Utilize energy-efficient appliances (LED lights, energy-efficient fans, A/C, refrigerator, washing machine, laptop, etc.)
    • Use building automation systems to switch off lights/fans when no one is present and control appliances remotely. 
    • Use daylight as much as possible inside the home. 
    • Use natural wind from windows to cool the house. 
    • Use water and plant trees around the house to cool it further. 
    • Don't use concrete, glass and other materials that increase the heat. 
    • Insulate the walls/roofs.
    • Reuse grey water for gardens, etc. 
    • Have a kitchen garden to grow organic vegetables.  
    • Segregate organic/inorganic waste. Use organic waste to create compost and give inorganic waste for recycling. 
    • Harvest the rainwater into the well/sump or channel it do directly travel into the water table.
    There are many more factors that help build a green home. But you need to insist your builder/architect to include as many green measures as possible while constructing homes. You can find more information about green buildings from here, here, and here
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    Largest Power Plants in the World: How many are Solar/Wind?

  • Thursday, 30 October 2014
  • by
  • Rajesh K
  • Zero! But the largest power plants in the world is dominated by Hydro power plants. Not small hydro, large hydro. There are a couple of nuclear power plants also, in that list.

    Here's the Countdown for the Ten Largest Power Stations on Earth:


    No. 10 - Bruce (Canada); Type: Nuclear; Capacity: 6300 MW.
    No. 9 - Sayano-Shushenskaya (Russia); Type: Hydro; Capacity: 6400 MW.
    No. 8 - Longtan (China); Type: Hydro; Capacity: 6426 MW.
    No. 7 - Grand Coulee (USA); Type: Hydro; Capacity: 6809 MW.
    No. 6 - Kashiwazaki-Kariwa (Japan); Type: Nuclear; Capacity: 7965 MW.
    No. 5 - Tucuriu (Brazil); Type: Hydro; Capacity: 8370 MW.
    No. 4 - Guri (Venezuela); Type: Hydro; Capacity: 10235 MW.
    No. 3 - Xiluodu (China); Type: Hydro; Capacity: 13860 MW.
    No. 2 - Itaipu (Brazil/Paraguay); Type: Hydro; Capacity: 14000 MW.
    No. 1 - Three Gorges (China); Type: Hydro; Capacity: 22500 MW. 

    Here's an infographic created by Temporary Power Solutions, showing the largest power stations and some interesting facts about each:

    Largest Power Plants on Earth
    When are we going to see Solar and Wind Power Stations in that list? Let's hope soon enough :)
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    Healthy Child Makes a Happy Home!

  • Saturday, 18 October 2014
  • by
  • Rajesh K

  • Don't you think that's right? Healthy child makes a happy home. If you have a child in your house, you'll realize the truth in that sentence!
    A healthy child maybe naughty, may create a ruckus in the house and around, may break carefully bought utensils and toys, may shout at the loudest of decibels, may run all over the house and the street, may do everything possible to avoid eating food, may cry at will, may demand your time, money, and love.
    But, just when we feel we are tired of their very presence in our lives, they may fall sick. And then we realize what a precious source of activity/energy we miss, even if only for a few moments. 
    When I was young, I have fallen a prey to many types of illness. Right from common cold, fever to measels. It is possible to take medicines and temporarily cure diseases, which is what I did back then, but isn't it better to prevent illnesses before they even take root?
    It is not for nothing that wise old people tell us food is the best medicine. But with food getting contaminated with all kinds of chemicals, and families not having time anymore to cook carefully prepared healthy meals to kids, it's the kids' health that goes for a toss.
    Not to forget all that money spent at hospitals, and more chemicals that go into our body in the form of drugs and medicines. The less said about our modern medicine, the better.
    That's a good reason why it is important to take healthy supplementary food options like the Dabur Chavanparash that boosts immunity and prevents diseases at its core. Healthy food = Less ailments. As simple as that.
    It is easy to be tempted with all the modern day foods like pizzas and burgers, but all of us know they are not the healthiest option out there. Especially for kids. Fast food is one of the unhealthy result of our unsustainable development, but as with anything else, that too is fine only if eaten occasionally.
    Is it possible to stop kids from eating tasty (and unhealthy) fast foods, especially when they are available all around our place? That's why it makes a lot of sense to invest in children's health by providing them with healthy supplementary foods made of natural products and herbs. Our ancestors knew how to maintain a good health and their formula has not been totally lost, thanks to a few companies like Dabur.
    It is always better to improve the immunity of the body (especially for kids) instead of trying to cure illness caused due to bad lifestyle practices and wrong food habits. Dabur Chavanparash contains herbal ingredients like Ashwagandha, guduchi, satavari, bala, vidarikhand, etc. that help children boost immunity and stay healthy.
    Have a look at the Dabur Chavanparash website for yourself.

    Switch to healthier living. Switch to Renewable Energy!
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    What Diwali Means to Me & My Parents

  • by
  • Rajesh K

  • What Diwali Means to My Parents/Others:


    Diwali means joy to (almost) everyone around me. That includes a previous version of myself until a few years back!

    Early morning oil-bath, competition to burst the first cracker in the apartment/street, showing off by bursting the fanciest and flashiest crackers, finding out where atom bombs are being burst and staying safely away from it, looking at all those million lamps in the streets, enjoying the lights and sounds in the sky.

    Eating tasty sweets/food specially prepared for the occasion or bought from shops, exchanging sweets with neighbors/relatives, visiting relatives/grandparents, watching special Diwali programs on TV, watching new movies released on Diwali, calling and greeting others.

    Buying more crackers because every single one has been burst, taking up the challenge of crossing a street/ground from one end to another while people are bursting crackers all over, alerting others when they are about to step on live bombs, walking through all the paper bits strewn across the street, visiting a Temple, playing and shouting with friends/relatives. 

    Wishing people on Facebook/Twitter, sleeping like a robot in the afternoon after all that action in the morning, lighting up homes with lamps, watching others' homes lit with lamps, sending Happy Diwali SMS/greetings to friends, feeling bad about the rain that interrupts cracker-bursting sessions, shopping for the best deals due to Diwali discounts.

    Buying loads of new clothes, wearing (at least) two different sets of new clothes, decorating homes, dressing up kids in the best of colors, traveling, taking loads of photos/videos and sharing them on Facebook, lighting and playing with flowerpots and chakras, launching rockets that illuminate the skies with different colors, watching the Diwali special movie shown in the TV.

    What Diwali Means to Me:

    Silence & Doing Nothing. 

    Not bursting crackers because they cause noise & pollution, because they frighten away dogs/birds and other creatures that live among us, because it will inconvenience elders, because crackers make it difficult for others to move around, because accidents and burned clothes can be avoided.

    Knowing that crackers have been made using exploited child labor in rural communities who would otherwise have had a chance to get educated/be free if not for these factories.

    Wanting to reduce the environmental impacts due to all those chemicals getting into the soil and mixing with ground/water, wanting to reduce the heaps of waste, wanting to save trees, wanting to prevent damage to a few ears, wanting to reduce air, land, and noise pollution. 

    Being a conscious citizen by not contributing towards global warming, being fine and even proud of putting the interests of voiceless beings - animals, plants, elders, toddlers, etc. before our own.

    Growing up to realize that bursting crackers which cause so much damage to the environment are not the only way to have all the fun, finding happiness in others' joyful faces and words, connecting with my soul through music unmindful of all those loud sounds outside.

    I gave up bursting crackers before a few years. Now I feel Evolved. Empowered. Responsible. Content.

    Switch to a greener earth. Switch to renewable energy.

    Declaration: This post has been written for an IndiBlogger contest sponsored by Pepsico. Have a look at the GharwaliDiwali website and their promo video -

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    Zigor Hybrid Inverters: Connect Solar, Wind, Batteries, Grid & Generator

  • Monday, 13 October 2014
  • by
  • Rajesh K
  • In the recent RENERGY 2014 expo at Chennai Trade Center, I came across a stall by Zigor, the manufacturer of Hybrid Inverters for connecting multiple renewable energy technologies (solar & wind), grid, batteries, and even generators. Zigor is headquartered in Spain and has a direct office in Pune, India. 

    Among other products, Zigor manufactures Solar On-Grid Inverters, Solar-Wind On-Grid Inverters and Hybrid Inverters for Small, Medium, and High power solutions covering 0.3 kVA to 1350 kVA on four different topologies, as given below -

    • KIT assemblies of DC/AC Inverters with PWM & MPPT regulator controls, and battery controllers for low-cost requirements. 
    • HIS11 Compact for remote telecom sites, domestic users, small power grids, etc. covering 4 kW - 6.6 kW. 
    • HIT3C for medium power grid, small communities, water pumping, etc. covering 30 kW - 100 kW. 
    • HIT3D for Multi-MW generation, distributed hybrid micro grids, etc. covering 150 kVA - 1350 kVA. 
    They also manufacture and supply micro wind turbines in the range of 300 W - 6000 W. Remote control and monitoring web server based SCADA firmware is embedded into systems. 

    For further info, refer to Zigor website or this technical document
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    Surge Protectors for PV (PhotoVoltaic) Systems: CITEL

  • Wednesday, 24 September 2014
  • by
  • Rajesh K
  • Surge Protection Devices in Solar Farms:


    During the recently concluded RENREGY 2014 Renewable Energy expo at Chennai Trade Center, I came across a stall put up by CITEL. It seems, they manufacture surge protectors for PhotoVoltaic systems (Solar PV systems). They have specific SPD models for different types of PV Systems. 

    CITEL supplies surge protectors for PV systems for the following applications: 
    But why are surge protectors required for PV Systems?

    They are required to protect Solar PV systems (Inverters, etc.) from transient over-voltage/electrical surges during lightning strikes. These devices also protect against Temporary Over Voltage (ToV). Depending on the application, surge protectors maybe required on both the AC and DC sides of the Inverter that connects to the grid and solar panels, respectively (among other locations). 

    Please note: Surge Protection Devices (SPD) are not a substitute for grounding. All PV installations need to be properly grounded, and SPDs work along with the grounding mechanism to provide additional protection against lightning damages.

    Surge protection devices in Public Buildings: 

    An Introduction to CITEL VG Surge Protectors for PV Systems: 



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    Harness the Energy of the Sea Waves - It's possible!

  • Tuesday, 16 September 2014
  • by
  • Rajesh K
  • Think about it: Sea Waves are an endless source of energy available in all coastal areas! There are companies that manufacture equipment that can harness the energy of sea waves, now. I am not sure if any of them have operations in India, but it is useful to know what exists. 

    Even better than wave energy, maybe the offshore wind turbines. These are large wind turbines that are placed deep into the sea where the wind currents are very high. They are large-scale (MW(s)-sized) and efficient. However offshore wind turbines are very expensive to built and they need specialized ships, equipment and skills to mount and maintain. This technology is outside the purview of many countries, and India is just experimenting with a pilot project.

    Wave energy, on the other hand, though is less forceful, has more kinetic energy than wind. Hence it is possible to generate electricity in smaller scale using smaller/inexpensive devices, especially if they are designed and manufactured with local conditions in mind. Also, since waves are available throughout the day, even through their intensity might vary, electricity production can be achieved 24x7. 

    In this post, I want to highlight two manufacturers of wave energy harnessing devices (from Scotland, Israel), and one invention from India - IWAVE that converts wave/tidal energy into electricity. 

    Aquamarine Power: 



    Aquamarine Power, based in Scotland, UK, has devised an interesting technology to harness the energy of sea waves. They call it Oyster wave energy technology. See the above introductory video. 

    This device can be placed near the shore (500 meters) in ten-meter deep waters. It is attached to the sea bed and the large even surface plate bends forward and backward as the wave approaches and recedes. It pumps compressed water to an on-shore hydro electric power generating plant using under-sea pipelines, and the hydro plant generates electricity. This power is completely renewable. They say that the device has a life of 20 years and it is possible to maintain/repair/remove the unit whenever required. This is one company that is close to setting up megawatt-scale wave energy farms in the UK. 

    You can find more info about them from here: Aquamarine power

    Eco Wave Power: 



    Eco Wave Power, based in Israel, is another company specializing in manufacturing wave energy devices. See the above video for an introduction to their EWP wave energy devices. 

    They have two products: The Wave Clapper and Power Wing. They use a combination of uniquely-shaped buoys to convert the motion of waves into electricity. Their system also comes with storm protection and corrosion protection mechanisms. It can be arranged in a flexible modular structure, based on the required capacity. Here also, the energy of the motion of floats is delivered to an on-shore generator via undersea cables, which produces electricity. 

    You can find more info about them from here: Eco Wave Power

    IWAVE:

    IWAVE is a device that converts wave/tidal energy into electrical energy, designed by someone from our very own India. This is a floating structure attached to the seabed via cables, and can be positioned approximately 500 meters away from the coast. The energy of the rising wave drives a piston which in turn drives the crankshaft by half a turn. The receding wave helps complete the remaining half turn. This motion drives a generator which produces electricity. This generator can be placed next to the device. 

    Have a look at this page for more information about IWAVE. The contact details of the inventor is also available there. 

    India has tested two wave energy pilot projects earlier, but has not ventured into commercial wave energy generation. There is a lot of potential as we have 7500 KM of coastal area, but we need to overcome many limitations, including: Technical design that is efficient, cost effective & easily maintainable; ability to withstand high tides and forceful waves; ability to resist corrosion; nonavailability of specialized resources and manpower to design and manufacture, etc. However, wave energy is one renewable energy technology that we can start focusing on from now in order to supplement energy from other renewable/conventional sources. 

    If someone wants to design an effective wave energy device, but is finding it difficult to procure modelling software, etc., please have a look at the open source wave energy modeling initiative by the DoE and NASA of US. You can contribute to that project, as well as use it to design more efficient wave energy systems: Details here
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    Data Monitoring System for Solar Plants: Innorel Systems

  • Wednesday, 3 September 2014
  • by
  • Rajesh K
  • During the recently concluded RENERGY 2014 expo at Chennai, I came across a company that makes Data Monitoring Systems for Solar Plants. The name of the company is Innorel Systems and they are based out of Bangalore, India. 

    According to their webpage, they say that their solution involves attaching a wireless sensor to each solar module that in turn creates a self-healing ISM Band wireless mesh local network. These sensors communicate important parameters of individual solar modules to a centralized gateway, which in turn communicates to the cloud-based data analytics system. They say that each gateway can handle data from up to 500 modules and hence the system is expandable. In addition to monitoring individual module status/performance, they also monitor Inverter & battery performance and present all that data using a central graphical interface for easy interpretation. 

    But what does one do with all this data? They say that their data analytics system will help predict energy generation, and will be a crucial part in operation and maintenance of the entire plant (including monitoring/notification during malfunction, faults, etc.). 

    It is possible to view reports/status using web-based or app-based remote monitoring systems like computers or mobiles. Customers can also get SMS/email reports during failures/regular intervals, respectively. 

    This article has been written to introduce this data monitoring system/concept for solar modules and is not a testimonial for their product/services. 

    Further Information: Innorel Systems
    Read More...
    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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