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  • Sci. & Tech.
    Low grade ethanol stove, lanterns developed

    Mumbai (PTI): Low-grade ethanol lanterns and stoves which also promise to be environmental friendly have been developed by an agricultural research university in Satara district.

    The stoves developed by Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) comprise cylinders which can be filled in the factory with low concentration ethanol and pressurised for their use with stoves and lanterns.

    The cylinders and can be reused just like Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders. Also the pressurisation of these cylinders is only two to five atmospheres hence they are much safer than LPG ones, NARI Director Dr Anil Rajvanshi told PTI on Friday.

    These cylinders can be attached to the lantern and stove just like LPG cylinder and hence the low grade alcohol in them cannot be consumed by the users, he said. NARI ethanol stove has a three kW burner with high and low flame settings. It does not make any noise and works just like an LPG stove.

    "Large scale testing by local rural population has shown that it is superior to biomass and kerosene stove both in terms of cost and ease of use. Also there is no smell and it is very safe to use," Rajvanshi said.

    The alcohol cylinder provides fuel for almost 20-25 days and can be refilled again at the factory, he said. NARI has also developed a dual use lantern with alcohol fuel cylinder which doubles as cooking device.

    A lantern which produces light equivalent to that from a 100-watt electric bulb can also cook a full meal for a family of four through a cooking pot based on heat pipe principle. The alcohol fuel cylinder provides a week's supply of fuel and the cost of lighting with it is cheaper than that from kerosene Petromax lanterns.

    NARI has also developed a dual use lantern with alcohol fuel cylinder which doubles as cooking device.

    A lantern which produces light equivalent to that from a 100-watt electric bulb can also cook a full meal for a family of four through a cooking pot based on heat pipe principle.

    This strategy allows very clean fuel to be used in rural household for both cooking and lighting simultaneously.

    The alcohol fuel cylinder provides a week's supply of fuel and the cost of lighting with it is cheaper than that from kerosene Petromax lanterns.

    The stove costs around Rs 1,500 while the dual use lantern costs around Rs 1,000.

    There was a need to develop a fuel for cooking and lighting which is safe, environmentally friendly and locally grown, the NARI director said.

    Low grade ethanol (50 per cent ethanol-water mixture) is one such fuel.

    Cooking and lighting constitutes 75 per cent of total energy used in rural houses. Both these fuels produce tremendous indoor pollution according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates),the NARI stoves can easily be produced by fermenting any sugary feedstock and can be distilled with much less energy than the regular ethanol.

    The presently illicitly distilled liquor can be used in these stoves and lanterns, he said.

    "Generally in any discussions regarding use of ethanol (pure alcohol) for household energy there is a fear that people will drink it. Authorities fear that once it is freely available it will be consumed even if it is denatured thereby leading to deaths and human tragedy. Hence very strict and draconian excise laws have been promulgated by Indian and State governments to restrict its use," he said.

    NARI's technology can allay these fears and the low grade alcohol in them cannot be consumed by the users, Rajvanshi claimed.

    This technology of reusable cylinders is almost a foolproof system of ethanol manufacture, delivery and its use as a household fuel, the Director said.

    "There is no fear of ethanol use for drinking as a result of this strategy. However, the modification of the draconian exercise laws in the light of this invention is needed so that low grade ethanol can be used as rural household fuel," Rajvanshi said.

    Earlier NARI had developed dual use lantern which could be used as stove but had some disadvantages as it was using kerosene as fuel.

    But now the locally available low grade ethanol not only will make rural folks independent but also save environment and health on a sustainable basis, he said.


    Sci. & Tech.


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