Renewable energy work at NARI in 1981 commenced with development of household energy and devices. A short history on these developments have been written.
Lanstove and improved kerosene lanterns
Only 40% of India’s rural population has electricity. Blackouts and brownouts are commonplace. As such, NARI has spent considerable time on the development of efficient, decentralised cooking and lighting devices. Liquid and gaseous fuels are clean fuels. Moreover due to their high energy density, transportability, easy storage and availability, the liquid fuels are superior to other renewable alternatives. This was the logic behind a 1985 project that saw NARI modify a traditional kerosene lantern to run on alcohol – a renewable liquid fuel source. Throughout the years improvements and developments have continued leading to a variety of devices.
The evolution of NARI’s household energy devices began with Noorie – a multi-fuel lantern – then progressed to an alcohol fuel lantern. An ethanol cooking stove was subsequently developed, eventually leading to an ethanol “lanstove” which combines cooking and lighting functions in one device. Current work is focused on the development and implementation of a highly efficient kerosene powered “lanstove” that couples the functions of cooking and lighting in one device. In attempt to sum up these development a Cooking and lighting R&D strategy has been written.
Much of NARI’s current work is focused on developing a lanstove that runs on kerosene. The kerosene lanstove (Trademark filed) is as clean and easy to use as LPG, it acts as a good light source and can be simultaneously used to cook a meal for a family of 4-5 people or to boil 10 liters of water. Large scale trials and testing are currently showing the efficacy of this technology. A Youtube video on it is here.
The technology of kerosene lanstove has been extended so that it runs on diesel also. This was necessitated since kerosene is not available easily for rural poor.
Ethanol Lanstove (2003-2006)
NARI’s ethanol lanstove, a precursor to the kerosene lanstove runs on a low concentration [55-60% (w/w)] ethanol-water mixture. Watch a video on the stove here and another one here. The use of this mixture has the following advantages:
- It is less flammable than pure ethanol, making it safe to handle and hence ideal for household cooking purposes.
- It burns very cleanly and, as such, is environmentally friendly.
- The mixture is easy to distill and can be produced in a one-step distillation process even using solar energy as the driving force, thus reducing the energy utilized in its production and hence the overall cost of fuel.
- In rural areas of India a substantial amount of illicit liquor production takes place in makeshift backyard and rudimentary distillation units producing alcohol with 45-60% (w/w) ethanol-water concentration. This alcohol is mainly used for drinking. The use of this as fuel in the ethanol stove and lanterns can hopefully help address both the problems of alcohol abuse and household fuel shortages.
Both the ethanol and kerosene lanstoves function in conjunction with a newly developed Janta cooker. The cooker works on the heat pipe principle and can be used to cook all the food for a family of four.
This technology is available for licensing.
Noorie multifuel lantern with cooking arrangement (1985-1989)
NARI has pioneered the development of multifuel lanterns, called “Noorie”, for rural areas. The pressurized mantle lantern produces light output equivalent to that from a 100 W light bulb and can run on ethanol, diesel and kerosene. These lanterns, or lanstoves, double up as cookstoves, and have been tested in rural Indian homes.