View Feed
Coffee Room
Discuss anything here - everything that you wish to discuss with fellow engineers.
12758 Members
Join this group to post and comment.
koli • Jul 3, 2008

Alternate sources of Energy

What are the best and (economical) sources of energy alternatives to Crude Oil. This is especially needs to be economical so that developing countries like India, APAC can afford to maintain their developing status and some day change their status as "Developed nations".

With lots happening over oil&gas diplomacy, which is almost like a cold war now. It looks like next world war is going to be due to oil crises.

I am not expert of micro economy. What can we (rather I) do to resolve the problem at small scale level, may be to start from my neighborhood first. Any suggestions to resolve these energy crises at village or small locality level?
Ashraf HZ
Ashraf HZ • Jul 3, 2008
Good topic for discussion. I'm not too sure about alternatives for transportation fuel, but for off-grid electrical generation, Photovoltaic is the way to go to start small scale.

Homepower (Home Power Magazine: Solar | Wind | Water | Design | Build) is a good place to check out how to implement Solar power systems in houses or large areas. These kind of things require investment of some money and time, but the huge positive externalities from cannot be ignored!

While installing solar and PV panels, the consumption of electricity has to be reduced in tandem. Things like switching the lights and appliances off when not needed. When the demand of electricity is in equilibrium with the supply of electricity from PV generation, you have self-sustaining and long lasting electrical generation, that is independent to political and geographical events. (unless some nation controls the Sun!)
koli • Jul 3, 2008
I was told PV panels are damn costly and bulky especially, aint they?
if we are talking about the investment required to generate power for entire household (in multiples).

Ash - Do you have any numbers like size of PV with XX$ investment will provide XXX watts ?
Ashraf HZ
Ashraf HZ • Jul 3, 2008
It depends on how much power you are consuming. The investment varies.. try looking through this link:
Solar Photovoltaic Projects

Here is a detailed guide on purchasing PV panels:

I'm thinking we should start a CE project that ties with renewable energy.

I'm planning to install a mini Solar Power system in my family house for uni research purposes, but I certainly don't mind to getting involved with a scalable CE Solar Power project 😛

By the way, Koli, one estimate of the costs is $3 per watt. P.V panels sizes differ from one manufacturer to another, even with the same ratings, so I think the only comparable measure is dollars per watt, which ties in with the conversion efficiencies too.

Oh, one has to remember that these are one-off costs. Once purchased, you'll have a long lasting electrical generation for free. Some panels are warranted up to two decades I believe. Also, its better to progressively install P.V systems. Over time, the price of panels will decrease allowing for cheap upgrading!
koli • Jul 3, 2008
Thanks Ash,

I think 3$ per watt is definitely interesting proposition. BTW what kind of power generation happens from PV during monsoon season, I mean what percent. I would imagine it would be less then 40% then that of summer times.

I was exploring options which can be assembled in the remote villages.
Example Bio gas - which is interesting proposition, for some reason (i dont know what is the reason) it is not well accepted.

Anyone on CE has experience in organic fuel ? Again this is not for industrial level, but more on experimental or small scale production level.
Ashraf HZ
Ashraf HZ • Jul 3, 2008
Ah, taken from Wikipedia (Solar power in India - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) :
With about 200 clear sunny days in a year, India's theoretical solar power reception, just on its land area, is about 5 EWh/year (i.e. = 5000 trillion kWh/yr ~ 600 TW).[1] [2] The daily average solar energy incident over India varies from 4 to 7 kWh/m2 with about 2300 - 3200 sunshine hours per year, depending upon location.[1] This is far more than current total energy consumption. For example, even assuming 10% conversion efficiency for PV modules, it will still be thousand times greater than the likely electricity demand in India by the year 2015
Scrolling down a little, the bit about government subsidy for solar power use might be of interest.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) [8] have initiated schemes and incentives - like subsidy, soft loan, confessional duty on raw material imports, excise duty exemption on certain devices/systems etc - to boost the production and use of solar energy systems. The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) [9] provides revolving fund to financing and leasing companies offering affordable credit for the purchase of PV systems. An Expert Committee constituted by the Planning Commission has prepared an Integrated Energy Policy which envisions a 10 million square meter solar collector area, to be set up by 2022, and capable of conserving electricity equivalent to that generated from a 500 MW power plant.[3] The state of West Bengal has intitiated to make the use of solar power mandatory in new multi-storeyed buildings.
Biogas looks to be a nice option. But if you were to produce it using anaerobic digestion, you might require heavy equipment even for small scale production. Perhaps its better to have a central location (near a major landfill) to produce biogas, then transport it to multiple villages.

You know, you can use biogas as a backup along with PV systems. PV is most effectively used along with some sort of back up generator (traditionally diesel powered) in case of fluctuations from the electrical generation from PV.

Share this content on your social channels -