Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sustainable Energy - SANGAM 2008, ART OF LIVING

Sustainable Energy


Facilitator / Resource Person

Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy, Mr. Girish Abhyankar

Present pattern of energy utilisation, particularly of fossil fuel source, is extremely inefficient and therefore wasteful. Main reason is several conversions of energy, from thermal to mechanical to electrical to chemical and vice verse. In every conversion more than half the energy is lost. Fossil fuel is first converted to electrical energy (except in petrol/diesel run vehicles) and then reconverted to mechanical or thermal energy. This is done for reasons of "convenience", "NIMBY syndrome" and "energy illiteracy". Such inefficient and also extravagant use of fossil fuels, with limited stock, make them unaffordable and unavailable day by day leading to energy crisis. Non conventional, really, non fossil fuel energy sources are of very high entropy and so energy is not harness able. All gadgets or equipments to harness this non conventional energy sources like wind turbines, photovoltaic cells, dams, bio and natural gas or nuclear power plants for electricity generation are built and maintained using fossil fuels much more in quantity than these gadgets produce energy in their life time. Thus with the use of these gadgets, we are actually causing more emissions and depleting stocks of fossil fuels much faster than if we use fossil fuels directly.

The only alternate source of energy is biomass and thereby self generated mechanical or electrical energy. This is of the order of 200 kJ per day, per person and along with slow growing local biomass it is sufficient to meet all personal energy requirements if "appropriate" tools are used. This is the bio-energy. Entropy considerations are of paramount importance in using solar energy for convenience.

Technology for efficient use of alternate energy is "alternate or soft technology". This technology takes into account human capabilities and limitations and offer designs for maximum comfort in minimum effort. This is also a technology for sustainable supply of biomass with minimal use of fossil fuels. This calls for direct and obvious methods based living applications and change from today's hard life style to leisure. Example of "Good stove", highly efficient stove for both, heat and illumination, was discussed in details.

NGOs to understand this concept of energy and promote following measures:
Practice no or minimal transformation of energy. Use thermal energy only for heating as in stove or mechanical energy for work. Electrical energy is required only for electronic gadgetry and nowhere else. Match the energy harnessing speed of plants.

Keep away from all non fossil fuel based sources of energy.

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