dish concentrated steam system
In 2015 India as a whole had an energy supply shortage of 8% relative to the growing demand per the Ministry of New and Renewable Sources of Energy. Hence we set our minds to solving this problem at a small scale by offering a solution to the end-user directly: a device that uses solar concentration to heat a source wherein the water is converted to steam that propels a turbine to create electrical energy and the excess steam is stored in a reservoir for steam cooking. This device was built to power devices required for a small household. The excess steam power was used to aid in cooking rather than the conventional firewood methods of cooking. We decided to go ahead with a Scheffler Dish with a manual tracking system rather than a parabolic trough to ensure that the device and maintenance costs were kept at a minimum. This multi-purpose device was tested in a real-world scenario and came back with successful results.
In this project, I was responsible for conceptualizing, modeling, and finally creating a real-world prototype that could project results forecasted in our initial designs.
While doing this project I learned how creating a solution to provide electricity uncovered another problem that when solved empowered a community to do so much more. Ever since this project I have been bound to solve problems at a community level and move towards building designs that stand the test of time and change the way communities carry on their day to day activities
Chennai, despite being so close to the equator, had not come close to harnessing the power of solar energy to create clean energy. Many villages were away from grids and were termed inefficient to have electricity delivered. During instruction, we learned of various types of solar collectors and realized that we could create a low-cost solution to aid in providing energy for a small household. When we visited a few villages, we realized the pressing problem was that these families walked miles for firewood, and the firewood upon burning caused harmful pollution that reduced their life expectancies. Also, women in these families spent much of their time fetching and maintaining their stock of firewood to cook their daily meals. We realized that we could build a solution for these communities where the solar collector focuses the rays onto a tank that heats water to be converted into steam that could be used to power a simple steam turbine and the existing steam was used to aid steam cooking with the aid of a heat exchanger. We built and tested a prototype that showed successful results. The woman of the household had more time that could be used to do other work and pick up new skills that could contribute to the family.