The £859,193 project is funded by the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and could improve the living conditions of many Indian people as well as having long-term benefits to academic research.
Dr Philip Davies and Dr Jason Hill from Aston will begin work on the project in June and it will last for 36 months. They will join colleagues from the universities of Warwick, Leeds, Bristol and Coventry with assistance from WRc (previously called the Water Research Centre) and in close collaboration with IIT-Delhi.
The overall aim is to provide improved means of cultivating biomass resources in water-scarce areas of Northern India and of locally converting them into useful energy services such as cooling for food preservation and ice production, electricity and applications using low-temperature heat such as food processing. There will be a high emphasis on the teaching of practical skills to local people.
Principal Investigator Dr Davies explained: ‘The provision of modern energy services is an essential part of alleviating poverty in India and the developing world.
‘Traditionally, biomass from trees and shrubs has been and remains the principal source of energy for many people and it is likely to be a major energy resource of the future. However, the distributed and low-grade nature of the biomass fuel makes it essential to introduce more effective means of production and use.
‘Biomass production requires water and land which are also needed for other purposes. Our approach therefore is to introduce technologies having multiple benefits. We will set up a plantation in the village of Manpura (which is an isolated community in Rajasthan) to grow crops which can yield not only energy but also food, fodder, soap and botanical pesticides.
‘In Faridabad (which is a small town in Haryana state) we will grow energy crops and at the same time treat sewage. A small scale tri-generation system, fuelled by biomass, will be developed to provide electricity, ice for food preservation, heat for drying crops and/or pure water for drinking.’
The development and transfer of these technologies makes use of a great deal of expertise already developed in the UK.*
The lack of basic services requiring energy and water contributes to the pressures on rural people in India to abandon their way of life and join the drift towards the country’s growing cities.
‘Often they end up living in slum conditions on the edge of escalating property markets, leaving behind them a kind of rural wasteland’, continued Dr Davies. ‘We would like to counter this trend by setting up models of livelihood and local enterprise based on sustainable land use coupled with technology for the local provision of energy and related services.
‘A key element of the work will be the identification of socio-economic success factors in the project through interviews, focus groups and observations in India, facilitated by our partners at IIT-Delhi.
‘This socio-economic study will measure the project’s success in the areas where it has been implemented. We will also carry out modelling, taking into account both the physical systems (for example engines or refrigerators) and the human participants. This modelling will enable us to investigate a variety of future scenarios in which the technologies could be introduced.’
Professor Julia King, Vice-Chancellor of Aston University, said: ‘Aston’s involvement in this project is another excellent example of how our researchers’ engineering knowledge base is being translated into practical solutions for improving people’s lives. I am delighted that the University is involved and look forward to receiving news of the project’s progress.’
Sally Hoban | alfa
Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli
26.04.2017 | University of the Basque Country
New data unearths pesticide peril in beehives
21.04.2017 | Cornell University
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences