Currently in India, an estimated 7.32 million cremations are performed every year, using mainly wood (450 kg per body) consuming over 3 million tonnes of wood and resulting in an estimated 0.5 million tonnes ash and 8 million tonnes CO2 emissions. The substitution of wood or gas will, therefore, decrease the operational expenses, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce deforestation besides conservation of scarce fossil fuels. Harnessing concentrated solar energy for cremation in India can contribute in a major way for reducing deforestation.
India is getting ready to tap solar energy in a big way for power generation with a fivefold increase in the target under National Solar Mission from 20,000MW to 100,000MW by 2022. This target is mostly for utility scale solar power projects, rooftop solar and off grid solar for rural electrification. Using concentrated solar power for producing high temperatures required for incineration and industrial process heat is extremely rare though intuitively natural.
Solar Technology Advisors (STA), Madrid, Spain and Shri Shakti Alternative Energy Ltd (SSAEL), Hyderabad, India have signed an MoU, to use Spanish R&D expertise in solar energy for innovative industrial applications. The MoU was signed at the Indo Spanish Workshop held on 21stNovember 2014 as a part of the Knowledge Expo 2014, organized by CII, Department of Industrial Promotion and Department of Science and Technology with several other national & international partners. Some of the initial R&D projects being taken up by SSAEL and STA are:
In India, one of the major reasons of deforestation is cremation of dead bodies, which accounts for burning of several million trees every year. Cremation, as a custom, has got deep roots in Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist religious practices. The traditional cremation consists of an open wooden pyre to burn the dead body. Some of the modern methods for cremation are using electricity, biomass gasifier and LP Gas as fuels for the furnaces.
Our key innovative approach is to make solar power the primary energy source in the wood, electricity or LP Gas fired furnaces used for cremation. The supply of heat to the furnace will be through concentrated solar energy complemented with solar PV to produce the electricity to operate the ancillary equipment, thus leading to a clean, low operating cost system which can be run without grid connection, if needed. The system will able to reach required temperatures of around 1000 deg C and will include an exhaust control system that will avoid undesirable odours or pollution.
Solar Hybrid for Biomass Power Projects
There are an estimated 300 biomass power projects in India, many of which are under utilized and are struggling because biomass has become scarce and expensive. STA and SSAEL plan to offer a solution using concentrated solar power expansion to generate steam that will increase the capacity factor without extra biomass consumption and thus improve the economics of the existing biomass projects.
About SSAEL and STA:
Shri Shakti Alternative Energy Ltd (SSAEL) was incubated by the IFC, Washington, under a GEF program called PVMTI in 2000. SSAEL is a Hyderabad, India, based solar consultancy and project development company. SSAEL has carried out clean energy consultancy projects for World Bank, ADB, USAID, UNIDO, KFW, and UNICEF. SSAEL's 100MW Solar Park in India Project won the Business Plan competition of AFCEF 2013, Singapore, conducted by CTI PFAN, ADB and USAID.
SSAEL has joined hands with Solar Technology Advisors (STA), Spain, to utilize their R&D expertise in solar thermal energy gained over decades. STA is a spin-off from Plataforma Solar de Almeria (PSA), the largest solar thermal R&D Centre in the World. STA has carried out engineering, technical advisory and consultancy projects for World Bank, ADB, IADB and public organizations and private companies from Chile, China, Peru, Spain, Uzbekistan and India.
The Indo Spanish Workshop was organized at the Knowledge Expo 2014 by Global Innovation and Technology Alliance (a joint venture of DST and CII) and Center for Development of Technologies for Industry (CDTI), Spain.