06 June 2020
India currently has 400 million people with almost no electricity. In this part of the world, villagers are hired to remove weeds and other plant materials from local lakes and woodlands.
Locally collected food waste is an ideal raw material for anaerobic digestion, and the technology is increasingly used throughout India.
The system is designed to provide the community with basic electricity needs and has the added benefit of providing biogas for cooking. For women who often have to cook with dirty smoking fuel in closed houses, this can improve women's quality of life.
The project is unique in that it wants to integrate multiple renewable energy technologies-no fossil fuel backup-to generate electricity on a small scale. Most other projects focus on single-source renewable energy sources (mainly solar energy) and some form of energy storage (such as batteries), followed by fossil fuel (such as diesel) generators as a backup.
The second major development is the use of biogas (from anaerobic digestion) for rural electrification in developing countries. Previously, biogas projects focused solely on biogas cooking.
"The challenge is to make these systems more efficient and integrate them into electrical systems. To do this requires process modeling so that the system can be designed to respond to sudden changes in demand," said Dr. Walker.
The system is designed to produce 14 cubic meters of biogas per day and can provide 65 kWh of electricity per day. The power supply is now used to meet the needs of villagers' families, can also provide lighting for streets and public areas, and power local medical centers and schools.
The team aims to continue the project with the help of industrial partners. These developments may improve low-carbon electricity supplies in developing countries, which in turn can help reduce poverty and increase health care, education and employment prospects for some of the world's poorest people.
The announcement of the World Biogas Association (WBA) supports the development of biogas and anaerobic digestion technologies. WBA was launched at the United Nations Climate Change Convention COP22 in Morocco and is committed to maximizing the use of these technologies to advance the commitments of the Paris Agreement. This work is related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of “Sustainable Access for All”. A team from the University of Sheffield shared their knowledge and expertise in the field of energy technology at COP22 in Marrakech last week.
Sukanya Kumar-Sinha, Acting Director of RCUK India, said: "The project is funded by our" Bridging the Urban-Rural Gap "program and I am pleased to note its popularity. We recently visited the location of the project and apparently the rural areas are Reliable. Electricity can not only improve people's lives, but also improve education and medical facilities. "
The research is only part of ongoing collaborative work between the university and India. Previous research includes addressing corneal infections by developing new technologies to help rapid diagnosis and treatment to reduce patients' vision loss.
This month, the university's vice-principal and vice-principal joined the Indian ministerial delegation to further develop the university's partnership, with special emphasis on the university's #WeAreInternational campaign, which aims to celebrate the interests of the UK's international higher education community.