Small-scale sustainable energy projects

India and its energy fact file
· population 1.2 billion
· Access to electricity : urban areas = 93% of people; rural areas =
· About 400 million Indians don’t have any access to electricity at all

Development project
ASTRA stands for the Application of Science and Technology in Rural Areas, and has been a major development project in India. Its researchers visited villages to
find out about rural people’s lives.

· They found that most rural families spent hours doing routine things like collecting fuel and water, and preparing and cooking food
· The most commonly used fuel was wood, but, with an increasing population, suitable firewood was becoming scarcer. So dried cow dung was often burnt instead
· Women and girls did most of the domestic work, which left little time for helping in the fields, or for school

The solution
Cow dung! Instead of just burning the dung like wood, it can be used to produce BIOGAS. This gas can then be used for cooking and powering electricity generators.

Biogas has brought a range of benefits:
· Women and children gain 2 hours a day, because they don’t have to collect firewood. So children have more time to go to school
· About 80% of families use this time to earn extra money
· The slurry that’s left after fermentation is used to increase crop yields, because it’s high in nutrients
· Cattle are kept in compounds to make collecting the dung easier. So they don’t graze in the forest and eat all of the vegetation
· Many villages use the biogas to power electricity generators. These generators can be used to pump water up from boreholes for domestic use and to irrigate crops, as
well as generate electricity for light