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Pedal Power Generator

Basic Idea:

While jumping or running our legs are generating 50-200 Watts of power. If this is converted to electricity and stored in a battery can't we use it in the night for lighting purposes?

For example:

A 11 Watt CFL bulb can light up a room. Radio, taperecorder, loud speaker use about 1-5 Watts. An LED light consumes less than 1 Watt. Thus a human being is capable of generating his/her own lighting needs!

How AID approached the problem:

We initiated a collaboration with the Industrial Design Centre, IIT-Mumbai through a student-project. By Jan 2000 the prototype of the Pedal Power generator generating 40 watts was ready. This excited activists such as Michael Mazgaonkar who connected us with Ronnie Sabawalla of Rashron Auto Ltd. To take a laboratory model to the point of mass production we need people experienced in manufacturing. By June 2000, Ronnie Bhai made a new prototype that could generate 70 Watts. This was installed in Domkhedi village, which is in the tribal belt of Maharshtra where there is no electricity grid. When the Satyagraha against submergene due to SSP dam was launched in July 2000, thousands of people came from these regions and when they saw this Bijli Bike they pedalled! Medha Patkar commented that this was the first CFL in the valley, more than 50 years after independence! The brightly lit Satyagraha hut in the dark background of the hills was quite a sight even from a distance. The feed-back of the village people on posture and pedalling speed helped make an improved batch of 7 new pedal powered generators.

By 2001-2002 the design has been perfected and the Pedal Power Generator is available from Rashron Ltd through mail order. It costs about Rs 7500. AID is subsidizing about 50 % of the costs for schools and NGOs working in villages without electricity. More than 30 generators to groups in several states including Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat have been dispatched. To order contact aid@vsnl.com

Simultaneously we are collaborating with BSFC in Mozda village to set up a workshop so that alternate energy through pedal and wind can be pursued there. This will help create livelihoods in the rural areas while providing electricity.

Why are Village People So Interested? The Economics...

We conducted an energy survey in Nimgavhan village, that neighbours Domkhedi. On an average a tribal household consumes 3-5 litres kerosene a month for the kerosene lanterns or oil wicks. At Rs 9 per litre this is about Rs 35 a month. In addition batteries for torchlights cost another Rs 30 or so a month. In the Nimghavan Jeevanshala (boarding school for 100 children) there were 9 kerosene lamps and average expense of Rs 270 a month. Another Rs 150 for batteries.

All these kerosene lamps won't even generate half a unit (KWHr) worth of light in a month, and yet it costs a rural household Rs 65 a month..... thus the rural people pay 50-100 times more per unit of light than the city people.

What inspired this work?

When we were travelling in the tribal villages in Andhra Pradesh and in the Narmada valley we saw that little children were studying late in the night -- as late as 9-10 PM in Non-Formal Education centre's in AP and till midnight even in Jeevanshalas or boarding schools run by NBA. Since the entire village was dark these children would share one oil lamp between 5-10 kids and read in that light. Moreover the very people who were being displaced by the dams for the sake of hydropower were people whom the government decided to leave in darkness -- that there were lights in rehabilitation sites mattered little as there was no land in these sites for farmers to have a livelihood -- so no one was willing to move.

Who should use Pedal Power?

Certainly village schools and NGOs will be driven by the need. In addition this is a very good educational device for the city schools because children should learn how easy it is to be self-reliant and how simple it is to start tackling the enrgy problem. People in cities should feel happy to try alternatives in solidarity with the poor, and have a change in life-style.

What are the future directions and other projects?

In pedal power we want to try LED lights. More work is needed in the front of batteries. For example, circuits that switch off when battery power is low and prevent over-discharge need to be made and more easily available in rural areas. Every village has at least one government subsidized solar panel that is usually lying in dis-use or under-use. This has to be addressed.

Alternate energy has to also be connected with local livelihoods. Solar PV technology is high-tech. and not much use for villages or even small cities in terms of generating livelihoods there. On the other hand things like pedalpower, windmills, biodiesel run engines can generate employment at the level of towns. Also electricity must not be equated with energy and there can be number of initiatives that directly use the energy for water pumping etc.

Finally...In a nut shell...

15-20 minutes pedalling in the day allows you to light up a room for 1 hour in the night. Want to get one?

Pedal Generator in Action...

A pedal power generator, aka Bijli Bike allows satyagrahis to power thier own lights.15 minutes of pedaling will run one 11 W compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb for an hour.A product of Association for India's Development(AID)'s project in India.

Shown here is an 11 W compact fluorescent light (CFL), the first ever in the tribal villages in the submergence zone. 15 minutes of pedaling will run one bulb for an hour.

Rukmini kaki at domkhedi satyagraha with her flashlight off while Ashutosh pedals, generating light much more cheaply than using batteries or kerosene lamps.

An adivasi farmer from turkheda (Guj) who along with 4 other families is considering buying the pedal generator.

For more info.
On Pedal Power: aid@vsnl.com

on Bio-Mass/Bio-Diesel: vriyer@bom8.vsnl.net.in
Like the charka is for our clothes the pedal powered generator is for energy. It is a way to be self-reliant and bring livelihoods to the rural areas.

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Address: 603, GIDC, Makarpura, Vadodara, Guj India 390010
Telephone: 0265 643224
FAX: 0265 643778
Western Technology Development
Contact Rashron Energy and Auto Ltd
603, G.I.D.C. Ind. Area, Makarpura,
Vadodara 390010 ... Gujarat state .. India..
Fax 0091 265 643778 .... Phone 0091 265 643224 and 643289 ....
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