Steam energy is coming back very fast as blessing for local distributed generation. There is bright scope of establishing 10 million tiny thermal power plants in India. Capacity of most of such tiny power plants will be from 2 kw to 20 kw and rarely up to 100 kw. Liberalization of power generation has opened vast opportunities for small generation capacities in villages.
Such tiny power plants will have the following eye catching advantages:
- Tiny thermal power plants will be very cheap. Almost at 20 % cost per KW basis of giant power plants. So with same investment, about 5 times capacity can be built.
- Tiny power plant will use steam engine which is simple technology. The technology of steam engine is not a new technology. We should remember that entire British empire was built and expanded in the world by using steam engines. They used steam engines in boats and steamers, in vehicles and railways, in war equipment, in factories, in textile mills and so on. Steam engine is so much simple that even in villages, it can be produced on lathe.
In most of the cases, direct mechanical power will be more convenient and generation of electricity will not be required. So investment cost of generators and motors will be saved.
- Steam engines and tiny power plants can be operated on biomass, agricultural waste, crop residue, forestry waste, wood etc. So farmers can produce their own power. So farmers will be independent from the harassment from electricity authority. In India,about 20000 MW power can be produced from 280 million tonnes of biomass through tiny power plants and steam engines.
- Tiny power plants and steam engines will greatly encourage co-generation with CHP application such as oil milling, sugarcane crushing, rice milling etc. This will save a lot of energy.
- Tiny power plants and steam engines will be established in villages and hence it will greatly save transport expenses of agricultural produces from villages to cities.
- Tiny power plants and steam engines will greatly contribute for rural development, income and employment generation in villages and homogeneous development of the country.
- Small boilers of tiny power plants and steam engines will not be fuel specific but they can accept any type of fuel including coal. So small steam engines will be blessing to small farmers.it will get more and more importance particularly in agriculture and agro processing industries.
- Gestation period of giant power plant is 3 years while tiny power plants can be installed in 3 days. Tiny power plants and steam engines will greatly reduce the requirement of transmission lines and distribution lines. This will be extra savings.
- Tiny power plants and steam engines will greatly contribute for water lifting problem. Entire rural India is facing heavy shortage of electric power in agriculture sector and as electricity is never available in time, farmers are losing their crops. This can be avoided and problem can be solved by Tiny power plants and steam engines.
- Rural electrification is unsolved problem since last 60 years. Steam power can solve this problem easily with minimum expense. 80 million poor homes have no electricity in villages of India. For tiny thermal power plant, no transmission lines, no distribution lines, no losses. Simply by running it for a few hours, all people can enjoy electricity by charging the batteries which will never betray. Thus entire india can be electrified only in 3 years by using tiny power plants and steam engines.
- The biggest advantage is that people can enjoy freedom from the tyranny of electricity board officers. Thus we can bring real revolution in rural India by establishing 10 million steam engines and tiny thermal power plants.
- V K DESAI
(The Author is a Managing Director of TinyTech Plants, Rajkot.)