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Akshardham temple using solar technology for cooking its daily quota of 4,000 meals a day

Written By Sambasivarao on Thursday, November 29, 2012 | Thursday, November 29, 2012

Akshardham temple using solar technology for cooking its daily quota of 4,000 meals a day 

The Akshardham temple in the capital has switched from piped natural gas to solar technology for cooking its daily quota of close to 4,000 meals every day.

The solar concentrator, named ARUN®100, produces steam which powers the cooking process. "It works on the principle of a parabola. It uses an ingenious, two-dimensional, fresnelized mirror arrangement scheme to get the parabola effect. The system automatically tracks the sun from rise to set on both the east-west and north-south axes with an accuracy of more than 99.5% intercepting maximum sunlight," Abhishek Bhatewara, director of the company which set up the project, said.

The receiver is designed to operate at temperatures up to 400 degrees Celsius and works as a solar boiler, making it an effective replacement of conventional polluting fuels such as furnace oil, diesel, PNG and coal. The dish is mounted on a single pole and occupies a ground area of 3m by 3m and can therefore be erected in locations with space constraints.

"At the Akshardham langar (community kitchen), we prepare around 4,000 meals each day comprising rice, dal and vegetables. So far we had been using PNG but with solar cooking, we plan to cut down our costs substantially. The project cost the temple Rs 21 lakh and a similar amount was funded by the ministry of new and renewable energy. We hope to recover our entire investment in the next three years or so," Janak Dave, spokesperson for the temple, said.

However, based on their experience of the smoggy conditions over the past few days in Delhi, temple authorities say they need to retain PNG as a back-up system. "We will not have sunlight all through the year. So we have kept our PNG connection. Since the system has no scope for storage of solar energy, we can use the apparatus for cooking only breakfast and lunch even on ordinary days. Dinner is cooked using conventional fuel," Dave said. He said the solar cooker was an experimental project and if it worked in the next six months or so, the temple would consider sun power for other purposes including lighting.

The temple used about 40-50 standard cubic metres (scm) of PNG each day and about 10,000 scm annually. "The temple will not gain just financially. Most Indian PNG is imported and is also slightly polluting. Solar power is the best renewable energy option in a city like Delhi," Bhatewara said.
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1 comment:

  1. You may not have the solar power you are looking for all year round, but believe it or not there is always sun light every day. Whether it is shining through the grey clouds of winter, it is there.

    -Sharone Tal


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