EPSRC logo

Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/E044360/1
Title: Enhanced biomass production and energy conversion for use in water-scarce areas of India
Principal Investigator: Davies, Professor PA
Other Investigators:
Hill, Dr JL
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Engineering and Applied Science
Organisation: Aston University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 September 2007 Ends: 28 February 2011 Value (£): 712,038
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Bioenergy Sustainable Energy Networks
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
EP/E044093/1 EP/E045790/1
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The provision of modern energy services is an essential part of alleviating poverty in India and the developing world. Traditionally, biomass has been and remains the principal source of energy for many and it is likely to be a major energy resource of the future. However, the distributed and low-grade nature of biomass makes it essential to introduce more effective means of production and use.Biomass production requires water and land which are also needed for other purposes. Therefore it is important to take a holistic view when it comes to making the best use of these finite resources. Rather than viewing energy conversion in isolation, our approach is to introduce technologies having multiple benefits. Thus, we will set up a plantation in the village of Manpura (representative of isolated communities in Rajasthan) to grow crops which can yield not only energy but also food, fodder, soap and botanical pesticides. In Faridabad (a small town in Haryana state) we will grow energy crops but at the same time treat sewage. A small scale tri-generation system, fuelled by biomass, will be developed to provide electricity, ice for food preservation, heat for drying crops and/or pure water for drinking.The development and transfer of these technologies makes use of a great deal of expertise already developed in the UK. For example, the development of the tri-generation system builds on work on refrigeration accomplished at the University of Warwick while introducing the new challenge of making a small-scale device suited to use in developing countries. The work on solar distillation at Aston builds on experience gained in earlier overseas projects but aims to develop UK capacity in this area of growing importance. The combination of sewage-treatment with energy plantations is well tried through recent projects in the UK and Europe; but India presents a whole new set of constraints which need to be taken into consideration.Any technology could fail if specified by the provider rather than by the user and this is especially true when the two are geographically and culturally remote from each other. To minimise this risk, a key element of the work will be the identification of socio-economic success factors through interviews, focus groups and observations in India, facilitated by our partners at IIT-Delhi.The socio-economic study will enable success to be measured where these projects are implemented; but to go beyond that we will carry out modelling, taking into account both the physical systems (plantation, engine, refrigerator, etc.) and the human participants. This modelling will enable us to investigate a variety of future scenarios in which the technologies are implemented.This project is a consortium among the universities of Aston, Warwick, Leeds, Bristol and Coventry with assistance from WRc and in close collaboration with IIT-Delhi.
Key Findings
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Potential use in non-academic contexts
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Description This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.aston.ac.uk