Posted: May 12, 2008

Cheap nanotechnology power set to light up rural homes

(Nanowerk News) Electrification of homes in rural areas would no more be a distant dream.
Jamshedpur-based Ekta Telecommunication and Systems in India is working on incorporating nanotechnology in the development of solar modules to provide electricity to all at an affordable rate.
The advanced technology can be a boon for rural and urban homes. Increase in efficiency is another benefit of the technology.
The technology, based on the use of a combination of solar cells to build a module and eventually a solar cell, would be developed with the use of thin polymer sheets. Electricity would be generated by placing the thin sheet on the rooftop and drawing solar the power for lighting up the entire house.
“Solar electricity is the only answer to the power crisis in contemporary times. The adoption of nanotechnology would ensure that we can provide electricity to people at prices lower than what the commercial power providers charge,” said Niraj Kumar Mishra, the chairman and managing director of Ekta Telecommunication and Systems.
The company is also working on making the modules available at affordable prices. Ekta is also focussing on increasing the efficiency of the modules.
The cost of the modules would decrease to Rs 5 from the existing Rs 150 to Rs 250 per watt, said officials. The efficiency of the solar modules would go up to an average of 50 per cent from the present rate of 14 per cent.
“Nanotechnology would be used in the preparation of solar cell sheets to generate cost-effective electricity. The sheets would be around 0.6mm, which would also mean a wide use of the technology,” said Mishra.
After developing the technology at their own laboratory in the Adityapur industrial area, talks have been finalised with a US-based company for importing the granules for the formation of the modules. A speciality laboratory is required for the development of the technology. The facility would be constructed at an estimated investment of Rs 25 to 30 crore.
“We have written to the ministry of science and technology to provide us with the financial assistance to develop a state-of-the-art laboratory. If we get help, it would be the first such laboratory in the country,” added Mishra.
The durability of the sheets would prove to be a major added advantage. The average durability of each solar sheet would be around 30 years. Being weather-resistant, the solar sheets are bound to get popular in future.
Having completed almost 75 per cent of the project, the firm hopes to design a prototype by 2011. Mishra said he is close to realising his dream of generating and distributing electricity from solar energy to be used by all at affordable charges soon. He is the recipient of the President’s Award and two Jharkhand Udyog Ratnas.
Source: The Telegraph (Saswati Mukherjee)
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