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Potential Unlimited: Green Indian Textile Industry

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India has plans of taking its economic growth to the next level, but for that to happen, access to quality, reliable and aff ordable energy is of utmost importance. Today, the country is seen as a potent market for renewable energy and this has been possible due to consistent support from the policy makers and other stakeholders. As the impact and role of renewable energy continues to grow, a plethora of new opportunities have come to the fore and the country has embarked upon numerous initiatives.

Renewable energy therefore, not only promises to be a good source of generating clean electricity by setting up power plants, but it also has its employability in various other sectors as well. Right from providing clean cooking systems to back-up power through rooft op solar panels, the role of renewable energy technologies (RETs) is making its presence felt in various energy-intensive sectors, viz- transport, agriculture, telecom, industrial heating, internal security environment and wildlife conservation to name a few. Th e advantage of negligible fuel expenses, very low operation and maintenance costs usually off set the initial capital costs of the RETs. Energy Next takes a look at the prospective use of RETs in diff erent aspects of life and the impact that it would have in the long run— both from the point of view of economic benefi t and climate change issues.

THE STUDY

ComSolar, GIZ and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s (MNRE) joint project under Indo-German Energy Programme on commercialisation of Solar Energy in Urban and Industrial areas, carried out a study to identify promising industrial sectors for solar energy technologies.

The study resulted with the identification of five sectors as the most promising for solar intervention, including the textile sector, wherein it was found that if the energy replacement potential (ktoe/ annum) was 403, the estimated monetary savings would be ` 8,432 million per annum. It concluded that the textile (finishing) sector is one of the most promising, with regard to the use of primarily solar thermal technologies for various applications which are commercially attractive in terms of internal rate of returns (IRR) and payback-times. The commercial viability of solar technologies is much higher for industries using fuel sources such as furnace oil, coke or diesel.

Stating how the use of solar energy can help, the study added, “Textile processing requires a lot of hot water in the range of 40-110°C at various stages of the production process. The requisite heat can easily be generated through solar energy. Around 383 ktoe/annum of conventional energy consumption can potentially be substituted, resulting in monetary savings of about ` 7.7 Mio per annum. Textile spinning and weaving is also very important in terms of output, investment and employment. ASI statistics show that this sector consumed 3.34 Mtoe of primary energy in 2007-08. One of the processes involved in weaving, called sizing, requires hot water at a temperature between 80-85°C. Hence, it is estimated that solar thermal interventions are possible in this process throughout the industry in a range of 27ktoe/annum, saving ` 740 Mio per annum.”

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INDIAN TEXTILE INDUSTRY

The Indian textile industry is believed to be the second largest in the world, also the oldest and largest sectors of the country, accounting for around 30 per cent of exports. Moreover, it is also the second largest employment generator after agriculture. At the same time, it is also one of the highest energy consuming sectors in India. About 23 per cent energy is consumed in weaving, 34 per cent in spinning, 38 per cent in chemical processing and another 5 per cent for miscellaneous purposes.

Across the country, some textile companies are opting for renewable energies such as solar. One such instance is that of Jharcraft, which has found a visible change in production, by opting for solar power.

Dr B C Prasad, general manager, operation, Jharcraft, reveals, “Earlier, the weaving was done manually, so the production was less. As we work in villages, where there is no power, we had little choice. But after 2010, ever since we began using solar power on a large scale, things have been streamlined.”

The textile industry in Tamil Nadu is among the largest investors in wind energy and accounts for over 3,000 MW of captive wind power capacity out of the total 7000 MW in the state. Estimates of the capacity being backed down, (the wind mill power is not being utilised), range from 30 per cent of the capacity, according to the South Indian Mills Association (SIMA), to over 40 per cent as per wind energy associations.

The textile sector has also been identified as a designated consumer by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE). As per statistics provided by the Annual Survey of Industries (ASI), the primary energy consumption in the sector was 4.46 Mtoe in 2007-08. Textile processing steps range from singeing (removal of protruding fiber) to finishing and printing of the fabric and manufacturing, polyester, polyester filament yarn, acrylic, nylon, viscose, cotton, etc. Competition is fierce, hence reliable and affordable energy supply is crucial for this industry.

Solar-powered plane to make round-the-world trip next year

Come 2015, India and rest of the world can see the first aircraft that is powered by solar energy and can fly non-stop.

The aircraft, to be unveiled in a few months from now, will make a round-the-globe trip next year, showcasing the latest technology in various countries where it will have stopovers, according to Switzerland-based company Solar Impulse, which is manufacturing it.

The plane, weighing around 2,740 kg, will be powered by 12,000 solar cells and can fly at the speed of 70 kms per hour.

It can fly day and night continuously, collecting energy from the Sun, the company’s CEO Andre Borshberg told PTI here.

Maintaining that the plane will have only one pilot as of now, he said that while the aircraft can fly continuously day and night, “the limiting factor is the pilot. He cannot sustain endlessly and has to take rest.”

The around-the-world sojourn will be for three months, with the total flight time being 20-25 days and nights.

The journey will begin somewhere in the Middle East and the flight’s first destination will be India.

“We hope to make two stops in India – one on west coast and another in the east – before the aircraft goes to Myanmar,” said the CEO, who is here in connection with preparations for making the India-part of the sojourn a high-profile event.

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The longest non-stop flight of five days and five nights will be across the Pacific Ocean, he said.

“The goal is to make an aircraft which has unlimited endurance. It is a human challenge also….besides making the aircraft which is very efficient in energy and energy savings,” he said, adding it should “become an ambassador of what we can do with this technology.”
Explaining the motive behind the initiative which is being supported by the Swiss government, the CEO of Solar Impulse said, “The goal is to inspire people, the young generation about what is possible, about the potential of technology.”

Borschberg said the experiment is to show how renewable energy can be used and energy consumption reduced.

“If we can use renewable energy on an airplane, we can certainly use it on the ground, where it is much more simple,” he said.

He said the aircraft has such technology which makes it efficient with reduced energy consumption that enables it to fly day and night continuously. The same technology can be used on buildings and cars, he said.

“We hope to showcase the technology in India to attract young generation which could help young generation to realise their own dreams,” he said.

Borschberg said the company would gauge the interest of the Government of India and is looking for big industrial houses to host it.

“We hope to do communication in India. We want students to see the pioneering technology,” he added. Pitching for greater use of solar energy, which is clean and renewable form of energy, Borschberg said it can be more useful in remote and hot areas.

It can be used in providing electricity to buildings and power to cars. Solar panels used on this plane can also be used on satellites, he said. “The potential of this technology is immense,” he added.

On why the usage of solar energy is not spreading, the company’s chief said cost of power could be factor. At the same time, he said the high cost of power could be during the initial period and in the long run, it will be worth investing.

He said some Chinese companies have already started pulling down the prices by producing energy at low cost.

Los Angeles school adopts a giant solar wall – USA

Created by U.S. architectural firm Brooks + Scarpa, the recently completed Green Dot Animo Leadership High School in Inglewood, Los Angeles, wears its green heart very much on its sleeve. The new public school for 500 students is characterized by a large south facing façade covered with 650 solar panels, which not only help shield the building from the sun but also capture an estimated 75 percent of the energy needed to power the school.

According to Brooks + Scarpa the school’s combined sustainable strategies “will reduce carbon emissions by over 3 million pounds (1.36 million kilograms),” which translates to the equivalent of the annual emissions from more than 1000 cars.

In a design that also incorporates passive solar principles, the architects chose to move away from creating a traditional large block-like structure, instead choosing to build the school around a large internal courtyard. Benefiting from the Californian temperate climate, this landscape naturally makes its way into the school’s protected open-air lobby. This design helps to improve the amount of natural light and ventilation that can enter the structure, limiting the need for additional interior lighting and air conditioning.

Where the exterior is not covered with solar panels, ribbed screens have been installed which visually connects the school with its external environment and enable staff members to control how much light can enter the building.

The 53,500 square foot (4970 sq m) Green Dot school was completed at a cost of US$17.3 million.

Solar Power : How does solar power work?

Solar energy systems convert sunlight into electricity using technology such as photovoltaic (PV) panels, also known as solar panels.

When you install a solar energy system, your home uses electricity produced by the panels. Electricity you generate but don’t use can be fed back into the main electricity grid and your retailer will pay you for this energy.

To feed electricity into the main electricity grid, you need a new meter that can measure two way flows of electricity (into and out of the grid)—your solar installer will be able to confirm whether your existing meter is suitable or whether you need a new meter installed.