Replication of Biomass Energy Technologies in India

Replication of Biomass Energy Technologies in India

In the mountainous regions of the Darjeeling Himalaya, rural communities are fully dependent on forest for food, fodder, fuel, shelter and other daily needs. In many remote forest regions of Darjeeling district, fuel wood is the most important energy source from forests.The amount of wood harvested for fuel wood is much more than harvested volumes for industrial and other purposes. Surveys done by ATREE have shown that a single household in the villages around Singalila National Park and Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary consumes 21 kg of fuel wood per day (that is around 7ton of fuel wood per year).

Therefore an efficient technology was required to minimise the consumption of fuel wood in order to reduce degradation of forests and mitigate carbon emissions through burning of biomass. ATREE in collaboration with Namsaling Community Development Centre, (NCDC) Ilam introduced the Improved Cook Stoves (ICS) in the villages in Darjeeling. ATREE first trained 263 people (98 female and 165 male) people from 30 different forest villages from Singalila National Park and Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary. Through this initiative ATREE has installed 635 ICS units in 30 villages.

ICS is a scientifically modified version of our own traditional cooking stove which is more efficient both in fuel wood consumption and smoke emission than traditional stoves.ICS is made with locally available materials like mud, cow dung, saw dust etc. Post installation of ICS has shown that ICS consumes 30% to 50% less fuel wood in comparison to traditional cooking stove. They also reduce smoke by 60% to 70% than traditional stove. By using ICS children and mothers are less exposed to smoke and air pollution and there is a lesser probability of getting bronchial diseases. These also reduce women’s drudgery by reducing the time and distance spent on collecting fuel wood and later cleaning of the kitchen space and implements.

The United Nations General Assembly has declared March 21st as the ‘International Day of Forests’, 2017. Aligning with this year’s theme ‘Forests and Energy’, ATREE organized an orientation and demonstration fair for Improved Cooking Stoves (ICS) at Simkuna Sai High School, 3rd mile, Darjeeling. Representatives from various government, non-government stakeholder viz. Forest Department, Forest Protection Committee, Eco-development Committee, NGOs, educationists, students and the civil society were a part of the program. The program was inaugurated by the Divisional Forest Officer, (Territorial), Mr. Ram Prasad Badana, IFS. Mr. Gunaraj Khanal, the Engineer from NCDC and the Senchel ICS Micro-enterprise members actively participated in orienting and explaining the eight models of ICS installed at the venue. Seven Self Help Groups (SHGs) and beneficiaries supported by ATREE also organized stalls with items for sale – vermi-compost, pickles, woven wear, honey, vegetables and mushroom.

Source: The Darjeeling Chronicle