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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What is Energy Crisis and how to come out of it?

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Energy in its different forms is the basic input for life. It is equally essential for the improvement of the quality of life. Since, our conventional sources of energy or the fossil fuels are running short; it is now the cry of the day to work harder for the development, improvement and up gradation of renewable sources of energy together with protection, conservation and judicious use and management of existing conventional sources.

What is the energy crisis? 

Well. A great shortfall or price rise in the supply of energy resources to an economy is called as energy crisis.

 In fact, it refers to the shortage of oil that occurred from 1973 to 2006, as noted below-

The energy crisis of the earlier days has taught the world a lesson to learn from experiences and to make alternate arrangements well in advance, for the harder days  that are expected to come in future not far away. In 1973, the OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) stopped the export of oil in response to western support of Israel during the Yom Kippur War. After five years, the world had to face oil shortage due to the Iranian Revolution in 1979.After that the Gulf War, in 1990 deprived the world from oil during 190.The failed deregulation and business corruption caused severe crisis in California. The rise in the price of the crude oil alonwith already high taxation on road fuel in the UK caused the energy crisis there. In 2000. The oil prices increase of 2004 to 2006 caused energy crisis due to tight supply margins in the face of increasing demands from the remaining world, especially from China. In this chapter, we are going to study about the conservation, planning and management of energy.

The Energy Conservation
Increasing the efficiency of the use of energy in order to achieve higher useful output for the same energy consumption, saving energy and reducing wastage is called as energy conservation. In today’s conditions energy conservation is important because of following facts-

1. It will help increase the national and personal security,
2. It will increase the financial capital,
3. It will enhance, the environmental value, It will increase the profit of commercial and industrial users of energy.

In India, the Central Government launched the National Campaign on Energy Conservation on 14 December, 2004. The Bureau of Energy Efficiency undertook various types of activities and measures for this campaign; during the year 2005.The country celebrates the National Energy Conservation Day on 14 December, every year. The Ministry entered into the National Campaign 2006 after receiving the encouraging response of the previous year. The National Energy Labeling Programme was finally launched on 18 May 2006.The Government of India is conducting a number of Energy Conservation Awareness Programmes to encourage the practices of energy conservation through out the country. The Rajiv Gandhi AkhshayUrja Diwas is celebrated every year on 20 August to commemorate the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister, late Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

Logo of Rajiv Gandhi Akshaya Urja

Production Efficiency

Increasing efficiency in energy production relates to the production of energy with minimum wastage of the resource used for the production of energy. Energy is usually produced by Thermal Power and Hydel Power plants, upto greater extent. These plants consume large amounts of coal for generating heat so as to boil water, produce steam and run turbines to produce electricity. Here the defects may be found with the boilers and blades of turbines. For this, the design of boilers should be such that minimum heat is absorbed by them for the production of maximum steam. The designs of the blades of steam turbines should be modernized so as to produce the maximum out put. In metallurgical plants, the furnaces should be modernized so as to consume less coal by allowing complete combustion, and to produce more heat while consuming less coal. In a nut shell, such improvements are to be made that allow maximum out put of energy by using minimum amounts of resources.

The potential of power generation from co-generation in India is more than 29000 MW. Mainly the bagasse based co-generation is principally promoted in this country. Since India is the largest producer of sugar in the world. Today, such technologies have been developed that help in the production of two useful forms of energy from the same source. It is called as co-generation.

Most of the energy input is lost as waste heat from production and distribution systems. The waste heat from coal fired boilers or other boilers of industries can be used in running turbines and generating electricity. In modern times, agriculture waste like bagasse is utilized in the co-generation of electricity. The application of modern technologies reduces pollution and lowers the cost of production. Such technologies reduce pollution and lower the cost of production. Such technologies are adopted by industrialists so as to increase profit.

Efficient Utilization
The efficiency in transmission and distribution of energy is most important for the conservation of energy, especially the electricity. The conditions of transformers and transmission lines remain very poor in some countries of the world. The leakage of electricity, burning of supply wires and transformers due to carelessness and mismanagement are common incidents observed mostly in developing countries. Illegal use of energy and non-payments of bills are great hurdles in the ways of conservation and even proper utilization of energy. These are to be eradicated by the government and the law enforcement agencies. In many of the Indian cities equipments like transformers, supply wires, fittings and even the electric poles remain in very dangerous and vulnerable conditions. Most of these remain out dated or expired. This is the reason why we experience frequent interruption in electric supplies during rainy days and windy weathers.

In India, the Electricity Act came into force on the 10 June 2003. With the enactment of this act, all the other pre-existing Acts such as the Indian Electricity Act, 1910, the Electricity (supply) Act, 1948, and the Electricity Regulatory Commission Act, 1998 stand repealed. The Central Government of India notified Electricity Rules, 2005 on 8 June 2005. These rules contain provisions that relate to captive generating Plants, Consumer redressal Forums and Ombudsman, Tariff of Generating Companies, etc. ‘Nine removal of Difficulties Orders regarding inclusion of measures to control theft in Electricity Supply Code, etc. have been issued by the government under Section 183 of the Electricity Act,2003.(Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India- 2007).

In most of the houses, it is seen that less care is offered towards judicious use of energy. In many of the kitchens stoves are left burning the gas even when nothing is placed on them for cooking. Many people leave their TV sets, fans and lights on even when nobody remains there in the rooms. These wastages cumulatively account for amounts of energy wasted regularly. Hence, under the present conditions of shortages of energy resources, it is most essential to correct habits and ensure judicious distribution, transmission and utilization of energy both at the micro- and mega- levels.

Energy Efficiency in Transportation Sectors

The Transportation Sector of energy consumption incorporates all the vehicles used for personal or freight transportation. Approximately 70 per cent of the energy used in this sector is consumed by petrol powered vehicles. About 20 per cent of transport including trains, merchant ships, trucks etc. is powered by diesel. The remaining 10 percent of the fuel is consumed by air traffic. The compressed natural gas is also used as transportation fuel. Coal is also used in transport directly in steam vehicles and boats.Alternative to fossil fuel – run vehicles are electric vehicles and electric boats that use batteries or non-hydrogen fuel cells. The fuel cell operated mini-cars are also running on roads today. 

Most of the old model engines and machines use only a small fraction of energy available in fuel. For example, a car engine uses only 20 per cent of the energy contained in petrol. As per records, even the most efficient power plants use 40 per cent of their fuel into electricity. Now, scientists and engineers across the world are developing more efficient methods of using energy in transportation. They are designing more efficient transport systems to reduce the loss of energy.

In transportation sector, the efficiency can also be enhanced by mass transportation through automobile. The technologists across the world have been improving the efficiencies of the conventional internal combustion engines and further improvements are also expected by reducing the weight of vehicles using new materials.

The Hybrid vehicles allow the engines run more efficiently by re-gaining energy from braking and by possessing arrangements for turning their engines off when idle in traffic. Ceramic and diesel engines improved technologically can improve mileage. Electric vehicles like Maglev and trolleybuses have been proved to be more efficient during use.

The efficiency of transportation fuel has also been increased through the adoption of newer technologies. Some chemical processes can convert carbon and hydrogen in coal, natural gas, plant and animal biomass, and organic wastes into short hydrocarbons suitable as transportation fuels. Some of these fuels are- Fischer-tropsch diesel, methanol, and dimethyl ether or syngas. Today, South Africa is solving most of its fuel problem by producing diesel from coal.

Carbon dioxide of the atmosphere can be utilized for converting it into hydrocarbons by the application of solar energy through the process of photosynthesis. Different types of biofuel are being produced today such as biodiesel, alcohol fuel etc. Growing Jatropha, Pongamia and Jojoba etc. plants, extracting oil from their seeds and using the oil as biofuel either on the place of diesel or mixing it with diesel, is being encouraged by the Government of India. Other countries too, are encouraging cultivation of biodiesel plants. An important example in this direction is the cultivation of Jatropha, being done in Zambia, for a biodiesel firm based in U.K. 

Jatropha curcas plant 

The role of transport in the growth of economy of a country is very important. But the transport is a major contributor to the air pollution also. This fact has been accepted in different policy papers of the Government of India. The approach paper of the Tenth Five Year Plan reads- the growing automobile population combined with the lower quality of fuel is contributing to an increase in the air pollution in India. The share of transport sector in total emission is increasing and is a matter of great concern. There are serious respiratory health problems, associated with air pollution. The main causes of vehicular pollution are outdated technology in heavy motor vehicles, poor maintenance, large number of over age vehicles, overloading, traffic jams and absence of checks on emission standards …….According to the approach paper of the 10th Five Year Plan, stricter environmental norms are necessary for the transport sector. All the major projects, including those in transport sector require environmental clearance before they are taken up. In large cities, like Delhi initiatives have been taken to enforce Bharat Stage II norms for vehicular emissions. Stricter norms conforming to Euro III- IV are also being considered. The Euro norms were adopted in India for the first time in the year 2000. These norms are very strict and are meant for bringing down the pollution levels in the transport sector. The Mashelkar Committee was appointed by the Government of India for observation of Auto Fuel Policies (2000). On the basis of observation, the committee recommended certain important norms for auto exhaust emissions after receiving CNG/LPG Technologies.

The utilization of energy has almost doubled every 20 years since 1900. Causes of this growth in the utilization of energy comprise following factors-

(i) growth of population
(ii) growth of labour force
(iii) increase in the wealth
(iv) Energy using inventions
(v) Products consuming large amounts of energy in their manufacturing processes,
(vi) Non-fuel uses of fossil fuels.

The human population has been rising at a very fast rate. However, the rate of consumption of energy remained much faster. The life style and the standard of living improved and now people became capable of keeping conveniences demanding more and more energy for their operation. The aluminium, plastics, other metals and alloys that demand more energy in their processing came into wide spread use. Together with the increasing rate of development and industrialization, the labour force also increased and the increasing production encouraged the wealth to accumulate with majority of people. In the mean time scientists remained inventing energy consuming devices that reached to human homes for greater comfort and development. A number of products started to be made in industries that demand greater amounts of energy. On the other hand the non-fuel uses of fossil fuel also increased considerably.

Now, it was very important that the efficiency of utilization of already available energy could be raised through appropriate practices. Some of the important ways of increasing the efficiency of utilization of energy are being mentioned below.

1. Application of fluorescent lamps, efficient engines and insulators.
2. Construction of Zero-energy buildings (ZEB).
The Zero Energy Building is a term applied to a building with a net energy consumption of zero over a typical year. The level of Zero Energy Consumption is acquired by constructing such buildings and living in these buildings where the energy provided by on site renewable energy sources is equal to the energy utilized in the building. Though the concept and status of zero energy building are not common in developing countries like India, it is gaining popularity in these countries also.

3.  Recovery of energy from waste hot water and warm wind by the use of heat exchangers.
4. Recovery of energy from hydrocarbon waste through hydrocarbon production through Pyrolysis.
5. Making modifications in existing power plants.
6. Applications of co-generation techniques in power plants.
7. The applications of passive solar, light emitting diodes should be made in zero energy buildings to replace the use of common bulbs.
8. Going for public transport instead of moving in private cars.
9. Use of bicycles for short distances.
10. Developing new and renewable energy and avoiding the use of fossil fuels.
11. Adopting the practice of Energy Efficient Landscaping: This incorporates planting trees for shades, planting wind breaks to slow down the speed of wind near buildings (it prevents heat loss), wall sheltering by the use of shrubbery or vines, earth sheltering, and drought resistant plantation in arid areas.
12. The applications of Solar Energy Chimneys and Solar Energy Towers.

A solar Chimney is an apparatus for harnessing solar energy by the convection of heated air. In fact, it is a black painted chimney in its simplest form. When the Solar Chimney is heated by sun rays during the day time, the air contained inside the chimney is also heated up. As a result an updraft of air within the chimney is formed and suction is created at the base of the chimney that can be used to ventilate and cool the building below. 

The Energy Tower is a device, alternative to the Solar Energy Chimney. It was proposed by Dan Zaslavsky.The Energy Tower is driven by spraying water at the top of the tower. When the water is evaporated, it creates a down draft by cooling the air. The downdraft can be applied in running the wind turbine at the bottom of the tower. The Energy Tower requires plenty of water. Since fresh water is a scarce resource, the marine water should be used for this purpose.

Energy Planning
The process of developing long range policies to help guide the future of a local, national, regional or even the global energy system; is called as Energy Planning.The activities pertaining to the Energy Planning are usually conducted by the government organizations. This is because; the energy planning is related to policy matters of the government. However, the big companies such as Electric Utilities or oil and natural gas companies also go for the energy planning activities.

The Energy Planning has its important roles in the field on Energy Conservation. Some of its these roles are listed below-

(i) It is helpful in setting the framework for regulation in the Energy Sector. For example, it is important for government and other agencies to decide about the type of energy generation system to be installed in future.
(ii) It is important to decide about the cost benefit ratio before installing a plant.

The role of energy planning has been reduced considerably during the past twenty years due to deregulation of energy systems in many countries, in order to compete in the market with other companies. However, with the increasing concern towards the emerging Global Environmental Problems such as Global Warming etc. many countries of the world have come out to frame strict regulations in the energy sector, once again. It is due to the global concern for these environmental problems that some countries are forced to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases from their energy installations. Let us observe a few lines of the report from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, United States –

Most environmental pressure in developing world is due to western or the modern way of life. But, emulation effects- are too simple and have to be completed by process of re- framing and indigenous dynamics. We are observing the rise of a global consumer society, more or less heading towards western standards of energy and resource.  

Integrated Energy Planning

In view of environmental problems emerging out of traditional energy and fuel sectors, energy planning needs integrated approaches. Hence, it is often conducted keeping in mind the energy supplies and also the role of energy efficiency in the reduction of energy demands.
In Integrated Energy Planning process, an area based Decentralized Energy Plan is prepared so as to meet the energy needs for the subsistence and development of alternate sources of energy at the least cost to the economy and environment.

The Integrated Energy Planning aims at reducing the scarcity of energy in following ways- 

(1).By developing Energy Efficient Cooking and heating equipments that do not pollute the environment.
(2).By using compact fluorescent bulbs on the place of ordinary incandescent bulbs.
(3).By adopting Energy Plantation in view of expanding the energy supply.
(4).By making arrangements for search and installation of renewable sources of energy such as micro/ mini/ small hydro- power plants, wind, solar and biomass based systems.

Activities under Integrated Energy Planning: The Integrated Energy Planning incorporates following activities-

(1).Identification of sites for installations of energy devices in decentralized ways.
(2).Generation of awareness about potentials of different non-conventional or renewable sources of energy.
(3).The demarcation of degraded land through Agro-ecological Zonation for Energy Plantation so as to provide fuel and fodder.
(4). Spatial mapping of sources of renewable energy and sector wise demand.
(5). Modeling of the resource demand.

Application of Integrated Energy Plan: The Integrated Energy Plan has following applications –

(1). It provides data base for the study of demographic and natural resources, crop types, residues, plantations, and social forestry.
(2). It is applied in the maintenance of energy informations,
(3). It is applied in making assessment of the technical, economic and environmental effects of alternate energy programmes.
(4). It is applied in making forecasts that help in making projections of energy supply and demands at the intervals of some years.
(5). It is applied for making assessments of renewable energy potential, supply status, and commercial sources of energy etc.
(6). It acts as a data base for environmental technology.

In many developing countries like India, people need to plan an energy system that supplies energy. Making strategies for doing such things is called as Least Cost End Use Energy Planning.

Bureau of Energy Efficiency: The Bureau of Energy Efficiency has been created under the Energy Conservation Act- 2001 for following purposes-

        (1).To recommend Energy Consumption Norms and Standards,
(2).To create awareness, and disseminate information for the efficient use of energy and for its conservation,
(3).To provide financial assistance to institutions to promote efficiency in energy sector,
(4).To implement International Co-operation Programmes related to Energy Efficiency.

Programmes of Bureau of Energy Efficiency for conservation and management of energy in India 

(1). It guides Indian Industries for conservation and efficient utilization of energy,
(2). It regulates the supply and demand of energy by increasing End Use Efficiency and the Demand Side Management (DSM). The energy demanding units are instructed to reduce power demand by increasing efficient use of energy,
(3). It ensures that producers of energy consuming products are keeping Energy Efficiency   Labels on their products, 
(4). It instructs end-users to have energy efficient buildings with energy saving potential of at least 20 to 50 per cent,
(5). It fixes Energy Conservation Codes for buildings especially the commercial buildings,
(6). It carries out Energy Audits in order to make assessments regarding consumption of energy,
(7). It runs programmes for educating the public for the conservation of energy and use of energy efficient devices and energy efficient buildings,
(8). It is making efforts for the reduction of the cost of energy through many different ways,
(9). The Energy Efficiency Policy Research- 2007 is being conducted to find out different areas of increasing efficiency in the consumption of energy,
Energy Management
Human society is facing following challenges due to the diminishing sources of energy-
(i).Development of new and alternate sources of energy.
(ii). Improving the efficiency of power generation.
(iii). Conservation of Energy.

On the other hand, the use of energy creates serious problems in different sectors. It causes: depletion of resources, environmental pollution, and political and economic impacts. For meeting the above both-sided challenges posed by the scarcity of traditional energy sources, a sound energy management is essential at all levels.

What is the Energy Management?

Making sound arrangements for meeting the situation of energy crisis, developing alternate sources, implementing energy conservation plans and strategies, increasing the efficiency of energy production and consumption to ensure a sustainable and pollution free development, is called as Energy Management. In other words, - The process of planning, designing, directing, regulating, and controlling the supply and demand of energy, is called as Energy Management. 

The principal components of Energy Management are- Policy making, energy auditing, energy conservation, training and refreshing the energy managers/ industrial engineers, awareness building, evaluation of energy consumption and wastage, and monitoring of energy utilization etc.The process of scientific study, observation and scrutiny of Energy consumption in view of ensuring judicious, efficient and Eco- friendly utilization of energy and its conservation at all steps is called as Energy Auditing. The officer responsible of energy auditing is called as energy auditor.

Various training programmes in Energy Management are being conducted at the central and state level to prepare skilled managers for promotion and judicious consumption of energy together with other management practices. During recent years, it has been observed that the share of energy cost is steadily increasing as part of the total cost of generation. In India, this trend is further aggravated by security of energy sou8rces. Many countries of the world have framed policies and measure for energy conservation in Industries as a result of which the share of energy in the overall cost has decreased, product quality has improved and the protection of environment has been boosted up. 

The Government of India enacted the Energy Conservation Act- 2001, which states about the importance of appointment of qualified energy Managers in designated industries. The Bureau of Energy Efficiency, Government of India, which has been formed under this act, prepares guidelines for examinations and certifications. The Energy Managers have to identify energy leaks and rectify a large number of such energy leaks occurring in their work without waiting for professional Energy Auditors to identify them. The state governments have designed courses for training of Energy Managers and it is expected that industrial engineers may assume the role of efficient managers in their works with a training imparted by specifically chosen, well experienced and internationally recognized energy experts.

In some parts of India, like in Kerala state, different programmes have been conducted for practicing industrial engineers so that they can conceive and carry out energy efficiency up gradation in their own industries. In these states, training programmes and workshops are being carried on frequently for energy managers. These programmes have special emphasis on Energy Auditing and Management Issues. Kerala is one of the fore running states in this direction. In most of the industries, Industrial Engineers are performing the duties of energy managers. Most of the training and workshops for energy managers are devoted to the improvements of Energy Efficiency, Promotion of energy conservation and encouraging development of technologies related to energy through research, training, demonstration programmes and awareness building.

Factors for energy management

Following factors are considered to be significant for carrying out the Energy Management activities-
(i). Creation of necessary infra-structure for administration,
(ii). Formation of the National Energy Conservation Society,
(iii). Setting of proper standards and development of efficient and Energy efficient technologies,
(iv). Fixing Efficiency enhancing procedures, techniques and devices,
(v). Monitoring safety provisions, analysis and, characterization,
(vi). Constitutional and Legal Support to ensure the conservation of energy,
(vii). Cost- benefit analysis,
(viii). Public awareness and public participation,
(ix) Energy Efficient Landscaping,
(x). Taking care of Environmental Concerns.

During the current age of fast increasing industrialization, the application of eco-friendly technologies (EFTs) has become very important. Solar energy technologies; Wind energy technologies; Ocean – energy technologies; and many others are some of the eco-friendly technologies of energy generation. The Eco-friendly technology of energy generation is one which is applied for the generation of energy and the application of which does not cause any type of harm to the natural environment. Besides these, various other types of technologies are being developed in the energy sector and these emerging technologies are expected to be safer to the environment than others.

Some of the future sources of energy are- Hydrogen, alcohol, and Fuel Cells. These are described below-

Hydrogen as the Future Source of Energy

Hydrogen is a light; cheap and effective fuel which is better than methane (CH4).It has highest energy content per unit of weight of around 52, 000 Btu/lb or 120.7 kJ of any fuel. It does not produce any pollutant except water vapour. Thus hydrogen can be adopted as Eco-friendly future fuel of near zero emission. If burnt inefficiently, it may produce very small quantities of carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons that can be used as lubricants.

As future fuel, Hydrogen has following merits-

(i) It creates very little amount of pollutants,
(ii) It is an energy efficient fuel,
(iii) It has high Octane rating,
(iv) It is far cheap than any other gaseous fuel.
However, the storage of hydrogen poses problems because of its low density. Its storage in pressurized tanks in liquid state makes the containers very heavy to carry and transport. With research, however, it is expected to solve all these hurdles. Through the Carbon Nano-fiber Technology about 70 per cent of hydrogen by weight can be stored safely. Currently it is used as a fuel for rocket and spacecraft propulsion. Besides, hydrogen has various uses. It is also used in fuel cells. Thus one can expect hydrogen to be the future fuel for mankind.

Alcohol as Future Fuel

There are a number of chemical compounds that are produced in industries. Alcohol is one of them. On the basis of chemical compositions and properties, alcohols are divided into two groups- Ethanol or Ethyl Alcohol (CH3CH2OH) and, Methanol or the Methyl Alcohol (CH3OH).Ethyl alcohol is usually made by fermentation from the carbohydrates that are contained in fruits, molasses, grains and other agricultural products. Industrially, it is prepared from ethylene (CH2 = CH2).Ethanol is used as a blend with gasoline for the production of energy in transport sector. It is popularly blended with gasoline to run cars in Brazil. Ethanol is considered to be a good fuel and also a good blend of petrol. It creates less air pollutants and so it can be utilized as a fuel to reduce the dependency on imported fossil fuel.Methyl alcohol or the methanol also called as wood alcohol or carbinol and can be manufactured from hard wood or from hydrogen and carbon monoxide. It is commonly used as a solvent, a raw material for the manufacture of formaldehyde and special resins, anti freeze and also as a metal cleaner. It is also used as a special fuel that causes very less emissions.

Methyl alcohol produces very small quantity of gaseous carbon. Hence its ozone depleting potential is very low. However it causes emission of Sulphur and Sulphur compounds though in negligible amount. It has a low calorific value as compared to gasoline. Use of alcohol on a large scale poses some technical problems. Hence further researches and development of new technologies are necessary to make alcohol a fuel of future.

Fuel Cell as Future Fuel

The device through which the energy of a chemical reaction is converted into electricity is called as a fuel cell. A fuel and an oxidant are supplied into the fuel cell continuously from outside. Thus the fuel cell can work as long as the fuel and the oxidant are supplied into it and hence, it can not run down like a battery. It is hoped that the fuel cell will replace the conventional internal combustion engines in automobiles in near future. Fuel cell operated cars have started running on the roads of the world now.

A fuel cell consists of two electrodes- the cathode and the anode. A cathode is the negative end, and an anode is the positive end of an electric circuit. Both of these ends are separated by an electrolyte. What is an electrolyte? Well, an electrolyte is a substance that allows ions to pass through them. But, what are ions? Ions are particles formed from a neutral atom or molecule when it gains or loses one or more electrons from it. The fuel that is filled into the cell from out side flows to the anode and the oxidant that too is filled into the cell from outside, goes to the cathode. When a chemical reaction starts between the fuel and the oxidant, the electric current is generated which starts flowing through the connecting wire. The electrons flow from anode through the electric circuit to the cathode.

The Primary Fuel in the fuel cell is hydrogen. Other fuels are also used to produce hydrogen with the aid of specific equipment called as reformer. The potential applications of the fuel cells are –production of electricity, water and heat, industrial and residential uses, surface transportation, electrification of remote locations, power supply for personal computers, power supply to hospitals and clinics. Many Indian and foreign companies have started production of large fuel cells for big scale uses. Some of them are forming associations to develop fuel cells for many types of uses.

Scientists have developed a new technology for producing hydrogen on the spot for internal combustion engines. They have developed an alloy of aluminium and gallium (Ga Al28) which has the potential to replace petrol. Hydrogen is produced through the reaction between the alloy and water. From there hydrogen is fuelled directly to the engine. Through this technology, the need for transportation and storage of the fuel is eliminated completely. These hydrogen generating fuel cells made of alloy of aluminium have efficiency of 75 per cent as compared to petrol engines having efficiency of about 25 percent. (CSE, June2007).

In India, the Research and Development Projects for the development of different types of fuel cells are being supported financially. Some of these fuel cells covered under different projects are – Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFC), Phosphoric Acid Fuel Cells (PAFC), Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC), Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DEFC) and Molten Carbonate Fuel Cells (MCFC), components and materials for fuel cells including control and instrumentation System. The SPIC Science Foundation, India, has developed a fuel cell battery hybrid van during current times. The ‘foundation has also developed a Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell of 3 kW capacity  to work as a source of  un-interrupted Power Supply which is undergoing modification for the improvement of its performance. The Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad is developing a 50 kW fuel cell system by the application of Methanol which will be reformed into Hydrogen.(Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, 2007).

Advantages of fuel cell

(i) As compared to the vehicles run on fossil fuels, the fuel cells cause emissions up to a very low level.
(ii) These cells can be given different types of shapes as per the requirement of the device or the consumer.
(iii) The electricity produced through these cells is never subjected to any transformation. Thus no loss of energy is observed through these cells.
(iv) In terms of conversion of fuel to power, the fuel cells are more efficient than internal combustion engines.

How to enhance efficiency of devices and optimize the energy utilization  ?

In most of the sectors energy is wasted due to old machines, faulty transmission, and poor combustion of fuels. These wastages can be checked by replacing old machines by new and advanced ones; by correcting poor transmission systems and by adopting advanced internal combustion technologies. These corrective measures if taken up properly, will not only reduce consumption rate of energy, it will enhance production along with affecting the overall economy in a big way. High mileage motorbikes should be used on the place of old model scooters and more electric consuming bulbs should be replaced by less electric consuming bulbs. High friction components in old model machines enhance energy consumption. Hence, such components should be replaced in order to increase the efficiency of motors.

The adoption of nanotechnology has been found to be much useful in enhancing the efficiency of machines. The application of machines that run on fossil fuels boosts up the efficiency of devices. The old model earthen Chullhas should be replaced by new model smokeless Chullhas so as to ensure maximum combustion of wood fuel and generation of less smoke and ash.

Smokeless Chullha

Optimizing energy utilization means enhancing the efficiency of machines up to such extent that maximum energy can be utilized from energy sources without allowing any wastage. The application of smokeless Chullhas in rural areas helps in deriving maximum energy out of the wood fuel burnt for cooking. In the same way, efficient machines can improve the production up to greater extent while consuming less energy.

Key Words : Energy Crisis,energy utilization,smokeless Chullhas,Molten Carbonate Fuel Cells, Direct Methanol Fuel Cells ,Methyl alcohol,Energy Conservation, Energy Auditors, Bureau of Energy Efficiency, uel cell, Eco- friendly utilization of energy, Solar energy technologies; Wind energy technologies; Ocean – energy technologies, integrated energy planning, National Campaign on Energy Conservation, energy management. 

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