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Friday, January 13, 2012

National Programme on Improved Chulhas (NPIC)

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Lots of pollutants are produced by burning of wood and biomass (like dung cakes and agricultural wastes) in traditional chulhas (stoves) in rural areas. On the other hand, lots of wood is burnt to produce very less calories of energy. Thus, very much wood and energy is wasted due to incomplete combustion.

During 1984—85, Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources (MNES), Govt. of India launched a National Programme on Improved CHULHAS (NPIC) in view of conservation of wood-fuel and reduction of smoke from kitchens of rural India. Improved chulhas are wood-stoves designed through continuous research. The traditional chulhas have an efficiency of only 8 to 10 per cent whereas improved chulhas have a minimum thermal efficiency of 20 to 25 per cent. Thus, an improved chulha produces more energy and consumes less wood without producing much smoke and ash.
The National Programme on Improved Chulha had popularised only durable chulhas having a potential life span of at least 5 years, and provided with a chimney. The reasons for disseminating only such chulhas is that the improved chulhas are costlier than the traditional chulhas and therefore they have to last longer than the average life of just two years of a typical mud chulha, and that the harmful flue gases and smoke are taken out of the house by a chimney.

Because these models are costly, NPIC provides a subsidy to their users. There are however several other chulhas that are being offered outside the NPIC by chulha entrepreneurs and potters in Maharashtra. Some of the popular models are Laxmi, Parvati, Grihalaxmi and Bhagyalaxmi. They are generally made of unburnt clay, but the same models can also be fired or made by using cement concrete.

An improve wood-stove ensures quality and durability of improved chulhas, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has introduced ISI marking scheme on these chulhas. About 35.2 million improved wood stoves have been installed in rural homes so far.
Key Words : MNES, Improved Chulhas, Kitchen

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