An instrumentation engineer has thought his way out of the power and cooking gas crises. Liffy Thomas checks out his ingenious solution, which is out in the open
K.S. Jayaraman cooks in the open with the sun as his assistant. This 76-year-old instrumentation engineer from MIT Chromepet has installed a solar cooker on the terrace of his two-storey house in Valasarvakkam. Except for sunless days, his food is cooked there. Jayaraman extends the hand of friendship to anyone crossing his path, and it is not surprising he has invited his neighbours to try out his solar cooker.
He inspires awe in his neighbours - not only cooking initiate, but a thorough going effort at making his house solar-powered. The lights, fans, computer and television are wired into a one-kilowatt photovoltaic power plant installed on the roof top. A solar heater is another installation on the terrace. He can't mask his disappointment as he explains that the one-kilowatt facility cannot take the loads imposed by a refrigerator and an air-conditioner.
During the day, the power plant runs most of the electronic gadgets in the house. “In the event of a power failure at night, the batteries in the solar facility can be relied on for a back-up of five to six hours," says Jayaraman, who lives with his wife.
With his engineering skills, Mr. Jayaraman assembled and installed the solar facility. “I have spent close to Rs. 3 lakh buying solar products. The initial investment is huge, but in five years the returns will start coming. Adoption of solar energy will effect a 50 per cent saving on electricity bills,” says Jayaraman.
He staunchly believes solar technologies are bound to grow by leaps and bounds. And the belief seems to have dictated the choice of his vocation. After a long stint with the Madras Aluminium Company came to an end, he joined a Chennai-based solar company as its advisor.
Lifting a handful of cooked rice with a ladle, he says, "With a solar cooker, making food takes longer. But we are at an age, when we don't have to worry about catching a bus or keeping deadlines. And then, when we factor in the savings in fuel and electricity, we don't mind this one bit."
He can be reached at 9444007105.