Many industries have not tapped the potential of solar thermal energy: Chunkath
“Renewable energy is no longer
an area of experimentation”
CHENNAI: A solar air heating system, worth Rs.20 lakh, to reduce fuel consumption by of the paint shop was commissioned on Wednesday at the TI Cycles of India, Ambattur.
Commissioning the system, installed by the Theni-based Planters Energy Network (PEN), Chairman and Managing Director of Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency Mohan Verghese Chunkath said many industries had not tapped the potential of the cost-effective solar thermal energy.
While the payback period for solar water heaters in households is five to six years, industrial units, using solar energy for process heating, could recover the cost in about two years.
Solar photovoltaic system, which is expensive, was the only technology that was not ready for mainstream society.
It was not yet a viable alternative to electricity, he added.
Pointing out that renewable energy was no longer an area of experimentation, Mr.Chunkath said solar air conditioning and solar space cooling were the other applications that had enormous potential to save energy. Large-scale manufacturers still hesitated to get into solar thermal power generation.
Chief executive and general secretary of PEN C. Palaniappan said solar air heating system was installed in a space spread over 3,200 sq.ft. at the paint shop of TI Cycles.
Solar air heaters use solar panels to heat the air, which is then conveyed to ovens used for drying the painted cycle parts.
Fuel consumption would be reduced if preheated air is provided to the dryer instead of cold air.
The consumption of super kerosene, the fuel used for drying process, could be saved by nearly three litres per hour for every dryer operated. One litre of super kerosene cost about Rs.41, he said.
Pointing out that the solar air heating system was in use in several areas, including in the manufacture of leather, tea and salt, he said the system could be operated for about 300 days a year and had a lifetime of 15 years. Though the investment was high, the payback period was less than two years, Mr.Palaniappan said.
TI Cycles of India’s vice-president (sales and marketing) B.K.Singh and general manager (finance) N.Shankar were present on the occasion.