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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Clean water from cow dung- Slingshot

Everyone knows that Dean Kamen is a real creative guy (remember the Segway) who is often far ahead ofthe rest of the pack. A new initiative by him in collaboration with Iqbal Quadir (of Grameen phone fame) aims to provide clean water from cow dung. The solution is a combination of a power plant powered by biomass (cow dung is one of the things that it can burn) and a water purifier powered by it. Trials are on in Bangladesh and the device seems to have an economic model as well.
As ever the innovation is in the execution. Quadir is also a visionary who buys into distributed power as a kind of democratic principle. Some quotes below.
Instead of putting up a 500-megawatt power plant in a developing country, he argues, it would be much better to place 500,000 one-kilowatt power plants in villages all over the place, because then you would create 500,000 entrepreneurs.

"Isn't that better for democracy?" Quadir asks. "We see a shortage of democracy in the world, and we are surprised. If you strengthen the economic hands of people, you will foster real democracy."

1 comment:

  1. Good News India a great resource on grass roots happenings in India has two similar interesting reports:

    Bio-diesel from vegetable oil
    Reaching the remote corners of India SVO [straight vegetable oils] powered gen-sets can deliver power to farms and houses in a 40 area!

    Conversion of Plastic wastes to Industrial Fuel and LPG
    IOC investigated the venture and found that "The products have been tested at IOC R&D and recommended possible end uses are as follows: For liquid hydrocarbon: agricultural pumps, DG sets, boiler fuel, marine bunker fuel, as input for petroleum refineries, fuel oil etc; For gas: any nearby industries using LPG, in-house consumption; For solid fuel: thermal power plants, metallurgical industries."