As the world progresses into the 21st century rapid development is taking place everywhere. This is no bad as development is necessary to sustain. But the problem occurs when development is done in such a way that it reduces the chances of sustainability. For example, human beings use natural resources for surviving but these natural resources will not last long until replenished and that requires some effort from our side, but do we give our time and energy to that effort? The answer is obviously NO. Thus these resources are getting used up and one day we will be out of fuel, wood, coal, etc. But there are people who are working so that they can if not replenish the resources but find and put into use other resources which can replace the existing ones in near future.

GASE: Group for Alternative Sources of Energy is one such group of young thinkers who believe that possibilities can be turned into opportunities and opportunities into fully fledged goals. We believe that alternate sources of energy can alleviate our country from several of its problems and make it shoot itself right amongst the top nations of the world. This belief is what brought us all together and is driving us to do whatever we can to make our fellowmen believe in what we believe to be true.
Our world needs energy and energy as such needs dissemination. It has to be looked upon as a tool for progress and not as a social issue to be just blabbered upon. When we first thought of starting such a group there were some dark and black magic people who tried to tell us that thinking of such dissemination would be foolish, but then they never realized the magic as we did. Ground level application of indigenously developed solutions for energy problems is what we are looking at in the near future and we have had a fair bit of experience at this in the past few months.

The group is in its primary stage of operation. The summers saw the initial phase of work where we decided on certain objectives which had to be completed in the following weeks. We shortlisted certain alternative sources of producing energy on which either work was being carried out in the campus or in other institutes across the country. We started identifying workshops and seminars on these fields. One such seminar was on the biogasifiers held in Bangalore and conducted by professors of IISc Bangalore with the help of TERI (The Energy Research Institute). Apart from knowing everything about biogasifiers the group members also noted some really interesting points in the seminar. The first thing they noted when they reached the institute was that no other student group was attending the seminar, all the other people were either NGOs or government employees and all of them aged 35+. This is a major issue that young blood which is believed to have the power to change the world is not even interested to save their future. Any research work that goes on has a student to work on it, if there are no students then how will the work go on? Other points they noted were all technical and given below.


Biogasifier is not a new concept. It was used as far back as the Second World War to power vehicles when petrol was unavailable. The technology is simple and relies on the production.In Layman’s terms:

i)Feed wood to the gasifier.

ii)Incomplete combustion of wood with 30% oxygen supply.

iii)Producer gas (CO+O2) obtained and supplied for consumption.

The officials from the NGOs and discussed the problems they were facing at the ground level. One of them being that of very less skilled workforce. The others just summed up to problems due to lack of technology dissemination. This little stint in Bangalore gave us enough confidence to come back and start working towards our objectives.The group met Dr. A. K. Shukla, director Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI) located in Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu who came here to deliver the lecture on “FUEL CELLS Fueling Future Cars”. When he learned that a group of UG students have started a group for development of alternate sources of energy he was pleased and invited the group to CECRI,Karaikudi for some ground research work on fuel cells. He helped us to refine the goals of the group and give a sharper focus on the use of fuel cells as sources of energy.The dusshera holidays saw a memorable trip of GASE team members to New Delhi. There they met Mr. Veerendra Kothari, an alumnus Mechanical Engg. Department (77 batch) to discuss details of the energy efficiency project and their presentation on Nuclear Energy Economy presentation as discussed later in the article. They also visited the RETREAT centre built by TERI in Gurgaon which is an energy efficient building to study its various innovative features to making it energy self sufficient. They also went to Solar Energy Centre (SEC) and IIT Delhi to
see what is happening there in these fields and befriended many people who offered to guide the group.

The group is working right now on four projects:

1-ENERGY EFFICIENCY: A herculean task taken by the group to improve the energy efficiency within the campus of IIT Kanpur including reducing its electricity bill. As we all know that the total electricity bill of IITK last year came out to be Rs.9 crore (approx.) and the group believes that it can be brought down. This includes study of very minute details of the energy wastage in all hostels and other parts of campus and then providing an efficient way to reduce energy wastage. This also includes harnessing the energy from waste materials. This if properly taken through will be the biggest and most important project taken up by the group in its initial stages with an ultimate goal of an energy efficient campus.
2-SOLAR PANEL INSTALLATION (Dr. S. Khandekar): To set up solar panels and parabolic reflectors to harness solar energy within the campus providing energy for a lab and to analyze its efficiency. This will give us hands on experience to the team involved in setting up a system and working on its various nuances. They have assembled the solar water heater, Photovoltaic plates, and Solar Cooker using Parabolic Concentrator of TATA BP behind the RAC lab. The installation is complete and the functioning is estimated to start by the end of the year. The rest of the work remains to be the analysis of the efficiency of the equipments and if
possible try to make better energy efficient models. Further plans include experiments on Parabolic Concentrator, to produce steam of temperature more than 250 deg Celsius and then using steam turbines generate electricity which hasn’t been done in India.
3-FUEL CELL OPTIMISATION: Optimizing the performance of fuel cell by studying the various permutations and combinations of input parameters providing maximum output. A fuel cell generates electricity by reacting H+ ions and O2- ions giving only water as the by product. It has fuel (on the anode side i.e.H2 gas) and an oxidant (on the cathode side i.e.O2 gas), which react in the  presence of an electrolyte to give electricity. A proton-conducting polymer membrane, (the electrolyte), separates the anode and cathode sides. The fuel cell to be worked on is a PEM (poly ethylene membrane) with solid electrolyte.
4- RURAL ELECTRIFICATION THROUGH SOLAR ENERGY (Prof. S.S.K.Iyer):Involving the setup of a standalone power generating solar PV system to provide energy to a school and a hostel, at a remote site in Orissa. The power requirement is estimated to be around 12-16 kWh but the group plans to setup a plant of around 40-50 kWh so that the local needs of energy may also be fulfilled and there may still be scope for supporting more buildings if the school grows in future. It is one of the most challenging projects faced by the group concerning the present situation of the state. This is the only project with ground level work in real time
The groups work also included a presentation on “Economic Aspects of Nuclear Power” at the “Mini symposium on Indian Nuclear Power Program” that was presented before the vice-president of Areva (world’s biggest nuclear power company), delegates of BARC and members of the Indian Nuclear Society which include high profile scientists from research, industry and academia. They were guided by Prof Prabhat Munshi. Everyone present was pleasantly surprised to know that a group of students of second year was giving a presentation before this gathering of who’s who of Indian nuclear energy scene. Overall response of all was highly positive and the organizers appreciated the GASE’s presentation in the symposium which gave, even the dignitaries some food for thought.
The group is working to provide new energy solutions to the world because that day is not far when most of the fuel sources will get exhausted and that crisis will lead to an economical instability which will adversely affect the nation. The research on Alternate Sources of Energy is as important as any other thing in this world so as to save it from ultimate disaster and for humanity to sustain.
Our future endeavors include:
1. Getting involved with the organizations working in the field of energy and technologydissemination.
2. Getting more dedicated people involved with the group.
3. Creating possibilities of innovation and collaboration with other institutes.
4. Organising seminars to disseminate to discuss current work, disseminating knowledge and learning form each other.
With the ultimate aim of:
“Complete energy independence of the country”
The magic is here to stay and so are us wizards. The dark magic people can take a back seat and look at the world plunge into light.