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Sep 2001

From water-turbines to electric trams

Carsten on the 'relaxed' model of the solar bike. Normal models are also available.

Auroville Energy Products specialises in the sale of solar energy products and micro-hydro systems, and provides consultancy on rural electrification. Its research projects focus on the development of solar transport.


Carsten, a 40 year old German electronic engineer started Auroville Energy Products in 1996. One of the first projects was a micro-hydroelectricity system in Putsil, Orissa. More systems followed. AEP also manufactures small portable solar lanterns and sells highly sophisticated charge controllers, electronic devices to control the charge and discharge of the battery.

Apart from selling solar products, AEP is also involved with consultancy and research. Carsten is just back from a trip to Nepal. "The European Union wants to implement a large project for rural electrification, and along with a few others I got the assignment to evaluate the situation, judge what is possible and feasible and what technology should be used. It is a very exciting project, Nepal has a lot of isolated valleys, and is ideal for solar. As an offspring, more and more ideas are coming up how to develop solar systems for the rural area. In cooperation with a Pondy company we are now designing a solar water-ozoniser, a water purification system that runs on solar and which is extremely beneficial for these areas and for those such as Orissa which have recently been hit by a cyclone."
But Carsten's main interest is solar transport. AEP has developed the second generation of solar bicycles and is involved in realizing a solar tram project in Auroville.

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