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Solar thermal route

The solar bowl



Solar thermal energy
in India and in Auroville

Solar cooking

Solar Cooker

In the early eighties CSR coordinated the effort of promoting solar box cookers within the community.

The first solar cookers were mass purchased from state cooperative stores where they were lying unsold. Even damaged solar box cookers were acquired and repaired within Auroville. The success was instantaneous, and solar cooker enthusiasts exchanged recipes and tips. The use slowed down with the advent of a growing population which had more access to bottled gas.
At present Sunaur solar box cookers are manufactured at Aureka upon request.

Manufacturing, marketing and enquiries through Aureka

Solar water heating systems

Solar water heater

The first solar water heating systems were home made, and installed and maintained by the owners.
Later on, commercial systems became more readily available and the early promotional subsidy was used to install solar water heaters in bulk. As solar water heater systems became more sophisticated, CSR sourced the best combination for distribution and installation within the community.
Marketing and enquiries through Aurore Systems and Products

Solar curing systems

While working to develop prefabricated ferrocement biogas plants, CSR experimented with passive solar curing systems consisting of fixed curing trays and mobile curing hoods which were placed on top of the elements to be cured. The results were extraordinary in terms of curing.

Elements were fully cured with the help of the sun and some water in the trays. No mechanised device or labour input was necessary anymore. Prefabricated elements were placed under a curing device, while obtaining their full element strength during a 15 day curing cycle.

The mobile systems were later replaced by a permanent device called a curing tunnel, which is a permanent building with provision for fitting in huge water tanks, fitted with airtight doors, while the floor is flooded with water in which the elements stand for the full curing period.

Marketing and enquiries through Auroville Building Centre.

Solar drying systems

Solar drying systems are home made, and are operational in houses and food processing units for drying fruits, melting jaggery, etc.

Solar concentrators

Auroville promotes and produces a whole range of solar concentrators to cater to various needs.
Parabolic concentrators made out of a thin ferrocement structure with glued mirrors are produced by Auroville Building Centre.
Scheffler concentrators of 8m2 are being manufactured under agreement.

Manufacturing, marketing and enquiries through Aurore Systems and Products

Solar bowl concentrator at the Solar Kitchen

A 15 meter diameter solar bowl is installed and operates at the Solar Kitchen to produce sufficient steam (600kg) to cook 2,000 meals on clear days.

The system operates with a fixed spherical reflector made out of prefabricated ferrocement elements, fitted together and lined with 11,000 flat mirror facets.

The moveable receiver is a 4 m long and 23 cm diameter wide structure kept in focus through a computerized tracking system.
A heat transfer fluid is made to circulate in the primary loop and steam is produced in a heat exchanger and sent to double-jacketed steam cooking vessels in which food is prepared.
The system is automatically controlled and hybridised with a diesel fired boiler to ensure that meals are always served in time, irrespective of the weather conditions.

The Solar Bowl Concentrator was a research and development project executed by CSR with funding from Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources (MNES). The bowl is integrated on the first floor of the Solar Kitchen, 7 m above the ground. Walls of compressed earth blocks support the whole structure.
A total of 96 prefabricated ferrocement elements were placed together to form a perfect fixed spherical bowl. A tilted fixed mast supports a moving receiver which can rotate in all directions. A computer programme ensures the automatic tracking of the whole system with scope for seasonal changes.

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