Children studying at night using LED lantern (Photo Lighting Africa)
Over 2500 million people live without much light after sunset as many households and villages cannot access grid electricity (Practical Answers, 2010). Light energy for household lighting gives some examples of the different types of energies that can be used to provide lighting for consumers. The most typically used forms of light in developing countries are candles and Kerosene Lamps. Whilst the kerosene market is widespread, particularly in Africa (Boiling Point 58, 2010) there is a significant environmental, economic and social problems associated with it.

There have been several initiatives investigating alternative off grid style technologies to solve the household lighting issue adn to provide energy efficient Lighting.. These include solar lanterns; LED and biogas lamps for households as well as solar PV run street lamps for villages.

In the light bulb,an electrical current flows through a thin metal filament inside the bulb. The current first heats the filament and as it glows from the heat, it gives off light energy.

A battery? is a device which stores chemical energy. When the battery? is then connected to an electrical circuit, it converts its chemical energy into electrical energy as electrons flow between the negative and positive poles of the battery.

When coal, or any fossil fuel like kerosene, is burned to also produces electricity.

But burning coal to make electricity is really harmful to the environment.

When coal, or any fossil fuel, is burned to produce electricity, carbon dioxide, Sulphur di-oxide, Oxides of nitrogen, carbonmonoxide are released into our atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide is called a "greenhouse gas", because it traps the heat of the sun close to the earth's surface like a big greenhouse roof. This causes "global warming", a change in our climate which may have serious effects in years to come.

At present, electrical energy is generated mainly in hydro (dams) and nuclear power plantsand thermal power plants. The electrical energy is then sent out to our homes, offices and factories etc through wires. This is a very clean way to transport energy.

It presently costs us much more to send electrical energy than it does to generate it at the source. Some scientists hope that nuclear energy may solve this problem, but of course, nuclear power has a few problems as well.

In the meantime, electrical energy transmitted over power lines remains the method of choice for lighting our homes and workplaces and running our appliances like heater for space heating,geysers to heat our water,radio and television for our entertainment,ovens for cooking and most of our machines.

Unfortunately large parts of rural India are still deprived of this form of energy which is considered basic for the rest of the world.They still depend on oil lamps and kerosene lamps as a light source after sundown.The country has nearly 80,000 villages without electricity, mostly in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Rajasthan.

The Indian government has embarked on a plan to bring electricity to the entire country by 2012 and to promote renewable energy sources. India is focussing on alternative fuels as a means to increase energy supply and reduce dependence on fossil fuel-based energy sources and their related emissions.

Biofuels are gaining the attention of various ministries, whose objectives include improving the rural economy, and reducing oil imports and harmful emissions.

According to the Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources (MNES), 80,000 MW could be exploited, of which [wind power]] could contribute 45,000 MW, small hydro 15,000 MW and biomass power 19,500 MW. Other renewable energy sources, such as solarphotovoltaics and energy from waste, also have good potential.

Rural electrification, including domestic connections, village street lighting and pumpsets electrification, provides significant potential for growth in the use of renewable energy.


Last edited by Miriam Hansen , based on work by raffaella .
Page last modified on Wednesday 13 of October, 2010 10:20:45 GMT. @HEDON: AJUB

  • A practitioner's journal on household energy, stoves and poverty reduction.

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