Wednesday, October 28, 2015

MUSINGS FROM PRIYADARSHINI KARVE: Can wood burn without smoke?

The answer is, YES! 

A couple of weeks ago, I briefly talked about the new version of the Electricity Less Forced Draft stove (check here). I feel very proud about this new product in our range. I urge everyone reading the blog to please help us spread the word! 

It is a universally accepted fact that forced draft gasification is the only way to burn wood and other solid biomass fuels with minimum pollution. Most forced draft stoves available in the market use electricity driven fan or blower, to force air into the wood fire for cleaner burning. ELFD is our own innovation based on steam power, and does not require any electricity, battery, or fan! 

Furthermore, the ELFD concept allows us to bring in greater user friendliness into gasifier stoves. We can operate the stove in both natural and forced draft modes as and when required, and combining this feature with control of fuel feeding allows us to switch between HIGH and LOW flame - a feature that is non-existent in any other gasifier stove!  

Of course going from concept to a product always has many twists and turns, and we are on this journey for the last couple of years. What we now have can be called the second generation of this stove. We are launching three models of the Samuchit ELFD Sampada Smokess Stove. The stoves can burn pieces of wood, briquettes, pellets, waste biomass like coconut shells, date seeds, etc., as well as woody agricultural waste like cotton stalks, corn cobs, etc. 

ELFD Sampada - Household Model (MRP: INR 7,000)

ELFD Sampada - Small Eatery Model (MRP: INR 12,000)

ELFD Sampada - Institutional Model (MRP: INR 27,000)
The Household model is good for household level cooking. In addition, being portable, it can be a good camping/trekking stove for a group of 8-10 people. The Small Eatery model is well suited for small restaurants, caterers or mid-day meals for small rural schools (about 20-50 students). The institutional model is well suited for old age homes, orphanages, hostels, charitable institutes, etc., where food is cooked for 50-100 people daily. These stoves provide a quality of cooking energy that is close to LPG, but using any type of biomass fuels available locally. With daily use, the cost of each stove will be recovered in about 6 months or so.

We have been experimenting with these new designs over the last week or so in our own office, and my excitement keeps on increasing! Yesterday I have uploaded a video showing the basic operation of this revolutionary technology in clean cooking. Please check it out here

Thanks to the innovation award that we won last year for the ELFD technology from Nexus, we are in a position to offer some interesting add-ons and discounts, particularly for not-for-profit kitchens, for a limited period. For more information and placing orders, write to us on!

Priyadarshini Karve
Samuchit Enviro Tech

    Samuchit Enviro Tech. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Friday Feed: Food for thought

Agree on this?

Pic courtesy:

    Samuchit Enviro Tech. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

MUSINGS FROM PRIYADARSHINI KARVE: Good News for Residents of Goa State!

Do you live in Goa state? This festive season, you can bring home an energy saver gift for your family. 

Goa Energy Development Agency (GEDA) is giving a subsidy of Rs.800 for purchase of Samuchit Sarai System - LARGE. This subsidy can be availed only upto 31 March 2016, and will be available for at most 600 customers. 

Please contact: Any BDO office anywhere in Goa state OR Mr. Machhindra Kauthankar in GEDA office (0832-2407194/ 240712 or 9822132192). 

In order to avail of the subsidy you must give copies of ration card of the family and aadhar card of a family member. Please note that this subsidy is available only in Goa state. 

Samuchit Sarai System - LARGE
Samuchit Sarai System is a steam cooker that works on charcoal. Everything that we cook by boiling or steaming can be cooked in this. With the LARGE sized Sarai, you need only about 200 g of charcoal to cook rice, vegetable, and curry (either dal or fish, chicken, etc.) for a family of 6-8 persons. For understanding operation of the Samuchit Sarai System, please check the video

The fuel can be charcoal left behind in a wood fired water heater, or any other cottage industry consuming wood as fuel. Normally the charcoal left over after the fire dies down is just allowed to burn away to ash. Simply harvest this charcoal and use it to accomplish your daily cooking, at no cost at all! Of course ordinary wood charcoal can also be purchased from charcoal merchants in your town. 

The Sarai is a slow cooker - it takes about one hour for all three items to cook. However, it dose not require any attention, does not even need to be turned off. Thus, the food gets cooked and stays warm while the other chores inside and outside the house are taken care of, and the cook actually ends up saving personal time. Furthermore, the taste of the food is much better because of the slow cooking. 

It is not essential that Sarai be used for cooking three items at a time. It can also be used for cooking just one item. For example, boiling corn, or groundnuts for snacks, cooking pulav, briyani etc., steaming idali, dhokla, etc., is possible. Moreover, use sand instead of water in the cooker pot, and the Sarai becomes an oven for baking cookies! 

Charcoal is essentially pure carbon, and its burning is much cleaner than that of firewood or any other solid biomass fuels. Thus, the particulate emission from charcoal stoves is nearly zero, leading to better indoor air quality. There is a danger of carbon monoxide poisoning whenever charcoal is burned indoors, however, this happens only if the doors and windows are tightly closed (a possibility in cold climates, but not relevant for a perpetually warm coastal state like Goa), and if the quantity of charcoal being burnt is substantially high (which is not the case here as the Sarai uses only 200 g of charcoal, and the burning continues for about 40 min or so only). 

User feedback indicates that if an LPG user household does all its steaming and boiling using Samuchit Sarai System, there is at least 25% saving in LPG. While LPG is a non-renewable fossil fuel, charcoal and especially charcoal that is a bye product of some other process, is a renewable fuel contributing zero green house gas emissions. If a household that uses wood or biomass waste for cooking, shifts to Sarai, they benefit from improvement in indoor air quality, thus reducing the burden on the health of women and children, without shifting to a non-renewable fuel. Use of Sarai System thus also helps reduce the overall climate change impact of household cooking. 

We are very grateful to GEDA for promoting this energy efficient renewable energy based clean cooking device in Goa State, and urge all our friends in Goa to take full advantage of the scheme.

All Samuchit products are also available in Goa (without subsidy) through our dealer: Lila Digital and Environmental Solutions Pvt Ltd, Panaji, Goa (Contact: Mr. Chirag Patel 77199300008). 

Priyadarshini Karve
Samuchit Enviro Tech

    Samuchit Enviro Tech. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Monday quiz - a different question this time

We are trying to place questions that challenge your environment related knowledge, of India. Try taking our weekly quiz without googling the answers to check your own knowledge!

Q: An index was recently published which stated the least populated countries of the world. The options are placed below. Tell us which ones you think is topping the list of sparsely populated countries in the world!

1) Botswana
2) Dominica
3) Vatican City
4) Monaco

We await correct answers!

Last week's answer: With two national parks and two wildlife sanctuaries, Madhya Pradesh has the most dense blanket of forests - an impressive 7.75 million hectares. Arunachal Pradesh finishes second, with 6.68 million hectares; whereas Chhattisgarh, Maharaashtra and Orissa end up in third, fourth and fifth places respectively.

    Samuchit Enviro Tech. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Friday Feed: Switch on your minds to switch on the air conditioner...

Does this statement of Prince Charles ring in your head?
Share your opinions on what humans can do to keep the air-conditioner running...

Image courtesy:

Samuchit Enviro Tech. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Musings from Priyadarshini Karve: Sampada ELFD Gen II!

We had launched Sampada ELFD stove for institutional cooking last year, and it has generated a lot of excitement wherever we have demonstrated it. You can also see a video of its operation on our YouTube channel. We are now bringing a second generation of the Sampada ELFD stove, which is much simpler to operate, is more versatile for different types of cooking operation, and cost wise is on par with the simplest electricity powered forced draft stoves available in the market. What is more, we now also have a stove model for households! 
Sampada ELFD is a forced draft stove - it uses artificially controlled air flow to introduce excess air in the fuel chamber, to help burn up the hot combustible gases and particulates, with minimal emissions. This is the only way a solid biomass burning stove can meet the air quality standards prescribed by the World Health Organisation. In most forced draft stoves, the draft is produced with the help of a fan or a blower run by electric power. In the simplest designs the fan/blower is powered simply by plugging into the wall socket, just as we run a table fan, on grid electricity. More sophisticated designs incorporate a fan or blower run on a battery, which can be charged by either grid electricity or by solar PV etc. 

There is currently one very sophisticated stove in the market, which uses the heat of the stove to charge a battery, which can run the fan and also charge a cell phone. 

All of these designs were developed based on the assumption that we need forced draft, and the only way to achieve it is to use a fan/blower. The focus was on the 'means' rather than the 'end result'. We focused on the end result, and explored other avenues of creating forced draft. In nature, wind is created by pressure difference in the air. So we used a process that comes closer to nature, and does not require either grid power or electricity. In our system, the heat of the stove is used for generating pressurised steam, which is released in a jet at the entrance to the fuel chamber where normally a fan or blower would be attached. The steam jet creates a pressure differential, and pulls in air along with it, giving us the desired effect. 

Our collaborators, Electrofabrik, must of course get the main credit for the development of the ELFD mechanism. The engineering inputs that have gone into this ingenious design have come entirely from them. 

I have written in the musings before about how we need to shift the focus to the 'service' provided, rather than the obvious source for providing the service. There are always various ways to achieve the same end result, and exploring these can lead to interesting options. The way Sampada ELFD design has come about is a good example of this. 

Check our youtube link <> and <> to watch the functionality of the stove.

Priyadarshini Karve
Samuchit Enviro Tech

    Samuchit Enviro Tech. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Do you know which state has highest forests? Take this week's quiz to find out...

We are trying to place questions that challenge your environment related knowledge, of India. Try taking our weekly quiz without googling the answers to check your own knowledge!

Q: Which Indian state has the highest dense forest land or the most dense cover of forests?

1) Maharashtra
2) Orissa
3) Chattisgarh
4) Arunachal Pradesh
5) Madhya Pradesh

We await correct answers!

Last week's answer: Mawsynram in Meghalaya receives an average of 467 inches or 11873 meters of rainfall which is the highest rainfall in India; whereas Cherrapunji finishes second with  11777 meters or 463.7 inches of average rainfall.

Lucky winner: Titus Borgoyari

    Samuchit Enviro Tech. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Friday Feed: Sign off the week with food for thought..

Share your views on this thought..

    Samuchit Enviro Tech. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

MUSINGS FROM PRIYADARSHINI KARVE: Sustainable Cities and Clean Cooking

As many of you who follow Samuchit Enviro Tech would know, the company started off as a distribution company for clean biomass based cooking energy devices. Over the years, we diversified into other products and services focused on sustainable lifestyle for rural and urban Indians. It is the diversification that has brought us to now working on the Sustainably SMART Pune 2030 study project. #SustainablySMARTPune2030

The entire last week, I was multitasking to meet two deadlines - one related to the cooking energy work that I do, and the other related to kickstarting the Study Project from 1 Oct. Throughout the week I kept reflecting on how vastly different these two topics are. This week I am at the India Clean Cooking Forum, and came across information that I was not fully aware of. It turns out that systematic studies across the world have shown that cooking on traditional biomass fueled cookstoves in urban poor households is one of the major contributors to air pollution in the cities of the developing world. The contribution is significant enough that researchers emphasise on the need to specially address this source of air pollution. 

Apart from the environmental concern, it is already a well established fact that access to clean cooking has a direct positive impact for women's health, and quality of life. 

Providing clean AND affordable household cooking options to the urban poor thus fits very well into the concept of sustainability. It addresses a need of a socio-economic weaker section of the urban society, and it also addresses the environmental concern of air pollution. 

So, it seems like there is a natural link between working on clean cooking and sustainable cities! 

For those interested to know more:

                Priyadarshini Karve
                 Samuchit Enviro Tech

    Samuchit Enviro Tech 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Monday Quiz: Did you take this week's quiz?

Q: Which place in India received maximum rainfall annually?

1) Chinnar Kallar
2) Amboli
3) Cherrapunji
4) Mawsynram

We await correct answers!

Last week's answer: 4 dams provide water to Pune. These are: Panshet, Khadakwasla, Warasgaon and Temghar

Lucky winners: Ameya Mirikar, Archana Padhye. CONGRATULATIONS!

    Samuchit Enviro Tech. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Friday Feed: Caption the photo...

    Samuchit Enviro Tech. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Did you celebrate World Heart Day?

Tuesday, 29 September 2015, was World Heart Day. I was amused to read posts, articles and forwards on social media, newspapers and TV about how to keep your heart healthy, heart-friendly habits, tips to improve heart longevity, top foods that care for your heart, etc. I was further amused on watching ads where cooking oils boasted of caring for your heart...I am still looking for an explanation on how oil consumption improves efficiency of the heart!

This made me ponder - what exactly are we supposed to do on a World Heart Day? Care for your own heart for that day? Spread awareness about how to maintain a healthy heart? Hug foods that are good for the heart? And all this, on just one day... because, we do not even exactly remember what we celebrated or ate one month ago!

My cellphone was bombarded with WhatsApp messages, one of which spoke about top 5 heart- healthy foods. According to the message, these foods were Salmon, Blueberries, Walnuts, Oatmeal and Dark Chocolate. I started thinking which of these I already have in my house, so that I can immediately bite on it. I opened my refrigerator and saw a half-empty bag of walnut kernels - I immediately mouthed them with a good feeling that I am now caring for my own heart!

I later realised that it was pseudo feel-good factor. Out of these so-called best top heart-healthy foods, none are really easily affordable to me. Salmon is not a fish native to India, so I will have to hit a supermarket to buy an imported one, which will mostly be tinned or canned; blueberries would be seasonal and rare, too; rates of walnuts are greater than skyscrapers, dark chocolate is something I can easily get, but will not come cheap, and oatmeal is cheapest of the options, but completely tasteless! So what should people like me do in such situations, where healthy food comes with a heavy price, where so-called health-caring cooking oils are most expensive, where following heart- healthy habits is a challenge in today's lifestyle, and a list of do's and dont's fill up the entire notebook?

So when I was in the midst of a whirlpool of thoughts and confusion, I found a solution : to start caring for my heart, I need to listen to my heart! I need to do what my heart tells me to do. I needed to listen to that inner voice which is familiar, but often neglected, and who never stops telling me what to do. That voice, which came straight form my heart, pulled me out of my dilemma. 
I shoved away all the messages, folded the newspapers and stacked them back into their place, switched off my phone GPRS, and started out for my early morning brisk walk. 

That's what you need to do - listen to your heart, and it will take care of itself!


    Samuchit Enviro Tech.