Rajendra Sathe

The Power of Waste

By Rajendra Sathe on 10 May 2013

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Rajendra Sathe PMP®, working with KPIT, writes about efforts of the Facilities and Logistics Management (FLM) team towards capturing and recycling waste energy.

The demand for electric energy has been growing every day, however, the resources remain limited. This disparity between demand and supply is creating problems such as scarcity of power, and rapid depletion of our fossil fuels, which are our major sources for energy generation. These problems in turn lead to more problems. Scarcity of power causes power cuts, which we’re presently witnessing in almost all parts of India. And while this extensively inconveniences people, it also impacts the economy. Moreover, since coal is our primary source for electricity generation, its steady usage pollutes our environment by emitting large amounts of hazardous gases, like carbon and sulfur dioxide. Today, India is the world’s third largest country in terms of carbon-dioxide emission.

As responsible corporate citizens, our FLM team of KPIT has been undertaking various initiatives over the years to reduce energy consumption. The achieved results had NASSCOM declaring KPIT Hinjewadi campus as an “Energy Champion”; one of the only three companies in the IT/ITES sector to be named in this category.

Some of the measures KPIT has introduced to reduce electricity consumption include, installation of energy efficient equipment (BEE star rated), optimization of equipment size, and shifting to renewable energy sources like wind and solar etc. The latest in these initiatives is harnessing waste energy, which is the “unused” energy that’s produced during the conversion of electrical energy into other forms of energy, like mechanical, kinetic, heat, light, sound etc. During this conversion, the portion of energy that gets unintentionally released into the atmosphere is termed as “waste energy.” This energy can be used again to generate more power. For example, lately, many industries, such as hotels and hospitals are reusing the leftover heat energy generated by cooling appliances like HVAC, refrigeration etc., to heat water apart from using it for other things.

On the same lines, the FLM team at KPIT has initiated a project to recover waste energy generated from the kitchen exhaust in one of the buildings at KPIT headquarters in Hinjawadi, Pune, India. The kitchen on the top floor of the building produces hot, contaminated air, and to make the place safe and comfortable for the kitchen staff, it is necessary to continuously circulate fresh air. The exhaust system installed for air circulation discharges air at a rate of 5000 Cubic feet per min (83 Cuf per sec). This air released into the environment at this high discharge rate carries a lot of wind energy, which was being wasted.

The Power of Waste

The objective of the project was to use this wind energy to drive a wind turbine. A conventional wind turbine could not be installed as it rotates on a horizontal axis and the vertical fan blades block the air path thus creating a back pressure. In order to overcome this challenge, we installed a wind turbine that runs on vertical axis, allowing wind to flow without any hindrance. A few modifications were also carried out in the kitchen exhaust duct to suit the turbine fitment. The results achieved were phenomenal resulting in the recovery of 17% of the power consumed by the exhaust fan.

The power generated through the turbine is now used for lighting the toilets and fire exit staircases of the entire building. Since the power requirement of the conventional CFL lights was higher than power generated by the turbine, all the CFLs in the toilets & staircases in SDB I were replaced with LEDs, thereby further reducing energy consumption. Additionally, photovoltaic (PV) solar panels were integrated with the turbine system to add to the volume of power generated. The use of this kind of a hybrid installation (generating power using solar and wind energy) is one of its kind and initially we faced a lot of problems with regards to load balancing. However several trials and errors later, the system has now stabilized and has been running flawlessly for the last six months.

The Power of Waste

Details of the project are as follows:
1.    Energy generated by Wind turbine (700W) is 200 KWH by the kitchen exhaust motor.
2.    Solar panel (2.4 KW) generates 400 units in a month.
3.    Power demand from 2.5 KW to 1.4KW by replacing CFL to LEDs.
4.    Total saving of units per month: 1200 units

There are many such contraptions, which release waste energy that can be harnessed. One such example includes, water pumping machines that pump water to overhead tanks in high rise buildings. After using the water for intended purposes the water flows down in form of “soiled water”. This downward movement of soiled water carries a lot of waste energy, which could be used to drive hydro turbines, which in turn would generate electrical energy.

Please do share your ideas and thoughts in the comments section on which are the areas where you see opportunity to capture and recycle waste energy.


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