Pani Ghatta – Water Mills

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               Himalaya are boon and curse. These are the mountains that’s helps to tranquil our soul and assemble our hopes in solitude. The same mountains stand tall to hinder the progress to modern development and technology. The mighty rivers starts as rivulet in lap of these mountains. The kinetic energy of falling river among the slopes are used to harness power to grind grains to empower human body. The conservation of energy works perfectly fine satisfying scientific society of rich nation who want’s to keep nature pure and make big shout out for being agrarian while doing so.  

              These turning machine are popularly known as Pani Ghatta a.k.a water mills. The water mills are very popular across Himalayas, as it is only reliable machine to grind grain for people living across the regions. The water mills is not limited to Nepal but you can see across stretch of hills of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tibet, and Bhutan. Traditionally limited to grinding, now many are modified to generate electricity for local use.

Construction:

          The water is diverted from the main stream via open or closed duct towards the turbine placed on lower section of mill house. The turbine used to be made of wood, but majority of wooden turbines are replaced with metallic as improved water mills these days. The vertical shaft connected to turbine on the floor of mill house runs, and turns the upper section of stone. The lower section is stationary, and grains stored in wooden settings above the stone drops grains through hole in upper stone to lower stone via feeder mechanism, and then grains are grinded in between the stones.

Improved Water Mills (IMW)- New Name for Modern era

                         Improved water mills is one of the clean technologies promoted by government of Nepal with many other stakeholders. Nepal has about 25,000 traditional water mills scattered throughout the country. 6,500 of them already have been converted to IMW. Replacement of wooden parts (rotor and shaft) with metallic parts is the main improvement made in the technology. The technology can also generate electricity up to 3 kW, sufficient for lighting as well as for operating small electric and electronic home appliances.

Advantages of IWM

Employment :The installation, advocacy, operation, maintenance and promotion of IMW will create lot of opportunities at national and local level employing skilled as well as unskilled labor.

Income Level :It helps to improve income of mill owner as well as user. It helps to increase living standard of local people.

Boosting the local Economy : The water mill will remove drudgery of traditional grinding. It will save time which people can invest in income generating activities like animal husbandry, agriculture, and others. People will get familiar to new technology and electronic devices which is powered by electricity from water mill.

Gender Mainstreaming and Social Inclusion: Water mills helps to reduce stress of grinding grains for women. Traditionally grinding was done manually by women. This replaces huge burden on women. The mills will be melting point for women to socialize and get connected to each other. It helps to remove social evils like un-touch-ability, status quo and others.  

Environmental Impacts :The IWM is powered by gravity-driven water, a renewable source of energy, which essentially does not produce air pollution or sound pollution. Therefore, the technology is environmentally sound and acceptable.

Sources:

  1. http://www.aepc.gov.np/old/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=66&Itemid=108
  2. http://www.inforse.org/asia/pdf/Pub_Nepal%20water%20mill_2014.pdf
  3. http://www.dw.com/en/nepal-efficient-water-mills-produce-electricity/av-15950902
  4. http://alumni.media.mit.edu/~nathan/nepal/ghatta/ghattas.html

Image Source: http://nepalitimes.com/article/nation/Flour-power

 

 

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Water Mill cum Hydro Electric

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Lima Mill used for grinding 

                                                                                                                     Photo Source:angelfire.com

                                                Water mill is one of the traditional kind of grinding wheel that uses wheel or turbine to drive a mechanical process for various end use such as flour grinding,lumber or textile production.This type of technology is applicable in hill areas where there is enough head for running turbine. The water diverted from river or canal provides enough kinetic energy to drive wheel or turbine via head race channel or pipe.The force of the water’s movement drives the blades of a wheel or turbine, which in turn rotates an axle that drives the mill’s other machinery.

                                          Water leaving the wheel or turbine is drained through a tail race, but this channel may also be the head race of yet another wheel, turbine or mill.This kinda of water mill is suitable in hilly and Himalayan region of Nepal where enough head is available.Not only for milling but it can generate electricity which can empower local community which can contribute for decreasing load on central load distribution.

Water Mill cum Micro hydro in Aghakhola, Palpa

                           This is good example of use of appropriate technology helping people to live under light. The micro-hydro generates electricity to operate mill services for customer and provides power in night to local resident in vicinity. 

Solar Training and Capacity Building : Power to the People

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                                    March 29, 2016 Before dawn of warm and fuzzy morning I woke with sharp shrill of mobile alarm at 5:00 am. As it was planned to meet at 5:45 am at Old Bus Park to move into another adventurous travel on off load leading to Dhunkharka, Kavre. The bus ride from Old bus park took us to Panauti via Bhaktapur, Sangha, Banepa. The real journey began from here accompanied by Mr. Subash Lamichane and Mr. Kancha Tamang. The 14km dusty, bumpy, narrow and scary road begun from Panauti steadily uphill climb in bus cramped with people, animals (chickens), kids crying, people yelling at each other. It was perfect like Hindi film melodrama at bus. Irony was that we were not able to get any seat through out two hours ride. Even within bus we had to wear mask and continuous shake up really made me tired. But internal motivation to go there and help people to sort things out, teach them, connect them to more reliable energy was continuously pushing me up.

                                        After travel of 2 hours we reached Dhunkharka. The bus stop was on top of hill to reach to our destination we had to go downhill and again uphill. The slow down hill walk began interacting with each other knowing about peculiar things about location. It was good to be back on hills among tress, clam and serene country side where nothing bothers you except cool breeze, birds chirp and perennial flow of river. I encountered various rural technology like water mill, hydraulic ramjet pump, fodder cutting machine, solar system. The very delicious meal was waiting for us, prepared from organic vegetables, grains crushed from water mills, cooked in improved cooking stove, rice grown in nearby fields. This was perfect amalgamation of technology with rural livelihood.

                       The training sessions began at 11:00 am. The 22 owners of solar system were present in upper floor of cowshed. It was great to see energy and enthusiasm in people. The training started with introduction of speakers and participants. The training was planned for 2 hours and following topics were discussed:

  • The initial session explained about what is renewable energy, Solar as renewable energy.

  • Participants were introduced about solar system and its components like Panel, Battery, Charge Controller and Load.

  • Installation do how and safety handling was demonstrated with system present on the location.

  • Various Procedure for Repair and Maintenance were provided.

  • Specific care handling, minor damage and quick repair locally was provided about battery, charge controller and loads.

  • Final solar power use calculation was done and how much load people can use with technology given to them was shown.

Training Outcomes

                          The people have been following malpractice about solar system handling. The solar panel were hung as photo frame in walls, no safety precaution were taken, people were brining in & out panels in rains, their perception was heat generated more power than light. About training accomplishment participants got chance to learn about each components of solar system. They are now able to assemble and dis-assemble the system on their own. The standard parameters like facing panels on south direction, keeping panels at 30/45 degrees, keeping battery far from heat source, use of loads according to power generation, sustainability of battery system, various light symbols and their meanings present on charge controller, minor repairs was provided. Overall looking after longevity of solar system with efficient use was provided.

                  After completion of training we visited two hydraulic pump operation at Chanaute and Ladkhu. We learned about bio-char preparation, its use.

                           The return was one of the most memorable journey of my life. The last seat of bus squeezed between a women with child and old grand pa. The lady by side was vomiting throughout journey while grand pa was drunk, mumbling and fumbling with words and directions. The smell from both side was killing me, as I sat contemplating about life. I endured situation, just invigorated into circumstance.

                                              This was one of my life awakening journey. What surprised me was humbleness and subtlety of people. Obviously they are cutoff from mainstream media attention still they are happy to be living there. There are numerous challenges but somehow they have managed to be living well. I hope to see better road access, sustainable clean energy supply, educational facilities, better health facilities and access to ICT be within their reach. The natural serenity shall not be disturbed, only right technology along with nature can develop Dhunkharkha.

Pani Ghatta : A Grinding Machine

                       Water mill is one of the clean and appropriate technology for grinding at local level. The most of part of Nepal still remains far from electric grid connection. The rural electrification has been catch word just to remain safely in vaults of Planning commissions.. Nepal faces one of the longest hour of blackouts as energy crunch nation we are struggling with basic right to energy access. The geographical terrain, improper settlements of housing system, challenges of hindrances on scenic beauty and landscape as tourism being one of major attraction, losses on transmission lines might be counter acting such kinda of electrification initiative.

                       The appropriate technology is recognizing need of local people, meeting their aspirations and bringing them one step closer to energy access. There is flow of water from higher hills to lower plains. Here gravity does most of the work. The Kinetic energy of water can be directly used for generating energy. Traditionally we have been harnessing such energy through water mill. Still today lots of people in rural areas are highly dependent on traditional water mill for grinding all required household goods such as flour, rice, wheat, spices and also oil in some cases.

Working Mechanism:

                       The water from head of 20m or above is brought in open or closed conduit. Traditionally wooden blades are used as turbine on which water jets are strike upon, jets rotates the bigger wheel mounted on smaller wheel. There is continuos feed of grains in between grinds into finer particles.

A story form DhunKharkha, Kavre

                           The village has perennial source of water, water mill is located near river close to the source of water. The villagers have been using water mill for grinding their grains. It was happy to encounter old mother who was grinding her maize on mill. She was so delighted to use it, as it has reduced efforts and time that people used to devote for grinding in traditional way. She explained although she is weak and fragile, she can help her family in some way. The use of water mill popularly known as pani ghatta is free to use. The opening and closing is as simple with supplying and cutting off water supply to mill. She is happy and proud user of water mill.

                                 This is what appropriate and proper technology can transform rural life. Helps in bridging gap in energy and technology use.