The Muni Seva Ashram (MSA) or the Green Ashram as it is popularly known is unique in the way it has used renewable energy technologies. Located at Goraj near Baroda, the ashram is home to the world’s first and largest commercially executed Solar Air Conditioning System and the world’s first and only Solar Crematorium among other innovative green solutions.
Here is a special report by Urvish Dave.
Back when the ashram was established in 1980, there was an utter lack of basic infrastructure such as drinking water, sanitation, roads and power. It slowly met all these challenges using sustainable solutions.
It installed a solar power plant to provides electricity and lighting to the 400 residential students in its school.
To cook for its 1200 strong community the Ashram kitchens needed a vast quantity of firewood. The ashram met this challenge by a combination of bio-gas plants and solar dishes for cooking. A thermic fluid based solar cooking system provides adequate temperature to fry, bake or roast in the comfort of kitchen.
The ashram runs a state-of-the-art Cancer hospital. It needs constant air conditioning because of the medical equipment it operates. The ashram has installed a Lithium Bromide based Vapour Absorption Chiller (VAC) refrigeration system that can achieve cooling up to 6 degc. Necessary heat was provided by two bio-boilers of 1.5 ton and 3 ton capacity. The machine required 5000 kg of wood per day.
To reduce wood consumption, the Green Ashram has installed a solar steam generating system which employs 100 parabolic dishes for concentrating sun’s heat. This allows water to reach a temperature of 180 degc and converts water to steam at 8 to 10 kg/ cm2 pressure. The temperature at the receivers reaches 500o C. For backup purpose, a wood fired boiler is used. This solar steam generating system which generates enough steam to run a 100 TR of air conditioning is world’s first and largest commercially executed Solar Air Conditioning System using Scheffler Concentrators.
Ashram has 650 acres of land at Bakrol farm where there is a large Gaushala with more than 300 cows. The cow-dung is used as fuel for a large scale bio-gas plant. The floating dome digesters are fed with cow dung only and the fixed dome digester is fed with any type of biodegradable waste including kitchen waste. The biogas is used as fuel in the Atithi Mandir kitchen and also as fuel for a mini truck used by the ashram which runs .The slurry which is vermi-composted and used as organic fertilizer in ashram farms.
One of the very unique feature of the Ashram is the installation of World’s First and only “Solar Crematorium”. When a person dies, 200-300 Kg of wood is required to cremate the body. Recognizing the need to conserve the wood, ashram installed a 50 Sq meter dish to burn dead bodies. When operational, the system will use biogas as backup and will burn a body in 100 minutes.
Besides all of this unique technologies the Green Ashram has also has 76 home lighting systems each lighting 3 CFL. Each panel converts solar radiation to electrical energy which is stored in batteries for later use. Solar Water heater at various ashram buildings are installed of about 8000+ liters capacity in total along with Solar-LED based street lighting’s.
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About the author:
Urvish Dave is working as a Project Consultant in the Renewable Energy Arena with an expertise and keen focus on Solar Energy Sector viz. Rural Electrification, Off-Grid Solar Projects, Grid connected, Captive power plants, Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) Mechanism etc. for various Renewable Projects in India along with market intelligence pertaining to renewable energy sector. He holds the distinction of executing numerous solar projects during his career path including EPC projects for Rural Electrification, Solar Grid Connected Projects, Off-Grid Projects etc. For Consultation and Turnkey Solutions in Renewable Energy Projects and energy efficient product’s, visit www.urvishdave.com or write him at firstname.lastname@example.org