Sustainable Energy Systems Design for a Tribal Village in India

EPA Grant Number: SU831883
Title: Sustainable Energy Systems Design for a Tribal Village in India
Investigators: Ramaswami, Anu , Wright, Sean
Current Investigators: Ramaswami, Anu , Bliley, Stephen , Coder, Jason , Dellaport, John , Erdene, Bagi , Grabbe, Robert , Hetherington, Christine , Kocman, Shauna , Krug, Ryan , Mancilla, Fernando , McGregor, Brian , Olsen, Tim , Padron, Luis , Pitterle, Mark , Rex, Andrew , Sturtyvant, Paul , Thongplew, Natapol , Werther, Rachel , Whitaker, Mike , Willson, Bryan
Institution: University of Colorado at Denver
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: October 1, 2004 through March 31, 2005
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Energy , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


To sustainably meet the energy needs of Trishul, a tribal village in the Narmada River Valley in Maharashtra, India, by using locally available materials, integrating different renewable energy systems, and designing environmentally-benign and locally appropriate energy storage options. The energy system must provide the following energy services to the 1400 inhabitants of Trishul: 4-5 hours of light per family per night; 1 refrigerator for the village to store vital vaccines; electricity for water pumping and irrigation; and more environmentally-friendly methods of cooking. The project addresses four aspects of sustainability for developing nations: (1) appropriate technology, (2) ecosystem sustainability, (3) environmental sustainability, and (4) socio-economic sustainability.


(1) Design low cost wind turbines made from locally available materials. (2) Design environmentally-benign energy storage systems suitable for rural areas lacking capabilities to recycle lead acid batteries. (3) Successfully integrate a variety of sustainable energy technologies and storage options in order to meet the energy needs of the tribal village. (4) Develop designs that will work in a decentralized village (9 communities spread over 2-3 kms) and can be adapted to other Indian tribal villages.

The project will demonstrate that distributed energy generation is a viable, economically and environmentally beneficial alternative to large, centralized hydroelectric projects that have displaced millions of people worldwide. The energy technologies we design (i.e. small wind turbines, anaerobic digesters, solar cookers, efficient stoves) will be applicable to developing communities that lack electrical services.

An energy survey of the village will be conducted before and after project implementation to evaluate project success. Metrics for assessment include wind turbine and biogas output, successful system maintenance, and indoor air quality improvement.

Expected Results:

The project will be the focus activity of a group of BS, MS and PhD students from multiple engineering and science disciplines as part of the activities of a campus club that promotes sustainable development projects world-wide – Engineers Without Borders-USA. In addition, prototypes and design ideas generated will be used as hands-on projects in two courses at the College of Engineering– “Introduction to Sustainable Technologies” and 2) “Introduction to Engineering”– offered at the pre-engineering level and for advanced placement high school classes to attract students to engineering.

Supplemental Keywords:

renewable energy, appropriate technology, ecosystem, environmental, socio-economic, participatory planning, India, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Sustainable Industry/Business, POLLUTION PREVENTION, Sustainable Environment, Energy, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Ecology and Ecosystems, International, Environmental Engineering, energy conservation, energy storage options, sustainable development, waste minimization, environmental sustainability, conservation, India, energy efficiency, engineering, energy technology, solar energy, alternative energy source, resource recovery, solar zeolite refrigeration, wind energy, renewable resource

Relevant Websites:

Phase 2 Abstract

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report
  • P3 Phase II:

    Sustainable Energy Systems Design for a Tribal Village in India  | Final Report