Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Just a short one

I got the third prototype back on Saturday and it sort of works. Some grains are de-husked but not as many as the commercial machines which this model was based on and not nearly enough to make it marketable.

             Turn the handle, put grain in the top and rollers shear the husk off. In theory...

The workshop were not easily able to get the 1:4 gear ratio between the rollers I was after in order to match the commercial ones (so one roller rotates four times every time the other rotates once), so I got them to have a go with this 1:2 version. Having seen that the model has potential (there is some de-husking going on), I'm going to get them to modify it to have the conventional ratio.

On Friday and Saturday we were visited by some people from SAP (apparently the "world leader in collaborative business software"). Some of them are part of a more social project which the comapany are looking into to try help people in developing regions and wanted to learn more about SELCO and the social enterprise model, and the rest were just interested to learn more about us.

We visited a couple of sites where SELCO has installed photovoltaic systems, showed them some of the other work that the incubation lab (where I work) has been doing, and also had a bit of a jolly to Dhamastala to look at a museum and a temple. It was really nice to talk with so many people from the commercial sector who show such an interest in the kind of work SELCO do.

                       This picture tells a lot. The people in this village live metres
                       from power lines and yet have no access to the electricity
                       so have to pay above the odds for solar.

             Lincoln and me giving our presentation

Lincoln left with the guys from SAP on Saturday to catch his flight home, so I'm on my own for the next two weeks. On Sunday I caught a bus to Chikmagalore and then took a Jeep to visit a few of the "hill stations", which are basically nice spots in the hills, where someone will have normally built a temple. I spent a lot of time on the road but there were amazing views throughout and it was a very pleasant way to spend the day.

And a few little photos I've taken:

             Prototype 3 under construction

             There are loads of rubber plantations around here, and this is the machine
             where all the chemicals get added to so it can be used

             One of the SELCO lighting systems in action

                       The bit that looks like a nose is actually the remains of a
                       buttress that was removed to de-husk paddy against.
                       The other guys joked that my project is helping to reduce

             At the top of Mullayanagiri, Karnataka's highest peak

                         Life as a temple servant...

             Kemmangundi is supposed to be the site of the first coffee plantation in India

             One of the many environmentally motivational signs on the way up to the
             hill stations

                       This eerie wind turbine was put up by the government
                       department of horticulture and represents many energy
                       projects which were started with high hopes and large
                       grants but have since fallen into disrepair

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