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Black outs will be knocked out

With summer fast approaching, power black outs loom in the horizon. The electrical man, Ashok Jhunjhunwala, the head of the department of Electricals at IIT-Madras enthralled the audience with a rather simple solution. “All our appliances use only DC power. Since our input is AC power, we lose about 20 per cent to 50 per cent in conversion of DC to AC power. In the future, refrigerators, air conditioners and washing machines will all run on DC power,” said Jhunjhunwala at the Extra Mural Lecture series.

    The research team at IIT led by Jhunjhunwala has designed a simple switching mechanism, which when senses a voltage  drop in grid supply, will automatically switch the input power to DC mode. With this 10 per cent DC power, 2 fans, light and a mobile charger can be powered comfortably. An additional 50 watt solar power generator at the roof top will comfortably power the house.

    The Extra Mural Lecture series which is now on its 30th year, is a yearlong event that brings people from different walks of life to address the students. This is now being extended to other colleges in and around

the city. The average power consumption by DC fans and lights is less than half the power consumed by AC devices. Jhunjhunwala suggested a 38 volt DC line at homes is absolutely safe and shock free.

He stated that solar power panels of 50 watt that cost around Rs 25,000, if erected on each roof top, can meet the demand of the house and the DC power generated by the solar panel, if directly used without being converted to AC current, can save a lot of energy. An estimate made by the researchers point out that all households use roof top solar power, it will off set a load of 190,000 GWH per year which is almost equal to the annual total domestic consumption.

Jhunjhunwala anticipates India would become free from power cuts in 5 years and in next 15 years 50 per cent of power could be from solar.

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