Current Students and Staff

// University News

11 Feb 2016

Generating fuel for life – Loughborough shares renewable energy expertise with India

From left, Matthew Palmer and Dr Blanchard with the prototype wooden press.

Loughborough University engineering experts are helping to improve lives in India by sharing essential knowledge of how to turn waste into clean energy.

Dr Richard Blanchard, Lecturer in Renewable Energy at the Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST) at Loughborough University, has been joined by Chemical Engineering student Matthew Palmer in creating a cost-effective, alternative fuel source to firewood and charcoal.

In India, about 1 million people die annually from respiratory diseases due to household air pollution caused by smoke and fumes from burning firewood and charcoal. These fuels are often used in an open fire or simple stove with incomplete combustion, and result in a large amount of smoke.

To help empower disadvantaged women connected with the Russ Foundation in South India, Dr Blanchard built a simple prototype wooden press in order to make biomass briquettes. Matthew then enlisted the help of students Sahil Jhamb and Dominic Cowell, from the School of Business and Economics, to devise a briquette formula made from paper, sawdust and ash - materials which are easily accessible in India and often go to waste.

A metal version of the prototype press has since been made and installed at the charity to allow the women to create low-cost biomass briquettes, earn a wage and gain vocational skills as a result.

This has all been made possible thanks to MyIndia - a social enterprise project which aims to tackle fuel poverty in the country. It is led by students who make up Enactus Loughborough – an entrepreneurial action group established to make a positive change in the world.

Click here to read the full release.