Renewables Based Polygeneration for Rural Development in Bangladesh
Abstract: Despite the country's rural electrification programme, kerosene is the predominant source for lighting, and unsustainable and polluting woody biomass is virtually the only option available for cooking. The rural population also struggles with unsafe drinking water in terms of widespread arsenic contamination of well water. The present work has taken an integrated approach in an attempt to mitigate problems through small-scale polygeneration, a concept linking renewable energy sources to these energy needs via novel energy conversion systems.Anaerobic digesters (AD) for biogas production are promising in the rural setting, and field surveys have identified problems in the construction, maintenance and operation of existing AD, particularly in overall performance of household digesters. Based on these results, a number of operational and technological improvements are suggested for employing digesters in polygeneration units. This study also examines one approach for small-scale, low cost arsenic removal in groundwater through air gap membrane distillation, a thermally-driven water purification technology.Integration of biogas production with power generation and water purification is an innovative concept that lies at the core of feasibility analyses conducted in this work. One of the case studies presents a new concept for integrated biogas based polygeneration and analyzes the techno-economic performance of the scheme for meeting the demand of electricity, cooking energy and safe drinking water of 30 households in a rural village of Bangladesh. The specific technologies chosen for the key energy conversion steps are as follows: plug-flow digester; internal combustion engine; and membrane distillation. One major concern is local feedstock availability for the digester, since a single feedstock is impractical to serve both cooking, lighting and water purification systems. In this circumstance solar PV could be a potential option for integrated hybrid systems.
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