On a warm evening, a village ‘Aluva’ was visited by a team of 15 children accompanied by soon to-be 7 engineers. Through our exploring skills, we discovered a hidden household. Inside the house we found some farmers having a cup of tea. The first machine that struck our eyes was a winnowing machine. Its job simple – to remove the chaff from the wheat. The second machine was far too complex for our young minds, but with the helpful input from the farmers/owners (thanks to our translators) we found that the machine was used to remove the husk from the castor seeds. The machine involved a semi-circular clockwise and anti-clockwise motion. The misfit team concurred that both the machines were being operated at low efficiency and involved far too much manual labor.
The operator was found saying – ‘Iss machine se hume toh 10 kilo beej milta hai’ (This machine yields 10KG seeds)
Through inclusive development with the farmers we came across several ideas ranging from increasing the output/efficiency to reducing the human effort involved in the machine. Therefore we proposed a twin machine which fulfills the above mentioned two requirements in a single machine. Upper half of the machine has a seed extractor for processing the seeds (to remove the husk) and lower half is attached with blower for winnowing processes.
The proposed plan involved that machine would be powered both by the solar energy and mechanical energy obtained through bicycle.
The upper part of the machine which is used for castor seed makes use of motor which can be operated by solar energy as well as powered by bi-cycle with geared connections. Gears are used as their engagement and disengagement is easy and reliable. Solar energy can be of battery storage type which will give them reliability in carrying out daily works related to grain handling and making them independent from grid supply.
We expect this solution will also reduce the farmer’s dependence on modern solution which have high diesel consumption which will indirectly reduce carbon emissions as well.
When we were reviewed by Prof.Anil Gupta he was quiet impressed by usage of different sources of energy (solar+human powered). Only point of consideration is in designing the bicycle so that minimum human effort is required.