Technology development and demonstration
A number of challenges need to be overcome in promoting energy efficient technologies in the Indian MSME sector. Often, the manufacturing processes used in MSMEs are cluster-specific, unique, outdated, and based on largely undocumented traditional knowledge and techniques. There is very little R&D on these traditional manufacturing processes, and they are not even emphasized in detail in technical institutes and engineering colleges. Hence, energy efficient technological solutions for MSMEs are not available off-the-shelf. They have to be developed through a process of study, research, participatory experimentation, and adaptation.
Experiences have shown that an effective method to introduce energy efficient technologies in different MSME sector is through the adoption of a cluster-specific approach for technology development and demonstration programmes. The improved technology could take many forms—better designed furnaces; use of alternate and readily available fuels at little or no extra cost and with less pollution; improved operating practices; systems for recovery and reuse of waste heat from the manufacturing process; and so on.
An improved energy efficient technology is designed to meet the following criteria:
- It is a cost-effective option, offering attractive energy savings and, consequently, lower payback periods.
- It works on fuels and raw materials that are readily available at affordable prices.
- It should be easily acceptable to different end users such as local entrepreneurs, operators, and workers.
- It helps in maintaining or improving the existing quality of the products.
- It minimizes the impact on the existing workforce in terms of loss of jobs.
For maximum effectiveness and widespread adoption, the technology development process must follow a participatory approach. That is, it must involve local stakeholders and be demonstrated under field conditions, utilizing local skills and knowledge to the maximum extent.
Here are some examples of activities related to technology development and demonstration undertaken by the members of SAMEEEKSHA.