Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spinning Wheels and Electricity!

Mahatma Gandhi said, “In my dream, in my sleep, while eating, I think of the spinning wheel. The spinning wheel is my sword. To me it is the symbol of India’s liberty.”

These moving and prophetic words are coming to life in the form of the E-charkha.
Fascinated by a short mention in the latest issue of Spin-Off Magazine, I searched the web to learn more.

*Invented by R.S. Hiremath, "The e-charkha has impressed the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) and it will be formally launched nationwide by President Pratibha Patil on November 19.This is how it works: a maintenance-free lead acid battery fixed at the bottom of the charkha functions as an inverter, and the big wheel is connected to a generator. When the charkha is spun, the battery is charged, generating enough power to light up an LED bulb, or to play a small transistor radio."

The e-charkha generates 6-9 Watts of power. Two hours of spinning can generate enough power to run an LED light for up to 6 hours or power a radio. The e-charkhas are currently being given away by the Indian government program Funds for Regeneration of Traditional Industries. The E-charkha has the potential to be a significant source of energy for millions of struggling families in India.

**"Additionally, there seems to be some interest in building an infrastructure around the e-charkha, khadi (handspun cloth), and fashion industries with the appointment of a new chairperson of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission, Kumud Joshi. ‘Mission Khadi’, is another plan to support the industry by using khadi fabric in contemporary fashion design in conjunction with the National Institute of Fashion Technology."

Sources for this post:
*Reinventing the spinning wheel by, Esha Chatterjee
**Energy-Generating Spinning Wheel Provides Power for the Poor by, Daniel Flahiff

1 comment:

Handmade Sunshine said...

I just read about this today in my copy of Spin Off too. Very interesting information therein. The e-charkha has such an innovative design and a noble purpose. I hope that as many people as possible take part in the government program as many of us know how liberating a light in the dark or a voice from afar can be when one is destitute.