Sunday 20 April 2014
News updated at 9:23 PM IST
Weather
Max: 35°C
Min : 22°C
In Bangalore
Partially cloudy

Shirdi's solar cooker finds a place under sun

Kalyan Ray, New Delhi:

The temple complex at Shirdi not just radiates spiritual energy. These days it also radiates solar energy.

The solar steam system cooks food for 20,000 people per day.

The solar steam system cooks food for 20,000 people per day.  The Shirdi shrine has joined two other spiritual centres, Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh and Brahma Kumari Spiritual Trust in Rajasthan’s Mount Abu, where solar systems cook prasadam for devotees.

The 73 parabolic antennas mounted atop the roof of the kitchen complex of Sri Sai Baba Sansthan in Shirdi constitute the world’s largest solar steam system that cooks food for 20,000 devotees daily. Though the antennas have been in place since January 8, the entire solar cooking system was inaugurated by Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah on Thursday.

Besides ushering in an environment-friendly power arrangement, the solar cooking system has added to the kitchen at Shirdi efficiency. The prasadam production for thousands of devotees saves Rs 10,500 per day on LPG, Shirdi officials told Deccan Herald.


Annual saving

Since a back up stock of LPG is kept for the lean days, the annual savings translates to about 100,000 kg of LPG, which is nearly Rs 2,000,000 per year. The system exploits sunlight to generate 3500 kg of steam daily for cooking.

While the antennas – each 16 sq mt – were put up in January, the steam generator came alive in June, Shirdi officials said. The system costs Rs 133 lakh out of which the Ministry provided a Rs 58.40 lakh subsidy. The temple had a smaller system of 40 dish antennas, which were found inadequate to deal with increasing pilgrim pressure.

The first Indian institution to employ the solar cooking system was the Brahma Kumari Spiritual Trust at Mount Abu where the mechanics were employed in 1997 to cook food for 1,000 persons a day. Two years later, the system’s capacity was increased to cater to 10,000 people.

Encouraged by the success, the Centre promoted more large solar cooking systems. There are similar systems in Tirupathi in Andhra Pradesh and Satyabama University in Chennai, each of which prepares food for 15,000 people daily.

Steam cooking is clean, efficient and hygienic, especially when food is cooked for large numbers of people. The Shirdi system has been designed in a way so it can generate steam for cooking even in the absence of electricity to run the feed-water pump for circulating water in the system.

The antennas concentrate solar rays to generate steam with temperature ranging between 550 and 600 degrees Celsius. With an automated tracking system, the dishes rotate continuously along with the movement of the sun, always concentrating the solar rays on the receivers.

Every morning, the antennas are required to be turned manually in line with the position of the sun, a process which is completed when automatic tracking takes over. As the solar system is hooked up with boilers, it can take care of a few non-sunshine hours. But a back up is needed for prolonged spell of rainy and cloudy days.

DH News Service

Go to Top

Photo Gallery
Amrita Rao walks the ramp for ‘Ramp for Champs’ organised by Smile foundation to raise fund for ...

Amrita Rao walks the ramp for ‘Ramp for Champs’ organised by Smile foundation to raise fund for ...

Phoenix International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Artemis launched by Australian Defense...

Phoenix International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Artemis launched by Australian Defense...

Men of the traditional Sorbian community ride on decorated horses during the traditional Easter...

Men of the traditional Sorbian community ride on decorated horses during the traditional Easter...

A team perform at the 28th International kite festival in Berck, France...

A team perform at the 28th International kite festival in Berck, France...

Coptic Pope Tawadros II, center, swings an incense burner as he walks down the aisle during...

Coptic Pope Tawadros II, center, swings an incense burner as he walks down the aisle during...

This frame grabbed image from NASA-TV Sunday April 20, 2014 shows the SpaceX Dragon resupply...

This frame grabbed image from NASA-TV Sunday April 20, 2014 shows the SpaceX Dragon resupply...

A farmer trying to drain out water from his wheat field with the help of a bucket after heavy...

A farmer trying to drain out water from his wheat field with the help of a bucket after heavy...

New Naval Chief Admiral Robin K Dhowan after inspects a Guard of Honour at Defence Headquarters...

New Naval Chief Admiral Robin K Dhowan after inspects a Guard of Honour at Defence Headquarters...

After 10 long years the Santa Cruz-Chembur Link Road was finally thrown open to public in...

After 10 long years the Santa Cruz-Chembur Link Road was finally thrown open to public in...

Pope Francis lifts up the chalice as he leads a vigil mass during Easter celebrations ...

Pope Francis lifts up the chalice as he leads a vigil mass during Easter celebrations ...

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bangalore - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523