Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Electricity from Rice Husks

David Bornstein reports in the Times about a new Indian business that provides electricity to poor villagers in Bihar by gassifying rice husks. As Bornstein explains, the moral of the story is that big innovations at the cutting edge of technology are not needed to solve many problems, just endless tinkering with technologies already on hand.

1 comment:

Katya said...

I love this kind of story.

This is the moral of the crank flashlight. The crank radio. Or any of various devices similarly fueled that have been put on the market in recent years. Every time I see them I think about a great new item I saw one time about a British inventor, born in Africa--he'd spent most of his life working on this kind of project.

His cleverest device, in my memory, involved throwing a system of weights tied to a string and a spring over a tree branch: voila! Three or four hours of instant electricity, if on a small scale.