Supply of electrical energy by utilisers generally lags behind the demand,
forcing the utilities to impose power cuts. A number of industries have
gone ahead with installing captive diesel based power generation equipment.
However, it is possible to generate electricity using wood, which is a renewable
resource. Experience gained by the scientists working on an earlier project
of development of small (3.7 kW) wood gasifier had shown that wood gasifiers
at a scale of 100 kW could be developed and the gas used in diesel engines
can save about 70% of diesel. The KSCST initiated a project at the Indian
Institute of Science to proceed with the design and fabrication of one unit.
In March 1986 the proposal was ratified and the project work commenced on
1st April 1986. By April 1`987 a prototype wood gasifier was developed.
This was demonstrated at the meeting of scientists from various laboratories,
working on wood gasifiers. Seeing the potential of this developed system,
the Department of Non Conventional Energy Sources requested KSCST to design
and develop a complete a package for a 100 kW gasifier based power plant
to be installed at Andaman and Nicobar islands, a place having vast wood
resources and hitherto depending only on diesel for its power needs. Moreover,
these islands have an abundance of plantations and hence wood gasifier may
not lead to destruction of Rain forests particularly since the device would
operate on waster materials from saw mills. With this in mind, this demonstration
project was started on 1st April 1988 and in January 1989 the 100 kW system,
named as SIGMA-100 (Science Institute Gasifier for Multiple Applications
- 100 kW) was dispatched to Andaman and Nicobar islands.