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28 August, 2016 00:00 00 AM

Tapping the sun to increase output

Faisal Mahmud
Tapping the sun to increase output

Illuminating the working environment with appropriate lighting is one of the most important aspects for success in the industrial sector, as efficient lighting in industries not only saves owners’ money, but also boosts workers’ output manifold.

An energy-starved country like Bangladesh could especially benefit immensely from using energy-saving efficient lighting in industries, as lighting consumes approximately 30 per cent of the total electrical energy used in the country.
Besides, innovations in lighting have opened up new avenues for lighting applications in all areas, especially in the industrial sector. One such innovative lighting option is solar pipe light. Both experts and industry stakeholders consider it to be a very viable and feasible solution for efficient industrial lighting.
Solar pipe light
Solar pipe light—also known as tubular skylight, sun pipe, light tunnel or sun tile—is a daylight system consisting of a polycarbonate cover (a dome, square or tile) that is sited on a roof or outside wall over an aluminium tube.
Natural light travels down the tube. The interior of the tube has a mirror-finish that reflects and intensifies light and the dome incorporates a lens that refracts and intensifies the light. A diffuser in the ceiling spreads the light so that it illuminates the room rather than just the area beneath it. The diffuser can also be wired so that it acts like a conventional light in the evening.
In Bangladesh, Germany-based GIZ’s Sustainable Energy for Development (SED) initiated a pilot project with ‘CHANGE’, a registered youth organisation working in the field of renewable energy, water and sanitation and social business development, to conduct a study to develop a simple, customised innovative solution of using natural daylight in industries.
CHANGE has successfully developed the solution of solar pipe light built with locally available raw materials. Sajid Iqbal, founder of CHANGE and the innovator of the solar pipeline solution, said the concept of solar pipe light has already materialised.
The young entrepreneur said: “The main reason for the project was to research and develop solar pipe light with locally available materials and local know-how, so that we can provide the solution at an affordable price.”
“We have identified that the per unit cost of foreign available solar pipe lights is five to six times more than the solution we have developed. For the R&D project, we approached the Sustainable Energy for Development (SED) programme of GIZ, which is a joint project of the Bangladesh and German governments.”
“We have developed the prototypes. Now it has been scientifically proven. We now have to develop the product from the prototype, develop its market and boost its demand. Proper policy changes are required to promote the environmentally friendly lighting solution. “
He said that they have already piloted prototypes in two settings, one in a small cottage factory and another one in an ice-cream factory. The pilot project is helping the host industry to use free natural lighting during daytime for 10 to 12 hours, covering around 750 to 800 square feet.
“The solar pipe light which illuminates the area is equivalent of a CFL bulb and, at the same time, saves monthly energy expenditure with zero carbon emissions.”
Iqbal said that solar pipe light has huge prospects in factories of Bangladesh to substitute the use of electricity for day lighting. This can add value to industrial growth in Bangladesh through efficient energy use.
“It can be installed in single-floor industrial structures to improve daytime lighting and reduce dependency on electrical lighting. In Bangladesh, we have a lot of warehouses, garments factories, other factories and industries in which we can introduce this light,” he added.
Merry sunshine
Lauding the solar pipe light initiative, Abdul Matlub Ahmed, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), said it could be implemented in industrial buildings of Bangladesh.
“I don’t find any reason why it can’t be implemented in our industrial buildings. Bangladesh has abundant sunlight throughout the year. This will not only reduce the expenses, but also provide energy efficiency. Countries like Sri Lanka and India have successfully implemented it in their industrial buildings,” he noted.
The FBCCI president said the idea of this solar pipe light could be implemented in the industrial buildings in the proposed special economic zones (SEZs). “From FBCCI, we will provide all sorts of help to implement the idea in industrial buildings,” he said.
Dipal Chandra Barua, president of the Bangladesh Solar and Renewable Energy Association (BSREA), told The Independent that solar pipe light is an implementable concept. “It might seem like a small concept now, but it could become big in future.”
He said in 1996, the World Bank (WB) conducted a study on the potential of solar home systems (SHSs) in Bangladesh. The study said there was potential for 1,00,000 SHSs in Bangladesh.
“Now, Bangladesh has over four million SHSs. This is one of the success stories of Bangladesh,” he said, adding that “solar pipe light could be a success story for Bangladesh as well”.
Siddique Zobair, a member of the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA) of the power, energy and mineral resources ministry and national project director of SED, pointed out that in most commercial places, a huge amount of electricity has been misused for daytime lighting. “Solar pipe lights can save huge amounts of energy there,” he said.


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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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