Urbanization and the question of clean energy and clean transport

AGRAWAL, RAJAT (1); SHARMA, VINAY (1); JOSHI, KAPIL (2); MISHRA, HIMANSHU SHEKHAR (3) (2018). 'URBANIZATION AND THE QUESTION OF CLEAN ENERGY AND CLEAN TRANSPORT' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Buenos Aires, Argentina 2018.


Two live propositions to be demonstrated are based on the scientific experiments done by the authors in the State of Uttarakhand at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee.

The experiments which are running into the stages of commercialization are related to:

a)   Development of mode of clean energy generation through the usage of local and abundant sources with the help of in-house acumen.

b)   Development of mode of clean and efficient transportation by improvising on the existing transportation.

c)   Incorporating both the elements in the growing cities with the help of suitable incorporation and adoption process to positively encapacitate the future development of cities.


Experiment A

Clean energy generation through indigenously developed technology and Forest-Bio-Residue Management through the development of Value Chains:

Statement of the Problem:

“Can forest based bio residue be seen as a potential source for any productive usage like energy generation while having a capacity of sustainability in involving  forest users, market forces, officials, policy makers and international agencies.”

Development of a Briquetting Machine

The output which includes a briquetting machine was developed with the following features in mind: 

  1. Manually operated.
  2. No additive is used for binding.
  3. No need of pyrolysis process.
  4. No toxic waste is produced.
  5. No electricity or any heating operation is needed.

This machine is based upon the principal of developing sufficient cohesive strength in order to bring the loose biomass into a solid form. It is developed as a tool for social entrepreneurship where villagers living in and around the forest area may adopt briquette making as a livelihood option. This will also save the forest of Uttarakhand/Himalayan regions from the disaster of forest fire as the forest floor will be devoid of inflammable dry and Pine needles which are spread over an area of over 500000 hectare.

This machine has enabled the generation of energy through forest-bio-residue and will enable clean energy in the cities where it required most.

Experiment B

Cycle Rickshaw as a mode of clean transporation: 

Cycle Rickshaw is a mode of small distance transportation in all the urban areas of India. Rickshaw pulling gives employment to millions of Indians. Some of them are pulling rickshaw all through the year while some use it for part-time income generation. In a small city of India, a rickshaw puller earns about 70-80 US$ per month while working for 8-9 hours a day.  But poor design of rickshaw, lack of importance to human powered vehicles in urban planning and increasing income levels of urban population neglected the role of rickshaws as a clean transport. Cycle rickshaw is to be seen as a mode of clean transport in urban areas. Therefore, the project was initiated as “Ecocab”. The project targetted multiple objectives including improving design of rickshaw so that rickshaw becomes safe for passengers and comfortable for pullers, improving the social status of pullers, and to change the mindset that rickshaws are a source of traffic congestion to that rickshaws are environment friendly mode of transportation.  The project also aimed to improve capabilitiy of the rickshaw pullers. Most of  the (around 90%) rickshaw pullers get rickshaw on rent and a nexus between contractors and officers of urban local bodies deprive pullers to become owners. The project creating a model of social and eco-entrepreneurship focussed on capability development so that pullers can become owners of rickshaws with improved design which may be used as mode of environmental friendly transportation.

Both the projects as can be observed are a potential mode of 'capability' enhancement of the beneficiaries/stakeholders as well as hold the potential of contributing meaningfully in the development of cities or in meaningful urbanization. 

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