Solar Flywheel Flour Mills in Ladakh
Water-based flour mills are part of the Ladakhi culture. However, in recent years, the frequency of flood-related events has increased drastically due to climate change and most of the traditional flour mills were washed away. Even if restored, there are still unanswered questions about the sustainability of the water-based flour mills. A new technology has been conceptualized to support the traditional flour mill, by changing the driving source of the mill from water to solar, which can also act as a power source. The solar PV based flour mills address risks related to flood, and access to electricity in remote areas. In addition to being powered by solar energy, the unique flywheel technology will also be able to store energy when the mill is not in use. The excess power generated by the Solar Flywheel Flour Mills can be utilized to electrify nearby community centres – which is a boon during the long winters in Leh, Ladakh.
Background of Project
Leh, Ladakh is one of the most remote regions in India and has been slowly facing changing climatic patterns which have caused destruction in the region. Water-based flour mills have become obsolete because of the changing course of water streams and timely unavailability of water. The solar flour mill with integrated flywheel technology is being piloted in the region as a climate-resilient alternative.
The solar flywheel flour mill is being installed to provide the communities with an indigenous technology that also preserves the nutrient value of the flour, often lost in mills run on conventional power. This unique mill is also designed and installed to power the local community centre during the inaccessible winter months
The flywheel technology of the mill is efficient and has the capability to store excess energy and release it during peak demand hours. The mill is best suited to the remote, inaccessible mountain regions, with plenty of scope for replication. The project address issues of food security and energy access, as well as provides a direct economic benefit to the women in the communities.