Till recently, modern science and technology served mainly the interests of the organised industrial sector. Due to introduction of mechanisation, automation and methods of mass production, goods produced by the organised industrial sector became so cheap that rural artisans could not compete with them. Destruction of the traditional rural enterprises led to pauperisation of rural India. The recent changes in economic conditions, such as increase in the cost of fossil fuels, increase in the cost of transport and the increased overhead expenses of operating modern industrial units, offer a chance to revive rural, family owned enterprises, which would use locally available raw material and sell their products locally. ARTI was founded in 1996 by a group of about 20 scientists and technologists to develop innovative and environmentally friendly rural technologies based on modern scientific knowledge. ARTI endeavors to help the rural people in establishing new enterprises. ARTI also maintains a Rural Entrepreneurship Development Centre in a rural location in the State of Maharashtra, India. Potential rural entrepreneurs are trained at this Centre in the technologies developed by ARTI. Those who start their own enterprises are provided with technical backup support and marketing support.
ARTI is currently working mainly in India. The target population is mainly rural. We also work on disseminating biogas generation from organic waste, primarily in urban areas, as a solution for waste management problems as well as energy scarcity issues.
Our Experience And Interest In The Four PCIA Central Focus Areas
Being traditional fuels and stoves, there are no social or cultural barriers in the rural areas. In the urban centres, the traditional fuels and stoves are not used, because they produce smoke and soot, which are not acceptable to modern housewives living in modern urban houses. There are some social barriers to acceptance of the technologies being promoted, mainly arising out of a reluctance to spend money on a seemingly unproductive investment. The only effective way of overcoming this barrier is awareness raising through information dissemination at grassroots level.
For its energy technologies, over the past 5 years, ARTI has been handholding a for profit company to take up sales and marketing of the cookstoves and biogas technology. The transfer of cookstove programme to the company (from manufacturing, quality control, to marketing, sale and after sale service) is now 100%, so that ARTI focuses only on developing new cookstove designs. The work of market development and sale is carried out entirely by the for profit company, Samuchit Enviro Tech Pvt Ltd.
A similar transfer of marketing expertise and rights for the ARTI biogas technology to the for profit is now being worked out.
ARTI has developed standard designs for all its stoves and standard construction manuals for its energy technologies (charcoal making and biogas plant construction). The stove design and names have been registered, and then handed over to the for profit company. For the energy technologies elaborate videos have been prepared showing the processes in detail. Anyone can replicate the technologies using the video manuals.
For standardising stove designs the criteria recommended by APROVECHO under funding from Shell Foundation have been used so far. If and when any India specific standard tests are recommended those will be used for stove design standardisation.
ARTI possesses a set of instruments for measuring carbon monoxide and particulate matter in the atmosphere. Some before and after studies have been carried out to assess impact of some of the ARTI stove designs and biogas technology on indoor air pollution. Some of the data has already been published in peer reviewed journals. As a part of some of these studies, health related questionnaires were used in surveys, and some indirect indicators such as weight of infants has also been used. However, detailed health impact studies have not been carried out.
Relevant Publications or Studies
Our Contribution to the Partnership
ARTI has developed many technologies, which are quite new and not yet available to other partners. They encompass new types of cookstoves, processed fuel, as well as techniques of monitoring indoor air quality. ARTI is willing to share its expertise and experience with all the PCIA partners.
ARTI would also like to upgrade its IAP testing lab, and capacity building of personnel, to meet with the new and emerging test protocols and emission reduction criteria.