Salt pans can be tapped for power generation, says Minister

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on February 19, 2014 Published on February 19, 2014

The six-lakh acres of salt pans – over 90 per cent with the private sector – could be tapped for putting up large scale solar panels and wind turbines to generate power for salt production and supply surplus to the grid.

“Industrialised salt plus power generation will be a good combination,” EM Sudarsana Natchiappan, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, told Business Line on the sidelines of a seminar on salt recently.

The Heavy Industries Ministry is planning to set up a 4,000-MW Ultra Mega Green Solar Power Project in Rajasthan. It will be developed on 23,000 acres belonging to Sambhar Salts at a cost of ₹7,500 crore.

In small salt pans, producers have started replacing generators with solar pumps to pump water, saidSK Sharma, Scientist with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

For instance, in Gujarat nearly 100 solar pumps have been installed. It can also work in off-grid system. Since most of the salt pans are located in windy locations, installations of wind farms can also be considered, he said.

About 60,000 acres or 10 per cent of salt pans belong to the Salt Commissionerate in six States, including Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. Annually, about 24 million tonnes of salt is produced.

A research paper on solar salt production by CSIR-Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute says that huge areas of salt pans can be utilised to construct solar stills whereby besides concentration of brine, desalted potable water can be obtained. Solar-photovoltaic powered pumps run on electricity generated by photovoltaic panels as opposed to grid electricity or diesel run water pumps. These types of pumps can be used to pump brine in solar salt pans.

Published on February 19, 2014
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