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A Low-cost Windmill

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An innovation that helps farmers to pump out ground water from a depth of 50 to 60 feet and save fuel cost

Mohammad Mehtar Hussain and his younger brother Mushtaq Ahemad are farmers in the Darrang district of Assam.

Innovators Mohammad Mehtar Hussain and Mushtaq Ahemad with the static model of the windmill

They own two acres of land, and produce just enough paddy to feed their families. As cultivating paddy is a water-intensive task, drawing out large amounts of groundwater was difficult due to frequent power cuts. Moreover, the alternative of pumping out water using a diesel set was too expensive and hand-pumping required a lot of effort. This set the brothers thinking, and in 2003 they came up with a solution that was a much cheaper and effective alternative. They invented a simple windmill using bamboo and a tin sheet, and attached it to a hand-pump!

The genesis of their invention is interesting, given the fact that the brothers are educated only up to higher secondary level and have no technical background. While looking around for an answer to their problem, their eyes fell on the movement of a sewing machine. They observed how the circular motion of the wheel resulted in the up-and-down movement of the needle. This formed a rough impression of how their solution would work. However, the major problem of how they would generate enough energy to make it function still remained. The solution to this came when one day they were watching kites, and a sudden gust of wind made them soar higher. They concluded that a large wheel, moving by the power of wind, could be attached to the handle of a hand-pump to pump out water continuously. They made their first prototype using bamboo, old tyres, iron, and so on.

How the innovation took shape
The basic model of the windmill consisted of a tower-like structure, made of two parallel bamboo posts. These were connected using an iron shaft, which in turn mounted the blades of the windmill. The wind makes the blades move, thus rotating the shaft. Being connected to the handle of the hand-pump, the rotating motion of the shaft results in the pumping out of water. However, this static model of the windmill has several advantages and disadvantages.

Fact Sheet
Innovator: Mohammad Mehtar Hussain and Mushtaq Ahemad
Innovation: Windmill-operated tube-well
Description: A low-cost windmill for lifting groundwater for irrigation purposes
Cost: Rs 6,000 (Static Model) / Rs 40,000 (Improvised Model)
Features (Improvised Model) :
  • Multi-directional, hence can automatically adjust itself to the wind direction
  • Iron body
  • Blades made out of fiber-reinforced plastic
  • Has a tilt mechanism

Made of inexpensive, locally available materials, such as bamboo and aluminum sheets, made it much cheaper than traditional windmills. Moreover, the entire unit could be assembled and dismantled in an hour, making it portable. No foundation was required for installation as the bamboo poles could be erected by digging holes in the ground. On the flip side, as the blades were static, they rotate only when facing the direction of the wind. Second, being light in weight, it did not withstand high-velocity wind. Third, there was no brake system in this design—it has to be stopped by inserting a wooden pole between the blades. Fourth, compared to traditional windmills made from sturdy materials, bamboo has a shorter life. This limited its use in all seasons, especially during the rains and the winter.

The improvised model

The improvisation phase
As the popularity of the windmill slowly spread, another innovator, Karunakanth Nath, whose innovation was already being supported by the National Innovation Foundation (NIF) North East, introduced it to the organization. The NIF awarded it a cash prize and a certificate from former President Abdul Kalam. Says Mushtaq “That was the proudest moment of my life.”

The NIF supported the innovation through its offshoot Grassroots Innovations Augmentation Network (GIAN) by providing funds. It started working on the defects of the windmill. Several were installed in IIT-Guwahati for technical analysis. At around the same time, GIAN West installed a prototype of the windmill in Little Rann of Kutch in Gujarat for salt farming on an experimental basis. India, with an average annual salt production of 157 lakh tonnes, is the third largest salt producer in the world. However, according to GIAN’s estimates, for producing 1,000 tonnes of salt, a salt farmer has to spend approximately Rs 1 lakh, of which nearly Rs 60,000 is spent on fuel for diesel sets for pumping out saline water. According to Mushtaq, “The response that we received was very positive. Our windmill proved to be cheaper as well as effective.”

The improved model
After some trials, several structural defects were identified, and the NIF–GIAN team worked on improvising the model to make it commercially viable. The result was a multidirectional windmill. This model consists of a tower-like structure, turbine blades with a tail, and a crank mechanism for converting the rotation of the blades into reciprocating motion. The aluminum blades have been replaced by lightweight fiber-reinforced plastic and the bamboo poles by steel for greater effectiveness. Besides this, in order to protect the windmill from high-velocity winds and for easy installation, a tilting mechanism has been added. This enables the windmill to be tilted down during high-speed wind.

The water discharge capacity of this model is approximately 1,500 to 1,600 liters/hour at a wind speed of 8 to 10 km/hr, if the water level is at 50 to 60 feet. If the wind speed is around 12 km/hr, the water discharge capacity is about 2,500 litres/hr.

Comparison Chart
Multi-directional WindmillConventional Windmills
Low height - 15 ftHeight - 35 ft
Simple crank mechanism (does not require major maintence)Gear mechanism (requires high maintence)
Easy to assemble and dismantleDifficult to shift once erected
Low initial investment High initial investment

Current status and cost
A provisional patent has been filed for the improvised windmill model. The innovator has already sold 30 to 35 units of the static model, which is priced at Rs 6,000. On the other hand, the improvised version will carry a price tag of approximately Rs 40,000. When asked why the price of this model is more than six times the original, Mahesh Patel, Chief Innovation Manager of GIAN, explained, “We have made the windmill multi-directional. We have used advanced good-quality bearings and iron material, thereby increasing its overall life to a minimum of 10 years. We are currently manufacturing it with the help of a local fabricator.” The innovators are currently on the lookout for technology partners for the improvised model.

Comments (30)Add Comment
I am intrested
written by jignesh patel, August 18, 2011
HI, my self Jignesh patel from ubharat village of gujarat state. which is located at coastal area.
i am a farmer. in my village, there is a big problem of electric city. and we do not work our kam without electricity. that's why we planning to set up windmill in our village. i wnat to know it's installation cost and how to maintain it.
i hope that you consider my request and give me proper solution about our problem.
My no. +91 9429273884
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mr
written by tamuka muzondo, June 23, 2011
Hi
I am interested in these cheap model windmills. What is the possibility of entering into some joint venture to manufacture them in Zimbabwe , Harare using locally available materials, for distribution in the southern African region?, initially in Zimbabwe where new farmers would have interest in the windmills because they have water requirements for their farming and cattle.
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...
written by huzaifa, June 10, 2011
i would like to know more about the windmill. please give me information about it on my email id
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written by Nilesh Vaghasiya, May 30, 2011
hii.. i m very much interested in buying this type of windmill.. pls call me back
cell : 9920468999

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written by MB , May 28, 2011
I want to utilize the wind energy over my location, this must have low cost and more work ability. I need help.
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Votes: +3
farmer
written by Ms esmie pereira, February 18, 2011
I am interested in this windmill...please let me know where I can get more details for purchase.
Regards
Esmie
mobile: 98212 09752
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windmill
written by lokesh, February 12, 2011
hi this is lokesh,i am studying eng in bng i want to generate 5kw power by using this windmill ... plz can u inform and i need feature innovation for this
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project abstact
written by ezhil, February 08, 2011
hi i am doing diploma please mail me abstract it will be useful to me
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nil
written by balachandar, January 02, 2011
Sir I am from Trichy, Tamil Nadu state. I have printing press in my groung floor of my house & residing at first floor and plan to rent the 2nd floor. Is there any possibility to install a windmill at low cost for all 3 floor uses. If it is then mail me the details of cost please. Expecting ur reply.

Thanking U,

with regards
c.balachandar
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written by S.Shiva, November 30, 2010
Hi
I'm S.Shiva businesman.. 53... have 11 acres land at Beed, Maharashtra. wish to intstall wind mill there.... pls. let me know it's cost for various Kwts ( 5/6/7/89/10 Kwts).Send the details of it on my e-mail id
Yours
S.Shiva
Mo; 9975663974
Fax : 0241-6611216
E-Mail : asianwindenergy@yahoo.com or ssanap@yahoo.com
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written by ajay singh, November 25, 2010
i have a thirty acre farm in uttarpradesh i need to install a wind mill which can generate 5 kw for lighting purpose & 15 kw for electric motor's to operate.can any one suggest me how & where to get it.my number is +919415084422.
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written by Hiren Panjuani, October 07, 2010
I would like to know the cost of wind mill required to generate 5 Kilo Watt of power per hour. this is required to run 150 LED lights of 25 Watt in campus.
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written by vimal kumar, August 11, 2010
Pls quote to produce 15KW electricity... 09841269070
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written by vimal kumar, August 11, 2010
Plz quote for 15KW power genaration
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written by vimal kumar, August 11, 2010
Plz send the quote for producing 15KW power
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Information od wind Turbines
written by Varun MAhankale, August 07, 2010
REspected SIr
Can U tell me the cost of your wind turbines with specification an dHow can I help U in making people going green .Thankyou and regards Jerry
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Low Cost Small Windmills
written by Priya G., April 26, 2010
We are the pioneer of providing good quality small windmills at a very affordable cost. These windmills can be used in a farmhouse, bungalows, by an institute, by a small scale industry, panchayatas, NGO's, even on the roof top of your building etc.These could be used even in an area where wind blows with an average speed.
Our windmills are small but very efficient in capturing the wind to provide us with the power that we require. The small windmill technology is supported by one of the good reputed UK based company, which has done over 1000 installations around the world. The product has been tested over two years to provide you with one of the most efficient renewable energy source equipment. We have a team set out to provide some of the best small windmills for these areas.
Come and join us on our mission of being part of this revolutionary idea of using nature to help us survive in a better way.Call us now for more technical advice on how you can make use of these windmills.

Ms.Priya Gupta
Mobile No.:- +91 9769269140
Office: - 022-25919293/94/95
Email Id: - emht.windmill@gmail.com
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Need a Windmill for pumping water from 150mtrs depth for a farm in Andhra Pradesh.
written by Sarada Manda, April 13, 2010
Hello Team,
Please let me know whome I should contact if I want to get a windmill installed at a farm near hyderabad
thanks
Sarada
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contact noumber.
written by kalpesh vyas, April 06, 2010
nice information u gave us. need more guidence as want to create same (wind mill) in my na plots near see cost. my contact noumber is 9819083547/26715118. (will call u any ways but if in case )
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i am allso intrested
written by kalpesh vyas, April 06, 2010
nice information u gave us. need more guidence as want to create same (wind mill) in my na plots near see cost.
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Low Cost Small Windmills
written by Priya Gupta, February 02, 2010
Hi,

We are the pioneer of providing good quality small windmills at a very affordable cost. The savings in installing a windmill to generate electricity in high wind areas is plenty. The area where a windmill can be installed needs to be looked at and studied so that wind as a source of energy can be used to its full potential.

We have a team set out to provide some of the best small windmills for these areas. Anyone interested in dealing with a company which puts this technology together to produce a product which is beneficial to all in many areas where power shortage, power cuts are plenty and where a free source of energy is available to us from nature. Come and join us on our mission of being part of this revolutionary idea of using nature to help us survive in a better way. Remember Wind energy creates no pollution,best solution for loadshedding,saves electricity bills.

Our company has decided to go green what about you..??

Come and Join Us....

--
With Regards
Ms.Priya Gupta
Contact :- + 91 9769269140
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inspiring story n query
written by Deepak Arora, January 22, 2010
highly impressed by these indians....congrats....
Please forward the details to install the wind mill to store the electricity in mountains of uttarakhand .
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written by Nish, January 03, 2010
I had 2 acres of land in maharastra near Rajgarh. Wanted to utilize it by generating Wind energy. Can you please tell me what will be the initial cost to install wind mills?
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Low cost wind mill
written by Dr. R.K. Jain, November 03, 2009
I read the article with great interest. Such type of innovations are actual need of the day. Can you suggest me how I can instal a unit at my farm? To whom I should contact? What will be the cost etc? My cell no. is 09425195430 at RATLAM (M.P.)
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written by sanjayb, July 29, 2009
I am currently looking for a windmill like this to install in my farm.
Can you tell me how much energy will it create in kw?
Can you tell me total system cost and installation cost?
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Architect/ Managing Editor Indian Architect & Builder
written by ajay nayak , July 03, 2009
Dear Mohammad Mehtar Hussain, Mushtaq Ahemad and the Members of GIAN.
Congratulations. I represent a maagzine called IA&B and would love to share your story with our readers.
As an architect I was curious to GIAN's research and understanding if they have developed it further to not just mechanicaluse but also to generate energy.

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Interested
written by Hardik Jadeja, June 10, 2009
I m quite interested in this, infact i m currently looking for a windmill like this to install in my farm in Jamnagar (Gujarat).
Can u pls contact me ?

Hardiksinh Jadeja
9724302051
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Whom to contact
written by Dr Vijay B Kulkarni, May 23, 2009
I was waiting for such a low cost innovation. I wish to install this wind mill on my farm with a tube well but no electricity.
Contact urgently
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windmill
written by arasan, May 12, 2009
wanted 10 wind mills immediately please contact 097894744455
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An inspiring true story
written by Ashutosh Agrawal, April 16, 2009
I was much impressed by the simple yet effective solution found by the two brothers.
This idea has spawned a business opportunity for entrepreneurs. One of my friend is now planning to enter small wind-mill business.
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