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Now, MiG engines may light homes
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Now, MiG engines may light homes

Dhananjay Khadilkar
Sunday, June 04, 2006  21:40 IST

From DNA 
OZHAR/NASHIK: The twin problems of depletion of conventional energy resources and the rise of pollution to alarming levels have forced our country to deliberate upon alternative sources of power generation. So, even as the specialists try to find a solution to this pressing problem, an Indo-Russian company has come up with a strikingly new method for generating power. Shocking though it may sound, but the Ozhar based Indo-Russian Aviation Limited (IRAL) has started exploiting used fighter aircraft engines to produce power.

IRAL’s prototype plant, located in Russia, uses MiG engine as a power generator. Work on a similar type of power plant, which however will use the gas turbine engine of a smaller Russian aircraft (D 049), is expected to begin this July. This 2 MW plant will be built at Korwa in Amethi and will supply power to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (HAL) Korwa unit.

So what made IRAL come up with such a radical approach to power generation? Rajesh Bharati, CEO of IRAL, says, “We wanted to utilise the used engines of fighter aircrafts at HAL. Suddenly, the Russians showed interest and came up with this concept.”

Like the fighter aircrafts themselves, the MiG engines are a favourite with IRAL officials. “They are formidable sources of power, says Bharati. “A single MiG 21 engine can generate around 13 MW of power while a MiG 27 engine can produce 25 MW.”

There are 400 such engines which can be utilised by IRAL. Out of these, more than 80 per cent are the MiG 21s while the remaining comprise of other members of the MiG family. Though these engines are not flying anymore, Bharati insists they are not sub-standard. “As a policy, engines are changed after they clock particular flying hours regardless of the condition they are in.”

“All the 400 engines are in good shape,” he adds. However before the aircraft engine can be put to use in a power plant, it undergoes modification. Bharati lists two main reasons for modifying the engine.

“Engines are modified primarily to increase their lifespan from a mere 500 hours to 1,00,000 hours with a continuous running operation. Modification is also needed so that it suits the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fuel instead of the Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) that is used while flying,” he adds.

The fuel change apparently doesn’t affect the engine’s power output. In fact, the calorific value of CNG is more than ATF. However, availability and pricing of CNG is the biggest hurdle that IRAL is facing.

“A single MiG 21 engine consumes 3500 m3  of CNG per hour. In order to set up a moderate-sized power plant, we need lots of CNG whose availability is a big problem,” he says adding, “They are not only cheaper than diesel and thermal plants, but they are environment friendly and easy to build as well.”

“If the government makes a special allocation of CNG for power generation, we may be able to realise the tremendous potential of such units,” Bharati says. HAL has shown its willingness to manufacture these customised engines at its Koraput plant.



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Hmm read that article. Nice concept but I hope they are able to implement it

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