IRTC had undertaken a study of the potential sites for Small Hydel Projects in Kerala with a view to deriving some economy through the standardisation of unit sizes. A Detailed Project Report has been prepared for one site (Meenvallom Falls, Karimba Panchayath, Palakkad Jilla; 2.5 MW, 8.6 MU) where, some cost reduction techniques like Plum concrete weir are being tried out. This project has been taken up by Palakkad District Panchayath for implementation with technical support from IRTC.
The Panchayath Resource Mapping (PRM) Programme with peoples’ participation was a pioneering effort, jointly undertaken by IRTC and Centre for Earth Science Studies (CESS). The Kalliassery Development Programme and Kalliassery Total Energy Planning (KTEP) Programme came as logical sequels, leading to the Participatory Panchayath Level Development Planning (PLDP) project sponsored by the Kerala Research Programme of the Centre for Development Studies (CDS), Thiruvananthapuram. This effort is now being followed up through the preparation of master plans for Watershed based development for various Panchayaths. IRTC had prepared watershed-based master plans with people’s participation, for nine Block Panchayaths and five Grama Panchayaths, so far.
IRTC has also contributed to the development of Demand Side Management (DSM) approach to Energy Planning in Kerala. The DEFENDUS Methodology was used to initiate such an exercise in the domestic, commercial and low-tension (LT) industrial sectors. As a follow up programme, IRTC has developed electronic ballast for 40W fluorescent tubes meeting all the specifications of Bureau of Indian Standards, and also electronic chokes for CFL of capacity 11W and 13W. These were being marketed by Parishad Production Centre. The Electronics lab of IRTC is an approved testing laboratory for CFL and fluorescent lamp systems and many Panchayaths and Municipalities are making use of this. The Hot Box, which saves about 50% energy in rice cooking has been developed by IRTC and is being marketed by PPC. IRTC has also done the field-testing of a wood burning gasifier for energy generation using locally available biomass like coconut fronds.
IRTC’s effort to develop and disseminate the technology for small-scale hand made soap production was a huge success. IRTC has developed the technology for the production of toilet soap and washing soap, using coconut oil, by cold process. Training was given to thousands of individuals (about 3500) and more than 2000 persons, especially women, are now engaged in this activity and earning a living. More than 5000 soap kits (each giving 20 soap cakes) are being distributed every month from IRTC. Even now hundreds of individuals are getting trained in this profession and are starting their own enterprise.
Similarly IRTC has developed a package of practices and production protocol for oyster mushroom. Hundreds of individuals, especially women were trained. Quality spawns are being supplied to the trained mushroom producers at an average rate of 1000-1200 packets a month.
IRTC is also supporting the traditional potter communities through technical support for product diversification, value addition and drudgery reduction. IRTC is providing training and technical support in production and marketing in decorative pottery works and also helping the communities in availing support from various Government agencies. A large number of potter communities in Palakkad and neighbouring districts are benefited by these efforts.
The Smokeless Chulha (Parishad Aduppu) still remains the standard bearer of KSSP Research & Developmental work. The original design has been further modified and extended to meet commercial and community needs also.
Through the Women’s Technology Park (WTP) established with support from DST, Govt. of India, IRTC is giving training and extending technical support to various women’s enterprises in hand-made soap, decorative pottery, nursery practices, etc.