Energy is one of the basic inputs for all economic activities. Per capita energy consumption is one of the major determinants as well as indicator of economic development. The target of rural energy construction in Bangladesh is to increase energy supply in rural areas without paying the price of damaging ecological environment, which will not only generate energy effect but also significant ecological and social effects due to emphasis on energy conservation and exploitation and utilization of various renewable energy resources. The Institute of Fuel Research & Development (IFRD) of BCSIR has actively engages with this challenges.
The Institute of Fuel Research & Development (IFRD) launched its journey as the Fuel Research Division of the East Regional Laboratory, Dhaka in 1954. In 1967 it was renamed as Fuel & Petrochemical Science and Technology Division of East Regional Laboratory. After the independence it was renamed as Fuel Division of BCSIR Laboratories, Dhaka. IFRD was established as a separate Institute of BCSIR in 1980. IFRD have much significant contribution on research and development of conventional and renewable energy technology in Bangladesh.
From 1997 to 2004, the government ran two projects on biogas plant installation, and the BCSIR installed 22,000 plants across the country; more than any other organization.
This Institute actively engages with research and development of biogas, biomass, bio-fuel, solar, wind energy technology and almost all renewable energy sectors and contributed many fruitful results to the nation. Beside this, researchers are involved in quality improvement of conventional fuel. In addition this institute has developed and disseminated several models of Improved Cook Stoves and many other energy efficient devices for energy saving.
All kind of testing facilities for conventional and renewable energy technology is present here. Recently a Solar Panel Testing laboratory has been launched for the first time in Bangladesh. Through this facility the nation will benefit by judging the quality of imported solar panel and inverters.
Nationally, this institute has been awarded two times at 2013. “National Environment Award, 2013” for research, development and dissemination of improved cook stove throughout the country. “Best Research Award, 2013” for innovation of portable fiber glass biogas digester.
Another remarkable achievement of IFRD is fabrication of Thin Film Solar Cell for the first time in Bangladesh. Under an annual development project of the government, IFRD has established a world class research laboratory regarding thin film solar cell fabrication. This is the only laboratory in Bangladesh, doing this level of research.
The Institute for Fuel Research and Development (IFRD) has been playing the main actor for the dissemination of domestic size biogas plants in Bangladesh till date. Under a fuel-saving project approved by the government during 1988-92, 141 floating-top biogas plants have been installed in different parts of the country with the collaboration of NGOs.
Later IFRD has been taken “First Phase Biogas Pilot Plant Project” in the year of 1995-2000 and successfully disseminated 4,664 domestic size Biogas plants all over the county. With the success of First Phase biogas pilot plant project, IFRD again has been taken “Second Phase Biogas Pilot Plant Project” in the year of 2001-2004 and successfully disseminated 17,186 domestic size Biogas plants. Individually IFRD has disseminated 21,850 domestic size (~3m3) biogas plants all over the Bangladesh by two GoB projects (1st and 2nd Phase biogas pilot plant project).
Recently IFRD, BCSIR implemented a project entitled “Mitigation of Carbon Emission and Extension of Alternative Energy usage through dissemination of Biogas Plant and Improved Cook Stove” under the supervision of Ministry of Science and Technology and it was financed by Bangladesh Climate Change Trust (BCCT), Ministry of Environment and Forest. Through this project 2,800 domestic size biogas plants were successfully disseminated in seven districts of the county in 2011-2013.
During the last 3 decades IFRD, BCSIR has been pursuing extensive research and development activities on stove technology and developed a series of models of improved cook stoves and their accessories based on the needs of the user in respect of available biomass fuel, shape of the cooking pot, cooking habits and weather condition. Up till now R&D activities are being carried out by IFRD and so far 31 updraft and 9 downdraft models of improved stoves have been developed. These models may be grouped into 3 categories: (1) improved stoves without chimneys; (2) improved stoves with chimneys; (3) improved stoves with waste heat utilization. Improved stove saves 50-65 % fuels compared to traditional ones. In case of chimney stove, flue gases are also taken out of the kitchen so that the kitchen becomes more comfortable for the cook. Other benefits of improved stove are: save cooking time, less smoke, free of hot air, less blackening of the utensils, saving of fuels, portable stove can be shifted easily during rainy season.
Apart from these, there is some other important innovation it has such as Break Oil, Radiator Coolant, Bio-diesel, LED lamp, energy saving devices etc.