While better building designs are happening all over the world, what puts India & China apart from the other BASIC countries is the sheer population. A lot of predictions are happening that the per capita emission from India & China would be more in the coming years than its polluting friends the EU, USA, Canada, Japan and the rest.
It requires a serious leap of faith as how would India, which although called an Emerging Nation could ever have a per-capita emission of 20 ton CO2e when most of rural India still burns a kerosene lamp and that amount to around about 2 watts of light, and that too only for 4 hours as the fuel even though heavily subsidized, is still costly for them. One has to however, agree that the megalopolis of India namely Mumbai (Bombay) & Delhi followed by Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata and other class I & II cities are catching up to the consumerist character, without moderation in its run up to be known as advanced and “happening” Cities. And here there could be a danger of the citizens catching up to their EU / US counterparts in matching the CO2e emission, in the nearest future.
So, what does the Indian cities have which the American / European cities don’t? Which is usually a bane but in this instance can be turned into a boon? Simple – mind-boggling population. If we only tap the Urban population traveling in suburban trains we can do wonders in reducing CO2e. Let me take a little more time to explain how.
The Mumbai Suburban Railway is the oldest in Asia, it was founded in 1867. It is owned by Indian Railways and is operated by Western Railways and Central Railways. With a length of 303 km, It has highest passenger density in the world, 6.3 million people daily travel by the Suburban railways, within Mumbai & its suburbs. I bet this population would be more than many countries.
Now imagine if we can place Piezoelectric tiles in all the suburban station? Just at the entry point? Lets do some simple calculation.
Let say an average person, weighing 60 kg, will generate only 0.1 watt in the single second required to take two steps across the tile of size 2 feet x 2 feet. So if we multiply population by the watt produced; 6000000 x 0.1 = 600,000 watts.
This would be around 600 KW of electricity generated per day.
We would off-course need more than just one tile, this is just to explain the logic. And a minimum of 2 MW per day could be generated from the suburban stations alone. All that would be required is to understand the cost factor and incentives from the Government, to initially popularize it.
Now if we increase the scope of the tile and use it in malls, hospitals, sub-way entrances the City would start to generate a decent amount of energy, which can then be used to power the street lights and common lights. As it would become more and more popular, India would perhaps start manufacturing this locally and soon having piezoelectric door mats at the entrance of lobbies in housing societies around the City. Or perhaps China, with its superb business acumen start manufacturing and selling them in India and other South East Asian countries.
The most beautiful thing about this invention is its portability. Once adapted to Indian conditions, various State Governments could create a program along with reputed NGO’s to carry out them in remote village schools. The power generated by Human feet can really empower and revolutionize India and even African, South East Asia and Latin American Nations.