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Green Business Idea – Collaborate not Compete to get off the Eco(nomic) crisis


As globalization and technology draw the world together, they create opportunities for innovation that are as great as any in the past three centuries. They create the potential for a second revolution in productivity — but one in which we no longer need to trade ecological assets for economic ones. –The Two Deficits, Part Four

This is one event which almost every super-market shopper has faced. You go out looking for your favoured item and you are always spoilt for choices. Every time there is a better tooth-paste or shampoo or cereal.  Look for an ice-cream and there are dozens vying for your attention. Same with Cars and motorbikes or clothes.

Thus one can divide the products into Food & Processed food, Clothes & Ready-made clothes, Transport & Personal Transport etcetera. Essentially all fall into certain basic categories which can be classified into FOOD-CLOTH-SHELTER, the pillars of modern Economics and foundation of civilization. (explained in my other article)

So if you buy a potato chip…you are buying processed food and just that. Potatoes which have gone through the same process of being selected from a farm, cleaned, cut, fried and added with the desired flavours and packed.

The machinery being used by one manufacturer would perhaps be of the same make of that of the competing brand and they both are purchasing potatoes from the same region, thus the soil and other climatic conditions of growing the product is almost the same or similar. And the packaging is also almost coming from the same source, petroleum or paper pulp.

Yet each similar product claiming that it is unique. Some obviously are. Most aren’t. The only product which can claim to be unique every-time even when being manufactured in the same region are the ones we get naturally. I rest my case with the humble chilly.

And it is this Biodiversity which we need to protect and preserve. Else no brand can claim that they have “spice” in their flavour for their would be nothing to spice up sooner than later.

There is a move called The Lorax. A movie I would request the more knowledgeable to acknowledge byI screening it in Davos 2014.A movie which has been able to capture how desire turn into greed and how we Humans have lost the focus of why we started to work in the first place. It was primarily for sustenance of self and dependants. Which in turn was to give us happiness – safety – security.

While the protagonist at the end is able to save the World by saving a species from extinction, I do not know if many amongst us would like to place our bets on saving the Human species when we meet for the World We Want 2015.

“Why this children film and not Al Gore‘s – An Inconvenient Truth?” some would ask. Simple !  If we had achieved the goal in our life-time then the Millennium Development Goals would not have been mooted. It would have been a subject in History for our children to study.

“Problems are inevitable in any development program; failure is not.” –  Fail- Safe Management; A World Bank Publication.

Continuing from my last , where it is more than evident that Business are suffering and going to suffer severely in the coming years, innovation is the only adaptation choice we are left with. The doubters can read on the unprecedented flood of Central Europe posted barely a few hours ago.

The Green Business Idea  I’m about to suggest will be full of problems and as with many of my ideas half-baked and not thoroughly researched. Only soul-searched.

Brand shown here is only for literary purpose only.

Let’s talk of Potato Chips as an example. I do not know how many brands are there in the World but the Top 20 Potato Chip Brands have similar or different info-graphics showcasing that their brand is the best. And has World dominion.  What I do know however is that there always would be a Numero uno (first) and a Numero último (last). And there would also be some which are Numero acabado or terminado ! Because they could not compete in the cut-throat competition of the fickle consumerist modern society we call the modern civilization. Failure has nothing to do with quality (at times) but perceptions and trend and many micro & macro factors. Ask any cell-phone manufacturer. Or concept car maker. Or even a steel company.

So does that mean that the people who are rendered jobless are not worthy or the potato which made the chip not natural ? It is neither. When you are given a finite resource – man & material; there is so much you can do.

Try eating a full 7 course lunch just after having a hearty break-fast.Or try eating the same hearty break-fast say of farm – fresh apples in a non apple growing season.You can’t! Apples you will get, but they won’t be farm-fresh but freshly frozen.

Same happens for labour, what was achieved on this date can’t be achieved on the same date next month or next year. And even if it is attempted; not by the same set of persons. Some may not be around any more.

Thus with finite resources and finite work opportunities what we have led ourselves into is what in Hindu Mythological term is called – “Chakravuyu”. One in which to enter is easy but to come-out is difficult. When I say difficult I mean just that. Not impossible. As explained in the Mahabharata, when one is guided by the inner conscience of self and is of stead-fast mind devoid of greed and complete surrender to duty the chakravuyu can be broken as it was by Arjuna.

Equality and Equal opportunity can always prevent grief. And for that we need to collaborate. And it can be sustainable.

If we create only 4 hours of work per person with the same amount of pay or less ( as foretold – a difficult situation ) we almost eliminate joblessness.

Joblessness is a huge strain to the economy in form of payout of dole, social security etcetera.

Jobs of the people who are out of work, for example from a recently closed European TV company. Surely there would be experts in that pool who can fill in the shoes of those who need to put 14 -16 hours a day working for another TV studio, somewhere in another European or Asian or American Nation. And although having jobs; are equally miserable because of lack of time for self and family.

This misery manifests into anger and discontentment and is vented by protest and lock-outs demanding higher wages; knowing fully well that there aren’t any option of having a better time management and a better life. So the least they can do for their kith and kin is earn a few dollars more with an almost mirage like hope that money would make things better and give them a better life.

Imagine if we had 4 hours shifts.

For the same job we could have 6 people employed. That is an decrease by 6 times the unemployed ratio. A huge sociopolitical pressure can get released. It also allows for social engineering wherein population control as well as population management would be possible. Simply because when people are content, they readily accept radical ideas. (Sustainable Living and Climate Initiative: Socio-Political Decisions can have a profound effect on it.)

In the similar fashion instead of a Potato chip company on its way of becoming International giant – Giants by default trample everything that comes underneath it – becomes a benevolent benefactor and employs or buys the full produce from the near defunct smaller company at a fair price ( a price which that company would have naturally got had it been profitable) and or allows them to sell the lead produce with transfer of technology (with guaranteed non breach of secrecy contract). This way the giant does not have to grow its “very own” potato and thus destroy a paddy field and perhaps the livelihood of those with it. And compound the already fragile food scarcity issue.

And

Every season we allow for a certain amount of produce of a particular crop be produced internationally. Pooled at a common source and distributed as per demand amongst Nations above and beyond a standard quota which is equal for all. We thereby (hopefully) would not have Wheat rotting in the open storage pens, we would not have hunger and neither would there be a strain in giving the Minimum Support Price. (a very difficult problem but not impossible to solve).

It can be done for minerals and metals  too. Thus the service and manufacturing sectors of all hues can slowly and surely be able to reduce its destructive and unsustainable foot-print.

However, this would only be possible if Nations have able Governance and non-corrupt Government. India can’t presently take the lead. But by mooting this idea in the International fora can at-least be seen as a serious player in the goal to attain Sustainable Living and abating Climate Change as per the MDS vision.

 

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World Environment Day – the don’t practice but preach day!


AHow many times does it happen to almost all of us that we listen to a captivating lecture or a documentary or even a film and connect to it completely ? While walking out of the hall, you almost bond with complete strangers and some have animated discussions on the subject while reaching the exit gate, exchange contact details and as the vehicle you sit in moves, start the process of completely forgetting about the episode and focus on the day ahead ?

This is what happens to all of us especially those who have taken upon themselves to do public good….that is become a Politician. Everyday most of them think how they can do some good for the public, especially in India. And the World Environment Day is no different.

One can not fault any person and especially those who have taken upon themselves to do public good be focused in doing good in one sector alone. They need to focus in all areas lest they be seen as partial. Therefore in a prelude to the Environment Day our thoughtful leaders did think of doing some more good. And as an observer of the good our leaders bestow upon ourselves,this article would try and record them with a perspective.

CMumbai, is a city which is situated in the western coast of India, and very close to the famed Western Ghats, which the UN incidentally has declared as a very fragile and varied ecosystem which needs to be protected. And our thought full leaders both at the Centre & State who’s heart beats for the äam aadmi,(common man)  always eager to eliminate poverty, can not but come up with gem of ideas to improve the lot of the people, even at the cost of throwing away all the recommendations which the Ministry of Environment and Forest ( MoEF ) may have put.

It was mooted sometime ago that the city of Mumbai must become World class and some even wanted it to be better in comparison to Shanghai in China. As to why a city from China was chosen as an example instead of EIU’s 1st ranked Melbourne Australia, which is still considered to be the top most when we rank it in the liveability index simply beats me.

DThe Economist Intelligence Unit Liveability Survey liveability index rates each city on a scale of 0-100 based on 30 indicators, grouped in five categories.  Weights ranging from 10 to 25 percent are assigned to each category to determine the overall rating.  The EIU’s categories, weights and indicators are as follows:

  • Category 1: Stability (25%) (prevalence of petty and violent crime; threat of terror, military conflict and civil unrest/conflict)
  • Category 2: Healthcare (20%) (availability and quality of private and public healthcare; OTC drug availability; general health indicators adapted from the World Bank)
  • Category 3: Culture & Environment (25%) (climate; corruption; social/religious restrictions; censorship; sports/culture availability; food and drink; consumer goods and services)
  • Category 4: Education (10%) (availability and quality of private education; public education indicators adapted from the World Bank)
  • Category 5: Infrastructure (20%) (quality of road network, public transport and international links; availability of good quality housing; quality of energy and water provision; quality of telecommunications)

The overall Liveability Index 2012 is an integration of categories such as demographic, education, health and medical standards, safety, housing option, socio-cultural-natural environment, economic environment, and planned environment. It identifies those areas where progress is being made or maintained and areas where we need to be vigilant and allocate resources in order enhance its prosperity levels. In addition, it has taken a holistic approach in order to gauge the status of liveable cities in India by taking into consideration both, urban and rural factors. A city is termed as liveable if it provides a favourable living environment to its residents and indirectly benefits the people who visit it. The favourable environment comprises of various measurable factors such as, presence of quality education and health institutions, planned environment, appropriate infrastructure, safety of the people, strong administration etc. It has to do with answering questions like ‘can I live here happily with my family’? This goes beyond quality of life which is merely a single construct and a part of liveability. Similarly, for corporates who require well-connected roads, regular supply of power, skilled employees etc. for their business processes.

While none of our cities figure in the World top ten, by comparing our cites internally….

Liveability Index 2012

Highlights

  • New Delhi losses out by scoring high on the crime parameter.
  • Chennai grabs the numero uno position by beating Delhi, which was stable with its 1st rank for the last two years
  • Hyderabad is spotted at 2nd position and gained two positions
  • Other two top metros, Mumbai and Kolkata slide down from their previous ranks and are placed at 3rd and 7th position respectively
  • Kolkata arises as the city with the best supporting infrastructure in terms of residence, drinking water, source of lighting etc.
  • Major positive as well negative shifts are noted in the ranks of few cities such as Vijayawada, Gurgaon, Kozhikode, Varanasi, Ludhiana, and Puducherry etc.
  • The index provides insight into the quality of life available to people and provides evidence on the future state of the city in terms of its liveability.

South Indian cities dominate the top ten cities slot as Nagpur, Pune, Nashik, Madurai and Bengaluru exhibited a lot of improvement and have significantly risen from their previous low ranks. (more).

EWhile New Delhi could be considered as the King of Indian cities,where I schooled from and Mumbai the Queen where I found my livelihood, seeing the lopsided development which has no direction makes one wonder as had it not been for the people of this city and some very concerned and able people especially those who are connected to the Advanced Locality Management created by Mr. Verien Merchant in 1996 and supported by many around the city. This beautiful city would have sunk.The ALM Warriors (read more) as they are called are the need of the hour and not only in saving this city from filth but also in the process save the environment from degrading further.

The onslaught on Mumbai by vested interest is ceaseless. Plans to usurp an open space (The Royal turf club)  in guise of developing it into an world class park for the public is nothing but a sham. Because, it is but obvious that there would be some commercial activities planned around it which would be controlled and captured by those who are in power. One needs to look into the history of encroachment and the Builder-Mafia-Politician nexus to believe otherwise.

FNo urban planning is Eco-friendly because we have the unflinching ability to pour concrete in every square-foot of open space we get in our hands in the name of development. Preservation of eco-system which has been undisturbed for the last hundred year since the development of the city as important as preserving the lively hood of more than many poor labourers who maintain the said open space presently. While none can be against a proper approach to development; evidence show that the administration can not be trusted to safe-guard what belongs to the Planet first, its people later and to the rulers never!   An open green patch of land!

Read The Green Roots of Turkey’s Urban Unrest.- The street protests that spread from Istanbul to some 60 cities around Turkey in recent days have focused on a broad range of grievances, particularly what some see as the unresponsive nature of the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But the initial spark was a government plan to uproot hundreds of trees and turn a park abutting Istanbul’s Taksim Square (interactive panoramic view) into a shopping mall.

The most important factor is that open spaces allow percolation of water & growth of trees which provides us with the much needed oxygen and controls the much dreaded carbon. And without ground water & air their can not be life.

The tragedy is we have set goals such as Environment Day, Earth Hour which starts and stops within the 24 hours of its arrival for most. And for our administrators it is but just a notation in their day planner, wherein a short half-hour or half-day function suffices with a meaningless gesture amongst equally hollow sound of applause.G

But that applause would soon be met with a deafening silence. As the elixir of life – Water ! becomes more dearer by the day due to the short sighted polices of those who are meant to govern.

One must pause to understand that civilization rose to its pinnacle on the fundamentals of  FOOD – CLOTHING – SHELTER. That is the basis of modern economics. In  Hindi we say – Roti (food); Kapada (cloth) aur (and) Maakan (shelter)

{Roti denotes sustenance without which life is impossible; Kapada denotes clothing but also captures the essence of the service and manufacturing industry while Maakan takes care of the infrastructure sector}

But human greed wants to mirror this datum into SHELTER – CLOTHING – FOOD.

Somewhere in the development of modern humans the mental make-up took a turn for the worse where developmental agenda started focusing less on sustenance and sustainable practices and more on self aggrandizement. The hoarding of riches outstripped the need to preserve wealth.

Environment is about sustainability and the planet we call Earth became sustainable to support life in a long-drawn continuous process. The next time we should declare the beginning of the Earth & Environment Year ! And follow it through till each city-town-village of our Country and the World can safely vouch that the day of a better Environment has begun.


 

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The Midas Touch – Vanishing the air & water; a supreme feat by mankind.


Montreux, Switzerland, April 15, 2013 – A changing climate with more frequent extreme weather events requires today’s businesses to plan for an unpredictable and inconsistent water supply via more sophisticated water management practices, according to a new report released today by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

Water bubble

Water bubble (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

The report, Sharing Water: Engaging Business, emphasizes the crucial role of business in ensuring responsible management of water resources and encourages greater collaboration across sectors. The report finds that leading companies have begun shifting their perspective beyond merely managing operational water use to becoming more conscious of how corporate actions impact local and regional water resources and, conversely, how water resources and watersheds impact business.

“Increasing global demand and the impacts of climate change are placing unprecedented strain on freshwater resources,” said WBCSD President Peter Bakker. “In order to ensure a viable business future, companies are calling for collective management and collaboration at the watershed level to ensure continued access to water supplies among competing demands.”

The report cites alarming findings from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that, under business as usual, water demand will increase by 55 percent globally by 2050, leaving little scope to meet increasing water demands while respecting the needs of ecosystems. With no improvement in the management and use of freshwater resources, the world could face a 40 percent supply gap by 2030.

With a figure of at least 14,027 in 2011, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the total number of farm suicides since 1995 has touched 2,70, 940. The State of Maharashtra shows a rise in numbers yet again, logging 3,337 against 3,141 farmers’ suicides the previous year (and 2,872 in 2009)… more.

Now such reports are rarely read by those who stoop low to deliver a macabre joke at the expense of dying farmers. And it is not a singular person who is responsible. The people we choose are the reflection of our own failing. In India, it is the ruling and thriving mindset of almost all.

The reason for this lies in three simple words – Business As Usual.

How does it affect the CEO of a Company ( Nation )  who is also a Citizen of a Country, if the drought and famine which the WBCSD, UNFCCC and the rest keep talking about.  If at the ground level, his/her daughter can still go out to a Water-Kingdom and have a swim, and that too under huge arc-lights in a warm summer night, while the  CEO attends a conference on Resource depletion due to Climate Change in air conditioned comfort ?

How does it affect the CEO that there are villages which are not getting enough water to wash their clothes daily and even have to ration water for drinking;  if his car is getting a wash early in the morning, to keep that shine ?

When one can choose between the dual buttons to flush the toilet, can the embarrassment of not able to maintain personal hygiene for days cross ones mind ?

 Why is not there a single event held on Climate Change right at GROUND ZERO. If Solidarity must be shown then it must be lead from the front. And lets not talk about the NGO’s here.

King  Ashoka the Great lead  the Kalinga war from the front. He witnessed the result of his decision with his own eyes. A destruction so great, a havoc so large that the changes he brought about in his style of rule still flutters with pride  as the emblem of modern India’s National flag.

A man who was born in 232 BCE and a sage who still lives on.

Can the modern CEO, compare ? For is it not his/her wish to see their Empire rule ? What changes can they make if the empathy that is the need of the hour is missing ?

Flickering images of pain and hunger on the silver screen are just that. They fade from the memory of most as quick-silver. What remains in the lopsided, badly mauled and in need of a serious overhaul – the Business As Usual . The By the profit – For the profit – Of the profit policy we have been so diligently following.

It is time for us to sit back like the child we once were and be brave enough to cry -“the King is naked” instead of passing platitudes to peaking of stock market indexes of a Country/ Countries which are going (natural) resource and morally bankrupt. While following catch up with the demons of the past.

While it can be argued that the failings can not be attributed to the élite alone; the premise of such argument is flawed. For there were always two kinds of men.

Those who lead & those who follow. The learned & the literate.

When the leader considers it as BAU to loot the exchequer of tax-payers money; the tax-payer considers non-payment of tax as a sublime and smart way to do business.

Thus infrastructure suffers and sustainable practice become costly.

When a leader stops the traffic while his cavalcade passes by, whilst causing delay even death to citizens, the motorist disregards the traffic signal.

Thus traffic snarl occur, increasing the noxious fumes.

When a leader builds a memorial for those who are long dead by capturing land meant for public good, the follower leaves the poor only with memories of loved ones buried under ill-legal construction.

Thus toxic waste leach the very land we live.

While watching the annual migration at the Serengeti, the regeneration of the ecosystem as it has been doing from time immemorial makes one feel almost like moving in a time capsule back in time. For each generation of the wildebeest have behaved in the same manner as its ancestors before them, and each stake-holder in the game has remained true to the whole picture. Ever-changing yet constant and sustainable. Completing and complementing the Earth natural Ecosystem.

It is all Business -As – Usual. But it is beautiful.

Why can not human, who pride themselves to be in the apex of the animal kingdom not create a system which can be sustainable ?

The answer is simple. We don’t go out there any more.

When you don’t look at the reflection of the Sun over the flowing water of a river every-time you go out to take a bath;

When you don’t look at the tranquil image of the Moon with every sip of water you drink to quench your thirst on a hot day;

When the whispering trees in the breeze does not cool the body of your baby when it goes to sleep; …….

When you stop living and loving Nature –

You end up brushing your teeth with the tap water flowing down the drain. Cook your fresh food till every drop of water it contained ( and thus looked fresh ) has evaporated, adding a little more GHG into the air. Both water-vapour and petroleum vapour.

Wherever we go, we lay waste the Land. The water and even the Air.

We indeed do have the Midas Touch.

 

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Business As Usual – a sure-fire guide to kill Sustainable Development Goals.


“Only Rupees Two ?. What about the rent of my roof ? With Mumbai realty prices starting at Rupees 6000/ feet square, I only get to save Rs.2 per KW on my electrical consumption and that too for a measly 20years ? A minimum of Rs 4 should be considered. After all it will be installed on my roof and it makes perfect business sense to bargain for more. After all the investor is doing this for profit and not for charity. It must be business as usual for him.”

With EPC for solar hovering at 8.5 Crore  shaving Rs. 4 out of 10 left us with a number which no investor who is not a buccaneer would touch and no banker would believe in. Especially when the user, does not have to pay a single Paise for the Engineering – Procurement – Construction (EPC) or pay for its Operation & Maintenance (O&M)  of the Solar power plant, but just consume the power produced for the full period of 20 years. And the Return on Investment comes via the tariff the user pays monthly, adjusted over the length of the contract.

In my effort to save the planet from global warming, I was pleasantly surprised when a few RESCO ( renewable energy service company ) approached me with the idea of applying Solar Photovoltaic as an alternate day-time energy source for large commercial establishments. It was like manna from heaven. What more could a practising LEED / GRIHA consultant want ? It would make all my buildings much more “greener” than the other green buildings. It was like a dream come true. Thus I ventured out to increase the ambition of my clients to go for Green Building certification, comforted by the fact that I would accrue more points on the certification scale with use of all that is possible with Solar Power.

Little did I know, that no one would be interested in utilizing such opportunity unless they could bargain for more. It is a typical tendency of all Human today. We always seek more. Even in death we seek more. While our ashes would hardly fill a small Urn, we like to have a few hectare of land as memorial. Everybody wants to build the Taj Mahal; the largest tomb-stone of this planet.

Capitalism and Greed ruled then. It rules now. The only difference is that the Emperor did not have to worry about Global Warming and sinking of the landmass under the sea !

It is therefore imperative that the Business As Usual model changes. Nations must act in unison to delete the present Capitalist meaning of Business as Usual. Simply because we are living in unusual times. This trend is evident even at the UNFCCC meets, which have now become more of a tour operators delight and the host country which wins the next round of meeting, prepares like one does after winning the Olympics, to rake in the moolah that would come from packed hotels; a sure-fire way to end the lean seasons of a city. And the repeated failure to come into concrete agreements since the Copenhagen Summit only lays credence to the alleged fact.

People follow the path shown by their leaders. When industry captains and world leaders apply the fundamentals of capitalism and have through that applications benefited self and the Nation in the past, it is hard for the common man not to practice it in one form or the other. In India, since Independence we have followed and still follow the L1 format. Everything has to be sasta-sunder-majboot ( cheap & best ). That we have a major scam a day and still considered 3rd world proves that we are wrong and horribly so. A few shiny glass buildings in 4 metropolis does not change the facts. All an unbeliever needs to do, is come to Mumbai and while staying in any tall-building wish not to spot slum & squalor. His/her prayers would not be answered.

It is therefore necessary for the leaders to take the responsibility of preaching the SREX Report and also the (IWR) Inclusive Wealth Report in our collective bid to forward the Sustainable Development Goals. (SDG)

Millennium Development Goals Postcards

Millennium Development Goals Postcards (Photo credit: US Mission Geneva)

The Eight paths towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDG)

  1. Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger,
  2. Achieving universal primary education,
  3. Promoting gender equality and empowering women,
  4. Reducing child mortality rates,
  5. Improving maternal health,
  6. Combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases,
  7. Ensuring environmental sustainability, and
  8. Developing a global partnership for development

Which one can achieve by applying the SDG’s charter

  • Action-oriented
  • Concise
  • Easy to communicate
  • Limited in number
  • Aspirational
  • Global in nature
  • Universally applicable to all countries while taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities.

Till now MDG has hardly percolated to the leaves just below the bud, forget reaching the grass-root.

The way I understand it, the Goal – Ensuring Environmental Sustainability should be the first and foremost focus. It needs to be action oriented and not conference oriented. Because conference by default don’t help in communicating easily. It is meant for the class not mass. And the class already aware of the subject are achieving almost everything as envisioned as long as it serves their narrow interest . It is the pace which is hardly comforting even if one accounts for the narrow interest oriented improvements the agenda of the rich promote.

How difficult would it be for the United Nations, to communicate directly to millions of internet users on a sustained basis and engage them on an one-to-one conversation to partake in Sustainable practice? Which directly benefit them, and thus allow them to make informed choices. How difficult is it that the World leaders come together and de-link the process of sustainable living and its practical methods from the BAU model as practised in the present flawed market system ? Why should the IRR (internal rate of return) and RoI (return on investment) be calculated based on a flawed capitalist system where profit always means self aggrandisement?

Why cant the World Bank and Economists innovate the datum through which sustainable tools and its products get measured for its RoI against the IWR ?

The logic is as follows. Should say, the Government of India decide that following MDG goal # 7 – all Buildings, Factories and Commercial  establishments opt for Renewable energy, as viable depending on the location, these are perhaps a few things that is bound to happen.

A) As the power consumption through fossil fuel would reduce, the pressure on the exchequer too would reduce. This is because we can import less oil. Now with the saved petro-dollars the government can implement all the social up-liftment programmes namely MDG goal 1; 2; 4; 5 & 6.

B) Large Hydle-powered dams would not be needed to be built any more and the lush green ecosystem which along with a few hundred villages, and with it the future of villagers would not have to sink into oblivion. This would directly save many from abject poverty and migration to cities to increase the size of slums. In fact the villagers could benefit by having some electricity themselves and improve their lot as mentioned in my earlier article Green Building Ideas:Using Solar panels as roofing sheet instead of asbestos. while the government benefits further.

C) While promoting gender equality requires the discipline and sobriety fast disappearing from our political class, as evident from the comments they have given on media in recent and not so recent incidents of crime against women. Empowering women can also be possible through use of RE, a few ideas on them can be found in my article Renewable Energy – Empowering Women & Saving Forests.And through this too, as explained in the article the government can save on cross-subsidy and full-fill its promises for uplifting its countrymen.

It is business as usual for one political party not to allow an individual politician form a competing party to implement a good idea, which has mass appeal. Simply because in the next round of election the statesman may win against the politician.

Perhaps at the end of 1000 days in 2015, we will know whether we really achieved what was envisaged in the MDG or we still have to look beyond for the Future We Want.

 

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Green Business Ideas for the future Cities


During my recent visit to Birla Institute of Technology & Science, (Goa campus) I was given an opportunity to talk to a class of students on the synergy between Renewable Energy & Future technology with its potential business applications. Not being an expert in any of the subject, I considered the path of least resistance. That is to put forth a few Green Business Ideas and with the talent pool BITS has, if there would be any viability in my ideas, they would perhaps be the best bet to make them happen.

By default, I have never attempted to invent the wheel. It needs a superior mind to be the inventor. But, I have some confidence in exploiting a tool to its maximum benefit by tweaking it just a little. Thus, a few thoughts came into my mind.

On my last invite to BITS – Goa, I was fortunate to meet some of the best minds of the country which inspired me to come up with a thought which I penned down as Solar Laptop & Mobile : In your store by next summer? While researching for my impending lecture this time around, I found that the idea has already been implemented.(article). Not in the exact way I had written about but we already have a piezoelectric laptop and jogging shoe. And  among many inventors some of the protagonists are Indians too. The only feather missing was the name of a primer Indian institute. Its time the Indian Engineering students change that. However I was  glad to find young achievers in a lesser known Nagpur institution the Nuva College of Engineering when it came to the piezoelectric shoe (article). Here I found people who are already doing parallel research and achieving the same concepts.

I am not sure how many young minds in India are even aware of The National Innovation Foundation.? As with every meaningful governance tool, it too languishes in a dusty corner with no real attempt by the Ministry of Science and Technology to promote it among the masses in a sustained and populist way. If one sees the site, some of the products although brilliant, have not found currency in the fast modern megalopolis simply because most innovation have not reached the market, barring an amazing few.

The need of the hour is that we have a constant dedicated media, specially a visual media which keeps showcasing the excellent Green Ideas which is being thought the world over. If India can achieve this one single act, I’m sure that brilliant young minds would showcase more and more concepts of efficient living. It would and should become a platform for exchange between the academia : business doing a greater good to this resource depleted planet.

It is said that Ideas can save a life, believing in this I put forth a few more ideas to the students at BITS – Goa.

The first thing I said was that one could revisit the piezoelectric powered lap-top and see if they could harness  the ambient light emitting form the screen into small photo-voltaic panels fitted just above the key-board space. And can a battery also be developed which could convert the waste-heat into power? True the initial contraption may be an extension (accessory) rather than a part of the computer, but it would help extend the charge thus reducing drawing of power from the grid.

The concept could perhaps be extended to large computer Server Rooms. Server rooms by default have to be kept cool 24x7x365 thus a huge drain on electrical power to run air-conditioners. Therefore can it be possible that the heat being exhausted by the server fans be directed to a metal plate which has its other end super cool, thus inducing a current, which then forms part of the energy demand of the air-conditioners ?

While in 2009 Maxell did created a near recycled battery and also conceptualized the reverse supply chain, not much traction is seen on it. Simply because we always lack the money and might to do a good thing. The other day, while discarding a dozen coin cell / button batteries from my child’s toys I was deeply disappointed that none were rechargeable. And there was no shop or scrap-dealer ready to take them. Simply because they have no resale value, weighing between 1.9 gram to 2.6 gram the 10 pieces could have hardly moved the scale to excite a scrap metal vendor. However if the same calculation is applied as I did in the article Green Business Ideas – CDM methods for Steel Production.the result too would be in million tonnes of steel.

I wondered if the promoters of POSCO steel plant which is facing the ire of the Odisha villagers would consider, the idea of innovative recycle. But then we are always happy to rip and rape life-style and virgin land rather than think sensibly. After all most of us are intelligent human devoid of silly sentiments of saving Earth. We are smart enough, when the time comes to relocate to another living planet in the Universe! So what if we don’t have the address, we can always ask it from the doomsday cults who keep sighting aliens.

Bio-degradable batteries

So the next best Idea which young achievers could look at is bio-degradable cells. Already there is a lot of research on-going but I’ve yet to see a button battery which is bio-degradable. The thought itself is so exciting, because different branches of engineering students, within the campus can group together to devise the perfect tool.

Perhaps they could design a Mobile phone or adopt one of the path-breaking concept of a Grass -phone but add more piratical concepts and look to at it. Then engineer the battery area in a way so that button cells are no longer  required but the ones which are bio-degradable can be used. Even the new lithium-ion batteries which are paper-thin and bio-degradable need to be developed further to be made for mass consumption and cheaper. Which then can be applied to the host of  futuristic smart phone designs which are already being showcased. And to add on to the technology of Mobile phones there are two more areas of research. The first one is to develop an “App” which can control the cell-phone camera; when detached from the phone and stuck to a wall or placed on a table to shoot self-portraits. It is almost a necessity, which almost all cell-phone users must have faced one time or the other. The detached camera can be controlled for zoom and focus via blue-tooth while the applications helps set that perfect screen-shot with the desired back-ground. No more waiting for strangers to click ones photo, blurred or shaken and missing some vital elements the photographer would have wanted !

The second more closer to my thoughts is a simple layman friendly mobile phone application which could measure the ambient light in a room and rightly advice, post keying in the information as to how many lights and at what temperature the Air-conditioner should be set, vis-a-vis light transmission from the windows at day-time and the out-side temperature prevalent. This would make sense even in LEED certified building as because complete automation of lighting controls on an hour to hour basis is not yet prevalent and not all homes have the automation facility which one may find in offices, which are more given to better energy management.

While it can not be denied that institutions world over have some of the most brilliant innovations happening, the Indian scenario needs to improve further. As is the case of the piezoelectric driven laptop, where the Indian scientist are doing the research in Australia; we need more scientist doing research in India itself. It is only then we shall be able to have products which are cheaper and more affordable to the masses.

Ideas like piezoelectric should find currency and support from both business and government alike because the seer population of India would be a boon to such renewable energy development. It is time we have people looking at the applications of piezoelectric as the west is doing so actively.

And here the role of institutions become important in terms of indigenous design and development.

 

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Green Business Innovation : Offices can now print on a E-paper and save forest.


 

Architects typically work with large-format drawings on 24 by 36-inch or larger paper. Most architectural firms have their own large-format printers or plotters to print and copy computer-generated drawings. Architects and construction houses waste a lot of paper. Even when they design a LEED building. Because the way most of them work is not sustainable at all, this I covered in my earlier article, Green Buildings – How most of them are really made, the inside story.

The reason for this is simple. The corporates which run these architectural houses are mostly developers who have become so callused by the “system” which runs India, that they have lost the perspective of good and bad. For most of them Sustainability is another “task” and “Green norms” are an impediment which they need to give a lip service too. Thus one would see, even for a small correction or revision, entire design sheets are printed, minimum 3 prints of size A -Zero.

Since trees come in all different sizes, it is difficult to estimate how much paper comes from one tree, however according to one paper manufacturer, a cord of wood measuring 4 feet by 4 feet by 8 feet produces nearly 90,000 sheets paper. Taking the last census report, India’s total population was around 1,20,00,00,000. If every Indian save one sheet of paper a day approximately 15,000 Trees can be saved. If 15,000 Trees can be saved just by not wasting one sheet of paper a day, imagine of how many trees can be saved if we become more  prudent in our approach.

Let us consider some interesting facts which I have gathered from various sources –

1. Consider this: according to the state government of Australia, over 600,000 tonnes of paper and cardboard are sent to landfill in NSW every year. Australians as a whole use 210,000 tonnes of office paper each year – and much of this is not from recycled sources but from virgin forests.

2. In the USA The average student uses about 11 sheets of paper per day. The school year goes on average 180 days so this would equal to 23,760 sheets for 12 years.

3. A Seattle based study found that businesses typically throw away about half of all documents within 24 hours of printing. In fact, about 170 tons of paper is sent to Seattle’s landfills each day from Seattle businesses.

For every dollar spent on printing documents, companies typically incur $6 in handling and distribution costs, according to a Xerox study.

Over the course of a year Seattle paper waste contributes about 9,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the same as the emissions from consuming 972,000 gallons of gasoline. 

This is a study by Xerox of one American city, in India and rest of the developing world we do not have such studies done or reports published. Simply because we do not think this as a problem which needs urgent and immediate attention.

But such problems can not be defined locally any more. The devastation in Japan  a year back has come to haunt the American West coast in form of  Billion ton of debris. Similarly the decimation of rain forests for pulp & paper industry would lead to unprecedented challenges more severe than what we have experienced till date and it would not be their locally. This is known to all, yet we fail to arrest easily achievable targets, such as reduction on dependence on Paper. We all know by now that it is somewhere between difficult and impossible to have a paperless office/school . But how much paper do we consume unnecessarily? It is no more possible to contain the problem by raising ones personal bar as to when one needs a paper copy of something from the computer. Strong legislation are required which would make it near mandatory that unless you′re printing something super important,(which can be defined and refined on a weekly/monthly basis by each corporation) one must  save ink and paper by tracking changes in electronic documents.

To make this legislation work, one must however understand the fundamental barrier. We still like to hold up a piece of paper in our hand and look at it from time to time, jot notes directly at the margins, rather than type for every little corrections. Moreover, for architects and other engineering professionals, physically scanning the page from top to bottom, is more sure-fire way to spot  an error than scrolling a large drawing and zooming in and out of it. It simply does not work ! I know that from personal experience. So how does one adhere to reduction of paper use and not face the cumbersome process of electronic tracking on a small computer screen ?

The answer lies in using something with is instantly portable, transferable, editable and yet not a traditional paper. E-Paper ! Yes, something which was born in the 1970’s has matured enough to be taken seriously. The first flexible EPD for consumers could be available in Europe in 2012 itself.

This is one of the spectacular proof that, it is the Business and Industry which will finally be the torch bearers of abatement to Climate Change and Global Warming. And innovation should get support from all quarters to survive the vagaries of market forces. And ones which are as important as Saving forest and whole eco-system the Governments should support it. But before we put some thought as to how we can support and grow such ideas let us understand what it is –

Electronic paper, e-paper and electronic ink are display technologies which are designed to mimic the appearance of ordinary ink on paper. Unlike conventional backlit flat panel displays which emit light, electronic paper displays reflect light like ordinary paper. Many of the technologies can hold static text and images indefinitely without using electricity, while allowing images to be changed later. Flexible electronic paper uses plastic substrates and plastic electronics for the display backplane.

Electronic paper display (EPD) is often considered to be more comfortable to read than conventional displays.This is due to the stable image, which has no need to be refreshed constantly and has a wider viewing angle. An ideal e-paper display can be read in direct sunlight without the image appearing to fade. The contrast ratio in available displays as of 2008 might be described as similar to that of newspaper, though newly-developed displays are slightly better.There is ongoing competition among manufacturers to provide full-color ability.
Applications of electronic visual displays include electronic pricing labels in retail shops, and digital signage,time tables at bus stations,electronic billboards, mobile phone displays, and e-readers able to display digital versions of books and e-paper magazines. Electronic paper should not be confused with digital paper, which is a pad to create handwritten digital documents with a digital pen.

What an innovation. A genius of the human brain which can bring about sea change in the way we work. Tied to a e-book reader, a tablet, a computer and a smart phone, this was perhaps the penultimate tool, which can eliminate maximum use of paper; before we can adopt interactive projections in thin air in front of us, as shown in Sci-fi cinemas and is  some more time in becoming a reality for common persons to have.

So what could be the immediate uses, other than being another TV or a display kiosk? To my mind it can be used for printing architectural drawings, and each of these sheet can be reused till the final design to be produced is readied. And only those need be printed. Sure there would be trials and errors but human always find methods if there is a will. It could also act as submission sheets during class tests which are held with regularity in schools to prepare children for their annual and mid-term exams. The data can always be transferred into flash -drives for storage, thus refreshing the sheets for reuse, while still retaining record of previous data. Perhaps News corporations could devise ways where one could download the “News Paper view” form e-papers which already exist in the web and in fact they can rent out the flex-sheets, and charge as they would for the subscription. It is common knowledge that  amount of pulp that required daily to publish news papers are humongous.

But, as with Renewable Energy, such high technology would come at a price which would not be within reach of the common person. And here the Governments, guided by the UNEP and other responsible organisations like the World Bank, World Resources Institute, Climate Action International, Green Peace, Carbon Disclosure Project etc should come together to focus in finding the right financial instruments which would help scale it and make it affordable. In fact small amounts from those that are pledged under various programs to arrest deforestation and abate climate change could be pooled to make such innovations; I’m sure many more equally important are around the corner; a success.

In fact if the news paper readers from world over could just contribute $1 the amount would be huge, and in the bargain the Earth would gain.

Courtesy: howstuffworks.com, articlecity.com, bloglines.com, ask.com, click4carbon.com, wikipedia

 

 

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Save Petroleum form Extinction – Save Earth !


Mean surface temperature change for 1999–2008 ...

Mean surface temperature change for 1999–2008 relative to the average temperatures from 1940 to 1980 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Petroleum products Nylon zippers, ballet tights,plastic hangers, pantyhose, permanent press clothing, flip flops/thongs, fake fur, polyester clothing, ball point pens ink, computer diskettes, computers copiers, magic markers, telephones, microfilm, cameras, earphones, footballs, knitting needles, tennis racquets, golf balls,  stuffed animals, band aids, Vaseline, rubbing alcohol, Pepto-Bismol hair colouring, soap, cough syrup, hair spray, lipstick, denture, adhesives, egg cartons, candles, wax paper, nylon spatulas, Teflon pans, Formica linoleum, garden hoses, plungers,  floor wax, Plexiglas, balloons, CDROMs, check book covers, video cassettes, credit cards, dice, watch bands, Plastic furniture… If I recycle these and don’t use…Petrol, Diesel, Kerosene, LPGAnti-freeze, trash bags, shopping bags, spray paint, freezer bags, plastic bottles (Each year, 1.5 million barrels of oil go to making plastic water bottles used in the United States. Less than 25% are recycled)….I get to save Petroleum. I reduce Global Warming and save the petroleum for more productive use than burning it all up or thrashing it to fill up land-fills.

Climate_Change_Attribution_fr

Climate_Change_Attribution_fr (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So will Rio+20 UNFCCC meet think about these? Create awareness? If it needs to convince the World to turn around and reverse the 3.5°C rise in temperature, it needs to think and think from the view point of how to save our most precious resource, petroleum.

The one and only Petroleum, which helped us move away from wearing the Shakespearian tights to the colourful nylon stockings. Thus heralding the modern era, where we no more die of charcoal fumes but coal, petrol, nuclear etc a whole mix of deadly fumes as it helped in quantum jump of the Industrial revolution. If that is not progress, what is ?

On a more sombre note; More than six billion men, women and children will inhabit urban areas around the world in 2050 when the global population would have surged to nine billion, putting stress on the natural resources that supply energy and food. The Earth resources are finite, be it Land, Potable water or Forest cover and the minerals which are trapped under the forest cover. And it does not take a genius to understand that per capita profit is directly related to the amount of product and produce you have for trade.

Therefore, in the Rio+20 summit, let us not talk about Global Warming and Climate change and how important it is to abate it to ensure survival of civilization. But how profits world over would dip, if resource management is not taken up on an urgent basis.

It would be wise for the OPEC countries to stop selling crude to the Gasoline manufacturers but demand a long-term business relation with Plastic furniture manufacturer, Nylon makers and other petroleum by-product manufacturers and demand a premium. (and a hefty sum from all the air-borne paratroopers who need a plastic cloth to bail them out during emergencies or when they drop down on foreign soil to create an emergency for the ruling dispensation).

OPEC kind of controls the fate of Dell, Apple, Nokia, Victoria Secrets,Vaseline et all; if OPEC does not offer them the plastic they so need how can they profit? Therefore if OPEC ask for guarantees that their crude would not be burnt up into thin smoke but used to create the various by products they would profit more. Once the datum of the raw material changes, its value proposition at source would increase. So it can obviously make more profit and at the same time the OPEC Nations can bask in the glory of creating the Messiah solution for saving Earth from GHG induced Climate change. At least a major part.

And this would automatically give a fillip to renewable energy and bio-fuel industry too; which can finally take up its rightful place as the real energy providers in terms of electrical generation and transportation fuel.

Therefore it is not necessary for climate supporters to fight the coal and petroleum lobby but make popular through sustained information the by-products of petroleum and coal which very few people give a thought to and ask them what they prefer most. To burn up this precious substance or make maximum use of the by-products; many of which have a fair chance of recycle and reuse.

It would be prudent for all to understand that the modern life-style we are so comfortable with would vanish with the depletion of Coal & Petroleum. Products we take for granted would not come by cheap and plenty. It is therefore the need of the hour for the Citizens of every Nation to understand the challenges. Lastly this article only covers just two products which with their finite limit, can cause so much discomfort. We are yet to find out how to feed 9 Billion with food and water and then find them shelter!

All religion says 9 times God came to earth…. will we make it to 10 Billion? Or Extinction stares at the face.

Save Petroleum from Extinction – Save your Business with a Green Idea (oyeta936.wordpress.com)

 

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Greening The HVAC Energy Supply


English: A huge double HVAC exhaust of an offi...

English: A huge double HVAC exhaust of an office building. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The HVAC &R industry is transforming and morphing itself to the needs of the current Environmental scenario. They are packing more efficiency with less energy consumption and maintenance needs. The home versions too are coming with intelligent functions and sleeker smaller sizes which blend with the décor. Yet there is one thing which the industry requires to truly make it, what the environmentalist can call a GHG friendly product. And that is tie it to a power source which is a RE (renewable energy) source.
Imagine the advantage, a major revenue consumer like the HVAC & R, would have as an impact to the market if RE could be packaged to it. Let us examine the possibilities and potential of this concept.
Renewable Energy source such as Geo-thermal (rock-heat essentially) combined with a Gas based electric source would be the choice where the premise has the space but not the roof-top which can hold the other RE-source that is a Solar +Wind hybrid.
This is a solution which the HVAC&R industry should study closely, especially in light of the new BEE norms that have come into play from the year 2012. While compliance to the law is a must, with a weak Rupee and a fluctuating consumer market innovation can be the only solution.

CIX Diesel Generator

CIX Diesel Generator (Photo credit: Tom Raftery)

While the roof-top AHU’s can be designed to have SPV panels on top, it would only increase the cost of the product, while making some energy generation green. However if the HVAC &R industry tie up with the nascent SPV industry which are offering Solar Solution in the Operation Expense Format, it can revolutionize the market dynamics.
Let’s first understand the OPEX-Solar model. In this model the certain SPV companies are offering solution in which the total EPC and O&M expense is being borne by the SPV Company for a minimum period of 15 years before handing over the ownership of the asset to the user. All that the Solar Co’s are asking is the tariff as generated. Although this model is already a success on individual roof-tops and can be provided for up to 1MW on connected load, this requires proper Government support to be able to increase the load to above 2MW and at nominal wheeling charges.
It would create a win-win situation for both the HVAC&R industry and the Solar Photo Voltaic industry and a revolution in India in the Clean Tech – HVAC & R space.

English: Worldwide Renewable energy, existing ...

English: Worldwide Renewable energy, existing capacities, at end of 2008, from REN21.http://www.ren21.net/globalstatusreport/g2009.asp Total energy is from BP Statistical Review.http://www.bp.com/statisticalreview (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another area which the HVAC & R tied to RE can get advantage from is synchronizing their system to Diesel Generators. During Grid power failure, the captive power used to run the HVAC & R plants are large Diesel Generators and an expensive option. Diesel is used for various purposes. Trucks (37%), Passenger Cars (15%), Buses (12%), Agriculture (12%), Industry (10%) and Power generation (8%). If we add the last three we get 30% of the total diesel pie of which we can easily allocate 40% as to be utilized for use of HVAC & R, by these three industries, for the purpose of cold storage, shop –floor cooling & cooling administration offices. Therefore with HVAC equipments tied to RE, the industry create a space which has no parallel till date. And in the process opens up a funding line which was till now only given for Clean technology purposes.

 

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Green Building Ideas:Using Solar panels as roofing sheet instead of asbestos.


Using Solar panels as roofing sheet instead of asbestos. Simple process for creating affordable housing especially for the rural poor along with doing  village electrification.  With this thought in mind I spoke to one of my friends who is a Block Development Officer in the state of Orissa. The reception to my idea was instant. Rural electrification.

What if the Solar OPEX model which I helped devise and is working wonders for  the Indian cities be utilized for the villages? While taking off the load from Malls, Commercial centres and the rest which guzzle energy would free up plenty of energy for the state government to provide it to the rural poor, sadly the infrastructure to carry it is not there. We would require the large pylons to be installed first, then string the heavy duty cables then create sub-stations etc. All this network requires enormous amount of synergy between various stake holders and it is nothing but a nightmare in India.

So if I can convince an investor, who is already supportive of my Solar OPEX   concept and we are already having 2MW worth of commitments, for institutional and commercial establishment each, and work has already begun past the inception stage towards EPC; the same amount or perhaps more in Rural Electrification?

We have thousands of home in Rural India who have none or limited access to electricity. And also thousands of homes who have thatched /asbestos roof, which under various programs are being removed to give FRP or GI-Sheet roofing. Solar Panels by default come in metal trays which can also act in -parts as roof. Where that is not possible a Solar “trees” can be planted within the village at strategic locations and the power distributed within its periphery.

So if my B.D.O friend can devise an instrument where the various subsidies which are given to Kerosene, Diesel and roofing materials can be accumulated under one program and driven by say the MNRE & NREGA  missions combined,  which one can find by clicking on the link  and provide the subsidies to the investor of Solar, this idea of village electrification would become possible in the shortest possible period.

It is a Green Business Idea which corporates must think of coming around too, and frankly there would be no competition as the scale is so vast that even 10 large investors with an appetite of 100MW each can not consume it.

Moreover, as investors are more interested in their RoI, this is the right opportunity for them to invest. The subsidy on Diesel and Kerosene is breaking the back of the Indian economy. So if we can even implement a model of distributed generation for Malls, Cold Store Chains etc mandatory within the various city premise, to balance out the expense incurred for creating the rural electrification infrastructure, the total cost saved by the transmission agencies would be  enormous.

It is also a fact that most grid have massive under-recovery from many zones. It would serve well if States took the decision to limit transmission of power through the Grid to these areas, and implement the roof-top solar instead. Thus the defaulters would not be able to draw-in more power than what is generated in the day-time. And while the Grid would supply power into the night it can be timed such that it can be exploited the least.

 

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Green Business Ideas:The Next in Future RE – Lease to Own.


Renewable Energy as one understands has a very broad spectrum. From Wave technology, Geo-Thermal Energy, Micro-Hydro Energy, Wind Energy and Solar Energy.The developments of the first three are still at a nascent stage and there are lots of barriers to make it available to all. Mostly because they are tied down to certain geographical requirements. However when one looks at Wind and Solar technology, this barrier is minimized to a large extent.

In the Wind Energy Outlook 2011 Union Minister MNRE, Dr. Farooq Abdullah says – Wind energy is the fastest growing renewable energy sector in the country. With a cumulative deployment of over 13,000 MW capacities, it accounts for nearly 70% of the installed capacity in the renewable energy sector in the country. The sector is growing rapidly and we are likely to achieve, for the first time in the country, a capacity addition of 2000 MW in a year, this year.

Energy demand has continuously outstripped production, and a peak energy shortage of around 12.7% prevailed in the year 2009-10. To meet this shortfall as well as the National Electricity policy target of ‘Electricity for All by 2012’, the cleanest options available to India are Renewable Energy Technologies (RETs). Although it would be difficult for the government to meet its promise of electricity for all by 2012, renewable energy options including wind power & solar will have to play a crucial role in India’s emerging energy mix if this shortfall needs to be arrested in the near future. Not only are they environmentally sound but also their project gestation periods are much shorter than those for thermal or nuclear power plant.

For India to meet its Energy Challenges and meet its goal by 2020, along with capacity building it must encourage through policy adjustments level playing field for all innovation and ingenuity that can be brought into the field of RET. Already there is a company which is trying to provide electricity through gas in an OPEX format in Mumbai, India. The model offers power to the client at a lower tariff by certain percent than the grid and over the contractual period increases year on year the tariff per unit thus recovers its money. Though the IRR is not very good, the company is keeping its vision long term, as it knows that conventional energy would become more and dearer both in terms of supply and cost.

Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy (Photo credit: SEDACMaps)

The same idea can be applied for Renewable Energy, especially in Micro-Wind and Roof-top Solar. Indian investors have the money and the ingenuity to come-up with solutions. The Government of India has been trying to encourage the Micro-grid especially for rural areas. However, much of Urban tire-II & III cities facing power shortage during peak demand, in Indian summer. Companies which can model its finance intelligently from the various subsidies in offer and factor in the increase in cost of generation of conventional power should be able to come out with a viable instrument.

Once OPEX RET becomes a viable alternative in small captive power model, towns and villages in India would make it their main frame power source. This is because there is abundance of sunlight available throughout the Country and in certain pockets it can be combined with a hybrid wind + solar model to make the RoI better. By offloading the cost of only the inverters to the user, it can become a win-win situation for both.

In bigger Metro too there is abundant scope, especially if one ties this to LEED / GRIHA norms where RE power is an inbuilt criteria to attempt higher credit rating.  It also opens up possibilities for building retrofit to become more energy efficient.

Energy efficient products in lighting, HVAC and other product too stand to gain if their parent company can also through association or otherwise bring in the RE – OPEX model to their end customers.

Wind & Solar both have a bright future; the idea is to look at roof-tops rather than creating only large power plants. This way it would be able to overcome the limitations it faces in transmission and distribution and also increase its share in the energy pie.

 

 

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The Future of Renewable Energy is secure


Past clean energy growth 1995-2007. Based on i...

Past clean energy growth 1995-2007. Based on information contained in REN21 (2007) Global Status Report. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As time passes by Renewable Energy is becoming common word among communities & business which till now were not much interested in it. The factors are many, proposed increase in grid tariff, uncertainty in coal supply especially in the State Maharashtra, India.
What was most interesting is that people are willing to listen and adapt to alternative energy source. If India wants to capture the full spectrum of alternate / renewable energy, it should explore the opportunities in Geo-thermal as well. I have been fortunate to understand the scope of geo-thermal from an authority in the field and who is also considered as one of the top 10 innovators, Dr. Ritesh Arya. Who earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for striking ground water and drilling the highest bore-well in the world in Ladakh.
In my opinion the desolate deserts of Ladakh are ideal for both Geo-thermal and Solar + Wind Hybrid plants. The power generated could well be used for development purpose of this remote region, which can bring in prosperity both to the people of the region as well as to the various companies who would want to set up their power plants there.
According to Dr. Arya places like Manikaran, Tatapani and Vashist (Himachal) and Chumathang, Panamic, Puga Sasoma, Marsmicla and Demchuk (Ladakh), had a history and also acquired religious sanctity which could be exploited to attract tourists. “By setting up of recreational facilities like swimming pools, spas and good hotels and using the green non-polluting geothermal energy, the state could take lead in promoting low-carbon footprint tourism,” he pointed out.

Worldwide Renewable energy, existing capacitie...

Worldwide Renewable energy, existing capacities, at end of 2008, from REN21.http://www.ren21.net/globalstatusreport/g2009.asp Total energy is from BP Statistical Review.http://www.bp.com/statisticalreview (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In his published paper he has, highlighted the importance of developing geothermal sites and has asserted that advanced countries, which has acquired expertise in the field, should provide technical and other required support to the developing countries where the geothermal resource planning and development is still in its infancy. “After all, benefits of geothermal and rock energy has to be shared by all irrespective of the place. Also Clean rock energy should be made available to all at a very low price. Investment opportunities to develop geothermal sources are many but because of lack of initiatives by the successive government and policy makers, geothermal resource is a badly neglected resource.”
Now coming to the Solar Photo Voltaic, although the Government of India has shown great promise in support and development of Renewable Energy, subsidy is not the way forward. What is more required is to make Business aware of the inherent quality of making business sustainable. It is been historically recorded that even those who enter the USA Fortune 500 companies, their life-span is not more than 40 years, in Japan and Europe between 12 -15 years. The reason for this has been many, but most could be attributed to Business Risk. Now, this business risk has become more acute because of the Climate Change that is induced by human activity.
Yet, there are many who do not believe that Human activity has any impact on climate change. My esteemed friend Dr. Arya who I’ve mentioned above has even published a well documented article backed with solid evidence that Climate Change ie; Global Cooling and Global Warming is Cyclic and human have very little role to play in it.
His paper which was showcased in the Lisbon Global Conference on Global Warming: – C – curves and the Global Warming phenomenon. In which he says that – “Climate change happens in a pattern of  four cycles of 1176 years and a half cycle of 588 years. The last Ice Age ended in 10,000 years ago. Presently we are in a half cycle and seeing these signatures at present it seems that we have entered into warming phenomenon and are yet to experience the global maxima in the present C curve which may be around from today. Global Cooling and Global Warming is a Natural phenomenon”
Although it is a phenomenal work, what I humbly suggest is that there is no evidence of Human interference between the last Ice Age which ended 10,000 years ago and the present half –cycle because exponential human induced Green House Gas activity actually began only in the last 100 years and only in the last 60 years it has taken up endemic proportion since Earth became a Global village. Therefore Humankind does not know what would be the effect on the Eco-system which has gone into accelerated mode of Global Warming because of the human induced activity.
So, if we read into what the IPCC presents as a report, we should naturally lean our economy towards a less Carbon emitting system. To do that alternate and renewable energy are the only options.
In alternate energy, we are looking at Methane Hydrates, Shale Gas, and Tar –Sands in one spectrum and bio-fuel in the other. While bio-fuel today is not an alternative which can cater to the humongous energy needs, extraction of methane hydrates to tar-sands have their own share of controversy. This again leads us to the Renewable Energy source like Wave, Geo-thermal, Micro-hydro, and Wind & Solar. The first 3 are let’s say, at the incubation stage, which leaves us with Wind & Solar as the only viable alternative.
The most important factor about Wind& Solar is that the technology does not need any form of extraction, which always will be finite (barring wave & geo-thermal but they have their own engineering challenges) and it can be scaled both at Macro & Micro level, providing ease of use even to the common person. Thus grass root penetration is possible.
While it is a no-brainer to say that Wind & Solar cannot cover the total spectrum of energy needs, a judicious balance between the fossil fuel technology and the RE can act as a bridge for now to takes us into the future, safely enough to devise the best energy source which would help Humankind without the catastrophic dangers associated to GHG induced Climate Change.

 

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Green Buildings – How most of them are really made, the inside story.


Reams of paper wasted, air-condition switched on even when there is not a soul in the room designated as the architectural design office attached to the site  –  A Green Building which is pre-certified Gold is being built. Firm which is building it takes pride in announcing that all its buildings are LEED certified and it in now their CSR.

Sound familiar ? Welcome to the real World of building Green.

” ‘Green’ certification has become mandatory for buildings above certain meter square area. So, we are just following the law. How our building following guidelines will help save the World, I don’t understand when so many buildings being built are non-green. It is just another head-ache I tell you” – said the architect I befriended and was having an ice-cream soda with.

“So are you really following the guide-lines, like planting 3 trees to every one you need to chop down ?” – I ask.

“Sure we are’- says he, ‘only we have reported 7 trees instead of the actual 23, else we would be having a jungle instead of a building we need to build you know.

“Could you not have designed something which could have avoided cutting some, thus reciprocal planting could have been avoided?” – I asked.

“I could have,but I’m just an employee. The Bosses want a cost effective design and fast. So if we follow the all the guidelines as written, we would be finished. Say for example we  stack top -soil ; with the project taking 3 years to build do you really want us to maintain the top-soil and follow all those mandatory points and jack up the cost of construction? Get real man.We do what is minimum required for documentation purpose. Can’t follow all the rules all the time. We architects need to deliver, unlike you who have loads of money and don’t have the pressure to work and earn a living” – he said mockingly. Somewhere in his eyes I could see the designer who had visualised  a classic sustainable design, but it got quickly extinguished by the sound of his blackberry phone ringing.

The Client has sent back the good for construction design; they want some changes. It seems that they have just hired a new guy who will be in-charge of this project. Had worked in Dubai on tall buildings. Says the new additions will make the building have more saleable area.” – he said while folding and stacking up a neat bundle of size A-0, fine quality drawing sheets. ” Here take this for your baby daughter to draw, with the changes asked all these drawings are defunct.”

“Could you not have sent them soft copies? I mean, till all the drawings are frozen, why do you guys start building ? Have your client not have heard of 3-D walk through and all the modern design ideas. Buddy, I even wrote an article on it. Green Business Ideas : Virtual World Design can save the real world losses. Did you read it ? – I cried out.

“Ha ha ! You are a very funny guy. Your virtual design ideas are just that – ideas for the virtual world.  Welcome to the real world buddy. Here we still work in the  most practical and economical manner, with high degree of efficiency and work ethics. – He rose to leave, turned and said – “nice talking to you. Don’t mind, you are a good guy but your ideas are a little foolish. There is no such thing as Sustainable construction.”

He walked away. I got up and put back the CD, I had got for him to view the SREX  report and the Stern Review. Which gives the horrifying view of a World hurtling towards destruction of the  life-style we all know and live in. And all due to human induced Climate change.

Yes! there is no such thing as Sustainable Construction….not until we have a Fukushima happening on our very own land. And then perhaps a few more would be required. After all we are a large land mass, with an equally large population. The death of a few thousand …it’s just statistics. Easy to forget.

 

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Challenges of roof-top Solar: Can we have make them more non-reflective ?


Every new idea faces some challenges. Those which can rise up to them quickly and even before they become problems are the ones which have a future. Many articles speak of some opposition to Solar Power plants. Some don’t want it to cover large expanse of land, while others find that it changes the scenery around their habitat, thus an eye-sore. Wind power too has faced similar problems.

India  has through its National Action Plan for Climate Change, brought about 8 missions of which 3  look at the direction of energy efficiency with scope for renewable. As the power plant through Solar, which is comparatively new in implementation, in India matures, so would the problems. And the problems it would face would be unique to it.

English: Solar One power plant in Mojave Deser...

Large solar-plant in India, would not face much problems as long  as they are  installed in low density, arid to semi arid regions, for now. Although it would be better for the investors to do the Environmental Impact Assessment and have back up plans for adaptation. And those  close to rural habitation, must also think of innovation in case pressure in land due to population density increase. Which is a definite possibility in India.

However, Roof-top solar; which in my opinion is the real game changer in the immediate future; would be facing issues which the Indian Solar industry has not yet perhaps anticipated . The problem would be from the potential hazard of glint & glare of reflected sunlight, especially in high-density Urban settings. ( even the large rural SPV plants would have the problem if directly under flight path of the air-force / aviation industry )  The sooner the manufacturers and all related stake-holders wise up to it the better it would be for all.

In my earlier article on OPEX Solar I have already started receiving tremendous response. Therefore, I am able to anticipate the issues which could come up first hand. Buildings in any city are of varying hight. Tall buildings overlooking clusters of row-houses or commercial centre like malls, cinema halls and even hospitals and schools. Typical settings where one can seek business in roof -top solar. More often than not, these roof installation would be of a fixed type south-facing system angled in accordance to the latitude of the city. The reason to make them face south is for receiving the maximum  sunlight as the sun traverses the sky from dawn to dusk. While this would ensure maximum power-generation, it would also generate maximum ire from the poor souls who would be occupying the buildings which would be bouncing the reflected sunlight. And the Indian summer, well to put it mildly is very bright indeed. Not only would it add to the glare, in-fact the reflected heat if intense could also damage PVC pipes and other materials, if preventive steps are not taken before hand.

So what are the precautions one must take to avoid this situation ? Some article have already covered this issue. However I am for the solution and not flagging the problem and leaving it there.  While solar panels are designed to absorb sunlight to convert it into electricity, most commercially available PV panels today lose about 4 percent of their potential power output due to light reflection from the front surface of the cover glass. Solutions are already on the way, with Honeywell launching the SOLARC anti-reflective coating in February 2011. SOLARC materials are based on advanced materials used in semiconductor manufacturing. They are transparent coatings that improve the light transmittance through the glass that covers photovoltaic, or PV, panels, thus increasing the PV module efficiency and power output. These coatings also significantly reduce glare from the glass, allowing the PV panel to better blend with its surroundings.

Here one needs, especially in India to educate the potential investor to be ready to invest a little more on the prevention and precautions with respect to glint & glare. Especially to avoid the opposition, the type I have posted as links through out this article. India, needs the power through SPV. It is the only way to reduce the carbon emission, which is sure to increase as the Country grows. And as all know, carbon emission is a politically loaded subjected. It can bring intense pain or relief in terms of international relations in the years to come.

Should we lose out on the potential of the Sun, which India has in abundance due to wrong application, it would be a tragedy for the Nation.

 

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Green Business Ideas : Virtual World Design can save the real world losses.


In today’s News paper I read that a project conceived in 2003 in Mumbai has not been able to take off till date. The funding from World Bank has been suspended. The reasons are several, design issues, red-tape, encroachment etcetera. Going through the archives, I found several similar problems over diverse types of projects. I also recollected that there has been a few projects which we were supposed to do but the developer got cold feet due to lack of credible data, as to whether the project would be a success and what would work in the era post A.D 2008.

Could there be a hidden Green Business Idea in this ? Can one’s problem, be another’s opportunity? Rather could the opportunity of the other solve the problem of the former ? Its time our capitalistic opportunism mentality move towards, what I said in my previous article – Benefit Corporation. Presenting a very radical idea; which if polished to its potential would definitely create a green revolution, warming the hearts of UNFCCC honchos.

Large infrastructural projects, in India typically face problems. From conception to implementation, the variable being so many, the scope for “information asymmetry ” or ” leakage” ( plain speak – scope for corruption and wasteful expenditure ) is very high. To arrest these problems and prevent the situation from arising in the first place, a few diverse tools already existing could perhaps be combined.

Virtual world is nothing new to gamers and professionals using computer simulation as design tool.  And “Second Life”; “SIM City” are iconic. But it is the IT-industry which enabled its creation. What if they all were to combined ? What would be the benefits, lets discuss in brief-

Say for example in SIM city there is a game simulation called;  – Rio de Janeiro, 2047 – Coastal flooding resulted from global warming rages through the city. The mayor must control the problem and rebuild. …  With Climate change a reality, if this becomes the basic tool on which the Builders have to submit their plans for permissions to build; they along with the architects would have a near first hand experience of what  should not be attempted.   Thereby should lets hypothetically say – “Bangkok  floods”  again, the combined economic and human loss will be negligible.

Although, no person in her/his right senses would like to invite any disaster, be it the Tsunami that hit coastal India or Japan…that it will happen again because we are on the path to 3.5° C  global temperature rise, is almost certain; if you go by what the experts say.  Therefore the faster we bring all the ‘stake-holder’ into the  ‘game’ the better it would be for the World at large.

Using AI ( artificial intelligence ) based on data collected on the demography of a place, behaviour of the populace over time on Urban planning can be mapped. While having a 100% accuracy would take time, even with a 40% predictability of how the  populace of certain culture / social background would behave over say a 5 year period, could help immensely both Public and Private entities to take measures. Such measures can reduce the impact to the economy and create better infrastructure which is more able to meet up to the challenges of the future, which could not have been predicted otherwise.

Sure there are many institution and think tanks doing exactly the same. But if we still are facing the problems which they are predicting, what good does that do? By bringing the tool to the desktop of common persons – architects, developers and local administration. Taking their inputs form the data they create, a more inclusive people to people development program can be mooted which over time would be successful.

Now having understood through simulation of what should not be done, to conform with the overall Sustainable Town-planning, the Developer and his architect would face the question on ‘ what would work ‘.  Architects are by class – service providers. And more often than not, they need to depend on the commission they would get from investors – ie; home owners, builders or industrialist who have the money to have something built for them. Therefore it is much easier for them to design what their client want rather than impose her / his ideas. And with huge sums of money riding on the project, investors don’t really like to take chances. Therefore good designs most of the time gets sacrificed to popular perception. This overtime leads to wrong Urban planning.

This can be arrested by applying the “second life” concept. Say the architect creates a design and does a 3-D rendering. Then gives it to some company like Second Life, which has mapped the exact town / location  in virtual reality before-hand and allows it to be ‘built’ there ? The builder /developer pays for it off-course. Then he could pay to the advertisers both electronic and print to ask prospective customers to visit the ‘town and live in the residential building, built there’. A virtual assistant could walk along with the “avatar” of the client within the virtual world and explain all the features. Once the client likes a particular property, booking can be made and legal terms set. And once the real building comes up, everything is exactly like it was experienced in the Virtual World.

Changes to the design, remodelling a particular flat post finishing to suit the taste of a discerning client, who wants something different, all could be done within the walls of virtual reality, at nominal cost and without waste of precious materials in the process. Moreover the developer/ architect can ‘exhibit’ any modern thought,  different from the mundane and check for real response with minimal risk.

Authorities too can maintain a vigil by visiting many a ‘site’ to see if the designs are adhering to norms and guidelines. Imagine the building inspectors – civil, fire and safety, structural and the municipal architect together sitting in municipal  office  which is equipped with simulators. There they all sit in front of a console with wrap-around 3-D simulator glasses and then join up with ‘avatar’ clients or other experts to inspect a ‘site’. The details are loaded up into the computer by the developer who carries them on a portable hard-drive. Every detail from the PHE / MEP to the design norms can be discussed and recorded. Changes suggested and a revisit organised to see that the building has come as per the sanctioned norms.

All this without a single ‘make & break’ routine the building industry routinely follows. Sometime due to changes in market dynamics which necessitates changes to the built space mid-way or due to misinterpretation of certain by-laws enshrined in the building code of the state. One must remember that 40% of GHG is building related and 60% of waste too comes from building related activities. So when almost all parameters of the building is completely understood before hand, chances of error could be minimized to a great extent. Thus creating an Environment which truly aims to be zero-emission.

Before I end, one may ask why I mentioned the IT industry in the beginning of the article.That  is because, all the tools mentioned are already existing but not all common persons / builders can afford or operate such hi-tech solutions.The Indian IT is the best place for out-sourcing. Cheaper and more efficient than most, our boys would never be out of jobs, which ever way the market plays. All that is needed is to adapt and adopt Sustainable living.

 

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Coal corporations helping India’s Clean tech aspirations is becoming successful – a model more nations need to follow.


Renewal Energy Distribution Companies find it so difficult to work and grow.The primary reason being denial of open access system by the power supplying companies the unquestioned rulers. The resistance is natural although national policy says in time open access must be allowed to level the playing field and bring grid parity. These companies have spent a lot of money and effort into developing the infrastructures and letting the new RE guys piggy-back on them is not something which sound business policy advocates. Yet, these powerful “Goliaths” would fall and the “RE Davids” would rise. Sustainable Energy requirements is the call of the hour.

For Humankind, the preservation of self is the most supreme and any event or cause which would stand in its way would have to perish. Today the desperation for survival of small island nations and mountain states, being mostly small in size and economic might; not really being heard by the mighty nations and the supporting fossil-fuel corporation. But as the effect of Climate change is being felt and the associated business risk gets recorded within the mighty nations, along-with more businesses understanding that their economic salvation lies in marketing and manufacturing ecologically sustainable products, the fossil fuel led lobby’s influence and foot-print is bound to shrink.

And no one can stand against the might of the collective. History has proved it time and again. And when an idea whose time has come also gets the support of the powerful United Nations, crony capitalism and narrow national interest will lose. It is the writing on the wall.

But Indian ethos teaches compassion. Those who have provided energy to the world for the last 300 years must not be thrown out unceremoniously but shown the light. Just as it is difficult and confusing for a one mighty ruler to accept defeat and face uncertainty, so is the case of these Energy Czars. Redundancy is not a polite word.

So India has devised a way out. The solution although complex, the logic is simple – channel the oil / coal profit into R&D of Renewable Energy solutions.This is the reason why in India we have the NVVN .  In Mumbai, India; BEST ( Birhan mumbai Electric Supply & Transport Undertaking ) draws 10% of its Electrical power for supply from RE as mandated for development & support of RE.Such mandate is more or less followed by all states.

Moreover, no one imagines that in the next 50 years, oil / coal would vanish from our economy. While its use begins to diminish ( hopefully ) it would be wise for the companies to diversify and invest from now into the clean-tech. And in the present economic situation, buying could be cheap.Further they should help in easing the entry of roof-top solar / wind in the immediate future. This would free up their power for industrial use, while residential, school & malls could draw their power from the RE industry.

A win-win situation for all. Hope the model is adopted by Nations sooner than later.

 

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Green Business Ideas: Solar Panels can save water in the fields for farmers.


In India, Dehydrated Fruits & Vegetables is nothing new, as I found in the link attached and one can even do this at home in the Western nations too.  But the first thing you will hear a fruit and vegetable vendor shout at the top of his voice in the dusty Indian Bazaars is how fresh his produce are. And in the cities too, wives go early to the mall called “Big Bazzar” every Wednesday because fresh fruit and vegetables are stocked up that day. In fact, it is sold a little cheaper. A smart move, because more would be sold  thus reducing the storage space and rotting, both of which otherwise is a loss to the company.

So, we buy fresh fruits & vegetables and what is the first thing we do? We chop the vegetables with great love and affection and prepare that special dish the “famous chef” prepared on TV for us. Following the instructions to the letter, we stir-fry or boil the vegetable and let it – “simmer in low-heat, so as to cook in its own juice, and once all the water is dried up, stir it some more and then add salt to taste, and the add some water, let it come to boil and voila, the super dish is ready!

In one sentence, most Indian cooking involves dehydrating the vegetables in the process of cooking and then adding water to make the curry.

Dehydrating means, as you all know; removing water from the produce. So why do we need to buy fresh produce ? Which contain a lot of water, when almost always we will in the process of cooking evaporate it away?

Imagine, we are more than a Billion in population, who empirically speaking cook our vegetables to make a variety of dishes but with more or less the similar process of evaporating the water away!

WATER – the United Nation has a whole department of intelligent people, striving along with World Leaders in high – powered conferences in air-conditioned halls, as to how its scarcity can be tackled !

WATER – Droughts and its aftermath, recorded by those award winning media anchors, in its full gory detail – we watch in horror and pain, clutching our Mineral water bottle a little tighter and rationing our sip !

WATER – On which books have been written, which we rush to buy during a Champagne & Cheese cocktail, reading event by the authors, who warns in their books that water scarcity may cause World War -III  !

WATER – The lack of which kills a farmer with regular monotony in the Country I live while I follow all the other three above  mentioned water related actions!

It is time WE leave the water in the fields when we buy our Vegetables & Fruits.

What I fail to understand is when the Country and the World is already having a very mature understanding of Dehydrated food, why then this is not percolating down to the grass-roots! While I do understand that Sociology is not an easy science and removing barriers are time-consuming,I have yet to see CNN, BBC, NDTV, Times Now TV and host of other regional News channel cover this topic on their very popular talk shows – every month. Documentaries of course once in a while do come. But the responsibility lies more with the regional News channels.

I can only propose a Green Business Idea which may perhaps benefit all.

What is essential is to connect the dots between seemingly diverse fields and giving them a common approach.

1. The UN must during the Rio+20 propose to the member nations to devise a format wherein tax rebates would be given to all who could show that they have used at least 30% of their vegetable prepared with dehydrated  form of the same. This will be both an incentive to lower mental barriers and a process of mild cajoling and not draconian law, before such laws become necessary for some Countries in the future.

2. Popular Hollywood & Indian main-stream cinema must show use and consumption, to make it fashionable. It’s the rich, who throw food away. Stand in the alley of any big Hotel and you will be amazed at the amount wasted. While, I’m not here to advocate good eating habits to adults, who should know better; at-least lets not throw out the Water ! And by the way the freshest and juiciest of fruits & vegetables can be found in these Hotel kitchens.

The people at grass-root level are the biggest market for any idea. And just like the grass  they always like to move upwards. Seeing their “heroes” endorsing dehydrated food could lead a multitude to follow. ( the income tax rebate is the real reason, but I have a middle class mentality – I need an excuse which is stylish ! )

3. Traditional SUN dried fruits and vegetables are super, but let that be for the – oh ! so rich. Us common people would be happy if it is offered to us packed and SOLAR dried.

Yep, all those solar panel manufactures and business persons, its time your creative team bombards the TV boxes with advertisement on how Solar dried fruits and vegetables can save the World form a climate crisis. You could always share your expenses with the dehydrated food industry, which would surely benefit from such advertisement too. Add this and promote this to the many other ideas on solar I have written in this blog. But this idea makes me the most happy.

In fact the SUN would be providing -Water! No farmer, no child in India or Africa or anywhere else would need to die, due to thirst. No, forest would turn dry and the birds and bees would sing as the always did, before man-made actions parched their paradise.

Its time the Rain Forest nation gives out the call; a green business idea on the road to Rio+20 !

 

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Green Business Idea : How to build a Mercedes at the price of a Nano!


The Earth flag is not an official flag, since ...Cadmium in the China river, who could have imagined that such a thing would be ever reported? This let me think as how can we really make people and businesses responsible?

Whether we like it or not, we are born Human a species just like any other in this Ecosystem called Earth. And just like any other Species we are programmed in a certain way.  That is discarding what we don’t need.

It is perfectly natural. Birds do it. Bees do it. We do it too !  But here we have a small problem. We are “Civilized” and the rest are ..well “animals”! We have down the evolution chain “evolved” into “intelligent animals” and we no more can be called “animals”. So in time, we divorced ourselves from the laws of Ecosystem,of sustainable living; in the quest to be “Civilized Humans of the World”. And in the process created one big unholy mess for Earth.

Whatever the animals discard is 100% Biodegradable. We stopped doing that since the Industrial Revolution. Most of it.

Therefore when  we –

Soar like a bird” we have the biggest scrap-yard of old airplanes.

Sprint like a cheetah” we have heaps of scrapped motorcycles collected by the Police from the Highways, as the rider is long dead and gone…

“Sing like a Nightingale” we have discarded vinyl, creating a nightmare for environment in landfills.

India is growing, which makes me happy indeed. However are we growing the right way or are we going to do what the west has been doing ? How will India make  sustainable  progress a part of  it’s every day existence, thus keep at bay the pressure it would surely meet, to conform to norms set by the developing world in its agenda to set right the Climate mess we all are in today?As more and more cars, airplanes and other modern life-style starts percolating into the vast and opening and still to open markets of the Tier I,II & III towns and centers, where aspirations are more than that of a city dweller in Mumbai or New Delhi. Would we have in place to handle the waste that it would be generating? Or can we partner today with the western developed Nations and create a market which can be beneficial to both, while truly bringing in the near perfect model of Reduce – Recycle – Reuse ?

I could have gone on and make a fine prose of this article, but I need to propose a  Green Business Idea. That is the only sure way to save Earth. The Economics of Ecology.

Let us then begin at the scrap yards for Air planes. I’m sure all of us love the nice comfortable airline seats, the clear oval windows, the carpet, the superbly functional over-head storage, the air conditioner nozzle and LED lights the neat steel toilets, wash basin and fixtures. While almost all the aircraft parts are salvaged and used, this process could be accelerated if the salvaged parts like the luxurious chairs, overhead bins etc are shipped to India to be fitted in Interiors of trains, buses and even homes. Imagine an intercity super-fast train running in India which has the look and feel of an air-plane? And I always wish I could have the overhead bins used for cabin luggage for my office interior projects. Would look really nice, plus the A/c and Light control would be right over the head of the user, who can then turn it off when not in use. And those neat wash basins and water-closets, super for the super small office spaces in Mumbai. I could also use the windows. Clubbing them together in interesting fashion in interior projects, compact and double glazed it can also make a perfect building façade. Letting light in yet keeping heat out.

Next are Automobiles. It is very painful to see how the cars are salvaged in the west. In this video you can actually see how the mind set of the public still needs to be refined further to actually understand the word – RECYCLE & REUSE. Of course the last word REDUCE has been utilized but in a very …lets say scope for improvement is definitely there.

One can always remove the glass panes from the doors, and perhaps the windscreen too could be removed. While the door glass panes could be reused, the windscreen more often than not would break at the edges and can be sent to glass recycling units separately. If you notice there would be perfect headlamps and tail lights and rear view mirrors, which can be dismantled along with the wipers, locks and handles. If you hear the video again, there is a point where the person at the desk says -” people could care less for doors, moldings…” which is so difficult to comprehend form a reuse point of view.

English: Daytime Running Lights implemented wi...

Many times people scrap cars because a door got damaged and no amount of repairs can bring it back to perfection. In that case if the company can lead a person to a reused car part company, where s/he could get a fix and the car could probably run for a few more years! Same goes for the trimming, seats, and lamps.  And to crush a perfect car, a 2011 Lexus..when so many parts could have been salvaged, defies logic. Can anyone explain why the lights and rear-view mirrors and the logo could not be salvaged ?In Mumbai, India all top line cars face the menace of having there logo or car rims stolen. It fetches good money. And trust me, it costs an arm to buy a headlamp should you shatter it while parking the car or just driving it and following all the traffic rules! Because driving rules are alien to most Indians in India. In Indian roads and driving sense, one could laugh all the way to the Bank by just selling head and tail lamp fixtures. With more and more imported cars models arriving in India, this would be perhaps a perfect Green Business Idea, to get the parts from the West and sell them here.

Moreover if the automobile companies take the perfect parts back and reuse them they would do a lot of good for themselves and the Environment. They could perhaps make a new line of refurbished cars. And no it would not be called “cheap” in a demeaning way but a Green Business Idea of producing lets say “pert” models of the same car model. Which can then be sold in a market where cheaper cars have a demand and perhaps they could be surprised within the existing market, where I’m sure buyers who would any-day prefer a refurbished car from the automaker over the used car selling companies.

We could then perhaps then have a Mercedes at the price of a Nano! Wow, I am buying just make it run on CNG ( compressed natural gas ) !

And no, it would not mean competition and end of both the new part manufacturing vendors or the used car seller. In fact with the economy in such a flux as it is now, both of them can be symbiotic to each other and probably benefit even the Original car maker should it puts its stamp of approval.

 
 

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Green Business Ideas :Costal RE is the answer for Shipping Co’s to save on Bunker Fuel tax.


Fifty-five major European airports accounting for over half of all passenger traffic on the continent are now part of a program aimed at cutting carbon emissions, Airports Council International said Tuesday. Airports are changing airport vehicles and buses to electric or hybrid power, and installing solar panels to generate the airport’s own electricity, among other measures. Specific taxiing techniques are used to reduce fuel burn, and ground power is provided to parked airliners instead of having them leave their engines running.

A super initiative. This is how Business must be conducted. Reviving the Economy by producing jobs where there was none.  The last part of the paragraph ….ground power is provided to parked airliners … was what made me sit up and think. As I have confessed earlier, I can not invent the wheel, its for the gifted to invent. But I do get inspired to think…of a green business idea ! Would these Solar Panels be portable ? What would the plug and play system design be? How do you power those Airplanes which may not get docked near the Hub but put at the far end of the tarmac, in full capacity airports ? How do you account for drop in transmission? Or would it not be a super idea for smaller airports too around the World? Would this create jobs for smart engineers who are perhaps jobless now.  Whatever be the economic situation  in Europe or America,  unlike in India, they still have the best of invention and also the facility for growth and encouragement of new ideas (which is the reason of its success for so long) can not be denied.  And the future of newer versions of RE would also come from those who most need it.  For, Climate change would affect economies which are more developed than those which aren’t, simply because a flood, tornado or fire can not destroy property or business which has not been built!

It is imperative that USA & Europe survives the Economic stress it is going through. It is good for them it is good for us. For no Country is insular in this century. Every Nations economy is interdependent to another, one way or the other. And therefore Green Business Ideas, which may perhaps help those who are already capable but not focused, must be provided by those who can. For what good is an idea when it is not used? And no one can be an expert in all domains to implement. But many may have different ideas in various domains. Having said that let us re-explore the Renewable Energy we can harness from coastal power, while focusing on the news item pasted above.

Coastal Power is  being funded in the School of Physics and Astronomy, the University of Edinburgh by the Scottish Government. Palamis, as you would be able to see in the video  has devised a beautiful idea. An idea which needs to be instantly PROMOTED !!

Nissan’s Solar Panel-Covered Ship was already a super idea, but not all ships can have that much space, nor does the Sun shine bright and clear 24 x 7. So one can think of further innovation.  Imagine large container ships, towing in its wake a similar contraption as created by Palamis. Attach on to that another contraption, the floating solar panels, which I have shown in my article ( Green Business Ideas: Solar on Water,Wind to power Ships while Geothermal beats recession away – Future RE ) and I improve on the idea of the wind RE here. Lets add one as a mast to the ship ! A V-WAT obviously. For vertical wind axis turbine would be more practical and it would spin as the ship moves forward. All ships while moving also create a wake, and the wave RE can generate power, while when anchored off-shore in still waters, it can splay out the floating solar panels to cover a larger surface area and generate the power required.

While all Ships entering Europe would be taxed on CO2e emission on the bunker fuel, the Shipping businesses could limit that tax by simply producing some RE power ! Moreover as this idea takes root, even the luxury yachts, anchored in various marinas can be asked to adopt to RE power, while docked. Perhaps European Climate Foundation CEO, Jules Korenhorst, who spoke about bunker fuel tax way back in 2009 could see some practical idea in what I am proposing.

Who knows perhaps we would see this idea adopted and adapted before the next Cannes Film Festival by the Rich & the Famous.

 

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Green Business Ideas: Solar,Wind power Ships while Geothermal beats recession away – Future RE


It is cold, freezing deadly cold in Europe. There is death. Both reported human deaths and others which go mostly unreported. Ask that to the farmer whose live-stock may have also suffered and the animal lovers, they too would have a story to tell. In a report, I read that some western European and former East block countries are not getting enough Gas from Russia. While we must honor business treaty and longterm business collaborations, we must also understand that traditional sources of Energy must be re-looked  and the potential for all types of alternate Energy must be vetted. Form this vetting the one that is the most practical must be given precedence over the rest, world wide. This is the only way to avoid the discomfort EU faces due to the shortage of energy in this harsh winter.

 I would like my readers to pause at the Alternate Energy  which may be different form Renewable Energy. To my mind man has yet to devise a system which can perfectly ape the Earth Ecosystem in Generating Energy in a T-ZED form. ( Total Zero Emission Design). For every activity we partake there would be some thing that needs to be – MINED – EXTRACTED – CUT  out form the Natural system. We have not yet become that “advanced” as the advanced Nations like people to believe.

Having said that, we must now see which among the alternate energy sources we can get the maximum, within the constrains of resources we have, be it – technological, social, political or combination of all. Solar, my beloved is yet a baby which needs to catch-up to its big brother wind, who is having the adolescent problems of its own in various countries. Micro – hydle although better than its father the large Hydle dams in mobility and not as cruel to devastate large Eco-systems by sinking them; is too weak to power cities. The logistics of Bio-gas is another story, therefore it can have regional success in mid-size generation. Wave technology has not yet caught on.

So while we wait for Solar to take its place under the Sun, which no doubt it would and even avoid eating up large swats of land by just floating on water, while keeping in mind to allow sunlight down below; and compliment Wind turbine which line the Oceans along the sea faring route, in large floats which allow ships to charge up their dynamos from one point to the next, thus limiting the use and carriage of bunker fuel; especially when they enter territorial waters form the Blue Seas. In fact these floating Wind turbines could act as buoys / light-houses too and being closer to shore more easy to maintain, while avoiding the socio-political problems it faces on land, we must at the UNFCCC level hail Geo-thermal as the Messiah for now.

Low temperature geothermal applications include space heating and in agricultural uses (greenhouse heating, the drying of fruits and vegetables, aquaculture and seawater desalination, and in spas), providing an ideal synergy with other widespread commercial ventures. As technological advances allow for the exploitation of lower temperature geothermal resources, found at just a few meters below the ground surface, the heating and cooling of water for domestic use, for instance, becomes highly viable and attractive. Such applications lessen reliance of non-RE resources, are highly reliable and cost effective, and emit far less carbon dioxide. Advantages of investing in Geothermal are many as there are a  wealth of geothermal resources around the World. This can provide emerging markets with substantial entry-stage opportunities due to wide variety of synergistic applications.

 And Messiah it could very well be for Greece. All the Greeks need to do is look towards  Santorini. It is the most famous volcano in Greece. The most recent volcanic eruption in Greece was Santorini in 1950. Greece has 752 hot springs which are popular tourist destinations.   Greece lies in a geographic position that is favorable to geothermal resources, both high temperature and low temperature. High temperature resources, suitable for power generation coupled with heating and cooling, are found at depths of 1-2 kilometres on the Aegean islands of Milos, Santorini, and Nisyros. Other locations that are promising at depths of 2-3 kilomteres are on the islands of Lesvos, Chios, and Samothraki as well as the basins of Central-Eastern Macedonia and Thrace.  Low temperature geothermal resources are found at the plains of Macedonia-Thrace and in the vicinity of each of the 56 hot springs found in Greece. These areas include Loutra-Samothrakis, Lesvos, Chios, Alexandroupolis, Serres, Thermopyles, Chalkidiki, and many others.

Geothermal power – the energy derived from stores of superheated water and steam in seismically-active areas – could, according to geologists, offer a realistic alternative to fossil fuels in the production of electricity and position the country as a regional leader in what is a growing global market.  According to an energy profile of Greece in a US Commercial Service report, there are up to 2,000MW of electrical output available from ‘high temperature fields’ across the country.

By the end of 2007 the installed thermal capacity of the direct geothermal uses in Greece amounted to roughly 75 MWt. Despite the large high-enthalpy resources in the active Aegean volcanic arc ,no electric power is produced from geothermal resources in Greece.  With  the existence of 30 geothermal fields in Greece – two of them sizable enough to produce at least 250MW of uninterrupted electrical power, Greece can not only pay its way out of the Economic crisis but also show the way to the EU Nations on how they could   meets its Kyoto Protocol and EU targets on greenhouse gas emissions.

The above story is also true for India, which does not even exploit its easily available recourses.  In fact Mumbai is practically sitting on it. Should the State Government of Maharashtra seriously consider the use and application of geothermal lying under utilized it could use the applications of geothermal energy, which  vary according to their temperature and include:

Power generation(θ>90 °C)

 Space heating (with radiators, θ>60 °C, fan-coils, θ>40 °C, floor heating systems, θ>25 °C)

 Refrigeration and air conditioning (using absorption heat pumps, θ>60 °C, or with water-cooled heat pumps, θ<30 °C)

 Heating greenhouses and soil because plants grow more quickly and become bigger with heat (θ>25 °C), and for protection from frost.

 Aquaculture (θ>15 °C) because fish need a specific temperature to grow.

 Industrial applications such as desalination of seawater (θ>60 °C), drying agricultural products, etc.

 Thermal spas (θ = 25-40 °C)

Besides geothermal fields, with today’s technology, heat from rock at a shallow depth, as well as low temperature underground or surface water can be used for heating and air conditioning.  Hot dry rock, which is found everywhere at depths between 3 and 5 kilometers, by artificial water circulation through it at a temperature of up to 150 °C . If the cost of energy is calculated over the life cycle of the system, geothermal heat pumps cost less than a system which consumes oil or natural gas.

Geothermal energy should be exploited in India where using Nuclear Energy is meeting with stiff social resistance, especially after the Fukushima daiichi incident in Japan . Moreover, it has been proved beyond doubt by the experts of Geo-thermal in India that setting up a plant would cost far less than that of Nuclear and produce more and safer energy.

The other advantage it could have over coal based thermal or large hydle generated power is its “portability”. The size of a Geo-thermal plant compared to the above two would be very small – generation capacity wise. Moreover it would neither flood vast areas causing socio-economic upheaval nor produce fly-ash a dangerous polluter. The only thing it emits is water vapor. However, in some certain trace gases are found which can be easily treated.

This portability has a very great business advantage, which perhaps power companies have overlooked. It is a fact that energy generation and distribution in India is far costly than the tariff applied.  Typically, domestic (24% of total power supply uptake) and agricultural (22%) enjoy cross subsidies from industrial (38%) and commercial (16%) users. Industrial and commercial users still pay 30-60% above average power price. Therefore if Geo-thermal plants are placed close to the industrial & commercial areas by the Private power companies, they would be able to evacuate and distribute power at a far cheaper cost, which would be beneficial to both.

 

 

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Green Business Ideas : Tall Buildings made from waste plastic is possible & its LCA is cheap – a builders delight and boon to Environmentalist


Business all over, in every Country is in flux. The fine tuning between Economic growth with least Environmental damage, while maintaining the modern life-style is challenging to say the least. But it is precisely during these challenging times, the World should go back and re-look at inventions – ignored during the ‘gold rush’ days in every sphere and bring forth into light others which are perhaps thriving in isolated pockets, but need the urgent attention to be brought out into the limelight and popularize it among the masses.

Thermo Polymerized Rock;  I did not even have the slightest idea that when I would sit down to write this article, every thing I would be asking the Green Building councils around the World to mull over, is already a ‘ open packet and serve’ solution. Affresol Modular Buildings are made from an innovative new structural product called TPR™ (Thermo Polymerized Rock).  It can be used to make the “Modular Buildings” and “Sectional House Frames” which have a Compressive Strength range 22 KN/mm2 to 38 KN/mm2. And perhaps there would be many more companies around the world doing the same. Its their time now. In India we have a Company Damanganga, which manufactures roofing and flooring sheets from waste, even some furniture, but I have not yet met a company which is making product like TPR.  Yes! the common people in the streets must know about it, not the intelligentsia discussing it in Five Star Hotel seminars.

BASIC countries (red) and other G20 countries ...

Image via Wikipedia

And if discussion indeed need to happen then it should be on how Tall Buildings in Asia can be made modular. And more so in the ever growing cities of South East Asia. Every one knows that in this economic gloom and doom period, the rising stars are the BASIC countries. India being one of them, would be having a revised projected growth of 5% to 6%  instead of 9%. And according to the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, this can by no stretch of imagination be called ‘recession’; slower growth maybe. Therefore The European Union which is facing an economic crisis can harbinger overall growth by exporting their technology and expertise on TPR, help stave plastic pollution and earn some goodwill along with money. It could be the beginning of a great green business idea.

Because, as the South East Asian Cities grow, they bring with them problems, many of which have been addressed in my earlier articles ( http://wp.me/p1xbzq-a0http://wp.me/p1xbzq-7i; ). Mumbai and New Delhi both are signatories of C40 Cities program. In fact all over cities are looking to become Climate responsive. In this back drop, it would be one of the finest engineering goals for the Construction industry to devise about how Tall buildings in India can be built with TPR.

Imagine – 50 years down the line, all one has to do is dismantle section by section a whole sky scraper  and pack it of for recycling. No construction debris, no brown-field sites filled with plastic. Having popularized the method, one can just start mapping the embodied energy saved, from limiting the use of cement  & concrete, paint and other conventional building materials. Also, the basic being plastic, one can have thinner walls which are both sound proof as well as lighter in weight. This would surely reduce the structural steel and make more carpet area  to wall space  ratio .

A winner in every way, for now each plastic bag, article which was discarded without a thought would be a valuable article to be segregated and sold. Perhaps enterprising companies would trawl the ocean floors near the countless beaches and gather the plastics which as of now are cause of Environmental hazard!

 

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Green Business Ideas : Plastic Currency can reduce pollution & deforestation


Two images juxtaposed in my mind –  The neat bundle of plastic duplicate banknotes I saw stacked in the famous game MONOPOLY 

and

the image of my recent trip to a far suburb of my city, where upon landing into the station I was met with ankle deep plastic waste, strewn everywhere and the calm and composed faces of my fellow travelers who were merrily walking over the filth and adding to the pile.

A catastrophe that can be arrested. By innovative ideas which  can, at once put value to the waste and create new business avenue.  Use Polymer Bank Notes and Coins and plastic bricks to build homes.

The banknote was first developed in China during the Tang and Song dynasties, starting in the 7th century. Its roots were in merchant receipts of deposit during the Tang Dynasty (618–907), as merchants and wholesalers desired to avoid the heavy bulk of copper coinage in large commercial transactions. During the Yuan Dynasty, banknotes were adopted by the Mongol Empire. In Europe, the concept of banknotes was first introduced during the 14th century, with proper banknotes appearing in the 17th century.

Polymer banknotes were developed by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and The University of Melbourne and were first issued as currency in Australia in 1988. These banknotes are made from the polymer biaxially-oriented polypropylene (BOPP) which greatly enhances durability of the banknotes. Polymer banknotes also incorporate many security features not available to paper banknotes, making counterfeiting much more difficult.

Therefore when the 194 member nations of the UN meet at Rio+20, its also time to focus on basics. Environmental degradation can be arrested only when we start to look closely at ourselves,within our pockets one can say. It is time the world shifts from traditional paper and metal currency. There is clear and present danger of Environmental degradation due to man made activities which include mining and logging. Paper and metal currency around the world are a large consumer of this activity.

However would it not be a masterstroke of good governance should the Governments decide to recycle all the plastic by calling upon SME’s to collect and convert waste plastic into billets which having passed the quality standards required extruded to  make plastic concrete  or plastic walls to solve the low cost housing problem, especially in India and other emerging Nations. And who knows once people come to know that these walls solves the problem of repair and maintenance to a great extent, even adapt it for high rise. With 40% of world GHG emission coming from building related activity and 60% of pollution are generated from building waste this should be a focus area.

While it is true that plastic recycling is energy intensive, here too a series of good governance could reduce the problem of economic feasibility. Geo-thermal energy should be given incentives. A solution which has no fall out and at half the cost of Nuclear must be treated with respect. So by making available perpetual and abundant energy recycling plastic to make Banknotes would be worth the thought. And if recycled plastic can not meet required quality or demand, its high time petroleum is better used by making of plastic rather than burning it as a fossil fuel thus limiting CO2e emissions.

 

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