Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Wind-Powered Outdoor Electric Light

I often hear people talk about those who are environmentally minded as serious, boring types. Well, I would like to invite some of these people to think again. Ecogeek had this post about a Wind-Powered Outdoor Light that looks like a work of art to me:

With Christmas coming, I think the Forewinder would be a lovely way of decorating homes with an environmentally friendly light. And, to my eye, it looks a darn sight better than many of the stereotypical lights that are used outside most peoples' homes to decorate their Christmas trees. The Firewinder company's website is: and I hope that they would expand their business to the USA in the future. Here's wishing them all the best!

Friday, September 26, 2008

New Wave Power Project in Portugal

Again, this takes me back to my old home town and its massive coast. Once renowned for its beautiful beaches, Chennai is now known for the stink from the shit that the city dumps in the sea. Those who run the place have never wondered about recycling their sewerage and using it to generate power. If they ever get their heads out of the filthy smelling air over there, they might want to look at this:

And then there is Ocean Power Technologies whom I have written about before: With something like $ 2 billion worth of US Exim Bank funds available for business in India, this could be a fantastic project for some entrepreneur to start.

Sadly, I am pessimistic about this ever happening.

Getting Drinking Water out of the Air

Having lived in a hot, humid and perenially water-starved seaside town for a long time, I wish something like this gadget: were more widely available. I am not sure if it is environment friendly in its operation, but it can;t be dirtier than the process of bringing drinking water to the city by rail as the Chennai MMWSSB (there's a fine Indian piece of crap bureaucratic name) has been doing for more than twenty years.

Let's see if this thing becomes popular in India's coastal cities . . .

An Industry That is Hiring Despite the Economic Mess

It is interesting to note that the Green Sector is hiring people not just in the USA but worldwide because nations are moving to environment-friendly ways of living. I hope this trend accelerates - this blog is called "Showing Fossil Fuel the Fist," after all. There are several advantages to investments in the Green Sector - jobs tend to remain local and a whole slew of new jobs are created as people hire technicians, mechanics, accountants, support staff etc to support this previously almost non-existent sector. There is a very interesting website: and I am planning to attend one of their job fairs at Palatine in the weeks to come.

I hope this sector grows much faster than it is. The world needs to see it flourish. May it do well!

A Very Interesting Electric Motorcycle That Has Just Gone on Sale Here

It must be a positive sign of the times that all kinds of newspapers, magazines etc are looking at unique electric vehicles. I just learned about this company: and their electric motorcycle from an e-mail sent by a friend who found them on Youtube or somewhere similar. I am not sure. Apparently, the bike has just gone on sale in the USA. I hope that somoene would review it soon. We have the Rosemont Motorcycle Fair coming up in October and I wonder if these guys would exhibit their bikes there. I would love to test-ride it and buy it if it is sold in Chicago. I have been thinking about buying a motorcycle for some time now and an electric roadbike which I could ride to myt university and back would be lovely.

In other electric motorcycle news, Brammo's chic Enertia Bike has received $ 10 million in venture funding from the Best Buy electronic retail chain. I have been a Best Buy client for a long time and I would like to raise my hat to them for taking this bold step. Now, will they sell Enertia Bikes themselves? It would be nice if they would. Their service and prices are great and a new product line would bring more clients to their stores. I wish them luck!

I also found this company that makes electric scooters Another very interesting product and probably somewhat more practical for shorter shopping runs than a bike. With the power equivalent of a 400 cc scooter, this cute little devil (and this is a most complimentary description) is something really powerful as far as scooters go. Again, I hope they come to Rosemont.

And then my usual gripes - can't be without griping, can I? I am a grumpy old man, after all . . . When are the big Indian names going to tie up with one of these guys and offer their vehicles in India? The power levels would virtually clobber every motorcycle or scooter available in India into quick submission. And something that works at typical Indian riding ranges and is dead cheap to ride should become a hit. I dare say that with Indians building these, they would be able to bring prices down as well as they are good at engineering to a price-point. Come on, guys, do something green!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Portable Solar Powered Generators

Green Daily has this superb piece about a product that deserves to sell a heck of a lot more than it is at the moment - I remember the filthy air in Chennai, India, when power would go off and people would end up using Honda or other solar gasoline or kerosene generators. Now, you can use the Solar Stick - just plant it outdoors:

The drawback is that these things are expensive but consider that you would never have to use any fuel in them and the price suddenly seems very attractive, indeed. In countries like India where you can write off 100% of the value of the unit as depreciation, it would be a superb product indeed!

Electric Car Video Reviews

Turns out there's a lucky devil in the UK who owns a Reva G-Wiz (not a car that I'd want to own) but who also tests and videotapes other makes and posts them on Youtube at: If there's a luckier man, I don't know who it is.

As for what I want, give me a Think in silver metallic paint, please!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Solar Powered Ad Hoardings at Bus Stops

This is an idea that could work in India especially with the large bus transport systems in the cities: EcoGeek has details of Miami's new system of powering ad hoardings at bus stops with solar power. Advertising is a cult industry in India. Hopefully, this idea would make Indian ad companies use it to save power. EcoGeek has a link to the Fuel Outdoor company website: Very, very interesting if you ask me!

Great show, guys!

More Good News from India

EcoGeek has a nice entry about the sugar sector in India ans attempts at using bagasse to produce a number of products including ethanol, paper, adhesives, chemicals etc: While one sugar mill is out to use this waste, India has hundreds of sugar mills and they could all do a lot more with their waste than they are at the moment. Hopefully, the increased profitability of this mill will see other mills follow suit. When Brazil can do more with its sugar industries, there is no reason why India and Pakistan should not.

Now Why Can't Universities in India Do Something Like This?

Treehugger has a nice entry about the University of Oklahoma going all wind energy by 2013: Now Madras University is bang on the sea-shore and receives very strong winds 24/7. Why on earth can't they think about doing something about wind energy? India IS big on wind energy anyway and the university could use this as a means of proclaiming its entry into the 21st century. As it is, the doofuses who run the place are more concerned with internal politics than anything concrete - I do wish there were someone who could think. Even Anna University and AC Tech who have ample access to wind and IIT Madras who are not really far from the sea themselves do not have any real focus on wind or other renewable energy during some of India's most energy deprived times. Shows what a farce the whole bloody educatiuonal system is in India!

Possibly the Most Romantic Wedding Ever!

Treehugger just put up this news about a couple who got their guests at their wedding to help them buy a solar power system for their home:

I am amazed at the sensitivity that the couple and their relatives showed to something that would help them save energy and also help the whole world for many, many years through their efforts. Congratulations to them and I wish there were a show about them on TV!

Well done, Sarah and Kiril! You guys are heroes!

More on Electric Powered Flight

I had written about the German manufactured electric powered gliders earlier - the Lange Aviation company now has more details about their very interesting powerglider on their website: Charge the batteries on this glider with solar or wind power and you will not have any guilt as far as flying for recreation is concerned. I do wish these people luck and shall be looking at their website for whatever future developments they come up with.

Hat's off to them!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Some sources of Fuel that are Abundant in South Asia

I always find it interesting how the wealthy countries of the world work hard to save money, when they already have a lot to spend, while poor nations waste what little they have on status symbols. Tree Hugger has a number of very interesting ideas that could be implemented in virtually every city in India to some extent or the other. Some of these ideas would not be completely clean but they would save valuable foreign-exchange in India from going to the Saudis who have more than they need.

The city of San francisco has begun a massive program to recycle locally produced organic waste into bio-fuel to run the city's 1500 buses. All of India's metros and its smaller cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Lucknow etc have as many people and as much waste oil as San Francisco generates and this should save a huge amount of diesel fuel from being used. Check out the link on the Tree Hugger website at:

The second link that I have at the Tree Hugger website is, positively, one that focuses on a technology that is being used in India and Bangladesh and now in a much bigger way in Pakistan. The use of animal droppings (spoecifically chicken poop here) to generate power:

This new diet for cattle developed in the UK promises to reduce greenhouse gases and also to help cows generate more milk: This is something that could be applied across the baord in South Asia as it is an easy solution that any dairy farmer could implement.

Farmers here have found that goats help redice weeds very efficiently and, of course, they help the environment by reducing the use of weed-killing chemicals. Another solution that could be easily used across South Asia.


Houses that Rotate to Follow the Sun and Harness its Power

With the Ambanis set to build the world's most expensive new home in India, I can't but think that they have blown an opportunity to save money (yes, they could use that to build more schools - the one that they own is excellent) and to inspire by example. Just check out these designs listed by Tree Hugger: People are going to flock to look at the proposed 60 storey Ambani home, no doubt. It will become a tourist spot in the future. Wouldn't it have been vastly better if what they saw was something like these homes to inspire the people to, at least, build more environment-friendly homes?

Though South Asian governments like to brag about how advanced they are becoming, they do have a very long way to go. I do wish, though, that someone would do something about building green homes. There is immense potential, my friends. Green energy is as high tech as software and space programs are.

Getting Rid of Flies in an Environmentally Friendly Way

Memories of summers in India are of delicious mangos and of the terrible heat. In Madras, the afternoons and the evenings were times when people could enjoy the pleasant sea breeze blowing over the city. The two city beaches are, rightfully, lovely places to hang out at though the discharge of sewage into the sea near them has made them stink horribly these days. But, long before these places stank, even when ferries used to run up the Cooum from Madras to Chingleput, (yes, that did go on while I was a boy and there even was a ferry across the Adyar until the bridge was built - when I was a university student - at Kotturpuram) there was the nuisance of flies. As boys we had several ways of despatching these pests, many of them great fun as we kept score of who killed the most. My favorite way was with a cane "sword" that my mother bought me at a trade fair. Even if it did not hit a fly, the thing would stun them and leave them belly-up if it whizzed past the insects. Ah, those years! Great fun, though I am too old to do anything like that now.

Voila, this piece from Green Daily on getting rid of flies in an environmentally way: Some of the suggestions are more focused on the USA where homes are left shut in the summer while central airconditioning works inside. In India, people prefer fresh air, and I presume that this is the case in Sri Lanka, Pakistan etc as well. But the idea of fly paper is an interesting one though it might be somewat expensive for use in South Asia. I hope this gives some ideas to people here, though. If you think about something, do let me know.


British Company Starts Putting Turbines Up Wherever Power is Required

Green Daily has this article about a British wind turbine manufacturer who has plans to put turbines wherever clean power is required: On the other hand, the city of New York has had its mayor, Michael Bloomberg plan to put wind turbines up on all of the city's tall skyscrapers. Bloomberg is a miserable sack of dirt in some ways, but, as my old grandmother used to say, sometimes, even a dead snake has its uses. His idea, if it is implemented, would save a lot of fossil fuel from being burned in one of the most dirty and environment-unfriendly cities in the world.

I wonder when the Windy City would follow? And other cities around the world? I am sure there are city-dwellers everywhere who crave clean air and environment-friendly power. Check out the Quite Revolution website: I did post a link to it earlier, but this is an update that calls for their website to be posted again. Good show, guys!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Hat's Off to the Tatas - Now Will the Government Keep Up?

Autoblog Green has a nice piece on the electric version of the Tata Indica and Ace at: I hope that India would begin to find ways to generate more power soon so that Indian money stays home instead of paying for Saudi Arabian lifestyles.

Will the Indian government keep up its end of the bargain and improve power generation and distribution? Sadly, I am not optimistic . . .

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Project With Big Implications for India

As someone who was born in Chennai and grew up reading about the huge battles between Tamilnadu and other Southern States over river water sharing for agriculture, the news of the Sahara Desert Reforestation Project on Treehugger suggests immense potential for Northern Tamilnadu, Southern Andhra Pradesh and possibly several other parts of India:

I wonder how the Indian and other South Asian authorities (I do not know about the exact situation in other parts of South Asia) could be made to look at this. India, at least, has a lot of money and it desperately needs to spend mroe to make the country a cleaner place and also preserve what little is left of its forests and safeguard its environment. There is money in this business, let me make it clear. And there is the possibility that the daily farmer suicides (60 a day according to some news sources) could end if this kind of project were undertaken.

Will this happen? I hope that it will. Am I optimistic? Well, I am a realist as far as India is concerned, which means that I am a pessimist.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Very Interesting New York Times Article on Small Wind Power

When people living as far apart as California, South Asia and Africa have the same problem getting consistent electric supplies from their respective utilities, it does suggest a crisis of sorts around the world. And, when the alternatives are between buying cheap oil based generators which are noisy, filthy (they spew their dirt right around your own home) and between renewable power, many seem willing to invest a little money of their own in renewable energy. Yes, wind turbines and solar panels are expensive compared to buying power from your local utility. But, when you can;t trust your utility and when you can't trust those oil prodicers in Saudi Arabia either, the alternative is to use what is in abundance in your own backyard and to do it in a way that leaves the neighborhood clean for everyone else.

An excellent New York Times article discusses the dilemma that some face 0ver this at:

The company that the NYR article talks about, Aero Vironment, has a clean energy website at:

It is my belief that as wind power becomes more and more popular, economies of scale would bring prices down substantially. I remember when Suzlon Energy started building its wind turbines in India a long time ago. A senior bureaucrat friend of my father's was very skeptical at the time that wind power would ever become viable. Today, despite some hitches, Suzlon is among the most profitable companies in the world. We can expect great things here, mark my words!