Tuesday, October 28, 2008

New Home Wind Turbine Design

Treehugger has this interestiung new design of Wind Turbine at: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/10/swift-rooftop-wind-energy-system-cascade-engineering.php Apparently it can generate 2000 kwhs of electricity at low or high wind speeds in a year - that should be enough to power a single home in South Asia. The Swift Wind Energy website is: http://www.swiftwindturbine.com/?intro=skip

Again, I hope that these guys will try and sell abroad. Exim Bank funds, guys! Even in the worst market, the Federal Government is ready to support your business. Forget about dealing with private banks!

T Boone Pickens gets it in the Solar Plexus

Green Daily has a detailed post on how cheap oil has affected T Boone Pickens' "Pickens Plan." The link is here: http://www.greendaily.com/2008/10/28/will-the-pickens-plan-survive-the-oil-price-collapse/ Boone would have to have been stupid to think that the Arabs would not try to drown him. I still think that he could get his own back if he were to use his very significant fortune to push the sale of renewable energy equipment abroad, using US Exim Bank funds to do this. I do know that Pakistan is looking seriously at importing large wind turbines, both on and offshore, and that India and Sri Lanka are likely to look for Solar Thermal Powerplants soon. If Boone were to sell these, he would push the price of oil and other fossil fuels like coal down even further, hurting the people out to drown him. He could also sell very highly fuel efficient vehicles like the Aptera cars and the Norwegian Think electric city cars in Texas and other parts of the USA - there are people who will buy these and who have the money to buy environment friendly vehicles. He could also promote environment-friendly housing and retrofit solar panels, for example, on existing homes.

Will he do this? I am not sure if he will . . . Let's hope that he does because that is the only way he could keep his plan from collapsing and ending up as yet another forgotten experiment, albeit one that was good intentioned.

Edit: Treehugger says that the publicity generated by the Pickens Plan seems to be working as far as creating awareness is concerned: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/10/poll-shows-pickens-publicity-plan-working.php Now, how about capitalizing on it, Boone, by selling more environment-friendly stuff? Huh? Nudge, nudge, wink, wink . . .

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Ultimate Gobar Gas Plant?

Vermont is probably the most beautiful state in the miserable American Northeast. I can't stand New York and I despise the fascists who rule over most of that region. However, Vermont, as I said, is different. Green and clean and with beautiful mountains and more . . . Turns out that they also have a very advanced system of using cowdung to generate electricity. I remember the push that India tried to make in the 1970s in trying to promote gobar gas, failing miserably like every government initiative in the country has. Perhaps, the Indian government needs to talk to private industry or encourage farm co-operatives to take something like this up. With the world's largest cattle population in the country, there would be enough dung to generate a lot of power. . .

Check out: http://www.cvps.com/cowpower/

Thanks, Treehugger!

A Simple Solution for India's Soot Belching Buses and Trucks

Treehugger has this entry about a device that has been making waves in green circles over here: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/10/eco-friendly-car-filtration-device-blade.php The thing looks simple enough: a filter that traps pollutants emitted by vehicle exhausts. While the designs on this page are meant for extremely clean California Spec cars, there is no reason why bigger ones could not be manufactured and mounted on the filthy trucks and buses that run all over India poisoning the air. Yes, the filters would also have to be changed more often in India, but, on the whole, this would be a good product to use there. Now, is there any way to make Ashok Leyland, Tata and others look at this? Anybody know?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Interesting Rooftop Wind Energy Kits for You Homebrewers

Just found this very interesting website through the Pickens Plan: http://windenergy7.com/turbines/ I have linked to the blog on my profile page, so you guys who would like to visit it from time to time to check ideas out and respond to them, could check it out there. It is an interesting site especially for those who would like to try some home-brewing and build their own wind energy generators.

Do let the site owner know if you try something and, of course, send me pics if you do build something so that I may post about your work over here.


Solar Roof Tiles that Blend In with Non Solar Ones

Treehugger has this entry about a product that needs a close look at - roof tiles that blend in with your regular ones but which are actually solar photovoltaic tiles which would power your home: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/10/solar-save-buiilding-integrated-solar-photovoltaic-roof-tile-open-energy.php The design is lovely and I could see a huge market for them if they would sell their products, for example, in India, Sri Lanka etc. I guess the company will have its marketing department busy selling these in the USA itself - hope they do well enough to move abroad and aggressively! Check their website out at: http://www.openenergycorp.com/ Their other products like Solar Architectural Glass etc also look superb. Great work, guys!

A Change in Direction

I had to do this - no idea why I didn't earlier. I guess I AM lazy and this is a better way to get visitors here to check out the other blogs that I get a lot of superb information from. Today, I just linked to the other blogs: Treehugger, Greendaily, Ecogeek, Autobloggreen etc that I get information from. Of course, when I find something particularly interesting, I shall post a link to it on one of my posts. But, otherwise, visitors will be able to check out these superb blogs themselves. The guys who run those blogs put in a lot of really hard work - there is no reason for me to not acknowledge it. By linking to them, I have made this blog a hat off to them for their hard work.

Do check their blogs out if you have time. And, if you don't, the best news (IMHO of course) will definitely be highlighted here.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Now How About Putting These Up on our Beaches?

Ecogeek talks about a Solar Thermal system that could be built using recycled plastic and used anywhere where there is access to sunlight: http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/2205/83/ I could see these on the more remote beaches across India's coast connecting to the major grids and carrying cheap and clean electricity to homes across the country. But how does anyone get the politicians in charge to see this? Giving free television sets away to win elections is their way in India . . .

A Website That Could Help Everyone Save Fuel

Green Daily directed me to this website: http://www.ecodrivingusa.com/#/ecodriving-practices/ Some of the tips in it are known to most drivers (who mostly ignore them anyway) but others are new and worth trying out even if gas prices are falling these days as the Saudis keep trying to gouge the rest of the world with temptingly lower prices even through a depression. Since this blog is about showing fossil fuel the fist, the site just has to be mentioned here.

For friends in Asia and Europe: Please multiply by 1.6 to convert miles to kilometers.

Accidental Harvard Discovery Has Implication for Solar Photovoltaics

Treehugger again: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/10/black-silicon-sionyx-solar-power-technology-breakthrough.php Sometimes, good things happen by accident. Harvard scientists seem to have made a serendipitous discovery in "black silicon" which could make solar photovoltaic cells several times more efficient than they are at the moment. As the technology to make solar power more efficient and cost effective advances rapidly, I do hope that we shall show fossil fuel the fist asap.

Here's hoping for the best!

Reviving an Ancient Idea with a High-Tech Twist

Treehugger has this piece about a new twist on the ancient Persian technology of windcatchers at: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/10/windation-generator.php From what I can see, this could be a superb addition to every new skyscraper that is being built, and even for the taller buildings that are coming up in India's overcrowded metros and secondary cities like Bangalore, Pune and Hyderabad. I shall keep an eye on this technology and post about it as I hear more.

Watch this space!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

New Rooftop Solar Panels

Treehugger has this post about an exciting new type of rooftop solar panel: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/10/new-modular-thin-film-solar-photovoltaic-rooftop-panels-solyndra.php While talking a few days ago to a professor at one of India's most prominent colleges, I learned that they had been suffering from severe power shortages that have caused untold problems especially as the colleges is located in one of the hottest parts of the country. Imagine poor young kids sweating buckets and trying to study at the same time . . . Now, the various colleges and universities in India are huge places with massive buildings housing thousands of students at a time. It would be easy for these universities to line their roofs with solar cells and save power while running classroom fans to make life more comfortable for their students. If the universities and community colleges have extra money, they could also install Vertical Axis Wind Turbines at vintage points along their campuses. It would be a superb way of promoting green power and also of teaching students the advantages of green energy. Just think of the quality of future students who would grow up and gain their education with exposure to green energy. I can certainly see a great future ahead.

Sadly, even the Indian Institutes of Technology which are among the most advanced engineering colleges in the world, do not have anything of the sort.

Now, do you understand my frustration over what goes on in India?

Britain Plans Wind Turbines Along Canal Banks

Treehugger has this very interesting piece: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/10/100-megawatts-of-wind-turbines-along-british-canals.php

Now when is India going to think about something similar in Kerala? That is one of the most power-deprived states in the country, and one of the most picturesque as well. I can also see something similar along the banks of the huge rivers that flow through several parts of India, if the government decides to do something serious. Kolkata has huge power problems and the Hooghly could see these turbines along its banks feeding the city. Ditto for Varanasi and the Ganges. In Karnataka there is the Cauvery. The Punjab has its huge rivers. The possibilities are endless if you ask me, in a country that is already doing well in some pockets as far as wind power is concerned. Perhaps, if these wind turbines were coupled with tide powered ones, the many small communities along river banks would find their power needs fulfilled locally and without costly and inefficient power lines from fossil fuel plants located far away. How about that?

India Ships Its Biodiesel Raw Material Abroad

Think of the stupidity of it all - a country that bleeds from being ripped off (like most of the rest of the world, I may add) by oil producers, embarks upon the growing of a biodiesel crop - jatropha - and then finds that it has no blending facilities to use this fuel itself and shipss it abroad. Treehugger has a piece on this monumental stupidity in India: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/10/india-biodiesel-producers-forced-to-ship-fuel-abroad-lack-infrastructure.php Would that the chowderheads in New Delhi think seriously about investing in one or another of the government owned refineries to keep the country from bleeding . . .

The US Army Slashes its Energy Bills With Solar Power

Green Daily has this entry about how the US Army plans to use a solar thermal energy powerplant to slash its snergy costs: http://www.greendaily.com/2008/10/08/us-army-slashes-its-energy-bill-with-a-500mw-solar-thermal-plant/

I wonder when India would follow suit? I can;t afford to be too optimistic as there are self-styled "experts" there who rant about the cost of solar photovoltaics while they are totally ignorant of the existence of solar thermal energy and of the fast developing field of thin film solar cells.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sent An Unsolicited E-Mail to a VC Firm - Not Sure What Would Come of it

As all my friends who check my blog out know, I do want desperately to be able to sell some of the products that I post about here in South Asia. I have introduced a company here to a state government in India and they are talking about their products there. I hope to work with more companies - there is a heavy demand for several energy saving and renewable energy generating devices in that part of the world and I hope that a major VC business would do something somewhat different - fund a marketing project especially focused on India. There is a reason for this: The US Exim Bank offers Export Credits worth $ 2 billion for exports to India alone. And, India is a country that is fond og high-tech and increasingly aware of the problems of severe pollution and of expensive energy costs. It is also a country where power shortages hurt people across the country for 5 to 12 hours in every 24 hour period. The government of India, socialist as always, keeps trying to get people to participate in ridiculous Build, Own and Operate programs asking them to build fossil-fuel based mega powerplants. No one is going to bite after the Dabhol Power Company debacle. The best alternative would be to decentralize and offer renewable home power systems.

Some states in India have already mandated the use of solar powered water heaters for all new homes. But this is simply not enough. Most new homes use inverters to store emergency power which they draw from India's horrendously inefficient power grid. There is a compelling demand for products that would convert solar energy through advanced photocoltaics that are roof-mounted or from small-wind turbines to power homes through long power-free hours. If someone were to finance the marketing of these products in India, there wouldc ertainly be profits to realize from this business. A simple import and redistribution network could be set up to sell a number of these products, and, with proper marketing especially through FM Radio and the print and television media should, simply speaking, work.

I wrote to a large Venture Capital company two days ago with a tentative question asking if they would be interested in financing a marketing business for renewable energy devices in India. To be honest, I have no idea what this will lead to. I am bracing myself for a simple rejection form letter so that, if something even mildly positive comes in response, it would be something that would surprise me positively. The company in question funds several green products but I don't know if they would like to fund a business that sells these and other products. I hope that they would see the importance in marketing these products through smeone who knows how to sell something, who understands the problems in the market that he talks about, and who has been keeping an eye on government financing available in the USA for this kind of business through the Exim Bank.

If I do not get any communication from them for the next three weeks, I shall post the mail that I sent them over here. If they do reply and tell me that they are not interested in this business, I shall let the correspondence die and then send a modified proposal (incorporating any of the exciting new developments that come up in the next three weeks) to another VC. I do not plan to be disheartened by rejections - they are a way of life and I hope to persevere through them. At the moment, as my friends know, I am an adult student at a superb university here and I have to concentrate on keeping my grades up even while I work on something that I would do come January.

Please watch this space!

A Lovely Electric Delivery Van That Will be Built in Europe Soon

Autoblog Green has some happy news about the Quicc delivery van which is going to be built by Karmann of Germany soon: http://www.autobloggreen.com/2008/10/06/karmann-to-build-duracar-quicc-diva-for-german-market/ Karmann is a coachbuilder with an immense reputation and this should turn out to be an amazingly well made product. Not sure what the price would be like, though, but technology of this kind should save money over the long term for whoever buys these vans. In the meantime, check out the Quicc company's website at http://www.quicc.eu/

Now, this is becoming a regular hope, but will we see these vans in the USA? I hope that we will, but I am not optimistic.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Two Very Interesting Electric Vehicle Websites

Continuing on the theme of Electric Vehicles, there are two websites here that may interest those who like the idea of green transport: Green Car: http://www.greencar.com/ They also have a print magazine that I shall try to read a copy of at my local library before I subscribe to it and EV World: http://www.evworld.com/index.cfm The latter has been around since 1998 though I cannot recall having heard about it or seen a copy at Barnes and Noble or Borders. Hopefully, more people would read both these magazines, or, at least visit their websites. As someone who struggled to bring a specialty medical technology journal to market a long time ago (my crowning achievement, as fr as I can brag about the things that I did in the past) I know how difficult it is to get something like these magazines up and running. Good luck, guys! I hope that you succeed!

Top Ten Electric Cars You Can Buy Today

I know that this post from Auto Blog Green is somewhat dated, but that does not make it any less relevant: http://www.autobloggreen.com/2007/02/07/the-top-ten-electric-vehicles-you-can-buy-today-for-the-most-pa/ While I would not agree that the Reva G-Wiz is all that desirable because of its safety flaws (though it would be a superb little thing to use on golf courses and in large gated communities for driving around without getting out onto the roads) the list is interesting to say the least. The companies here have a lot going against them, especially with the Saudis extracting crude well over the OPEC limits in order to keep prices down and the rest of the world poor, but I am hopeful that more wind, geothermal etc powered electricity would be used to make more of these electrical vehicles viable.

My hat's off to these guys. May they succeed!

PS When I was a boy, I was crazy about old cars from companies that no longer existed - my father owned a Triumph convertible, and friends and relatives had vehicles like Humbers, Riley-Morris cars, Hupmobiles, Kaisers, Buicks, Stuedebakers, etc. I was born too late to see these cars duke it out for market share in the early years of the fossil-fuel automobile. I can happily say, now, that this era is, possibly, repeating itself albeit with electric cars replacing the dirty fuel ones. I hope that I live long enough to see electrid cars succeed dirty fuel ones - that would make me die a happy man!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Different Kind of Green Tea

This might be something that the big tea producers in India might want to look at - Tata, are you listening? Green Daily has this bit about Traditional Medicinals, a California based business who have bought enough solar panels to power 75% of their tea processing plant: http://www.greendaily.com/2008/10/01/traditional-medicinals-opens-worlds-largest-solar-powered-tea-f/ They plan, off course, to go entirely off-grid and convert it to 100% solar power in the very near future.

I think this would also be a good idea for others in this business in India including A V Thomas, Girnar, Kannan Devan etc. Considering how globally competitive the tea business has become, the sooner the Indians start portraying a green image as one more advantage that they can offer, the better it will be for them. Let's hope that this happens asap.

Wind Turbines Don't Harass Farm Birds - British Research

Treehugger is one of my favorite websites as those who visit here regularly know. And it has some good news based on solid research: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/10/birds-not-driven-away-by-wind-turbines.php Wind turbines do not harass or kill farm birds as some fossil fuel pimps suggest. The study in question did not study bird-turbine collisions but that should come soon. In any case, engineers have already started looking at making wind turbines more bird friendly and incorporating their designs in turbines that are being sold as this is being written.