Monday, December 28, 2009

WSJ: More Builders Zero In on Energy Neutral Housing

I guess it is winter when peoples' thoughts in North America turn to energy efficiency. The cold in large parts of this continent makes heating homes imperative and it is good thing that home builders are now working hard to make homes here energy neutral - as this article from The wall Street Journal points out, homes consume 40% of all the energy that is used in the USA:Link. There will be lessons learned from the American experiment that could be replicated in the rest of the world as well.

I hope that they succeed soon.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Vastly Better Option Than to Try to Bury CO2

The Telegraph, easily among my favorite newspapers, has this excellent piece about a Dutch farmer who is buying CO2 from an ammonia plant near his farm to grow aubergines better: Link This is an excellent idea and it could be used over whatever plant someone might want to grow in a controlled environment. I can think of flowers for the perfume sector, herbs and a lot more. I also think this is a lot better than some of the clownish ideas that are being thrown out to try to store CO2 underground in either natural or man-made caverns. Let's hope that the idea catches on across the world. This is channeling carbon back into living organisms - where it is meant to be - instead of storing it in risky places from where it might leak out and cause potential disasters.

I can think of several ammonia plants in India attached to refineries etc which could do this if the plant owners aka the Government of India decided to do something technologically creative.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Texas as the Next Solar Superpower - This is an Example that all South Asian Countries Could Emulate

Solar Today is the superb magazine of the American Solar Energy Society. They have this very interesting article about the great state of Texas and its huge investment in solar power - I hope this example would be followed by other states in the USA and also by all other countries that have sunlight for reasonable periods every year: Link

All of the nations of South Asia are excellent candidates for solar power. I hope these nations would use their heads and look at using solar power more. Yes, I do hope that this happens . . .

Sunday, December 6, 2009

An Excellent Idea - Carbon Stickers for Buildings

An Op-Ed in Forbes magazine suggests a simple but brilliant idea - emissions stickers for buildings: Link When cars are regulated for the pollutants they put out, the average home needs to be regulated as well. While this may make some homes more expensive, there are a number of technologies to make homes vastly mroe energy efficient using bolt on methods like double glazing, energy efficient doors, insulation etc. At my home itself, we installed energy efficient insulation lasst year - it paid for itself over the winter in saved heating expenses and it will last five more years. Of course, there are ultra-modern methods available which could make a difference in the future if they are applied more widely.

Color me impressed and this is one mroe reason to read Forbes IMO!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Wish This Study Were Available When Ted Kennedy Was Alive

As a prime moron and scumbag who still has a fan following that even calls him "green," the late Ted Kennedy was a crook who managed to hoodwink many otherwise somewhat intelligent people with his supposed environment-friendly credentials. Treehugger published a laudatory note after his death that could only come from a true believer, never mind that the idols that treehugger believes in turn out to have feet of clay almost regularly these days. But then they do some good work highlighting some enw tech and that overrules everything else, I guess. Dead snakes also have their uses, as the old Indian saying goes . . .

In any case, the New York Times has an interesting report on its Green Inc blog which should have told the senior Kennedy that though this might not, quite, have altered the view from his summer home which he wanted preserved, offshore wind power be damned, the price of his cottage would not have been affected by a wind farm offshore or anywhere on land near any property in the country. Anyone else who is reluctant would do well to look close and hard at this study. Though some individual houses in some areas could be negatively affected by wind turbines being around them, the vast majority of homes wouldn't be affected negatively in any way. And that can only be considered a good thing!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Very Interesting way of Powering Cellphone Towers

Ecogeek is one blog that I follow and enjoy. It does not try to foist the political attitude (left wing and extremist, of course) that bigger blogs like Treehugger try to put out as propaganda these days. And this is a good post that has implications for every country that has a cellphone network: Using Vertical Axis Wind Turbines to power cellphone towers is an innovative idea - the towers are at the location where they need to be, they are compact, and they save on energy generated at a distant location, probably using fossil fuel.

India and Pakistan are both investing large amounts of money in upgrading their respective cellphone structures. I hope that both countries will look at this technology. I have written about Helix Wind and their turbines on this blog before and their website is: The original CNET post that Ecogeek links to is at:;title

Friday, November 20, 2009

Oxford Analytica on Chinese Push into renewable Energy

When some of the best business analysts in the world - from Oxford, Cambridge, St Andrews and more form a consultancy, they would be expected to do a superb job of evaluating whatever they look at. And this analysis of the Chinese thrust into Renewable Energy is honest in what it speaks about in a way that is certain to be ignored - the Chinese have understood that RE is cheaper than fossil based energy and not just cleaner.

This deserves to be seen in India and other countries which are largely dependant on coal and which have to industrialize like China does. The implications and lessons are huge - apart from the idiotic Times of India and from halfwitted clowns who send me nonsense from it, there is increasing evidence from those with the money to invest in new sources of energy which are the cheapest ones to focus upon.

This would be a lesson that is well learned, whoever learns from it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Stay Away For Long enough and Some Idiot Comes up with BS

I usually approve all comments sent here and respond to them when I find someone disagreeing with a point made. However, today, I approved a comment from a joker who had responded to an early post that I cannot be bothered to go and look for. The moron quotes the Times of India, a newspaper which, like most of the Indian media, ddoes not know its behind from its face as far as the latest in Renewable Energy is concerned. And, neither does this troll have anything concrete or knowledgeable to offer other than his pathetic quote from the ToI.

Well, I do enjoy a laugh, and the ebst come when jokers come up with comments on issues that they know nothing about.

Keep trolling, moron! Humor will help me live longer and happier!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sometimes Things Just Happen for the Best

Today's The Hindu has a p[iece about the Iranain government choosing CHina over India to develop an oilfield and about it trimming India's role in another field on which India was already working: Article Link. Very frankly, I can't stop clapping. This is good news, if you ask me! The hundreds of millions that would have gone into developing this oilfield in Iran would have done the following:

1. Sent Indian money and effort to another country to develop its mineral resources

2. Continued to send Indian money to Iran for years and years to pay for the oil that would be produced there. This money could well be invested in India to look at resources there - offshore wind energy or wave energy anyone?

3. India is a poor country. Any diversion of public money through ONGC Videsh investment to Iran would only have reduced the amount of money available in India itself for alternative energy projects

Now, we need to pat ourselves on the back and stop feeling like people who have suffered from a calamity. Indians need to look at harnessing the power of the sun, the wind, and of the waves - these are free to harvest, do not require sending Indian money to other countries and these would provide Indians jobs in India itself. The air would be cleaner too. Let The Hindu whine - that is all that it is capable of. Anyone with half a brain should be celebrating instead!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Malaysian Company Offers Solar Powered Cell Phone Chargers

With the cellphone becoming something that almost everyone uses these days (even poor countries like India add record numbers of new users every day) some power does get consumed in using these. A Malaysian company's solar powered cell phone chargers come recommended by Forbes magazine: I Tech Dynamics There are other manufacturers of similar products, no doubt, but since Forbes recommends these, they should be particularly good.

Would be nice if someone could market these in India in a big way - with power shortages etc, they should sell well if someone is prepared to tackle Indian import formalities and dealing with crooked Indian customs officials.

Solar Water Heating Article in "Solar Today"

This is an excellent article in the ASES Magazine, Solar Today, that I am linking to in the hope that visitors here check out and do something about if they are in a position to: Solar Water Heater Article There are several parts of the USA where this tech and the available subsidies for using it should be very viable and even if it does not fully provide hot water for home use round the year, what heating it provides would be sufficient to save a lot of money.

And, most importantly, in a country where much power is generated by burning coal, it would be one way of showing fossil fuels the fist!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Near Production Version of the Aptera 2 e on Autoblog Green

I seriously wish that this car is either sold in Chicago, or that I am out of this city and in Austin, where I am almost certain it will be sold very shortly: Lovely, isn't it? The rumors are that Best Buy who recently started selling the Brammo Enertia Electric Motorcycle will also sell the Aptera. I have been a regular client of Best Buy since I moved to the USA seven years ago and I am definitely going to have a look at these cars when they come to the showroom floors near where I am.

I also wish that these cars are marketed outside the USA. There is fantastic scope for them to sell in countries like India and Sri Lanka in South Asia and in much of the Carribbean. Here's waiting to see Fossil Fuel finally shown the fist

The Pininfarina-Bollore Bluecar Goes on Sale in France

Or, more specifically, the first 1000 of this stunning electric car will be leased: Blyecar Website.

It is going to be interesting to watch developments on both sides of the Atlantic with the Tesla S coming out in the USA in 2011-2012 and the Aptera 2 e coming out very shortly and the Bluecar in Europe side by side with the Mitsubishi MIEV and the Nissan Leaf launching in several countries around the world.

Here's hoping that as economic conditions improve around the world, more people would spend their money on electric vehicles than on fossil fuel burners.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Can You Design a Better LED Bulb? You Could Win $ 10 Million if You Do

Just thought that I'd post this for the engineers who visit here: N Y Times Gadgetwise Blog

And this might not be anywhere near as big a think as the prize money on offer, but I'll be happy to buy you some beers whenever you visit Chicago if you manage this.

Good Luck!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A US Supplier of Solar Powered Street Lighting Etc

Some of my friends know that I tried to market Tata BP Solar's solar powered street lighting in the Middle East some time ago through my old company, before I sold it to focus on university work. Now there is a US competitor whose products look quite attractive: Greenshine As the Tatas are busy shipping the bulk of their production and they face some shortage in meeting demand, I would think that there is excellent potential in marketing these lights in all of South Asia and the Middle East if someone is interested - hint, hint, my former business contacts! I shall contact this company shortly and find out more but in the meantime, if someone wants to contact them directly, their website is a very good one and it has some excellent information that would help not only those who are already in this business, but also entrepreneurs who may be interested in getting into this business anew.

Good News from India - New Reva Cars Look Like a Major Improvement

While Autoblog Green's post does seem designed in a tongue in cheek fashion to attract readers with talk of "remote charging" in the new Reva cars, there is a lot that is positive in the news that this post offers: New Reva Cars The old Revas managed to attract a dedicated following among anti fossil fuel people especially in Europe, but the fact is that the cars were badly engineered, unsafe and uncomfortable to drive. The new designs do look a lot better and should be safer as well. Hopefully, this means that a lot more of them will sell and that fossil fuel can be shown the fist for every one of these that sells! For the relatively short distances that people drive in India and for the mostly warm weather that is experienced across most of the country (electric and hybrid car performance falls in cold weather) these are a superb option for those who are environmentally concerned.

A Potentially New Way to Turn Plastics Into Fuel

I have been somewhat irregular blogging for the past week and a part of the reason was a scare as far as my health is concerned. Fortunately, it turned out to be fine and I can relax though I do have a backlog of work to complete. Of course, I need to relax in between, and this is best done, as I say in my self-introduction, by spending time with friends, with my dog, and going walking. To that list, I need to add blogging.

While there were several interesting bits of news that came out during this period, I don't want to go into everything as I have linked to all of the major blogs that I regularly visit here and it hardly makes sense to repeat what has been said elsewhere. But there is one post on The New York Times's Green Inc Blog which I must reproduce:

While India is working hard to block the use of plastics, the fact is that the use of plastics is neither going down, nor is the import of plastic raw material and plastic waste under control either. I suspect that the same is the case with virtually every other country in the world. Now, there is a technology whereby plastics can be converted into fuel that can be blended with gasoline or diesel and burned instead of being buried and left to cause damage to animals and to the soil at some point in the future. Yes, this is fossil fuel being burned, but the use of plastic means that less oil needs to be pumped out of the ground to the extent that plastics are recycled into fuel. The company that offers this technology, Envion, would be interested if someone from other parts contacted them. Anyone from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka interested? Their website is:

Sunday, September 13, 2009

More Stupidity Associated With Windmill Regulations

Today's New York Times has a very nice piece about the kind of pig-headed stupidity that those who would like to use alternative energy in the USA have to face: Fortunately, these concerns are not something for South Asians to worry about. With India's long and magnificent coastline, I can see how a string of windmills across the country would make a huge difference in addressing the power situation. Sri Lanka could do the same across the island country's lovely coastline. And, if more power is needed, there is the option of offshore wind.

The third world nations of the world keep whining about competing with the West - this is, clearly, an opportunity. If they were to start harnessing the power of the wind in their countries, they would leapfrog ahead of the USA for example - while American technology is easily the most advanced in the world, this country's pathetic laws will keep it from competing even with third world powers in some areas in the future. Time to beat the Americans in installing windmills, I think!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Interesting Hypermiling Practices and The Very Positive Results

I wish I had a car that was as fuel-efficient as the Volkswagen Jetta TDI that this article from the NYT talks about: I did ask my local Volkswagen dealer, but the Jetta TDI is so much in demand that you need to wait for it. And with a new model coming out next year, I decided not to order one now lest I end up with the outgoing model.

My other choice was the Mercury Milan Hybrid but I didn't want to buy a hybrid car just before it began to get cold in Chicago and before the batteries ended up completely inefficient in the cold. Maybe, if I move to Texas next year as I would like to, that would be my next car . . .

Until then, this article should give everyone who visits here some very good ideas for conserving fuel with whatever vehicle they drive every day. Happy hypermiling!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Positive Chinese Action on Renewable Energy and the Environment - Can India at Least Play Catch-UP?

It is always disheartening when a bunch of perennial whiners keep beating their breasts and wailing about supposed injustices meted out to them while doing nothing else. India's socialist politicians top the list of professional jokers who do this and they have ample support from the left wing sections of the Indian media in their public shrying. In the meantime, a country that India is wary of and talks about competing with, simply goes ahead and works hard to beat the rest of the world in implementing Renewable Energy projects while India keeps arguing with the rest of the world over why it does not want to move in this direction, leave aside the fact that half of the Indian money that goes overseas, goes to pay for fossil fuels that India sorely lacks, and, which after they are imported, only hurt Indians health-wise because they are basically filthy.

Forbes has this article about the Chinese thrust into the area of Renewable Energy: Let there be no doubt about it - Forbes is a business magazine but it is also nationalist and wants the USA to lead the world in every area of activity possible. This article has a tone of regret over the USA's taking second place to China even where it does not explicitly mention this. Where this will leave India, is something that I shudder to think about - in the dirt, both literally and figuratively. I wish it were otherwise, but socialists are never good for anything other than whining. And, India's socialists are easily the world's leaders in doing this.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Eco Friendly Luxury Property in the UK

This blog has always been a supporter of environmentally friendly homes - mega mansions too - as it believes that these have an aspirational value that could make a difference to smaller homes by imitation. If people imitate business tycoons and folm personalities' looks, they are also likely to imitate their living quarters to whatever extent they can afford to. This is a simple concept that sells clothes and shoes, perfumes and cars and it could also sell energy efficient homes.

Cut to this incredibly beautiful project in the UK on a farm as described in detail in architect's detailed description of a huge home that uses less energy drawn from the grid than a two room apartment ought to set off celebrity architects and designers to compete for similarly efficient structures elsewhere in the world. Hopefully, this is exactly what will happen. In the meantime, will an Indian billionaire (or at least a multi-millionaire) please buy this property as it is on sale? Or a wealthy PAkistani businessman? Or someone else from the region . . . My hat will be off to you if you do, as you would be setting a most magnificent example for the region and for the world.

Logan Utah to Convert its Sewage Into Fuel and Fertilizer Using Algae

The Salt Lake Tribune has this excellent article with lessons for all of South Asia: State University's research project will work on the technology to convert the region's sewage into both fuel and phosphatic fertilizer, killing two birds with one stone. This is hardly different from what this blog has proposed in the past - looking at converting the huge amounts of sewage that are generated in India into fuel and now fertilizer as well to help Indian farmers. And, of course, this would clean filthy sewage carrying waterways up. How much better could the whole thing get?

Anyone listening in the Government of India? Or in the Tamilnadu State Government? Please look at this - it would only be good for the country. Ditto for other countries in the region . . .

The Salt Lake Tribune link was received via Treehugger.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

BBC: India to Get its Own Green Party

I am grateful to Dr Mayraj Fahim, a strong supporter of this blog and a local government expert in the USA, for the following link: The idea for a Green Party in India is ripe - the country faces some of the worst environmental degradation that any region on earth does, and shortsighted governments and antiquated laws are almost entirely to blame for the mess. SO far, people like the founder of the proposed new party, have used the Indian Courts to get their way, and it is important that a political party manages to set an agenda and fight this battle from within the country's Parliament and State Legislatures.

That said, I am not convinced that this entire process is likely to be successful for mainly historical reasons (though my views are from the past and things may well have changed by now) that I shall detail. Some years ago, I saw an attempt during the worst of India's Socialist years under Indira Gandhi and later under her equally thuggish son Rajiv, to set an agenda that would take India to the brink of ruin. While that, fortunately, didn't succeed, neither did attempts by western minded Indians to politically import western concepts into India. Back then, leading Indian lawyer Sriram Panchu tried starting what he called the "Indian Labour Party," modelled upon the British Labour Party, in what could only be described as a total failure. The name was recently usurped by Andhra Pradesh film star CHiranjeevi for his own party though I have no idea what visions Chiranjeevi has for his own proposed political future. I do think that the new Indian green Party faces a similarly dismal future and that it is likely to end up forgotten in time, especially in a state like West Bengal, which has a powerful and well-entrenched Communist Party and a powerful opposition in the Trinamool COngress led by the charismatic Mamta Bannerjee.

I do wish that my views are proven wrong, though! A Green political movement is something that India sorely needs.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

American Solar Energy Society Feature on Heartbeat of America

I'll admit that I didn;t even know that a show like the Heartbeat of America existed until I received an e-mail from the American Solar Energy Society telling me about a feature cum interview on this show: The video is a brief description of the potential for solar energy in the USA and visitors here should have no problem using the information to point to the possibilities wherever they may be.

I don't know how I could embed the video here as there is no embed link, but the link takes you directly to the website. Do check it out!

Bootlickery and Lies on a Big Green Blog - More Nonsense from Treehugger

When Treehugger, easily among the biggest "green" blogs on the net (and the quotes are here for a very specific reason) begins to slide towards drum-beating for pathetic personality cults, it is something to think seriously about. In the first place, this attitude gives those who are serious about the environment, Green Energy etc a bad name because we get tarred by association. In the second place, you begin to wonder what a blog that is run by a media outfit has to gain from its non-stop pamphleteering for politicians of a certain party instead of focusing on problems concerning the environment and on possible solutions. Take this post into consideration: supposed "tribute" to a "Progressive Green Champion" finds its way onto this blog, with the gushing praise ignoring the late Senator's singlehanded opposition to an offshore wind energy plant off his beach home as he didn;t want to look at windmills in the distance while he had his evening coffee on the sands. Presumably, acid rain and filthy air for the rest of the world were not an issue to this great new Treehugger idol as long as his view wasn't affected.

Nice, I guess, after Treehugger tom-toms John Kerry as a great green intellectual, beats the drum for a completely fraudulent policy of cap and trade which would only put money into its hero, Al Gore's bank account, and gets a failed pollster like John Zogby to endorse its propaganda. With friends like Treehugger in the "green" blogs of the world, which really committed environmental activist or renewable energy proponent really needs enemies?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

WSJ: Organic Farming Helps Farmers in India

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words - this short film from the Wall Street Journal's website is worth several million. Remember - this is from a dyed in the wool business journal and not from an activist of any kind. My hat's off to the WSJ for highlighting this and I hope that India's authorities look closely at this video from the website of the most influential newspaper in the USA seriously.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Telegraph on China's Taking the Lead in Green Energy

I like this article in "The Telegraph," a Conservative British newspaper, a lot: As visitors here know, I like to check out articles in the mainstream media and discuss them here more than I do the blogs that I subscribe to, because the MSM has a wider reach as far as its message is concerned, though blogs are often more passionate about the subject of green energy, and they are also much faster in looking at developments in the field. However, there is a popular misconception among Renewable Energy supporters that Conservatives are not always in favor of RE. Earlier views suggested that religious groups were opposed to the idea, until churches in the USA, Muslim groups in several countries and Sikh and Hindu religious leaders in India all began to push hard on environmental issues and on urging their followers to look at RE. This Telegraph article is particularly interesting because it not only looks at the idea of grid parity, it also looks at dumping practices by the Chinese in selling solar panels to Europe and at the whole business as a profitable enterprise, not as some ideological aim.

This particular piece also throws out the idea of competing - a very good thing in my opinion - with the Chinese as far as RE is concerned. While the USA slowly moves towards this sector pushed by hard-nosed businesspeople who have now turned green entrepreneurs, Europe has been ahead of the game for some time. Germany has several advanced solar panel manufacturers, the Scandinavians and the Germans have both been building wind turbines for sale all over the world, and the Spaniards and Portuguese have been busy harnessing the sun and the wind over their countries as the British work on harnessing the energy of the sea. Now, the Europeans have a wealthy competitor who may not always play by the rules, in China. This is still fine, I think, because the more solar panels the Chinese sell, the less fossil fuels are going to be used. In the long term, the Europeans are also certain to respond by raising the stakes from a technological standpoint - they do have some of the world's top universities and engineering brains. Count on them to look at raising the efficiency of their offerings in this area in order to beat the Chinese. For a long time, supporters of that biggest celebration of the harnessing of fossil fuel, Formula 1 racing, used to argue thyat competition improved the breed. Now, that is happening on a much larger scale and with a much wider scope, in the area of Renewable Energy. This blog is happily celebrating!

Monday, August 17, 2009

The French Plant Their Collective Fist in Fossil Fuels' Solar Plexus

The Wall Street Journal did a very good thing several times while the Cap and Trade fraud was being touted by vested interests, in telling US politicians that if they had any courage, they would bring in a carbon tax, instead of coming up with a crappy proposal like Cap and Trade that was only going to make a few entrenched political bandicoots rich. Now a nation that has virtually no fossil fuel reserves of its own, has taken a powerful step in this direction - the French plan to impose a progressively increasing carbon tax on their country. Surprisingly, this has the support of a vast majority of Frenchmen and women: (Received Vide Autoblog Green).

The French are already working in a big way to fund alternative energy research and elecxtric transport. They also have a huge nuclear industry with the world's safest record of operation. I think this new carbon tax will prompt their engineers to take up the challenge of working in the area of clean energy and bring in some very interesting products and ideas in the future. This will be a pleasure to watch, considering this blog's raison d'etre.

Native American Tribe Shows the Way Ahead in Doing Business with Biofuels

The New York Times has this very interesting piece about the Southern Ute Indian community and their foray into biofuels as well as into extracting the vast natural gas reserves under their reservations: This is a project of the kind that takes after my heart. The SOuthern Ute are not greenies living in la-la land like some who have been arguing with me on some of the blogs that I post on, as well as in one of the posts here. They are a tribe who are looking at making money for the long term for their people and they are interested in doing this in an environment-friendly manner. They are among the wealthiest Native American tribes and this shows that they have the acumen to run a successful business. This project should succeed - it has all the right ingredients that should work as they are fine-tuned to business perfection.

There is a lesson in this for South Asia. The region produces enormous amounts of sewage which only pollutes its ever dwindling fresh-water reserves. There is severe vehicular and powerplant based pollution in the region and the CO2 component in this could go towards feeding algal cultures which would then be refined into fuel. Need I leave out the fact that this would help the nations of the region retain their money instead of sending it overseas to buy fossil fuels? There is some positive interest these days in Solar Power with both India and Pakistan working to bring about a policy to introduce more and mroe solar powered equipment in the future. Hopefully, both of them and the other nations of South Asia will come up with policies that take resources like sewage into account and process them into useable products.

Solix Biofuels, the company that has the business arrangement with the SOuthern Utes has a very interesting website at:

Blue Cross of India Wins Important Environmental Listing

While this is not an issue that is strictly related to Renewable Energy, many of the friends who are in touch with me on this and related subjects are friends whom I met as a volunteer at a fantastic animal welfare organization - The Blue Cross of India. Yes, my best four legged buddy whom you see with me in my Profile Picture, came to be a part of my family from their shelter in Chennai, India, and now lives proudly at my place in the Chicago suburbs. The Blue Cross have a fun approach to animal welfare that is second to none. The numerous adoptathons and healthy mongrel shows that I have attended in the past (and which continue with ever more people joining these days because they enjoy themselves as much as I did) testify to their success in finding how much fun it can be to work with animals. And this has been recognized by Radford University VA in an entry into their Environment History Timeline with the following entry:

Quote [1959 -- Formation of the Blue Cross of India. Cofounder Chinny Krishna in 1964 introduced the first neuter/return program for street dogs in the world, which he called "ABC," short for "Animal Birth Control." In 1997 the Indian goverment accepted the recommendation of the Animal Welfare Board of India that ABC should become national policy, and endorsed the goal of abolishing animal control killing throughout India by 2005.(M. Clifton, 2007)] End Quote

Mr S Chinny Krishna, the Co-founder, still puts in long hours at thier shelter and in advising other branches of the Chennai group that have sprung up across other parts of India, as original volunteers move from Chennai for various reasons. The good work begun in 1959, therefore, is being spread across India in a systematic and happy way. Now, some supporters who have moved to the USA, have formed a 501 C trust here to support the Blue Cross's activities in India: Their website is well worth a visit and of support by anyone who is interested in supporting not just animal welfare, but also environmental casues. Please note that Radford recognized the Blue Cross for the overall beneficial impact their work had on the environment of the cities that they work in, and not just on their animal neutering program which has been working since 1964.

I would like to salute this great organization and convey my congratulations again to Mr Chinny Krishna and everyone at the Blue Cross. And this request is to whoever wishes to support a charitable cause - please support the Krupa USA trust. My personal thanks are due to anyone who supports them.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Chennai Corporation Makes Positive Promises - Hope They Keep Them

This link was sent by my old friend Kulasekaran, who often comments here: Like Kulasekaran, I am cautiously optmistic about this proposal. When the Chennai Corporation does decide to do something, it does it well. I remember growing up on Broadway (then known as Popham's Broadway) as a boy and of the squalor that became a part of the road in the 1980s and thence through the 1990s. Loansquare Park which I would walk past as a boy became a public toliet and trucks ("lorries" in the quaint Raj Era English that Indians speak) would be illegally aprked over there all the time. But, shortly before I moved to the USA, seven years ago, I chanced to ride through the road right from the Old Jail Road / Stanley Hospital end through NSC Bose road and I was surprised at how well it had been cleaned up. It was still more crowded than when I was a boy, four decades ago, but that is inevitable - India has a lot more people now than it had back then. What was surprising was how clean the place had become after the filthy mess that it had become in the 80s and 90s.

If the Chennai Corporation does a good job of using the energy of the sun in one of the hottest and sunniest places in India to power government buildings, I think it could do a superb job. Chennai does have some of the best educated people in India and its educational institutions are second to none in India. I would urge the Corporation to look not just at Corpration buildings but also to look at the Police Quarters in Egmore and at Broadway, the new wholesale market at Koyambedu etc. The State Transport Corporation could also use this form of lighting at the various bus terminii and at the Moffusil Bus Stand at Koyambedu. There are many places in Chennai which could use clean energy.

With my fingers crossed, I would like to invite visitors here to please watch this space!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Why India Needs to Look at Renewable Energy RIGHT NOW

Treehugger has this sad piece that speaks about how bad things are in India and how much worse they are getting, environmentally speaking: While there are some positive attempts being undertaken at growing more trees etc, the country's huge demand for energy to power gadgets for an increasingly wealthy population has caused more than a few problems. India is building more and more coal fired powrplants - the NLC complex at Neyveli seems to come out with new tenders for mroe and more large coal fired powerplants by the day. And huge quantities of coal get imported from Australia, Indonesia etc. The coal burning plants need water ajnd this drains the country's already meager supply of clean water. This forces the people to draw ground water for drinking, washing, agriculture etc and depletes ground water supply.

As visitors here know, wind turbines do not require water to be drawn, greatly reducing the quantity of water used up because of its use in power generation. And, the use of solar water heaters, as is mandatory in some parts of India, could help significantly in reducing power consumption from those filthy coal-burning powerplants by redcing the amount of electricity that is used, reducing the use of water even further. A win-win situation? Of course! And, best of all, one that shows fossil fuel the fist!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Improving Diesel Engine Efficiency - Calling Tata!

Gizmag has a very interesting piece about a new fuel injection system mod that has been developed at the University of Wisconsin, that promises to offer a thermal efficiency of 53%: This is an amazing gain as the article explains and the US Department of Transportation is offering to fund further research into this promising area in a big way.

I would hope that someone at tata is watching - as the biggest manufacturers of diesel trucks in India and a company who export their trucks and cars to many other countries, they would be a fantastic fit to this technology. The technology has been tested on caterpillar diesel engines - don't Tata have the Indian representation for Caterpillar and Poclain? Someone please correct me if I am wrong here!

In any case, this blog aims to watch this development and look at where it is implemented. If the Tatas don't care for it, maybe someone else could license it in India. I am not sure if Mahindra would - they have a long relationship with AVL. Please watch this space. I shall post any information that I get over here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Energy Facts: India Vs China

Forbes has this interesting slideshow showing comparative energy consumption in India and China:

While both the energy consumption and the impact that India makes on the world's environment is smaller than China's, the fact is that India's rapidly growing population and relative prosperity is causing problems. I do think, though, that the fact that India is relatively underdeveloped compared to China could actually be an advantage. This means that by focusing on conserving energy and investing in more efficient designs than the Chinese did during the crazy 1990s and the first eight years of the 21st century, India could lay the groundwork for a much more efficient energy utilization infrastructure for the future. The technologies are available and there are more being developed by the day as the many blogs on this subject show. It is a question of will now. China is changing its ways after beginning with a disastrously old-world approach. Will India start with a modern, high-tech approach to energy planning? Watch this space - this blog will keep an eye on what happens.

Friday, August 7, 2009

An Interesting French Electric Car Rental Idea That Could Be Modified and Used in South Asia

Businessweek has an interesting write up over a French plan for an electric car rental service for the beautiful city of Paris: While the system is still being designed with 2000 electric cars initially available for pick up and drop off at various points around the city of Paris and with an equal number available in the suburbs, the project could be expected to become an example for other countries. French approaches to transportation and to the use of energy reflect that country's extremely poor fossil fuel reserves - France has virtually none. That is why the country uses nuclear power in a big way, has been working on renewable Energy since the 1970s, and, that is also why it has developed, arguably, some of the best systems of public transportation in the world especially in its ultra-high speed railways. As visitors here are aware, I pay a lot of heed to business magazines and their pieces on environment-friendly projects because these guys look at the economic viability of these projects first. They have little room for emotion in looking at these projects, a good counterbalance, if you ask me, to the environmental idealists of the world.

So where would this be of use to South Asians? I think a similar project using electric scooters would be a very interesting idea if someone attempts it. There are several manufacturers of electric scooters in India now, and some of the big names in manufacturing conventional motorcycles and scooters like Hero Motors are also joining this field as we talk. If the technology and methods used by the French to rent electric cars are modified to allow the renting of electric scooters for a reasonable price in South Asia, I do think that this would give the autorickshaw / tuk-tuk sector and the taxi sector good competition, reduce the use of gasoline, and of the filth that pollutes the air in that part of the world every single second.

I have found some websites of Indian electric scooter manufacturers - I have no idea how good their products are as I do not have any experience with them - but I am hoping that some of the visitors to this blog from India would respond with their views in case they have any experience with any of these:

1. YO Bikes

2. Ultra Motors India: (I understand the Ultra group has some kind of tie up with Hero Motors in India though I have no idea how this works)

3. Eko Vehicles

4. Vijaya Electric Scooters

There are posts on the net about TVS and other Indian electric scooters but these companies don't seem to have enough confidence in their own products to as much as talk about them on their websites. Oh well, they have had their day in the sun - maybe it is time for new people to succeed now! In any case, if visitors here have any information about other manufacturers of electric two wheelers in India, I would love to hear from you.

Of course, if you want to get the latest information on the finest electric motorcycles available anywhere in the world, sign up at the Electric Motorcycle Forum: You won't find a better place to hang out, I can assure you!

Another Beautiful LEED Platinum Certified Home

While there are some experts who believe that the LEED standards do not go far enough, they are a good beginning towards persuading builders to get the maximum efficiency out of new constructions and this home on Inhabitat is a lovely example of something that could easily be replicated across South Asia: Somehow, with the attention on new Indian billionaires and their huge Indian MacMansions being talked about even over here in the West, I wonder if someone could sell these people the idea of building aesthetically designed, energy-efficient homes? Somehow India's architectural community seems less than interested in this idea for reasons that only it knows. I do wish that India would look more at these homes - I am a big believer in the aspirational value of fancy, efficient homes and I do think that more such homes, if built and occupied by celebrities, could help in showing fossil fuels the fist.

The website of Arbor South, the Oregon firm that designed this particular house, is: Three cheers for them!

Positive Change of Heart at "The Hindu"

While I have often been critical of "The Hindu" in the past on the issue of Renewable Energy, especially on this blog, today's editorial in that grand old newspaper is a very positive one: While this piece speaks about the need to focus on Solar Energy in India due to India's contribution to climate change out of an increasing dependence on fossil fuels, I can only hope that the tremendous clout that this newspaper enjoys among the powers that be in India, and particularly in the South, listen to this opinion. There is one point that I would like to stress, though, because "The Hindu" does not - Renewable Energy can be a viable method of power generation considering how fast the technology is advancing these days. And, in a country like India which spends something like half the money that it earns on imprting coal and crude oil, any savings from using the abundant energy of the sun would make the country that much richer.

Thank you, Hindu. I hope this change of heart is a positive one and that you continue to fight the good fight now that you have joined it as enthusiastically as you have!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Now, Imagine These Plants Along the Long Indian Coast . . .

Its funny how the video in this post took me back to my schooldays and to one of my favorite teachers, now sadly deceased, Mrs Gozmao. She taught Geography and one of the best memories that I have is of a class where she discussed the long Indian coastline and the potential for India to use the many inlets along the coast to shelter small vessels. It was obvious why Britain, a seafaring nation, had become India's biggest colonial power - the country offered the British ample opportunity to build past centuries' equivalent of naval bases at Madras, Calcutta and Bombay (which they acquired from the Portuguese.) The other major seafaring nations of Europe were there as well - the Danes, the French and the Portuguese.

But this long, peninsular coast, now has something else that could become as relevant as the numerous ports and trading and naval inlets were historically: as a boy who grew up in the seaside town that in now called Chennai, I can see where the many beaches that dot the coast could be locations for solar powerplants like this one: The water required for cooling would easily be extracted from the sea and reduce the need to draw river water unlike most current powerplants in the country. And with fishermen and fishing communities dying by the day, literally, because pollution and depleting catches have wiped out fish populations in much of the region, these projects could provide valuable employment opportunities for fishermen who could be trained to work at these plants in various capacities. This technology could be applied equally successfully in countries across the region - Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and so on. I can see where this could be an amazing new direction as far as generating clean power and also helping with chronic employment shortages in coastal communities across the region is concerned.

eSolar's website is Congratulations to them on their success and thanks to EcoGeek for announcing the news on their website!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

India Hits Back Over Western Demands That it Cut its Emissions

It was bound to happen - constant harangues on several talk radio shows and on Fox television against India and China on emissions were expected to bring a tit for tat statement and here it is: As someone who lived just overlooking the Vadapalani Bus Terminus at Gowri Chitra Gardens, I have a somewhat different take on this, however. Let us not kid ourselves - India's air is filthy. And if a "better lifestyle" is what India is aspiring to, then that should include cleaner air and water. It does not make sense if Indians can buy Rolls Royces or Bentleys and if they have to breathe in filth the moment they step out of them and no longer have air filtered through carbon filters available to them. There is also the matter of health, and when I last checked, that was also a lifestyle issue - recent reports suggest that as many as 70% of Kolkata residents may have lung infections of some kind. The percentages in other cities should be similar.

While this is not going to be easy under any circumstances, I do think that India would be able to do both - work towards implementing more Renewable Energy projects (especially solar power) and advance towards a better lifestyle for Indians at the same time. Fossil fuel resources are currently held by a few nations that have been fortunate to have them located on their territory. And these are running out. Countries like India have access to abundant sunlight and they need to focus on this as a resource and develop a model that works in this context. It is not an impossible task. Some positive steps are being taken in this direction, no doubt. I wish that there would be more, and that they would be taken faster.

Let us not forget that a full 50% of all the money that India earns goes towards paying for fuel. All of this could, technically, be available for other "lifestyle" projects if it were not sent out of the country to pay for coal and crude oil.

Another Very Interesting Utility Scale Solar Power System

One more technology that could be a very interesting one for South Asia - the website says that the company has distributors around the world, but I could not find any list: Would be an interesting daylight system for a new installation. An interesting website and I hope this gives some business ideas to potential entrepreneurs among those who visit here. I'll try and find out more about this system and also find out if the company has any clients with working installations in the USA. This could be an interesting tech to follow up on.

Religious Institutions in India Compete in Implementing Renewable Energy Solutions

While I am almost always as suspicious of religious outfits as I am of politicians, here is one of a few instances where I could agree with the religious outfits involved: The Shirdi and Tirupati shrines have both installed solar water heating systems to help with cooking for devotees who go there to worship. I'll go one step further and hope that there is not just more competition in this area, but also that the worshippers at these centers get sufficiently inspired to buy their own solar cookers and use less fossil fuels at home. I can think of hugely popular centers like Ajmer which is popular with Muslim worshippers, Vailankanni and Chalakudi which are popular with Catholics and more in India who could go renewable.

Let's hope this is the beginning of a trend!

Barack Obama Rejects 98% of Scientists' Clean Energy Research Proposals

I'll say this for Treehugger - after offering John Kerry's ridiculous defense of the Cap and Trade fraud yesterday, they have been objective in showing where the Obama Idol has feet of clay: One would think that an administration that promised a lot would stop trying to sell fraud schemes like Cap and Trade that would only enrich select members of the Democratic Party and focus on supporting scientists and encourage genuine research.

Surprise, surprise! Barack Obama is no messiah or savior! He is just another lying politician who says something in order to get votes and then conveniently forgets his promises. Here is a lesson for everyone who looks at expecting a state or a particular politician to do something of value - don't be foolish!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Exactly the Kind of Nonsense that Makes All Pro Environment People Look Like Idiots

I have a longstanding affection for the dedication with which the Treehugger blog is produced and I have regularly used material from it ever since I started blogging about possible ways of reducing the consumption of fossil fuels. However, this post sort of broke the camel's back with its sheer ridiculousness: I can understand the Treehugger lot beating the drum for Obama and the Democratic Party. Many of my friends who are concerned about the environment believe that the Republican Party is too tied in with the oil companies and with coal miners to do anything meaningful about reducing the USA's dependence on oil and coal. However, the whole business of Cap and Trade is a fraud and it is a devious step that Treehugger have taken in taking the word of a lying loser like John Kerrry to promote this scheme to keep some politicians rich.

Let this be clear - Climate Exchange PLC, the company that owns three of five of the world's carbon exchanges, has huge investments by Al Gore's Generation Investment Management company. It also has a huge investment by Goldman Sachs, the financial services group. Don't try to sell me the BS that these guys are out to sell carbon credits to make the world a better place! Follow the money that this will generate - at a 3% transaction fee for credits traded on these exchanges and possibly trillions of dollars that would pass through them, guess who is going to become rich? John Kerry is one of a tiny, select band of American politicians who can occasionally make Joe Biden look intelligent. What a magnificent personality Treehugger have chosen to sell Cap and Trade as one of their pet solutions! Let's all accept this as Gospel Truth, sit down and drink locally made green tea made in water boiled in a solar heater and hold hands and sing kumbayya!

I am NOT a scientist but there have been enough scientists who are concerned about the environment and global warming who have called this Cap and Trade business for the fraud that it is. On this issue, they stand shoulder to shoulder with the skeptics of this proposal on the Republican side as well as with independent people who can think. Treehugger are welcome to support whatever agenda they would like to - the unfortunate fact, though, when they pound the drums to sell Cap and Trade, is that when the fraud gets widely exposed, (and get exposed it will, because of the strong lobbies that oppose everything that the pro-environment groups believe in) all pro-environment people and groups would end up getting tarred with the same brush. In this, Treehugger does the entire environmental movement a terrible disservice.

The websites of Climaye Exchange PLC is: That of the Chicago Climate Exchange is: Generation Investment Management's website is: Goldman Sachs's website is:

Visitors to this blog are mostly from the journalist community and I would urge you folk to please check on all of these entities and derive your own conclusions. As a community that I was once a part of, I am sure that you would reach the same conclusion that I have - it is unfortunate when those who are concerned about the environment have to step up and criticize a blog like Treehugger, but when one of us decides to replace skepticism with adulation for a fraudulent scheme, it is neccessary to be critical of them.

Congratulations! India looks to the sun for ambitious surge in green power - Times Online

This piece in The Times makes for lovely reading early in the morning: India looks to the sun for ambitious surge in green power - Times Online

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Personally, I think that the plans (or hopes as some of my friends see them) are excellent. The implementation is not going to be easy, though. That said, if this is done right, I cannot see any reason why this project to use solar power across India cannot succeed. In fact, I would hope that, in the spirit of friendly competition, this is carried to the rest of the region - much of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and to a smaller extent Nepal and Bhutan have the same kinds of climatic conditions that India has. All of these countries could benefit from using the light of the sun instead of burning fossil fuels and squandering away their hard-earned money on fuel purchases from the Gulf, Indonesia and elsewhere.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

White Roofs Would Work Very Well Across South Asia

Today's New York Times has a good piece on the advantages that come from painting roofs white, especially in hot climates at: The principle, of course, is simple: white roofs would absorb less heat than those of any other color. Scientists argue about how much of a difference this would make in the colder parts of the USA, for example, in winter, when white roofed homes would have to be heated more. But there is a clear market for this in the part of the world that I come from: South Asia.

Much of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka is hot to extremely hot for most of the year. The region receives sunlight for several hours a day for most of the year. In the past, homes either had thatched roofs, or some like the one where I was born and spent the first twelve years of my life, had twenty foot ceilings in the pre-airconditioner era. Now, of course, with multi-storey apartment buildings all over the region and with booming populations forcing the construction of even more of these shoebox-stacks, one option that could help is white roofs. Hopefully, someone will take heed in that part of the world. This is as simple as an idea can get - and the savings when we consider that the region has one and a half billion residents - should be huge.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Suggestion for The Golden Quadrilateral

India was an early pioneer in harnessing wind energy though that seems, recently, to have fallen by the wayside thanks to Suzlon Energy's near collapse. However, this does not diminish from the opportunity that this clean energy sector still has to offer. Today's New York Times Green Inc blog talks about erecting wind turbines along highways: I can see where this would be especially easy to do along the new Golden Quadrilateral highway system tat is being constructed in India at the moment. This is a state of the art highway that is being built around the country from all indications. Though there have been problems including corruption, it is progressing. Obviously, with a highway available to provide access to turbines all along the route, maintenance and servicing would be very easy. Also, in much of India which is starved of water, this could be a superb way of generating power without tapping into the country's meager water reserves.

The Times article also talks about solar power being harnessed along the route. I am not sure if this would be all that practical for India though there is something that could definitely make a difference - Tata BP Solar manufacture solar powered street lighting as well as traffic lights and these could be deployed along the route. In fact, if Tata were to use the strengths of their huge software division at TCS and build an intelligent switching system using solar powerand WiLL to control the lights using data inputs for traffic along the route, they would not only have a world-class system to show for their efforts, they would also help save millions of gallons of fuel.

Yes, there is potential to show fossil fuel the fist! Let's hope that this opportunity is taken up either by the Government of India or by a forward looking private company like the Tatas!

Thanks to All Friends in India Who Helped Spread Information on Green Tech

I asked for help on spreading information on Terrabon and other green tech last week as the Deputy Chief Minister of Tamilnadu, M K Stalin, was due to travel to San Antonio to check out river cleanup methods. And I got this help in more than spades. Friends in India passed on my post and links to this blog to several environmental groups, to newspapers there as well as sent me the contact details of the Dy CM himself. I e-mailed the suggestions that I had to him, but have not heard back. That is fine - if he does look at the information and does something about recycling the sewage in the Cooum into car fuel, that would be triumph enough.

Subsequently, there has been another view on Outlook, every bit as skeptical as mine: I did post the information that I have been blogging about in the Comments Section there just to get more people to look at it and learn more about the possibilities that are available. Hopefully, this would bring some more people over to this side and get them to press the government to look at using the sewage and not at just pushing it out into the sea.

But, most importantly, I must thank all friends who helped. In particular, Lion Ram Kumar, Hemant Nahar, Vasanthy Rajiv, Kamla Ravikumar and Kulasekaran. I must also thank Chennai journalist and campaigner for environmental causes there, Vincent D'Souza who showed me how to contact the Dy CM. This list is not exhaustive and I must thank everyone who has been supportive of this attempt at spreading information. I hope to work with these friends to keep the momentum up in the future.

Thank you, everyone. I am fortunate in having great friends!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Why Is Tamilnadu Looking at Dredging the Cooum but not at Converting the Sewage to Motor Fuel?

Autoblog Green has this piece about a Texas company called Terrabon that is using a process developed by Texas A&M University to convert non food biomass into a gasoline fuel: The company has a trial going on to sell this "green gasoline" and it has been used in cars with no conversion required to the engines. The sources from which Autoblog Green got this article are the Houston Chronicle, whose original article on the subject is at: and there is a comment on Green Car Advisor at:

Yesterday, the Tamilnadu government announced that Deputy Chief Minister M K Stalin would be visiting San Antonio TX to check on their river dredging system - quite pompously, this was referred to as the "San Antonio Model" by the Indian media. My question is simple - San Antonio and Houston are both in Texas. Why on earth isn't whoever is advising Mr Stalin to visit San Antonio to find out how sewage in the COoum could be gotten rid of by being pushed into the sea, arranging for him to meet this company and figure out how to cash in on a huge resource that is available in Chennai? No one expects the Deputy CM to be a technical man who keeps abreast of the latest in technologies all over the world, but surely, the IAS officers and engineering college professors in India who claim to be turning out the best students in that part of the world ought to know better? And what about the Indian media? Don't they have science and technology writers?

Somehow, I am amazed at the sheer lack of knowledge that is almost always exhibited by the Indian bureaucracy, and even more, by the technical educators in that part of the world. Sometimes, like in the case of the now curiously silent N N Sachitanand of DNA India, the "expert" comments on new technology that come out seem to be idiotic to put it mildly. And then, when the question of converting waste into a very valuable resource comes up, again, the Indian bureaucracy can be expected to not do its homework. What a tragedy! Is it any wonder that despite having so many resources, India is still a backward, third-world nation?

Terrabon LLC's website is:

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Yet more Pompous Blatting or a Genuine Effort this Time?

The Hindu reports that the State of Tamilnadu in India is to udnertake what it calls "the San Antonio Model" to revive the Cooum River: According to this news, the state government is to send some officials very shortly on a trip to Texas where they would look at what has been done in San Antonio to their sewage and then implement this in Chennai. Apparently, the project will be financed by the World Bank. Somehow, am I the only one who is more than just skeptical about this?

Many years ago, flush with their experience in rejuvenating the Thames, the British offered a huge amount of money and knowhow to clean the Cooum up. Then, as now, the Tamilnadu government made a big noise about how the Cooum would be cleaned up very shortly. Nothing really happened and the river only stank even more as more and more fecal matter ended up in it. It is not as if San Antonio is special in the scheme of things as far as managing sewerage is concerned - virtually any major city in the USA can provide this knowhow. My take on this is that some official in the TN government probably has a son or daughter or some other relative who lives in San Antonio. This entire story about using a "San Antonio Model" to clean the Cooum is little more than a plan to travel there and spend some time at public expense.

I'll also say that I shall be happy to reverse everything that I have said here if something is really done about the Cooum. Visitors here will recall how many times I have spoken about using the sewage as a resource to generate methane for power generation and the solid matter as fertilizer to be used in forestry as is done all over the USA. The news item on the so-called "San Antonio Model" does not have any information on exactly what the government plans to do. My skepticism may just end up proving itself as fully justifiable.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Cost Saving Airconditioning Technology for South Asia?

Canada's Globe and Mail is one of two newspapers from that coutnry that I read online every day. It has an interesting take on events in North America and is often much better to read than some of the American newspapers are because it does not talk down to its readership unlike some of the pompous a$$h01es in the US media. The following post is one which talks about an airconditioning technology with very interesting potential: As some of the comments that follow have said, the idea of using ice to reduce the load on airconditioning systems is not new, but this is the first time that this is being offered as a ready to use product. Any entrepreneurs in India, Pakistan etc waiting to adopt this product?

The website of the company that has developed and is offering this technology is:

Monday, July 6, 2009

Philips Designs a More Efficient Incandescent Bulb

The New York Times has this report about Philips's new design for a high-tech incandescent bulb: And the competition has been joined - Osram, Sylvania, GE and others are working tod evelop their own high tech bulbs as are several university departments. I do think this is a good idea. I use CFLS exclusively in my house, but I am always worried about what would happen if one of them were to break by accident. There is no way that I would like to spend $ 2500 or whatever it costs to get your home cleaned up if one of the CFLs breaks indoors. Yes, I have seen a sharp decline in my monthly bills since I started using the CFLs three years ago, before it was fashionable. And they have lasted long - much longer than I would have expected incandescent bulbs to last.

However, my next home - I can't see myself living in Ill-Annoy forever - will have Solatube Daylighting and the bulbs for use at night with be high tech incendescents. Philips Lighting's website is:

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Fun Green Inc / New York Times Contest

There is a fun contest on The New York Times's Green Inc page asking readers to send in suggestions to replace the "Saudi Arabia" trope: As this blog believes in showing fossil fuel the fist, this is a laudable thought. Why should someone with clean energy in their mind look at the worst producer of fossil fuel and use the Saudi name to define their topic of interest?

So get your creative juices flowing and start posting there. Let's see how many interesting new tropes come about as a result of this contest - I shall happily use them on this blog in the future with credit to the NYT / Green Inc of course.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Can Wind Power Get Up to Speed?

Time Magazine has some good news on the potential for wind power in the USA with this piece: Can Wind Power Get Up to Speed? With the potential to generate 16 times the amount of power that this country needs from the Midwestern States alone and even more if offshore wind is harnessed, the potential does exist for this country to show fossil fuel a huge fist. And T Boone Pickens, oilman par excellence turned wind entrepreneur, is clearly spot on in his promotion of wind power in this country.

With more and more of the media pointing out solid research - the Time piece references NASA investigations - I hope some of the die-hard skeptics as far as wind power is concerned are drawn into a positive dialogue over the potential for wind power. I also hope that the USA leaps into this and pushes the envelope for bigger and better wind turbines. There is tremendous potential for this country as well as for power generation in other countries in markets that are currently dominated by European companies. It would be good to offer some friendly competition with US products.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Semi Finalists in a Tough California Clean Tech Contest

I was sent this link by my good friend of many years, engineer and entrepreneur in India, Kulasekaran, who is also a supporter of this blog and a frequent discussion participant here: The California Clean Tech Open is a major contest in an environment and technology conscious state, to support new businesses with innovative technologies, business plans and ideas etc. The five semi-finalists here could well become major corporations in the future and bring about a mini revolution (or a major one) considering that they have amde it this far in the contest.

Of the listed companies, the one that interests me the most in the potential that it offers for South Asia, is Armageddon Energy: Their design for mount them yourself solar photovoltaic cells is something that could be extremely useful in the electric supply deficient cities and small towns in South Asia. While I am fascinated by the idea of do it yourself zero net energy homes like the Parco Homes designs: unfortunately, I don't think that South Asia has the vision or foresight to look ahead at technologies like these. Parco are one of many companies with very interesting zero net energy home designs - I have written about others on this blog - unfortunately, this very good idea, is not likely to appeal to Jaikishan or Jahangir Average. And therein, lies a tragedy . . .

My thanks to Kulasekaran for sending me the Fast Company link. This is one more website that I shall make it a point to watch in the future.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Website That Can Teach You to Save Fuel and Money by Hypermiling

I have written about hypermiling before, but it was through Autoblog Green that i came to learn about Clean MPG: a nice site that I signed up on at once. I am no expert - and I am happy to admit this whenever asked. As a learner, I do think that many who visit my blog would find this a useful site. DO try and use some of the techniques that they talk about to save fuel and post back to let me know how you find this. And, of course, do sign up.

Thanks and happy saving through hypermiling!

The First Air Car Test - Tata are Licensees of the Technology's Insideline blog has the first test of the MDI Air Car by any magazine / website at:* This, of course, is a technology that some have been saying would never work. And others have been decrying for reasons known 0nly to themselves and to the industries that write their paychecks. There has been some speculation about how the air to fill this car's tanks would be compressed. These people haven't, of course, heard of wind, solar or geothermal power for some reason. And, of course, when an Indian company buys the rights to a certain technology and plans to use it in its cars, it has to be a mistake, right? These are the same bozos who also said that the Nano would never be made, and, probably, are the same doofuses who said that Renault's takeover of Nissan was such a flop show that Renault could have thrown gold bars worth what they paid for Nissan into the sea. Yes, there are idiots writing in mainstream newspapers and magazines, if you didn't know. And MDI, like Renault, are French, so they must be just as bad as those Indians, right?

Which makes Insideline's test all the more admirable. They have tested the Air Car in France and made it clear that they have seen that the technology works. Sure, it needs to be improved. The internal combustion engine was invented more than a hundred years ago and the large auto manufacturers are still working to improve it. What is significant is the short fill up time - just two minutes using compressed air pumps at filling stations. And, I think, this technology could be used on motorcycles also. My hat's off to MDI for their amazing new idea and to the Tatas for having the foresight to rush and support the technology by licensing it at once. MDI's website is: and, of course, if you want the Tatas's website with links to all their companies, check at:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dale Vince's Electric Car Runs Quite Fast Indeed!

Trust an eccentric Brit to pull off something spectacular if he puts his mind to it, and you won't go wrong. That is the country that gave us the jet engine, after all, as it did thrust vectored aircraft, several amazing cars, some of the world's best stereo systems and much more. While the Brits love few things more than arguing and living the good life, they do some amazing work whenever they set their minds to it, and they do it in a fashion that no one else can emulate. I have posted about dale Vince and his company Ecotricity before. He had plans to manufacture what he called a "wind powered car," and while the term was somewhat sensationalist because the car was not directly powered by the wind, it was accurate because he owns the most profitable company generating power using the wind after all. Turns out that the car, a modified Lotus Exige, has some amazing performance as this link on Autoblog Green and this video show:

As friends who are interested in electric vehicles understand, this is the same platform used by Tesla for their roadster. This is a proven platform, after all, and one that has been very successfully demonstrated as far as using it for electric vehicles is concerned. I like this idea of a different vehicle with similar shattering performance - I do wish that the final version of whatever Vince decides to call his car, would look different from the Lotus offering, though. Mark my words - this does have the potential to be another great British car produced by yet another eccentric British genius. I can't wait for more updates on this!

When Fuel-Efficient Hybrid Cars are a Bad Idea - Toyota's Environmentally Harmful Plan for Manufacturing the Prius

Toyota's Prius hybrids have been a huge hit since the first version was launched some years ago. The cars are very fuel efficient, though the technology used is not quite the be all and end all as Toyota and the Prius's many fans would have you believe, because lower tech cars like the Volkswagen Jetta diesel have proven as fuel efficient in a combined in-city and highway cycle. Some experts have criticized the use of Nickel in the Prius's batteries as a major environmental issue, though I am not sure if the alternative of emitting more burnnt petrol gases into the atmosphere is an acceptable substitute.

However, there is a completely different reason why Toyota needs to be opposed and the Prius boycotted, that is, unless they reverse their decision over where to manufacture it. Autoblog Green has this piece about Toyota planning to destroy 17th century rice paddies to build more Priuses. It is not only the destruction of the paddies that I am concerned about. The cars will be built in Japan and then shipped to the USA and other countries burning (and polluting the atmosphere at that) huge amounts of oil. Why on earth can't Toyota just build them in the USA, their biggest market for these cars? They do build excellent trucks here in Texas and cars in California and some other locations, after all . . . The Autoblog Green post about Toyota's ridiculous plan is at this link:

Fortunately, for someone contemplating a hybrid in order to show fossil fuels a tiny fist (they do burn gasoline after all) there are options other than the Prius. Honda's new Insight is a nice car if somewhat smaller than the Toyota. And, if you want a bigger car, Ford has its Fusion Hybrid (and its up-scale Mercury Milan version which I plan to buy shortly) which is less fuel efficient than the Prius but a lot bigger, mroe comfortable, and, if you want a Toyota comparison, a better car by every report out there than the Toyota Camry Hybrid.

Please do your bit to knock some sense into Toyota - if you are contemplating buying a Prius, don't. At least, not until the company decides to preserve the paddies and adopt less environmentally harmful manufacturing practices. Thank you!

Please Sign This Petition to Ask Manmohan Singh to Pass a Renewable Energy Act by 2010

While I am not always in full agreement with Greenpeace on everything that they do, I have been a strong supporter of their recent campaign to persuade the Tatas into looking at their new port from the perspective of the sea turtles which come there to breed. It is a good campaign and one that deserves support - I love the outdoors and the mainr eason why I like the idea of Renewable Energy is that it would make a beautiful country like India even more beautiful. How would you like to walk along the shores of the Kodai Lake without the fumes form highly polluting buses and cars burning your nostrils, for example? We do have the technology to produce cleaner vehicles as we know - Mahindra has a mild hybrid vehicle, Tata has electric cars that the company sells in Norway and an Indo-British team won the first TTXGP.

However, the electricity produced in India - whatever little is produced - is from the filthiest means possible: using coal. It is not only the burning of the coal that is an issue. The transportation of the coal from Indonesia and Australia is a dirty process, as is the horrendous destruction of the beautiful Indonesian forests by that country's greedy coal mafia. There is also something that our politicians don't care a hoot about - the fact that India is bathed in sun the whole year and we can use that sunlight to power homes. We can use the winds that blow over the country to do the same. We can use the sewage that we dump into the oceans to generate methane to burn and produce power with. The possibilities are endless.

Greenpeace India has a petition campaign to persuade the Prime Minister to pass a Renewable Energy Act by 2010. A link to this is here: Please sign this petition. And get your spouses, your children, your parents, their friends and your friends to all sign this. Please spread the word around. And please push hard.

India spends half of all the foreign exchange that it earns on importing crude oil and coal. We don;t have to send our hard earned money to Saudi Arabia or Indonesia or China or wherever to make the rulers of those countries, and their businesspeople richer. This money could stay back in India and help us to become a richer country. And a cleaner one.

Thank you for signing this petition. Thank you also for getting at least 10 people to sign it after you do and requesting that they get 10 more to do so and so on. Please do it for India and for the earth. Thank you.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Hat's Off to India Again - Indo British Entry Wins First Electric Motorcycle GP Ever By a Big Margin

An Indian company manufacturing high quality electric motors and a British engineering group put their strengths together recently to win the world's first ever TTXGP. As Gizmag, one of the sites that this blog subscribes to points out, this was by a very good margin:

Most significantly, wasthe fact that this was a class win for bikes that cost below UK Pounds 30,000, a significant factor because this means that the bike is capable of being produced and sold at realistic prices with economies of scale working out in production. That the bike also won the overall victory, attests to the excellence of the design as it is potentially capable of beating more expensive bikes designed in technologically advanced countries.

Again, I am as positive about this as I am about the Tata plans to build electric versions of their cars for India. However, I must admit to caution about the Indian state's ability to provide power through clean means and on an uninterrupted basis - eight hour powercuts in most cities throughout the day are not a good thing for this sector. Neither is the fact, as my friend Mohanakrishnan likes to point out, that Coal India is putting huge sums of government money into importing coal to satisfy India's requirement for power while the government pays lip service to the idea of renewable energy.

That said, if the private sector is given the relevant permissions to do something in India, they are more than capable of doing extremely well. Team Agni underlines this fact. Congratulations, Team Agni, and Congratulations India. There is another entry about this at the best online motorcycling blog, The Kneeslider at: Those who wish to congratulate Team Agni would do well to do this in The Kneeslider. I am sure they check there like most motorcycling enthusiasts do.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Technology to Make Concrete Structures Last 16000 Years

Ecogeek has this piece (via Greentech Media) about the smart guys at MIT devising the technology to make concrete last millenia instead of the decades that we are used to: As the piece says, the technology alterts how concrete degenerates with strain, making it last several magnitudes longer than we now expect it to. A very good idea, I think, especially in public structures which are not midified or altered as much as private homes are. Let's see if this picks up in South Asia - that part of the world has the most infrastructure projects going after China.

Just a reminder that this blog subscribes to both Ecogeek as well as Greentech, and both are superb blogs to visit for the latest in various technologies that would ensure that we show fossil fuels the fist.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Why On Earth is This Not Being Implemented in Chennai?

For the past thirty years at least, as I can recall, the British have sent technology and money to help clean up the Cooum River / Buckingham canal in Chennai, but nothing has happened. Where has the money gone? Those in the Tamilnadu State government know, if someone does. And the two outlets, once navigable canals in which boats went all the way to Chingleput, become filthier by the day with more and more sewage pumped into them. The Adyar River, on whose banks much of the Chennai elite lives along Boat Club Road and Archbishop Mathias Avenue, is yet another example of a water body that was once clean turned into a filthy cess carrying canal by the State government.

Dr Mayraj Fahim, who has been a strong supporter of this blog, has sent me a very interesting link which has implications for Chennai: British utilities already send sewage derived gas to generate power, and they now plan to offer the same gas for use in domestic kitchens etc. How difficult would it be for the Government of India and the Tamilnadu State government to revive the old British initiative and get the relevant technology from the UK to implement large-scale projects along these outlets? The raw material is there, and, it is not going to diminish in quantity as long as Chennai-vasis eat and then clear their stomachs out. There is an old initiative where the British have offered support - perhaps, the state could look at creating a utility under the common administration of the Water and Electricity Boards to use gas to generate electricity for the city? Or, alternately, as there are many gas powered cars running in the city, use this to supplement gas supplies for fueling vehicles and save foreign exchange?

Is anyone listening? Our Prime Minister who is supposed to turn the country into a new superopwer, perhaps? Or the Chief Minister whose wisdom is always hailed by his followers? Anyone? United Utilities, the British business involved in this project, has a nice website: Over to India . . .

Monday, June 15, 2009

Congratulations! India's First Solar Powered Floating Store Launches in Kerala

The state of Kerala in South India is a beautiful place. It has backwaters (canals for non-Indians) and is green throughout. The residents of the state have a passion for watercraft because of the many canals and the long coast. I have fond memories of the place as I have relatives in Kozhikode and friends in Fort Cochin, Palghat, Ayalur, Nemmara, Ochera etc. And if you can excuse the constant strikes that plague the state thanks to its Communists, it can actually be a nice place to spend some time in.

But let's leave the negative stuff out. I posted a link some time ago to a solar powered ferry-boat built in the state on this blog. Now, the idea has been taken further: A solar powered store is due to sell various goods to communities living along the backwaters: It is a bit of a stretch to call this a "supermarket," but I do think that the promoters of the floating Thriveni Superstore, the Kerala Government owned Kerala State Cooperative Consumers Federation Ltd, have much to pat themselves on the back for. Everyone involved in this project deserves kudos.

Electric Airplane Sets Speed Record

Yes, there are road cars that can go faster than this airplane and for longer. But this is an achievement that is absolutely on the right path ahead: Autoblog Green Must be thanked for giving this achievement publicity.

The world's car manufacturers are making decent strides (albeit sometimes reluctantly) as far as fuel efficiency is concerned. But aircraft and watercraft have been a different cup of tea so far. All work in these areas has been on a small scale and laws pishing these companies to do something significant have been few. That said, airlines like Emirates, Japan Air Lines and Air India have done some work in reducing the amount of fuel burned in take offs and landing by tinkering with time schedules and similar. However, it is only technological breakthroughs in electric aircraft power that will help reduce the use of fossil fuels in the air significantly. That said, algae based fuels have been successfully tested by the Japanese as well as by the US Air Force, though, there again, carbon is emitted into the air. My hat's off to the Sky Spark team. Their website is:

Friday, June 12, 2009

China Throws Down a Renewable Energy Challenge to the World

While it is currently one of the world's most heavily polluted countries and it needs to import over 90% of its oil, China has decided to act in a manner that needs to be applauded: I am grateful to Dr Mayraj Fahim for this link showing where South Asian countries, which enjoy the same climatic conditions and suffer from similarly high pollution, are lagging seriously behind. So, for that matter, is the USA where the only action forward seems to be Barack Obama's pious talk along with the constant and stale applause of his drum-beaters in the media and in the blogosphere. While well intentioned US plans like the Pickens proposals fall by the wayside, the Chinese seem to power ahead with their desire to insulate their country from the vagaries and whims of the oil producing nations and of oil traders and their manipulations.

Yes, China has coal - so does India, but the Chinese consider their coal reserves a finite asset. India has no hesitation in preserving some of its own coal reserves while it encourages massive environmental degradation in Indonesia, Australia, South Africa and elsewhere by mining for coal there and pollutes the air and the seas by shipping it back to India. And, though India has recently articulated a massive proposal to work on solar power, it is going to be difficult for it to do much as it is way behind China on the neccessary manufacturing infrastructure to produce solar and other RE equipment.

However, this is a situation that could be a wake-up call if you ask me. There is no reason why South Asian countries - and India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka etc all have excellent engineers and facilities with which to manufacture / develop renewable energy products. This could be the spark with which to ignite a powerful flame (well, yes, this is an inept simile) of Renewable Energy in South Asia. Our antions would be wealthier because of money saved, our air, water and soil cleaner, and our workers treated more humanely as they no longer have to work in near-slavish conditions in Arab countries.

Let's hope this competition is joined, and, at the soonest.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Why Public Transport May Not Really be Green

I am grateful to Dr Mayraj Fahim for this link: While some dedicated environmental groups have, in the past, audited the environmental impact of the manufacturing process of various goods and means of transport, the practice has not always been given the publicity that it deserves. Now, with scientists looking at public transport, some common beliefs about supposedly "green" transportation are being challenged.

Specifically, the issue about trains is something that I have suspected for some time and I did get into a brief discussion on this at Low Tech Magazine: There is no question that trains are at their most efficient at hauling heavy freight or large numbers of people. try and make them luxury vehicles on wheels like they are in the USA, and their efficiency drops. Hopefully, there will be a comparison of the efficiency of local trains in cities like New York with decent public transportation with local commutes as well as with failing, state-owned businesses like Amtrak with cars in long distance travel so that a specific environmental impact in each case is better understood. As far as showing fossil fuels the fist is concerned, I do think that the more efficient the means of transportation, the lower its carbon footprint would be. Let's hope that we get more expert views on this in the near future.