Archive for the ‘ energy ’ Category

Wordless Thursday – World water content

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India Shining – Construction projects abroad

Gulf news featured an article recently about how Reliance has won a project in the USA for working out GAS processing of a huge Gas deposit along with Atlas Energy. India’s Reliance Industries will join hands with Atlas Energy and pick up a 40 per cent stake in Atlas’s operations in the Marcellus Shale. This natural gas project could hold enough natural gas to satisfy US demand for a decade. The project spans parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New York.

Reliance, controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, has been working hard to expand its presence outside India, break into new markets and broaden its various businesses including refining, oil and gas exploration and petrochemicals. I started discussing the same with my friends here, and together we realized that it seems to be like a small trend that is growing.

India has been known for a long time for its software exports as well as agricultural produce, the technology sector including hardware design with the Notion Ink and the Pi also seem to be racing ahead. But a lesser known sector of construction, EPC Contractors (i.e. Engineering, Procurement and Construction) is slowly but surely making its presence felt around the world. Snooping around the internet I found wuite some good examples of companies from India making a mark abroad in EPC.

Starting with Dubai, Dubai’s construction market is mostly comprised of South African companies, but the Electrical engineering world is dominated completely by ETA, a company based in Dubai but owned and operated by a huge Indian work force. Larsen & Tubro are making their presence felt, so is Voltas. Punj Lloyd, Tata Projects and Reliance are now taking major strides in taking over the Dubai Construction scene. The middle east is checkered with projects from the above companies. Moving along, the Indian companies are getting into markets like Europe and Africa at large. Reliance’s entry into US is a good sign.

Having such world class Indian Companies working the ambitions of Indian Architect and developers is making the developments in India world class as well. What still eludes me is why Indian Infrastructure is still so bad ?????

Green Parking spots, the need of the hour.

Cars have increased over the past few years and along with them the services that are required to cater to the car market. The biggest of these is Parking Lots. Parking lots are not only a ugly blob on the landscape, but ecologically they replace in most cases the environment around that area with tarmac and then infuse the area with more car exhaust smoke killing anything that has a chance of growing around the area as well. With more and more people getting aware about the budding environmental issues, companies and designers are continuously thinking of new ideas that promote the use of clean energy. Industrial designers have always dreamt about the possibilities of solar-powered parking lots that not only recharge with clean energy but also generate electricity for lighting purpose. Car parking lots of the future are definitely going to be much more than just storage areas for our vehicles. The image of the Volkswagen Automated Parking system sparked the interest to find similar or better green parking designs around the world. Here we have some of the best green car parking concepts. The list also includes green car parking lots that have already been set up at some places. A note, most of the designs are from the Think Outside the Parking Box competition organized by Designboom and Nissan.

Volkswagen factory Automated Parking system

This is a picture that is circulating the internet for a very long time, and for the most part I thought it was a render of a parking solution which is a bit futuristic in design. I was bowled over to see that this is actually in use and it makes use of only 20% of the space of a conventional parking space for similar capacity. The robotic sorting and storage system is a remarkable engineering marvel. I would love to see a lot more of these in the world, at least in Dubai as parking is a nightmare here. Add to that, its ecologically friendly also.

Japan

If at all there was a country in the world that is synonymous with innovation it would have to be Japan. They take the quote, “Necessity is the mother of all inventions” to the extreme next step. All over Japan there are awesome examples of how car parking is handled in the city. Here are some pictures from the interwebs. Select few are displayed here : http://www.pbase.com/selsadek10/parking_in_japan

Green P parking system:

Designer: Algis Berziunas and Laima Rimkute

The concept is based on the decentralization of parking systems into many smaller spots that can be placed in unused spaces such as under flyovers and bridges. The Green P system also includes a lighting system that can replace or supplement ordinary road lights by charging them with solar energy generated by panels installed on the Green P’s roof. Check out some of the renders below :

More on a city wide

The Eco Parking lot:

Design: Green Corridor

Bringing environmental technologies and green design practices under one roof is the Eco Parking Lot. The stylish design will incorporate green plantation and stormwater remediation technology making it more efficient while maximizing greening potential. This visual treat with special student parking will benefit the Community and city of Windsor. The Eco Parking Lot will utilize environmental technologies and green design practices to create a hardscape that is practical and innovative. The surrounding community will benefit from the additional planting, stormwater remediation technology and designated student parking. The stylized layout of the parking lot acts to make parking more efficient while maximizing greening potential within the lot. As another aesthetic marker for the Community and city of Windsor, the Eco Parking Lot will utilize current dormant space to provide a welcomed service for its users and neighbors.

The Solar Forest Concept

Designer: Neville Mars

As the name suggests, this concept brings trees like structures into action. The Solar Forest Concept consists of trees that are made up of photovoltaic leaves, whose sole purpose is to collect solar power. At the truck of each tree is a power outlet that is used to charge up electric vehicles. Apart from providing charge, the photovoltaic leaves also gives shade to the cars. Instead of having parking lots filling the urban landscape, the Solar Forest offers shade, free EV charging, solar energy generation while simultaneously greatly improving the appearance of the urban landscape. Check out the YouTube video below:

90 degrees vertical parking system

Designer: Baita Bueno

The 90 degrees vertical parking system, one-of-a-kind parking concept parks your car vertically. While you tuck your vehicles into the parking lot, the panels on the flip-side pursue the solar vigor to energize the reclining motor or just keeps piling on for some better use in future. Along with power generation, the unique system allows three cars to park vertically where normally a single car is parked. I remember vividly the scenes from iRobot starring Will Smith. They had these shown, was really impressed. Again, now since this might be coming to life it will be an awesome addition anyway. More pics below:

The Solasis Light Tower:

Designer: Klaud Wasiak and Yongbang Ho

Here is a concept offshore parking area that generates solar energy to recharge electric cars and add valuable juice to the grid. This renewable energy generating parking lot is equipped with a solar power concentrating tower that uses the windshields and hoods of cars as sun tracking and concentrating mirrors. Drivers of the vehicles will also have the option to either use the underground metro line to get back to the city center from the offshore location or walk into the city.

Solar parking Concept:

Designer: Nejur Andrei

Romanian designer Nejur Andrei’s Solar Parking Concept is an impressive perception, for it offers a dual solution to parking and charging of electric vehicles as well. What the design proposes is the wireless transmission of charge from the solar canopy to the charging coil embedded in the asphalt and later, to the car battery.

After sensing an electric car parked, the parking system automatically starts the wireless charging process. The underground battery pack passes this charge on to the multiple charging coils just below the parked car and from here, a receiving coil integrated under the car sucks that charge up. Once the car’s battery is full, the sensors embedded in the asphalt stop the charging process.

Solaire Parking Canopy:

Design: Solaire Generation

Solaire Generation proudly revealed the Solaire Parking Canopy at the Intersolar North America conference in San Francisco, CA. This innovative creation is a modular system that converts the underutilized open parking lots into power plants by providing ingenious structure for PV solar panels. Solaire Generation aims to revolutionize the solar parking lot market with its innovative design. The key features of the Solaire Parking Canopy include Outputs high energy regardless of geographic orientation, Acts as a grey water system, Well-suited for all solar panels and films, Solid steel decking, Dual charging facility – electric and fuel, Establish pioneering advertising space,

This multi-featured unique creation makes Solaire Generation America’s leading provider of solar parking canopies. Apart from the canopy, the company has also developed the Solaire Tree. The solar powered tree shaped structure has a seating at the bottom that could act as a wireless and solar charging station.

Santa Monica Civic Center parking structure:

The building does meet or exceed many of the US Green Building Council’s LEED guidelines. A solar photovoltaic array on the roof provides shade for top level parking and on-site renewable energy. The materials used in construction were recycled and finished with low-VOC paints and finishes. The building envelope utilizes low-e glazing to decrease heating and cooling loads and the mechanicals are energy efficient. A storm-drain water-treatment system helps reduce tainted runoff from directly entering the hydrosphere and greywater harvesting provides for landscaping and on-site facilities.

The Santa Monica Civic Center garage provides 900 parking spaces throughout six above ground stories and 1 ½ below ground levels. Of those 900 spaces, 14 (or less than 2%) are devoted to electric vehicles with public electrical outlets. There’s also free bicycle storage available to “encourage alternate transportation modes.”

Dell’s headquarters parking lot

Any of us who have left their car in a sunny parking lot for a few hours and returned to an oven-like interior know that there’s a lot of wasted energy right there. To make matters worse, we usually then crank up the A/C to compensate, increasing the environmental damage.

Well, here’s a clever way to leave cars in shade and generate electricity at the same time: A solar-power-gathering parking lot. Above is a shot of a “Solar Grove” built by Envision Solar for Dell Computer’s corporate headquarters in Texas. The panels not only generate juice for the facility, but are also connected to two CleanCharge stations that electric vehicles can plug into. Check out the concept video below:

Romag’s PowerPark canopy

The PowerPark canopy at Romag’s headquarters in Consett generates enough juice to power the EVs parked under it. It is capable of producing 1.5kW of peak power in optimal conditions. It has been designed to be linked to the National Grid, so any power generated but not pumped into an e-car can be utilized in a more efficient manner.

Oorja power, an Indians Invention taking on Bloom Box

Bloom Box is the brain child of an Indian, Mr. K R Sridhar who used to work at NASA and found that Fuel Cells using the right potent fuel for its input can be used to run entire house holds. Now Another Indian Mr. Sanjiv Malhotra is now looking to challenge the invention with another invention of his own which uses Methanol as the input fuel to generate clean electricity for the homes. Yes you read it right, two people from the sub continent in USA are working on technologies that can change the face of the earth.

With stationary fuel cells hot again, Oorja Protonics is jumping into the market. In a few months, the company, which specializes in methanol fuel cells, will release a fuel cell capable of generating 5 kilowatts of power, enough to run a home or small business or to provide backup power to cell towers. It’s somewhat small in size, as well. Check out the video: the 5-kilowatt fuel cell fits on top of a gurney. It is about the same size as a 500-watt device Oorja produced a few years back, then the market for this technology did not really exist. “This will sit on large forklifts. You could use it for auxiliary power for trucks, RVs or marine applications, or for off-grid power for homes or farms,” said CEO Sanjiv Malhotra. “This opens up a plethora of other markets.” For larger applications, the fuel cells can be chain-ganged together. Connect twenty of them and they would be capable of generating 100 kilowatts of power — as much energy as the recently unfurled Bloom Energy Server. Check out the video below.

Methanol is one of the mostly commonly produced chemicals in the world, costs about $1 to $2 a gallon and doesn’t have to be transported under pressure so it’s easy to ship. Many car manufacturing plants already have large tanks on site to store methanol because it’s the same chemical as windshield washer fluid. Methanol would be delivered to plants that don’t have large tanks in large plastic drums. Methanol also has environmental advantages over lead acid batteries. Oorja claims a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions even if the methanol for its fuel cells were produced from coal liquification or natural gas. But methanol can also be made using non-food biowaste, which would virtually eliminate greenhouse gas emissions.

Malhotra founded Oorja, which means energy in Sanskrit, in 2005. The Fremont-based company employs about 35 and Aug. 25 announced a 60-unit sale to a Nissan factory in Smyrna, Tenn. Nissan has tested Oorja’s products for the last 18 months. Malhotra studied fuel cells in graduate school two decades ago, first at the University of Iowa and then at the University of California, Berkeley. “Back then, nobody had heard of fuel cells,” he said. “I remember looking for a job after I finished my Masters and people were sending me to gas stations.” After completing a Ph.D., Malhotra worked at H Power, where he landed an $81 million sale for H Power’s propane fuel cells. The company went public in 2000, raising $100 million and selling in 2002. After tiring of early retirement, Malhotra founded Oorja.

Was Earth Hour worthwhile ?

First things first, I want to make it clear that I ma a big supporter of the green cause and environment is a priority for me as it should be for the entire planet. I do support the earth hour initiative as well, in fact I had my lights off yesterday. For about an hour we at home switched everything off and got outside. However, how many of you readers have actually done the same ? I would say not as many. Because a few ‘educated’ friends of ours that we know did not really have their lights turned off.

I am not a supporter of Earth Hour because it will be the only focus for too many.  Turning off lights for one hour is meaningless unless it is coupled with many other longer-term actions. Consider this:  Many will participate in this event and will feel good about being a part of something world-wide.  Most of those will then go about doing their same things without a second thought about making systemic changes that will cause real change to occur.

While there will be a signficant drop in demand in the electrical demand during this one hour period, do any of us think that there will be any drop in electrical production during the same period-NO, there will not. The focus here is should be one of education, process and long-term change, not another feel-good event that will be publicized and talked up by the celebrity types and then forgotten as they hop into their personal jets and energy wasting vehicles.

Let’s think about Earth Month or Earth Year. Let’s work on the fundamentals first. Here is a presentation I had added on Slideshare.net about 2 years ago, that lists out some simple and plausible actions that need to be done.

Unless there is considerable action and really a forward step towards a global political agreement regarding the Earth Hour seems to be another excuse for a T-Shirt with consumerism as well as enough candles burnt that can actually help the cause in other countries where candles are sparse at least. Well, tell me what you think ?

India leading the way in Telecom “Greening” process

Its rare to see developing nations showing the way to developed nations about new technologies and new methodologies. India on the other hand, has been making the transition very smoothly to a developing Nation to a slow developed nation in its own rights. And this time around the Government is making strides as well, which means it is not the Sleeping tiger stage but the waking stage.. lol. On a much more serious note, after taking on a huge responsibility to produce 20GW of renewable energy by 2020, India’s energy ministry seems to be making progress. Firstly the National Solar Mission announced that they will work on the world’s largest solar power plant through a joint venture between Airvoice Group, an Indian mobile phone and commodity export firm, and Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam, a a joint venture between the governments of India and the district of Himachal Pradesh. They expect that over $50 billion will be invested over the next 10 years to make the project a reality.

If the news above does not make you go wow, feast your eyes on the second bit. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy of the Indian government is likely to come out with a mandate that would require telecom operators to transform their cellphone towers from being powered by diesel generators to solar panels. This may not seem like such a big deal until you think about the numbers – India has approximately 500 million mobile phone subscribers (more than the population of any country except China) and still continues to be one of the two fastest growing telecom markets. That means that even more cellphone towers are going to be set up in the near future. India has more than 250,000 cellphone towers which consume 3-5 kilowatts power depending on the number of operators using the tower. These towers consume about 2 billion litres of diesel every year.  According to Cleantechnica, the switch over to solar power translates to a reduction of 5 million tons of CO2 emissions as well as a savings of $1.4 billion!

More and more initiatives like trying to make the government buildings green, and aiming higher so that the self proclaimed milestone can be reached; can be seen in recent newspaper articles. Its great to see the sleeping tiger slowly awakening. However, considering the vastness of the country and the plagues of apathy and irresponsibility, its going to have to wake up quicker and move swiftly.

Via CleanTechnica

Wordless Thursday : Whats Hot ?

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