Posts Tagged ‘ India ’

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 ?????

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.

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

Where is Innovation required in India – i.e Where is the money ?

This is a question that has been asked before and a lot of people and companies are striving to get the answer to this. India is a big country with varying socio economic sectors, each with a different requirement than the other. However the numbers is each sector would dictate what sector is the best sector for the maximum market reach or most profit.  Here are my views on where is the real market for an aspiring service or company in India.

First things first, to categorize India into sectors is very difficult. There are many factors and many conditions that dictate what the consumers need and where is the best place to work. But, largely based on the socio economic front there can be 5 distinct sectors in India.

  1. The Very Rich
  2. The Consuming Class
  3. The Climbers
  4. The Aspirants
  5. The Survivors

The first and second sectors are the ones that expect the products and services the same as that of the developed countries. For the most part, the rest of the sectors are only aspiring to achieve any sort of service that can be there. This is the real market for an aspiring new company. The majority of enterprises in the Climbers or aspirant sectors have ten or fewer employees, and are the main contributors of employment for the poor. Hence micro-entrepreneurs form the backbone of economies in these regions, and their development is crucial for socioeconomic improvement in a country like India.

The climbers / Aspirants and Survivors form the largest sector of the country. In India these sectors represent the sleeping tiger, which is the part of the country which has the most potential but still have to deal with infrastructural requirements that plague the country. There are great markets that can be worked on considering the sharp downfall of the government to provide these services to people:

POWER : For instance, for many it still is a daily struggle to get enough electricity to go about their daily lives. Those living in rural areas or in urban slums simply don’t have electricity. This could be addressed by integrating new battery technology, solar recharging, low-power technologies, or via devices that automatically utilize other ways of charging or saving power that are still being explored.

LITERACY : The UN estimates that nearly 20% of the world population is illiterate – with the vastmajority residing in developing nations. Before even basic information services like SMS can be used, more effort needs to be made into creating new user interfaces for those who can’t read, and more effort into finding the best ways of teaching literacy with mobile devices.

COMMUNITY : Rapid technological change in the world is going to inevitably create friction, as well as great opportunities. Finding ways to integrate technologies into traditional social structures in a positive way could play a huge role in community enhancement. Micro payments, encouragement for Entrepreneurship, Venture Capitalism are all venues where we could approach the community issues.
There have been certain products that have come around in the past few months to cater to these sectors. Good examples to these have been Mitti Cool, the Refrigerator aimed at the villages without electricity and made entirely of clay, and other innovations. You can check more of these inventions at http://www.jugaadu.com/.

Though it is tempting to simply assume that eventually growing economies will need many of the same things that developed nations already have, innovation and new services to help the poor and uneducated can’t stop because some parts of these sectors have crossed into what can be called “lower middle class.” For the vast majority, there are still many problems with accessing just the most basic requirements of human beings. The opportunities to improve the lives of millions of people with new services aimed at growing economies are incredible. As time goes by and new technologies become cheaper and accessible by more people, the possibilities for even greater services that truly improve the quality of life are enormous.

iSaree : Wonder why the west calls us Indians IT Nerds ??

[tweetmeme] This is really absurd, innovation and uniqueness is something and going overboard is completely another. As Indians we are amazing when it comes to understanding technology and trying to implement it into our everyday lives. I cannot really say anything else about this, but just lol.

The Hindu ran an article of a craftsman who has managed to bring Apple into the Indian Wedding scene, yes you read that right. I have the article here below, you will not believe the article.

‘Swaramadhuri’, a ‘singing silk saree’, embedded with eight micro speakers on its border has caught the fancy of many silk traders down South.

Conceptualised by P. Mohan, a small-time designer in the Dharmavaram town in Anantpur district of Andhra Pradesh, the beautiful drape has micro speakers on its border and a small digital music player at the ‘Pallu’ which can play as many as 200 songs continuously for a stretch of four hours. Mr. Mohan has used a 2-GB memory chip to support the device on the saree.

Armed with a diploma in Fashion Design, he is said to have toiled for two months to come out with this unique design, which has piqued the interest of silk traders down South. B. Datta Shiva, the master weaver, who purchased the rights of the saree, said, “Orders are pouring from reputed showrooms from Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh for supply.” “It took nearly a whole month to make one saree. Ten members of our unit continuously worked and finished it. It can play music for four hours non-stop, without disturbing others,” Mr. Shiva said.

Being strong disciples of Sri Ganapati Sachidananda Swami, the duo has included musical compositions of the Swamiji in the saree. The saree will be put up for open auction in Dharmavaram on February 14 and Mr. Shiva is expecting a good response for this design.

The enterprising designer had earlier created sarees with small LED bulbs which he called ‘lighting sarees’. He also made silk sarees using sandalwood. “There is a great demand for the sandalwood saree. We get orders from all over the South. But we are unable to meet the demand because of the time-consuming process of making the saree,” Mr. Shiva said.

The fragrance of sandalwood is said to remain permanently on the saree, as Mohan uses pure sandalwood purchased from an emporium owned by the Karnataka Government, he said.

With a whooping Rs 300 crore-market for silk sarees and dress material, Dharmavaram weavers have little doubt that Swaramadhuri will sing another successful tune.

No wonder the west stereotypes us as outsourcing, software nerds. lol. And yes its Innovative. Wonder what the brides in India wearing these saris will be listening to during the wedding ?

Nokia imagines technology in 2015

[tweetmeme] What does the future look like? Gadgets without keyboards, touchscreen devices, and phones that feature augmented reality, GPS, web browsing, and more. See for yourself in the video below.

Although clearly just concepts at this point, the devices shown in the animated video paint a picture of how we’ll be using devices and services. Connecting to TV, so we can share TV watching experiences with people on the other side of the world, or even using the mobile device as a projector. Contextual awareness plays a big part too, with the device working together with the cloud, both pulling information down to the device, and also sending information back.

Take the fisherman in India. Not only is he using his device to get the best prices for his fish, but he’s making extra money by selling his data to overseas universities who can tap into his and other fishermen’s information for their research.

It might not be a single device either. We saw an example of the user who’s main device is his mobile computer, acts as a satnav and a multimedia centre – much as our devices do today. However Mr 2015 also has a smaller, sub device which he can use for sport. With the same interface as his main device, and the addition of the cloud, means he can move seamlessly between the two.

Of course, this is all still conceptual, but we can see easily how the services and strategy being laid down today form the backbone of the lives we’ll be living tomorrow.

India and Green .. Bangalore

[tweetmeme] Recently I stumbled upon a map created by Green2Tech which highlights the best Green Tech startups, and incidentally the only company worthwhile mentioning on the entire eastern hemisphere is a startup in Bangalore, India. Again, India, whoo hoo. More information about the company and its relevance after the map below :

Reva, the Indian electric car company, with its namesake vehicle, was the startup from Bangalore that was mentioned in the list. I am as intrigued as you are about this. If you haven’t heard of Reva, you’re about to. The Bangalore-based company’s cars are getting popular in congested urban areas (like Delhi and London), and are gaining traction in island destinations (like Cyprus), where vehicles with shorter ranges and low environmental impact are particularly attractive.

With the governments of Italy, Japan and the UK offering strong incentives for buyers of EVs (the US is catching up, and Reva is testing that market as we speak), Reva is looking to the future. It’s researching lithium-ion and lithium polymer batteries to extend range and increase performance. And its cost is relatively low — $9,000 for a range up to 80 kilometers (about 50 miles) per battery charge, according to the New York Times.

Reva got its start in 1994 as a joint venture between the Maini Group India and California-based AEV LLC, and after an extensive R&D period, its first commercial vehicle went to market in India in 2001. More recently, Draper Fisher Jurveston invested in the fledgling brand, and led a $20 million round of financing for the company in 2006. It’s about time the Indian electric car company, which has one of the best-selling electric vehicles in the world, opted for a few higher-end, better-performance options.

….Reva is launching a lithium-ion-battery-powered electric vehicle for the European market, along with a fast-charging station that can charge the lithium-ion battery 90 percent in one hour. According to a press release, Reva’s lithium-ion electric vehicle will be available for pre-order starting this coming February, with deliveries starting in May in Norway, the UK, France, Cyprus, Greece, Spain, Belgium and Ireland.

Another feather in the cap of Bangalore, will be better known the real “green” garden city of India.