The Unrivaled Unconventional Energies

Amidst myriad new technologies to reduce the dependency on petrol and diesel; after the pure electric cars, the big car makers are working on ‘plug-in hybrids’ that will run on electricity but will have an internal combustion engine which will recharge the battery as well and also, working on making a car completely driven on solar rechargeable batteries. Equipped solar charging parking stations (with no extra service charges to pay for) or home-installable solar panels will come to rescue for its charging requirements. It’s hard to trust your eyes when you see this hot ravishing sports car with 236-miles range racing 0-60mph in 3.7s; and brrrooom! It’s electric driven! With a tax-free status in Denmark, the 2-seater (hydrogen + PEM cell stack) car rages up to 50mph covering 100 miles on a tank full of hydrogen emitting its sole waste product: pure water. Surplus wind turbines are used to make the car’s hydrogen fuel on a zero-CO2 emission basis from the electrolysis of water. By 2020, the vision of the Nordic countries is to bring nearly 3.5 million hydrogen vehicles with 3000 fuelling stations and utilize their strong competent international researches into introducing hydrogen in Nordic energy systems.

Heating water is a limited use of solar panels that is commonly known. Modern solar panels designed as transparent glass panels for windows can even be used to recharge inverters, hence indirectly used to drive almost all domestic appliances. Using a hydro power saver system for homes can probably reduce the electricity bill up to 32%. Similarly, using solar lighting systems can reduce the annual electricity bills up to drastic levels.

So loud and much have we heard about the benefits and need of adopting alternate sources of energy. How often in India have we witnessed these thoughtful ideas materialize? Hardly, is it? And did you know India ranks sixth in the world in total energy consumption where 70% of its primary energy needs are being derived from crude oil and natural gas.

Although the sun shows up only for half a year in Europe, the use of solar panels and wind turbines in domestic and commercial locations for power needs has been made regulatory by governments like Germany. It’s happening because there is a political will to do so. With abundant sunshine blazing in all states of India, the notion of passing a regulation to make use of the available solar and wind energy for domestic purposes did not fetch like a reason good enough to convince the Indian government. They do think that petrol must be provided with subsidy. Wind turbine ownership rights are granted only to a running profitable business which rule out farmer communities/NGOs. They say that only commercial office buildings and tech parks eat the major chunk of energy quota and thus, should necessarily turn to greener ways; whereas villages and regular urban household need not necessarily join the league. The facts have it that if desired, the authorities can figure out provisions for a wind turbine sufficient enough to light up a village. The repelling factor is that making such regulations can most possibly starve their vote banks.

An odd angle of looking at this: Implementing non-conventional ways of living in urban and rural India will take care of proper lightings across streets (well, to an extent), reduce those robberies/abductions that rely on the dark of night, bring down electricity theft rate, encourage neater surroundings and yes, bring a better social well-being.

Karnika Palwa