I was extremely shore after the ministry formation for two reasons. Manmohan Singh couldn’t pick up some efficient young hardworking ministers for power as well as alternate energy. Both are complementary today and critical if the country dreams for becoming a great power. Shinde had failed to make any impression of innovative approaches to solve the serious most problem of power generation during his last inning. Shinde failed to speed up the setting up of power plants. The data on the power ministry website itself are enough to speak for his poor performance.
Power ministry has become more critical as the country must adapt the latest clean technologies discarding the traditional coal based thermal power plants. It requires integration for carbon capture and storage, CCS, for the coal based power plants.
As reported, “CCS applied to a modern conventional power plant could reduce CO2 emissions to the atmosphere by approximately 80-90% compared to a plant without CCS. However, capturing and compressing CO2 requires much energy and would increase the fuel needs of a coal-fired plant with CCS by about 25%. And it increases the cost of energy from a new power plant with CCS by 21-91%.” A bold minister can only take the right decision in the interest of the nation. It’s necessary as the government remains the main player in power generation.
Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) is rapidly emerging as one of the most promising technologies in power generation that utilizes low-quality solid and liquid fuels and is able to meet the most stringent emissions requirements.
Alternate energy ministry has been given to the most flamboyant personality of Indian politics. It requires a lot of new ideas to meet the global pressure through new and emerging technologies. India doesn’t lack resources such as sun, wind, biomass, and ocean waves or water from rivers for clean power generation. It requires the government to take proactive policy decisions to facilitate and incentivize the entrepreneurs.
Many companies in private sectors are taking initiatives for clean technologies and have plans to compete globally. Suzlon has already become a global name in wind energy business, both equipment manufacturing as well as turnkey project executions.
Tata BPSolar offers simple solar lanterns for rural households as well as complex solar photovoltaic modules for industrial applications. Moser Baer has ambition to become one of the major players in solar photovoltaic.
Tata AutoComp through a joint venture with a Japanese company GS Yuasa International manufactures green batteries using a unique composition of calcium-calcium technology replacing traditionally used hazardous antimony with calcium alloy. The technology minimizes water loss and also reduces the battery water evaporation improving thereby the battery life as well as reducing the hazardous fumes and gases.
CII is taking the lead to make the companies realize the consequences of failing to be with world communities with clean technologies. It has started Godrej Green Business Centre to help the smaller companies.
But the researches at the engineering institutes of excellence such as IITs, IISc, and the national research laboratories of CSIR, and DRDO must also participate in debugging the technologies related to alternate energy and in cutting its cost. It requires focused facilitation and encouragement from the government.
Interestingly, Mahindra and Mahindra is working hard to develop electric, hybrid and biofuel vehicles. It has already commercialized the micro-hybrid technology for lowering fuel consumption. The technology enables the engine to switch off automatically at a traffic light when idle and in neutral gear. The engine starts seamlessly once the driver presses the clutch for going ahead. M&M with IIT, Kanpur and R&D centre of IOL and Lubrizol for making its vehicle compatible with bio-diesel.
Most of the Indian companies have taken up the tsk of getting energy efficient. An interesting name is of B. Pathak. Pathak’s Sulabh is credited with developing low cost toilet technology to produce energy out of human waste.
Interestingly, the first bio-diesel shipment from Cleancities Bio-diesel India Ltd, the biggest bio-diesel plant in the country located in the Visakhapatnam special economic zone at Duvvada, was flagged off at the Vizag Port. The consignment, 9,300 tonnes of bio-diesel, was bound for Spain.
India Inc and the community of technocrats and scientists must take up the challenge and advantage of rapidly growing global market of clean and cool technologies. As estimated, $20 trillion will be invested in energy by China and India by 2030 in low carbon projects. Further, the country could expect to earn billions from selling carbon credits. That could be another source of revenue for cleantech R&D – and another source of opportunity for Indian business.
A Green Revolution