Search This Blog

Saturday, October 22, 2005

What is the cost of your *free* gmail ?

A nice take on the real heavyweight in terms of cost. The bottomline is that the electricity costs are the main costs of storage or for that matter anything. Read more in Rajesh's blog.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Global Investments in Alternative energy

Currently, only around $20bn a year is invested worldwide in renewable energy capacity; mainly wind and solar, with some in biomass and biofuels. A further $5bn is spent on research each year, particularly into hydrogen and fuel cells. But that figure is bound to grow. New Energy Finance expects the figure to increase to over $100bn within a decade - a sustained compound annual growth rate of 15-20%. That means there will be opportunities to make money provided investors make the right choice. read more.

Startup sagacity

Rajesh in his usual direct style has some simple advice for product startup's here. They say common sense is the most uncommon of the senses :)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Honda's home hydrogen cogeneration

Honda motors has introduced a new concept car (hydrogen fuel cell based) that comes with a home hydrogen co-generation kit (it however uses natural gas so its not like it is beyond petroleum). It is however a good start. Detailed article on the internals here.

Can Jatropha curcas L. help India ?

The Jatropha plant is a dryland marginal crop that does not need the petro inputs that go into conventional bio-diesel crops. The Government of India has the following to say



NEW DELHI, 3RD September, 2002 No. P-45018/28/2000-C. C. -

With a view to give boost to agriculture sector and reduce environmental pollution, Government of India have been examining for quite some time supply of ethanol-doped-petrol in the country. In order to ascertain financial and operational aspects of blending 5% ethanol with petrol as allowed in the specifications of Bureau of Indian Standards for petrol. Government had launched three pilot projects; two in Maharashtra and one in Uttar Pradesh during April and June 2001 and these pilot projects have been supplying 5% ethanol-doped-petrol only to the retail outlets under their respective supply areas since than. Apart from the aforesaid field through pilot projects, R & D studies also were undertaken simultaneously. Both pilot projects and R & D studies have been successful and established blending of ethanol up to 5% with petrol and usage of ethanol-doped-petrol in vehicles.

Discussions were held with concerned agencies including the Governments of major sugar producing States. While the Society for Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has confirmed the acceptance for use of 5% ethanol-doped-petrol in vehicles. State Governments of major sugar producing States and the representatives of sugar/distillery industries have confirmed availability / capacity to produce ethanol. Government have set up an Expert Group headed by the Executive Director of the Centre for High Technology for examining various options of blending ethanol with petrol including use of ETBE in refineries. Considering the logistical and financial advantages, this Group has recommended blending of ethanol with petrol at supply locations (terminals / depots) of oil companies. In view of the above, Government have now resolved that with effect from 1-1-2003, 5% ethanol-doped-petrol will be supplied in the following nine States and Four contiguous Union Territories :

States & Union Territories 1. Andhra Pradesh 1. Damman and Diu 2. Goa 2. Dadra and Nagar Haveli 3. Gujrat 3. Chandigarh 4. Haryana 4. Pondicherry 5. Karnataka 6. Maharashtra 7. Punjab 8. Tamilnadu 9. Uttar Pradesh

Is ethanol really renewable ?

James at the Alternate energy blog has an interesting take on the true nature of the ethanol (corn based) economy here.
The key arguments is that there is a significant amount of fossil fuels that go into the production of ethanol and that the operation is not fossil fuel free. Worth a serious read.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

India heading for a major energy crisis

Dr Rajendra K Pachauri, Director-General, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) observes that:

With the international crude oil prices hovering around $ 65 per barrel and the oil import bill set for a jump of over Rs 55,000 crore, to reach over Rs 1,75,000 crore this year, India is heading for a major energy crisis. With a population of around 110 crore, we cannot afford to follow the high-energy consumption pattern of the West that has resulted in an indiscriminate exploitation of fossil fuels and high pollution levels.

Read the rest here.

CIA invests in reneawable energy

The christian science monitor is carrying this article about rapidly deployable poratable green energy generators using solar and wind power.

The US Energy act 2005

The extract below contains the key provisions of the new US energy act. It is progressive and rewards the right things (at least in the brief reading that i have given it). Surprising that this was passed in GB-2's administration :) We need something very similar in India as our current utilization is pathetic and the devices that we use are not constrained to conform to any kind of energy efficiency. Sometimes i think that this is a result of industrial lobbying and an unenlightened consumer class. An act like this will make genuine energy efficient products cheaper than their energy guzzling brethren inspite of having better technology. Something like what the Maruti did to the Ambassador. The government is contrast is withdrawing the subsidies that were granted for household energy generation and moved most of the subsidy support to industrial houses that invest in power farms. What we need is clear legislation that discriminates positively in favour of renewable energy devices. This will mark a return to policies that make sense in this energy hungry world.


The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (USA), includes many tax provisions to aid energy exploration, delivery, and conservation.

Key provisions of the Act include:

* New tax credits for the purchase of hybrid, fuel cell, advanced lean burn diesel and other alternative power vehicles. The size of the credit varies depending on the weight class of the vehicle and the rated fuel economy. The credit applies to vehicles placed in service after 2005, with termination dates varying with the type of alternative power vehicle. Additionally, (current law deduction for certain clean fuel vehicles and refueling property) sunsets after 2005 (instead of after 2006, as under current law).
* New 30% tax credit for the purchase of qualifying residential solar water heating, photovoltaic equipment, and fuel cell property. The maximum credit is $2,000 (for solar equipment) and $500 for each kilowatt of capacity (for fuel cells). The credit applies for property placed in service after 2005 and before 2008.
* New 30% business tax credit for the purchase of fuel cell power plants and a 10% credit for the purchase of stationary microturbine power plants, effective for periods after Dec. 31, 2005 and before Jan. 1, 2008, for property placed in service in tax years ending after Dec. 31, 2005.
* New 10% personal tax credit for energy efficient improvements to existing homes. The lifetime maximum credit per taxpayer is $500 and applies for property placed in service after Dec. 31, 2005 and before Jan. 1, 2008.
* New business tax credit for the construction of new energy efficient homes. The credit is either $2,000 or $1,000 per home, depending on the type of home and the energy reduction standard it meets. The credit applies to homes whose construction is substantially completed after Dec. 31, 2005, and which are purchased after Dec. 31, 2005 and before Jan. 1, 2008.
* New deduction for energy efficient commercial buildings meeting a 50% energy reduction standard. The deduction (generally $1.80 per square foot, but 60¢ per square foot in some cases) is effective for property placed in service after Dec. 31, 2005 and before Jan. 1, 2008.
* New manufacturers' tax credit for energy efficient dishwashers, clothes washers, and refrigerators manufactured in 2006 and 2007.

Middle class :)

I was reading Paul Krugman's syndicated column in the hindu this week, when i ran into an interesting issue. The columnist was (with ref to US auto workers) refering to the auto industry employment pattern and observing that it allowed "industrial workers to enjoy a middle class life style". What is interesting is how " middle class" is defined. If the class is defined by its energy consumption, the western middle class is probably on the apex of the consumption charts. If the rest of the world aspires to the same level of energy consumption, i guess we need 10 more earth's to supply the materials.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Where does IT spending go ?

Where do individual users and corporate spend their IT buck ? From my experiences the following are functional areas where people invest in IT.

1. Personal productivity (letters, documents, spreadsheets etc)
2. Accounting (tally etc)
3. Liesure (DVD rippers et al)

1. Automation
2. Transaction processing.

The rest of the market is blurred and does not bunch up. The key here is that if one were to assign an arbitrary weightage to each function and calculate the cost per function as a ratio of the speed of the processor and memory installed, the optimum point was reached maybe 5 years back. The cost of running tally on modern hardware (P4) vs older hardware (p2) is higher per transaction. Which begs the question as to when some one will create a purpose built system (using say VIA or transmits) that runs off a broadband connection and runs say 3 applications.