Vijay Anand | The Startup Guy.

Posts Tagged ‘energy

I grew up with a poster in my room saying “The size of your world is as big as your dreams”. It was always there when you woke up to remind you to think beyond the box. It still hangs there in my room at my parents place. It’s the thought that came into my mind when I was browsing through the net, listening to some of the folk’s interpretation of Entrepreneurship.

It seems  to me as if there are a couple of theories floating around these past few weeks.

a) Entrepreneurship is overrated. Entrepreneurship is romanticized, and the often tweeted and retweeted phrase seems to be “My son is without a job, ah! he is an entrepreneur”. Well, That’s probably pushing it far, and yep, perhaps we are breaking the elitism that was once associated with being an “entrepreneur”, but isn’t this what we wanted with all the publicizing that we did and urging one another to chase their dreams? I do see that this could dampen the ones that pride in elitism, but as far as things go, there will always be a gulf between those who can dream, ideate and implement, and those who just wear the badge and do nothing. And really, the more the merrier in this party.

b) There is also this other camp, that seems to think that, Entrepreneurship is too Web 2.0-ised. I can emphatize with this camp.  I dont think entrepreneurship in India is equated with a venture in the web 2.0 world, but most of us derive our first impression from the media that we consume and web 2.0 is essentially Media and new age consumption of those content. You get hit by it in the face over and over again, till you find something interesting. That doesn’t mean that there arent other sort of ventures going on out there. Manufacturing is still one of our strongest sectors and there are plenty of neat things cooking up in that camp. So for those of you freaking out with the thought of drowning in Web 2.0 Gyaan, take heeed, there is a bigger world out there – you just need to step out more.

c) There is a third theory out there that there are a lot of NRIs returning home. And Rajiv Gandhi is rightly quoted that whatever happened a few decades ago was not brain drain, but brain banking. Along with those returning is returning a renewed sense of nationalism, pride, and a whole lot of global interaction practices, that really help us get our quality of work a notch higher to match global capabilities. The complaint is that, along with them comes the baggage to convert the cities of India, into New York and Boston, or London. They do have a point. But sooner or later as these fresh entrepreneurs hit the Registrar of Companies to get their incorporation work done, they will know that things work slightly in a different order in this country.

So, really gentlemen (and ladies), there is not much to fret. You can relax and enjoy the process as our landscape changes before our eyes.

We Really Don’t Dream Big Enough.

What I want to talk about really is not the concerns, but my own concern as to how we aren’t dreaming big Read the rest of this entry »

It’s quite possible that I am just plain simply crazy, but if you bear with me and try to understand how my brain and thought process works, I think there is most certainly an idea here.

Energy is a Pressing Matter and Hot Topic in all Circles, but I think the basis of our problem isnt focused on.

Energy is a Pressing Matter and Hot Topic in all Circles, but I think the basis of our problem isnt focused on.

So I was sitting through a Sustainability Conference in IIT Madras today and there was one talk on Energy Consumption. The talk essentially mentioned how we ascertain energy demands by our peak hours. The problem being we need that at the most, and at times when its not the peak, we have to “shed” the load, and it usually ends up being dumped into the grid, and thanks to our grids not being designed properly, it usually ends up overloading half of rural India. That’s a different story all together.

The hint was in a passing by comment that the problem with energy is that it has to be consumed as and when its produced. There is simply no way to store it. If you want to store it in batteries and such, its simply not viable for large quantities, since its very expensive.

I have no idea what happened for the rest of the talk, apart for when he showed graphs and numbers – which always catches my attention, but he also mentioned that they were not accurate, which made me go “bleh” and back to my thinking process.

The Idea:

So Energy. The basis is that all energy is created from one form or the other. So Lets accept that we cant break this rule and make newton roll over in his grave. Knowing limitations are a plus point.

Lets learn a little bit of inspiration from biology. We take food, we break it down into amino acids, the smallest and easily metabolic form of food, and then the system burns it into energy as per the demands of the body. Compare it with however it is that we create energy, saying that one form of energy – coal or whatever is converted into energy which is converted into electricity which is probably the simplest form of energy.

If you look at biology, the food that is intaken, if the broken down food is more than the “demand” of the system, then the system quickly converts them into FAT and stores them all around the body – which is what provides all those funky love handles that people put so much energy to get rid of. But quite strictly speaking, its just the systems way of saying that we are consuming more than we need, and it is storing it away for a rainy day. The first signs of starvation and thats the storage unit that the system starts feeding off of.

Whats the FAT version of electricity? That’s the question.

Now, I am thinking that there is a possibility here that one cannot go directly from coal into  free flowing electrons. And we are probably missing a middle step that might help us with efficiency.

Secondly, there must be a way to join these electrons to become something that is more passive and with a trigger break them down into simpler free flowing electrons again.

And you know what? If that is possible… you and I would never have to wait for ages for our phones or ipods t get charged. We can technically dump these “FAT” into our devices, and let the device trigger these substance into electrons so that we get a full charge. But the deal is that, just like it doesnt take the body more than a few enzymes to break down FAT back into Amino acids and use them, we have to have these in a form that the devices themselves can transform without elaborate machinery – aka. combustion chambers and engines.

I think it should be possible. These are days when I wish I was a physicist and a chemist put together. But if, and I think it can be, it is possible, then technically we should be able to catch “energy” as and when it happens – from the lightnings, to tornadoes, to cyclones, save up all the energy and use it for when we need it. We can harvest all of the Sunlight hitting the earth and probably setup plants that can fight some of the global warming, and probably use energy in a way that is not as harmful to the planet as our current barbaric ways are.

Alright, If you are not an Indian, this does not in anyway relate to you. So Shoo. 🙂

So there are have been plenty of thoughts, talks and words shared about this N’deal. I am personally glad that we are signing it and we move one step ahead to the league where we are authorized to launch ourselves into a new territory.

There are enough talks that go on in the corridors of IIT and now that the deal in the parliament is all done, it was probably the best time to talk about it. You know, we’ve been through this before. Long time ago we signed a deal with Qualcomm to develop their CDMA technology. They pretty much used our resources, built it and sold it back to us on higher royalty. I think we’ve learnt our lesson the hard way and the folks who are advising the government on this matter are people with relevant experience. Today, thanks to such incidents, we build telecom equipment which is in par with global standards, and also we dont get into such agreements where its not equally set anymore. We needed that stepping stone.

The common reason you hear for this treaty is that we are running short of power. Just who isnt? I think if our current energy consumptions keeping rising, we most certainly will keep depleting resources. But there are plenty of options being explored, including, wind, solar and the such and I absolutely believe that if necessity is the mother of all invention, there is definitely someone with a spark out there who has an idea to solve this issue.

But really, as much as energy is at the core of all this, there are two things which are of absolute importance to this deal. For one, our knowledge in the nuclear space is very limited. If Nuclear energy is permitted, trust me, we could have put a man in mars long time ago. Our space research program would have gone a long away – not as indians, but as citizens of this world, and I think this is a splendid opportunity to look into all that. The leverage that this deal will provide us in terms of raising our knowledge standards – in the same manner that the BPO sector did for us in the IT space, will do phenomenal good for us.

Secondly, there is the core issue. Energy. Energy consumptions are high and resources are running out. But India has the largest resources of Thorium, and thorium requires the residue of Uranium reactors to be made active. Really, think about it. Once Uranium reserves are depleted, and the fossil fuels run out, we are probably going to be the largest reserve of energy. Now that’s a trump card to hold in the future. If energy consumptions are not going down anytime soon – and though as I mentioned alternate energy generations methods are coming up, we will still need reactors to power up industries and residences – we will technically hold the same power and leverage as the middle east has, for years. Add that India rising to the global level and economic power, and I think we will put the US and the Euro to the test.

But all this hinges on one level of detail. Whenever there has been a country with lots of resources, it has always been exploited. We have been there before – and lost all our gold and riches, and the entire continent of Africa went through the same for the gold, and now it will be this. The Only reason the middle eastern countries havent been through that is because of their union and we know what happens when one of them falls out of the fold. And We better get our act together, and eventually for the sake of keeping our borders safe, develop the technology that will guard us.

There has been ofcourse a concern that we possibly don’t have as many nuclear engineers as we should for all this. Well, it was pretty much a similar concern long time ago for the booming IT sector as well, and we managed that, didnt we? We’ll do that once again. The one resource we are in abundant of, is manpower, and that’s quite an asset. We can definitely use that to our advantage.

This is an absolutely positive step for us. And a good one. The only thing, we better start playing our cards carefully, cause every move matters from now on.