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The Weaker Side of a Stronger Rupee Monday, Feb 4 2008
For a developed world Wednesday, Apr 25 2007
In one of my earlier blogs, I had mentioned that India alone needs one and a half times the energy currently consumed by entire world, if India were to be a nation as developed as USA.
The living standards of a developed nation like USA is completely dependent on the availability of energy for all the necessities and luxuries that a developed society offers.
Now how on earth can we get such a huge amount of energy ? Already we are running out of resources like petroleum, nuclear options are dangerous and also very soon we will run out of nuclear fuels, nuclear materials are controlled by a few countries of the world, if we dont create fast breeder reactors using thorium then we have little nuclear fuel left, what about pollution? nuclear wastes?
For the whole world to live like a developed nation the amount of energy required is about 8 times the energy that the world produces currently. But how?
Only feasible non polluting long term solution seems to be our true energy provider, SUN
To harness energy from Sun, we need to install solar panels, but how on earth?
Problem #1 is Land for solar panels: Dedicated land for solar panels is not feasible. There might be cloudy days. Land will be wasted and not available for other purpose.
Problem #2 is Storage: Suppose we distribute solar panels across the globe. On top of all buildings, vehicles and what not. We cant touch the forests though. Now how do we collect the power generated from all these places and store ? It will become a infrastructure problem. Again not really feasible. Say suppose we want to store power enough for the entire world for next 6 months.
Problem #3 Weather: All days are not sunny days. There are cloudy days, there are rainy days, and there are days which are not either and still not sunny.
Problem #4, Night: Only half of earth will be working at a time. Part of earth on the night side cannot harness solar energy.
More than anything else, when the entire world becomes a developed society, power requirements will be so dynamic and high that most of the stored power will be consumed almost immediately, and we cannot afford more storage space too as world population increases. Also we dont want to risk lives by having massive power storage grids.
Then the solution ? I always love to look at outer space There lies the solution
Millions of solar panels and power storage units floating in outer space. . Solar energy is captured from the sun to generate power and the power is transmitted to local storage units spread all over the earth on demand in the form of direct contact lightning strikes to ground based storage units for immediate consumption. Of course normal clouds on earth which cause lightening are at a quite lower altitude on earth compared to sending electricity from space, so we need to have intermediary receivers at different levels. Probably we may have a local backup of few days for the entire planet in case the space infrastructure fails.
Fault tolerance is required for these space based solar panels. There will be constant wear and tear. Meteorites might break down the panels and grids. Asteroids might hit. Comets might interfere. So we need to have propulsion based computer guided systems in all these free floating power generators in space which move around in a flexible manner in response to projectile threats in the space.
There should be on site robots which constantly repair all those worn and torn panels and grids. All the storage will be in space and energy as required is pumped down to earth. No wastage of space as long as we rely on outer space. In fact in the future we can move out all the manufacturing industries and factories to outer space. Use locally available resources as much as possible in outer space like solar energy, hydrogen, mineral ores from asteroids, etc and have the entire setup run by robots.
Well we might have the contemporary science fiction movies then which would have a plot where aliens try to steal power from our grids ! or say they install their own robots in our space based power generation units to take over the entire system !
Also since power is available in space, our future interplanetary, interstellar or intergalactic missions which take off from earth need not carry the complete power payload from earth itself, instead they can carry the bear minimum energy required for a take off to get out of earth’s gravity and then recharge themselves later with enough power at these space based power grids OR we can have all take offs for space travel from the space stations built somewhere near these power grids!
We can even have these solar panels and power grids at all the planets in our solar system and on prominent asteroids for consumptions by human/robotic missions which arrive to these places.
These were my thoughts that started with a requirement for a reliable energy resource for a developed world and later increased to scope to include space based factories, industries, space travel…….
Always use the word ‘impossible’ with great caution
Is India Iran Gas Pipeline Feasible? Sunday, Jan 8 2006
India’s energy needs are running high. We are one of the fastest developing economies in the world and we need more and more energy to sustain our growth.
India currently imports 70% of its 105 million ton crude oil requirement every year..
Currently has a reserve of 7.5 million ton which can serve the country’s needs for about 20 days.. Today the cabinet also approved building of 5 million ton strategic oil reserves which can supply oil during short term disruptions in supply.. by the way, India is the first country in south asia to build oil reserves for strategic purposes..
Why do we need oil reserves?? well, bcos we import most of our crude oil (over 70%) and are becoming increasingly dependent on our suppliers.. so reserves are a short term plan to get around disruption in supplies…
Do we have any long term plan? Yes, the previous NDA government has initiated a gas pipeline from Iran via pakistan to India. This would provide a good supply for our enerrgy requirements.. but is it strategically a reliable option??
Look at what Russia did to ukraine recently… a Putin rival came to power in Ukraine and Russia increased the prices of gas it supplied to ukraine four times!! When Ukraine didnt agree it cut off the supply.. this also affected European countries which depended on gas pressure from Russian side for their supplies..
Cant it happen to India if we go ahead with this pipeline?? Cant pakistan stop gas supply to Indian at will whenever it wants.. even if the pakistani government did not do so, cant the terrorist outfits in pak do that? and as usual pakistan will say that they are not under the government control…
what if a tension comes between Iran and Pakistan?? or what if pakistan starts stealing gas from this pipeline?? these are all practical issues that need to be addressed.. India is becoming increasingly dependent on gulf for its energy needs…
the other day India voted against Iran on the nuclear issue.. can it continue to do that once the gas pipeline becomes operative??
Americans are targetting Iran as one of the rogue states.. What if America collides with Iran and that affects our gas supply??
To summarize India needs to carefully chalk out its long term energy supplies… with minimum dependencies on external factors…
YOUNG INDIAN FACTThe Indian city of Varanasi, also known as Benares, is the oldest, continuously inhabited city in the world today.
YOUNG INDIAN QUOTE“Many of the advances in the sciences that we consider today to have been made in Europe were in fact made in India centuries ago.”- Grant Duff, British Historian
American living standards for India Tuesday, Jan 3 2006
What does it mean when we want India to become a developed country? We want the living standards of all Indians to be equivalent (at least) to that of other developed nations. Let us consider USA as a standard to improvise the living standards of Indians. When I say considering USA as a standard, I mean elevating the living standards of Indians to that of american standard.
The measure of living standard of a society is its energy consumption. The more energy available to consume the higher will be the living standards. For instance, if there is not enough electricity available even to light a bulb every night, then what is the use of having ceiling fans or televisions in the house? But if adequate energy is available then we can even go for luxuries like air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, etc.
Hence to elevate the living standards of Indians we need adequate supply of energy. Now since we have taken America as our standard for living, let us see what the equation turns out to be.
United States of America consumes half of the world’s energy resources. Population of this country is 1/16 of world population.
Population of India is 1/6 of world population. By simple mathematics we can see that if all Indians have to live the standards of Americans then India alone needs nearly one and a half times the energy consumed by the whole world today!!!
Looking at the practicality of the problem, how do you think we can generate so much of energy at affordable rates and without causing any pollution. (We better forget any polluting energy sources rather than become a developed country as otherwise it simply means accelerating the deterioration of the environment finally making life uninhabitable on this planet).
Also note the practical time schedule required to develop technology that can develop this amount of energy along side considering the population increase in India during that period.
Note that in this blog I have concentrated only on production of adequate energy. But what is also required to improve the living standards of our people is to make the energy affordable. If you make practically infinite petrol resources available but increase the price of petrol to 500 Rupees, I don’t think there will be any buyers.
YOUNG INDIAN FACTThe world’s first known University was established in Takshashila, India in 700BC. Here more than 10,500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects
YOUNG INDIAN QUOTE“We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.”- Albert Einstein