Ray of Light

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Over 55 per cent of India’s energy needs are supplied by burning coal, a polluting fossil fuel. As our energy needs increase with our developing economy, we need to look for safer, cleaner and more economical ways of producing energy. As Sir George Porter said, “I have no doubt that we will be successful in harnessing the sun’s energy… If sunbeams were weapons of war, we would have had solar energy centuries ago.” For a densely populated, sunny country such as ours, harnessing the power of the sun is ideal.

SOLAR BIKE
This Solar Bajaj is a converted Bajaj Kawasaki KB 100cc motorcycle. The engine has been replaced with an Etec Lynch motor and Brusa controller. It is not powered by petrol but by two 85 ampere-hour lithium-ion batteries. Used daily, it is recharged from a portable solar bike shed that keeps the bike cool whilst charging. This bike has covered over 1,000 miles with the sun as the sole power. You can build your own electronic bike or scooter as Ayub Khan Pathan and nephew Imran Khan Pathan did earlier this year in Mumbai. Their solar powered scooter cost Rs.27,000 to build and can cover a distance of approximately 60 km with a single full charge.

TABLET COMPUTERS
The i-slate is a cheap, solar-powered computer tablet that has been designed by a partnership between Rice University from the US, the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) from Singapore and an Indian NGO, the Villages for Development and Learning Foundation (ViDAL). This tablet is powered through solar panel chips that are similar to those in handheld calculators. It should be affordable enough for children in rural areas to use. The tablet has gone through two rounds of tests with millions of schoolchildren in India already. It is powered by a new class of superefficient green microchips. Rajeswari Pingali, ViDAL president, said, “The i-slate can help bring the marvels of technology into thousands of rural schools and contribute to an improved learning experience.”

AIR CONDITIONERS
Keep cool and keep the earth cool with solar air conditioners. These novel air-conditioners by Arka do away with compressors altogether and, moreover, they are entirely free of harmful, ozonedepleting CFCs. They are based entirely on the use of solar panels, and therefore, do away with those expensive electricity bills! Free energy has never been quite so good. An added benefit is that you can get hot and cold water through heat exchangers. These are available in industrial applications at the moment, but there will be a household product releasing soon. We can hardly wait! Watch out for this cool gadget on www.arkatechnologies.in

Volume 1 Issue 3

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