My car, my home and I

My car, my home and I
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First Published: Mon, Mar 24 2008. 12 58 AM IST
Updated: Mon, Mar 24 2008. 12 58 AM IST
Number 54, a house with a bamboo door/bamboo roof and bamboo walls/it’s even got a bamboo floor. No, I’m not over-obsessed by this botanical wonder, offering limitless possibilities. But this popular song of yesteryears annoys me, since it means precious bamboo shoots are getting depleted speedily through increasing usage. Being a green campaigner, I like to visualize my home, car and myself, all as energy-efficient. Imagine the benefits to be reaped from the sun, wind, water—in fact, all matter on our planet—unleashing energy endlessly. I would love a home powered by sun or wind, one that uses water optimally with water harvesting and recycling techniques. Solar and wind energy, being non-carbon dioxide (CO2) emitting and recyclable, will keep our atmosphere clean and green.
I would love to own a green car, such as the Lifecar, the zero-emission sports car powered by hydrogen, which only produces heat and water vapour as its by-product —this car was unveiled at the recently held Geneva Motor Show.
Reports say it is based on Morgan Aero 8—it has no gear box and there is very little noise and no emissions. It has four electric motor generators connected to each driving wheel, and is equipped with ultracapacitors offering 1,000 amperes of energy storage. What renders it super energy efficient are its fuel cells, which generate 22kW of power, and it operates by electro-chemically combining on board hydrogen with oxygen taken from the air outside. The icing on the cake is the car’s regenerative braking system, which enables it to recapture kinetic energy stored in the ultracapacitors and reuse during acceleration. Its full tank of hydrogen offers a range of 400km and the car can attain a top speed of 145km per hour. Even the most imaginative science fiction writer might barely conceptualize a wonder machine of this kind. Even thinking green, my adrenalin rushes; driving the car will only match its speed.
I would also be green when I don light-weight informal clothing (in comparison with layers of formal attire including embellishments such as ties). Strange enough, the virtues of the above practice have been extolled by an Englishman, Adair Turner, who rightly believes that such clothes can help cut CO2 emissions since they will facilitate switching off air conditioners and conserving power. He desires that emissions be cut by 60%, and possibly as much as 90% by 2050. His views are laudable—after all aren’t Englishmen the ones who insist on a dinner jacket for a formal dinner party? My passion for green also drives me to wish that path-breaking scientist Craig Ventor and his ilk (with their efforts in biotechnology) are able to develop commercially viable alternatives to fossil fuels.
New Delhi’s chief minister Sheila Dixit has also asked Delhiites, through advertisements, to conserve power, not to set aflame disposable dry leaves, segregate domestic waste before disposal, and a host of other dos and don’ts to conserve energy and arrest increases in pollution. All this gives an idea of what an individual can contribute towards a greener environment.
And what can the the state do? Plenty. California, the most populous state in the US, is a good example. Thanks to its “all for green” action-oriented governor. According to Next 10’s California Green Innovative Index, California patents account for 44% of all US patents in solar technologies and 37% of all US patents in wind technologies. Additionally, since 1990, the green business establishments in the state have grown by 84% and employment has doubled. California has also introduced laws and policies to create sustainable demand for green products. Being in the forefront of the booming green tech industry is a priority there.
India and its states, with their vast pool of scientists and institutes of technical excellence, notably IITs, can, and should, emulate California. No effort towards a green environment can be too painful when we see the benefits it offers.
V.B.N. Ram retired as a senior executive?in?the?corporate?sector.?Comment at yourviews@livemint.com
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First Published: Mon, Mar 24 2008. 12 58 AM IST