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Technologies That Can Help India Address Big Challenges

By SiliconIndia   |   Wednesday, 19 March 2014, 13:55 Hrs   |    3 Comments
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BANGALORE: India is country with a vast pool of untapped potential. However there are many week points that draw the country backward in its race to development. The poor economic conditions coupled with the improper medical systems and living conditions hindered India from dream growth. Unclean water and air, degraded quality of education and high cost of energy resources are also some other factors that needs to be pointed out in this regard. However modern technologies such as internet and others can certainly add a lot in overcoming these hurdles. Networked Healthcare facilities and hybrid farming and the use of renewable resources can minimize the negative impact on the country by leaps and bounds. Read on to know more about the technologies that can be implemented in the country to get over the challenges as compiled by ET.

Revamping Heath Care Sector

The Indian health care sector needs a total revamp as a huge population of the country is still deprived of the basic health facilities. This can be transformed with the use of modern networked healthcare technologies. The internet coupled with machineries that are connected to the web which can monitor the patient’s health conditions real time can help a lot to improvise health sector. This continued overlooking over the patient’s health assures that he is under watch where ever he is. The Networked devices will also alert the hospital and physicians in case if there is any serious problem. India can look forward for a new dawn in the healthcare sector with networked healthcare technique especially in the treatment of chronic diseases.
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Reader's comments(3)
1: Human Resources – Traditional Knowledge and Methods – Great Assets to Developing Countries

Ideas float around in bewildering numbers, and scores of designs, ranging from windmills to the spinning wheel, are available ; papers are circulated stating the wonders of intermediate (not innovative) technology what could be done, why it should be done, what must be done, and how the rural countryside can be changed if intermediate technology is implemented. Experts are called from abroad to tell people this.

In all this talk, there seems to be no place for the ideas generated by farmers, rural artisans. A stand seems to have been taken that this transfer of technology for the socio-economic regeneration of the rural areas is a novelty for country-folk. But rural communities have survived for generations without any help in ideas and materials from outside. They have developed a low-cost technology of their own, suited to their own particular areas. It would be foolish to overlook and take for granted methods used by farmers and artisans. When a ploughshare develops trouble on the field, when a bullock cart breaks down on the road to market, when a house collapses in a storm, the villager uses materials available in the immediate vicinity to solve his problem. It is the scientist who must see these problems as challenges that must be met if there is to be development in rural areas. It is clear that the villagers and scientists will see the problems of the villages quite differently, and it will not always be true that the projects proposed by the scientists will be meaningful to the villages. If projects are imposed on the villagers, they are likely to be skeptical and may well resist rather than co-operate with the programme. Rural Development Schemes, in the broadest sense, requires first a good sociological approach, and as much psychology as scientific knowledge. After all ‘country means people and not soil’.

Problems – People – Solutions

Research, Development and Demonstration projects in developing countries have generated a variety of devices and systems for exploitation – for example, solar cookers, wind battery charges etc. In Innovation theory, this is a classic case of technology push, that is, technical solutions looking for a social application. Technology push innovations might of course be adopted if they happen to satisfy a real demand, or are heavily promoted. Success is much more likely, however if the needs, priorities and demands are studied before attempting to introduce a new technology or system. This is the demand pull approach to innovation.

Often identifying the right problem is difficult rather than finding a possible solution. People are better judges to identify the problems and since they benefit most by the solutions, they can contribute for finding the best solutions.

A novel and innovative scheme is suggested to achieve the above goal.

In developing countries the Government can advertise in the media seeking problems from the people in different disciplines like education, health, energy, industry etc. The problems received can be screened, studied and short-listed by a committee comprising government officials, experts, representatives from N.G.O’s etc. The short-listed problems can be re-advertised seeking solutions from people. The solutions received can be studied in detail and the best solutions given awards. To catch a fish the bait should be attractive enough. As such there should be sizeable incentive so that people can devote their talent and energies for finding solutions. As the saying goes ‘Anything can be done for a Dollar’. In this way the creative potential of the people can be tapped to the full and a thought process will be set in motion in the country. In India a general knowledge programme conducted by a Super Star on TV is a roaring success and children, youth and old-all alike have become addicted to get equipped with general knowledge so that they can try their luck for winning fabulous cash prizes.

The Author has developed Novel solutions and sustainable technologies for the benefits of bottoms billions like Everybody’s Solar Water Heater, Simple Solar Drier, Safe Drinking Water from Solar Disinfection,Energy Conserbvation in Irrigation pumpsets,Hand operated Battery charger,Savoniusorotor with concentrator for Battery Charging, Multiple Uses of Gas Stove,Pedal operated Washing machine etc.,


Innovation, Invention and creativity are the pillars of progress of any Society / Nation. The greater the participation of people in the developmental activities, the quicker will be the progress. A new approach “Innovative Technology (IT)” deliberately involving people from all walks of life is the need of the hour in identifying the felt needs in the developing countries and finding solutions. Such a technology will contribute to Integrated Development (ID).

Modernise the Traditional – Traditionalise the Modern

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India
Posted by:Anumakonda - 20 Mar, 2014
2: Bringing in Waste Lands under cultivation to generate Biofuel|Biogas and subsequent power generation:

Alvarez from Mexico and Myself have had been championing the cause and use of Agave and Cactus for Biofuel|Biogas and Subsequent power generation.
I am presenting a case for India for growing these care-free plants in millions of hectares of waste lands in view of multiple uses:
Utilising Waste Lands in Andhra Pradesh :

There are thousands of Sq. of Waste lands in Andhra Pradesh.

In this vast area of Andhra Pradesh Why not We grow multiple use plants like Agave,Opuntia which have many uses.

Hitherto Corn and Sugarcane are used in the biofuel production. In the debate on FOOD Vs FUEL, it is necessary to find alternatives.

“Agave has a huge advantage, as it can grow in marginal or desert land, not on arable land,” and therefore would not displace food crops, says Oliver Inderwildi, at the University of Oxford. The majority of ethanol produced in the world is still derived from food crops such as corn and sugarcane. Speculators have argued for years now that using such crops for fuel can drive up the price of food.

Agave, however, can grow on hot dry land with a high-yield and low environmental impact. The researchers proposing the plant’s use have modeled a facility in Jalisco, Mexico, which converts the high sugar content of the plant into ethanol.
The research, published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science, provides the first ever life-cycle analysis of the energy and greenhouse gas balance of producing ethanol with agave. Each megajoule of energy produced from the agave-to-ethanol process resulted in a net emission of 35 grams of carbon dioxide, far below the 85g/MJ estimated for corn ethanol production. Burning gasoline produces roughly 100g/MJ.“The characteristics of the agave suit it well to bioenergy production, but also reveal its potential as a crop that is adaptable to future climate change,” adds University of Oxford plant scientist Andrew Smith. “In a world where arable land and water resources are increasingly scarce, these are key attributes in the food versus fuel argument, which is likely to intensify given the expected large-scale growth in biofuel production.”

Agave already appeared to be an interesting bio ethanol source due to its high sugar content and its swift growth. For the first time Researchers at the universities of Oxford and Sydney have now conducted the first life-cycle analysis of the energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of agave-derived ethanol and present their promising results in the journal Energy & Environmental Science.
On both life cycle energy and GHG emissions agave scores at least as well as corn, switchgrass and sugarcane, while reaching a similar ethanol output. The big advantages agave has over the before mentioned plants is that it can grow in dry areas and on poor soil, thus practically eliminating their competition with food crops and drastically decreasing their pressure on water resources.
Plants which use crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM), which include the cacti and Agaves, are of particular interest since they can survive for many months without water and when water is available they use it with an efficiency that can be more than 10 times that of other plants, such as maize, sorghum, miscanthus and switchgrass. CAM species include no major current or potential food crops; they have however for centuries been cultivated for alcoholic beverages and low-lignin fibres.
They may therefore also be ideal for producing biofuels on land unsuited for food production.

In México, there are active research programs and stakeholders investigating Agave spp. as a bioenergy feedstock. The unique physiology of this genus has been exploited historically for the sake of fibers and alcoholic beverages, and there is a wealth of knowledge in the country of México about the life history, genetics, and cultivation of Agave. The State of Jalisco is the denomination of origin of Agave tequilana Weber var. azul, a cultivar primarily used for the production of tequila that has been widely researched to optimize yields. Other cultivars of Agave tequilana are grown throughout México, along with the Agave fourcroydes Lem., or henequen, which is an important source of fiber that has traditionally been used for making ropes. The high sugar content of Agave tequilana may be valuable for liquid fuel production, while the high lignin content of Agave fourcroydes may be valuable for power generation through combustion.

Along with Agave species described above, some other economically important species include A. salmiana, A. angustiana, A. americana, and A. sisalana. Agave sisalana is not produced in México, but has been an important crop in regions of Africa and Australia. Information collected here could thus be relevant to semi-arid regions around the world.

Agave is a CAM Plant. Crassulacean acid metabolism, also known as CAM photosynthesis, is a carbon fixation pathway that evolved in some plants as an adaptation to arid conditions in a plant using full CAM, the stomata in the leaves remains shut during the day to reduce evapotranspiration, but open at night to collect carbon dioxide (CO2). The CO2 is stored as the four-carbon acidmalate, and then used during photosynthesis during the day. The pre-collected CO2 is concentrated around the enzyme RuBisCO, increasing photosynthetic efficiency. Agave and Opuntia are the best CAM Plants.

Agave Competitive Advantages

* Thrives on dry land/marginal land. Most efficient use of soil, water and light
* Massive production. Year-around harvesting
* Very high yields with very low or no inputs
* Very high quality biomass and sugars
* Very low cost of production. Not a commodity, so prices are not volatile
* Very versatile: biofuels, byproducts, chemicals
* World-wide geographical distribution
* Enhanced varieties are ready.

Another care-free growth plant is OPUNTIA.

Biogas from Opuntia

A source of renewable gas and fertilizer

Structure of the proposed process

1st step: Production of Biomass (Opuntia)
2nd step: Process of the Biomass into Biogas through Anaerobic Fermentation
3rd step: Process of the Digested Material into Fertilizer
The potential of Opuntia Biomass for energy production in semi-arid areas
100 to 400 tons of biomass/ha/year
1 ton Opuntia biomass = 50-60 m3 of biogas = 300-360 kWh of gas
30 000 to 140 000 kWh per ha
150 to 400ha necessary for 1MW electrical capacity
High efficiency in water & fertilizer use
Reduced risk for farmers of crop failure due to high drought tolerance. No competition with food crops on arable land as it can grow on degraded land.
Study on renewable biogas energy production from cladodes of Opuntia ficus indica by Elias Jigar, Hameed Sulaiman and Araya Asfaw and Abraham Bairu (ISABB Journal of Food and Agriculture Science Vol. 1(3), pp. 44-48, December 2011) revealed:
Cladodes, which are a plate like section of Opuntia ficus indica, were characterized for their physical properties, total solids (TS) and volatile solides (VS) and they were assessed in five combinations with or without cow dung for their suitability to biogas production in 2.8 L triplicate batch digesters. The highest total biogas yields were obtained from T5 (75% Cow dung: 25% Cladodes combination) as 14.183 L followed by T1 (cow dung alone) as 13.670 L (0 .022 m3/kg) and the lowest was from T2 (Cladodes alone) as 6.176 L. The percentage of methane gas obtained from the experiment for treatments T1, T2, T3 (50% cow dung: 50% cladodes), T4 (25% cow dung: 75% Cladodes) and T5 were 66.33, 53.16, 63.84, 52.1 and 69% respectively. Among all treatments, T5 was found to produce high methane percent of the biogas.
From Biogas, Power generation can be done at local level itself.
Another Option is to utilize Water Hyacinth which has become a menace for Biogas and subsequent power generation. In Indonesia Fine Furniture is made from Water Hyacinth.

Youth Economic Zones(YEZ):
The waste land can be allotted to youth with agricultural background (about 10 acres) on lease and ten such people can form a co-operative. They can grow fast growing care free plants like Agave, Opuntia and Jatropha. Biogas and biofuel can be generated at local level. Biogas power plants from KW size to MW size are available commercially from China. This way unemployment problem can be solved to some extent and the waste land can be brought under use.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India
Posted by:Anumakonda - 20 Mar, 2014
3: Excellent article. Yes. Science and Technology can solve many problems in the country like energy.environment etc.

Here are two case studies for bringing prosperity in Andhra Pradesh through Science & technology Application. The same applies to other states as well.
The salient features of power scenario are as under: POWER SCENARIO OF ANDHRA PRADESH FOR 2007-08
PEAK DEFECIT / SURPLUS - 886 MW (- 8.8 %)

Sector wise break up of energy sales in MU
Public Water works & Sewage pumping 639.58 (1%)
Agriculture 15241.05 (29%)
Public Lighting 1934.87 (4%)
Industrial Power 19839.69 (37%)
Commercial 2736.85 (5%)
Domestic 10678.52 (20%)
Others 2246.77 (4%)
ENERGY SAVING POTENTIAL IN AGRICULTURAL SECTOR The annual electricity sale to agriculture sector is 15.24 BU. The major energy consumption is in the area of energising agricultural pumps. The population of agricultural pumpsets is around 2.60 million, accounting for a connected load of 9850 MW and annual consumption of 14.48 BU. The energy saving potential assessment has been carried out only for agricultural pumpsets, whereas other allied areas have not been considered. The rating- wise population of agricultural pumpsets is as follows:

Population of different sized agricultural pump-sets HP EPDCL SPDCL CPDCL NPDCL Number of Pumps Connected Load (kW) %
3 36531 202539 128322 506213 873605 1955128 19.85
5 80620 304689 721338 287999 1394646 5202030 52.81
7.5 24943 69934 45404 27901 168182 940978 9.55
10 21711 51046 24990 29116 126863 946398 9.61
Over10 21795 39241 10327 15022 86385 805540 8.18
TOTAL 185600 667449 930381 866251 2649681 9850074 100.00
% 7.00 25.19 35.11 32.69 100.00

Based on several studies carried out on agricultural pumpset efficiency, it has been found that the pump efficiency varies from 25-35% due to various factors. By adopting BEE star lebelled agricultural pumpsets, the efficiency can be enhanced upto 50-52%. It is estimated that, by replacement of existing pumps with the BEE star labelled pumps, the achievable saving potential is 30-40% and sectoral saving potential works out to be 4.34 BU per year.
(Source: State-wise Electricity Consumption & conservation Potential in India, For BUREAU OF ENERGY EFFICIENCY (BEE) Ministry of Power, Government of India
Prepared by NATIONAL PRODUCTIVITY COUNCIL (NPC) Energy Management Group )

A Novel Scheme to replace Old and inefficient agricultural pumpsets:
Out of the 2.6 Million Agricultural pumpsets many are old and inefficient. The power tariff for farmers is minimal. Electricity is a high grade energy which is needed in industries,domestic purposes,computers etc. A scheme can be chalked out to replace the inefficient motors by Efficient ones. The cost of a 5 HP Electric motor costs about Rs 20,000 .A subsidy of Rs 15,000 can be provided to replace these inefficient motors.This yields quick results and “Energy conservation is better than energy generation”. Each Kwh saved is each Kwh generated.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India
Posted by:Anumakonda - 20 Mar, 2014