The electricity sector in India had an installed capacity of 225.13GW as of May 2013 and Non Renewable Power Plants constitute 87.55% of the installed capacity. (source) It is another matter that out of the installed capacity, only 151.25GW was available capacity on 22 July 2013 (latest report found here). In terms of fuel, coal-fired plants account for 57% of India's installed electricity capacity. There are severe health effects caused by burning coal. According to the reports issued by the World Health Organization in 2008 and by environmental groups in 2004, coal particulates pollution are estimated to shorten approximately 1,000,000 lives annually worldwide, including nearly 24,000 lives a year in the United States (source). Coal mining generates significant additional independent adverse environmental health impacts, among them the polluted water flowing from mountaintop removal mining.
India's telecommunication network is the second largest in the world based on the total number of mobile phone users with a whopping number of 867,800,000 mobile phones as on 20 April 2013 (source) The tele-density in India is figured at around 73%. The Industry has grown over twenty times in just ten years and at this rate it is unimaginable to which number we are heading to in a few years from now.
Given these numbers handy, the unreliable state of electricity in India rural areas and remembering the largest power outage in history, occurring as two separate events on 30 and 31 July 2012 - the July 2012 India blackout affecting over 620 billion people; I think it is only fair, if not urgent, to think of options as one described by Joao Paulo featured in the Idea Caravan brought by Franklin Templeton Investments partnered with the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012.
if the video does not work, please use the link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69pQw6jmBsQ)
The Concept -AIRE is a mask that converts wind energy (provided by the wearers breath) into electricity for the recharging of small electronic devices.It is an electronic mask capable of converting the wind energy provided by the wearers breath into electrical energy. Inside the unit there are small wind turbines that make the conversion and the energy is transferred through a cable to ones small electronic device. AIRE can be used in any situation, indoors or outdoors. It can be used while you sleep, walk, run, or read a book, for example. Besides saving energy (and contributing to environmental preservation), it also encourages the practice of physical exercise. Its energy is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Being from India, I would like to analyze its impacts on India as a nation. India as a country has been facing energy crisis for long now. At stake is India's ability to bring electricity to 400 million rural residents—a third of the population—as well as keep the lights on at corporate office towers and provide enough fuel for 1.5 million new vehicles added to the roads each month.The above quotes numbers show that India has been highly relying on the non renewable natural resources for generating power. With the weak economy that is already tightening its grip, India is going forward as a big consumer state and that is surely reflecting in her energy usage as well predicting requirement to import increasing amounts of high-cost fossil fuels, say energy experts, risking inflation and putting the country in stepped-up competition with China, Japan and South Korea.
It is not new to hear about extensive works done on using renewable sources of energy. The industry is wide and the investment in researches are high. When we talk about innovation, one name we possibly cannot miss is IBM with their smarter planet initiatives. As Andrea Pedretti, CTO-Airlight Energy, puts it - It would take only two percent of the Sahara Desert’s land area to supply the world’s electricity needs. Unfortunately, current solar technologies are too expensive and slow to produce, require rare Earth minerals and lack the efficiency to make such massive installations practical. To address this, scientists at Airlight Energy have teamed up with IBM and Swiss university partners to develop an affordable photovoltaic system that is capable of concentrating, on average, the power of 2,000 suns, onto hundreds of 1×1 cm chips. The new prototypes are expected to be build at Airlight in Biasca and at the IBM lab in Rüschlikon, Switzerland by Earth Day 2014. This is one project I really wish they succeed on!
Comparing with these innovative ideas worldwide, what makes the Joao different is the ease of use of his ideas! For a common man like you and me, innovation at the scale of what IBM and Airlight talks about is something we could wish good luck to and pray that it happen soon. On the other hand, projects that men like Joao suggests gives us an opportunity to be part of the initiatives and give our share back to mother earth. The AIRE concept catches our glimpse at this very point of trying to be self sufficient and using renewable resources at every walk of life, where ever possible. Among 3,550 candidates from 54 countries, AIRE has received the ‘’Red Dot Design Award: best of the best 2011."