Posts tagged ‘Ottawa’

13/12/2016

Can jet engines clean up Delhi’s foul air? – BBC News

Sometime next year, if all goes well, a retired jet engine will be mounted on a flatbed trailer and taken to a coal-fired power plant in Delhi.

With the exhaust nozzle pointed at the sky, the engine will be placed near the smokestack and turned on.

As the engine roars to life, it will generate a nozzle speed of 400 metres per second (1,440km/h; 900mph), which is more or less the speed of sound.

The exhaust will create powerful updrafts that will, to put it simply, blast the emissions from the plant to higher altitudes, above a meteorological phenomenon called temperature inversion, where a layer of cold air is held in place by a warmer “lid” trapping smog.

The jet exhaust will act as a “virtual chimney”, drawing in and transporting the smog, which makes Delhi’s air some of the most toxic in the world. A single jet engine can deal with emissions from a 1,000 megawatt power plant.

Temperature inversion

Can Delhi ever clean up its foul air?

So can jet engines help clean up Delhi’s foul air? A team of researchers from the US, India and Singapore believes so.

“This could lead to a successful implementation of a new technology for smog mitigation all over the world,” the lead researcher, Moshe Alamaro, an aeronautical engineer and atmospheric scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, tells me.

“The programme could use retired and commercial engines and has the possibility of adding value to numerous retired propulsion systems available.”

Delhi is an ideal candidate for this experiment. The widespread use of festival fireworks, the burning of rubbish by the city’s poor, plus farm waste from around the city, vehicular emissions and construction dust, all contribute to the city’s thick “pea-soup” fogs.

The jet engines will be mounted on a flatbed trailer

Things get worse in winter: last month, schools were shut, construction and demolition work suspended, people wore face masks and were asked to work from home.

The move came after levels of PM2.5 – tiny particles that can affect the lungs – soared to over 90 times the level considered safe by the World Health Organization and 15 times the federal government’s norms.

Carrying out the jet engine experiment outside a coal-fired electricity plant makes sense as coal accounts for more than 60% of India’s power generation. In two years, the country could surpass China as the biggest importer of thermal coal.

Coal-fired energy may be linked to more than 100,000 premature deaths and millions of cases of asthma and respiratory ailments. Also, emissions from a 1,000-megawatt coal-fired plant are equivalent to emissions from roughly 500,000 cars.

Scientists say that jet engines were used in the Soviet Union 45 years ago to enhance rainfall.

“They achieved some success,” says Dr Alamaro. “As far as I know nobody tried using jet engines for smog mitigation.”

Noise concerns

Farmers have also rented helicopters to hover over their fields to “agitate and disrupt the inversions” to protect their crops.

Next month, Dr Alamaro will join some of India’s top scientists and collaborators from government agencies at a workshop to plan the experiment.

There are concerns: noise from the jet engine, for example.”In the beginning,” he says, “the jet engine will be tested in remote location and not necessarily near a power plant, to observe the jet properties and for optimisation.”

The scientists say that fears about emissions from jet engines fouling the air are unfounded as their emissions “are much cleaner than that of the power plant per unit of power”.

There are reportedly offers of retired jet engines from air forces in India and the US for the experiment.

Scientists are talking to Tata Group, a private power producer, to use one of their plants for a site for the experiment.

Before the test, meteorological data on the area, along with information on frequency of smog will be essential. Drones will be used before and after the experiment.

Coal-powered thermal power plants meet most of India’s energy needs

Critics of the planned experiment doubt whether the jet exhausts will be powerful enough to create a virtual chimney and blow out the smog, and question whether expensive jet engines can be used on a large scale to control air pollution in a vast city such as Delhi.

But Dr Alamaro is optimistic.

“Each new technology should start with the least resistant path for success,” he says.”The concentration of emission from coal is very high near the power plant.”

So a jet engine that elevates this emission is more effective near the power plant than somewhere else in the city that is plagued by smog.

“That said, we also plan to try to elevate the less concentrated smog in and around the city by jet systems.”

For example, the jet system can be placed near highways where vehicle emission is high, so the jet is more effective than somewhere else in the city.

If successful, Dr Alamaro says, this method can be used “anywhere and anytime, away from a power plant and during normal atmospheric conditions” to control air pollution.

Fairly soon, we may know if jet engines can really help to clean Delhi’s foul air.

Source: Can jet engines clean up Delhi’s foul air? – BBC News

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19/04/2015

Entrepreneurship in India: Ready, steady, go | The Economist

IN 2013, when foreign capital suddenly rushed out of emerging markets, India was one of the worst-affected countries. There were plenty of reasons for investors to panic. GDP growth had slumped. The public finances were a mess. And inflation was hovering around 10%. A year earlier a power cut had plunged hundreds of millions of Indians into darkness.

It is a testament to the country’s enduring promise that within a year investors were once again scrambling for a stake in its future—this time tempted by the pro-growth promises of Narendra Modi, who won a resounding victory in elections last May. India’s population rivals China’s in size, but has a far younger complexion. That India is so much poorer in most other regards seems only to add to its allure. Those who missed out on China’s boom might still catch the wave in India.

“Restart” by Mihir Sharma, a columnist for the Delhi-based Business Standard, is a reliable and readable guide to India’s stop-start economy. It is admirably clear on what has to change if India is to taste the high living standards enjoyed in other parts of Asia. Each year 13m Indians join the workforce. Jobs must be found for them. But the giant factories that hummed with baby-boomers in other places are scarce in India, because it is so difficult to do business there.

Mr Sharma applies regular doses of rueful humour as he explains why some of the toughest job-protection laws in the world have ensured that there are few decent jobs in India. The jokes are a necessary feature in a book that contains as many unpalatable truths as this one. They are also a mask for the author’s anger at India’s poverty, at the nation’s failure to match the development of its Asian neighbours and at the self-delusion of its policymakers. “It’s almost as if we genuinely believe all the lies about ourselves we tell foreign investors,” he writes.

Mr Sharma is at his funniest (or angriest) when listing the ludicrous regulations that business must adhere to. Complying with them all is impossible, so officials routinely extort bribes for breaches. Businesses are required, among many other things, to keep an abstract of the 1948 Factories Act to hand. Pass it to a visiting labour inspector, allow him a moment to reflect and “he will find a violation”, notes Mr Sharma. The wisecrack has a painful sting. To avoid a shakedown, businesses stay tiny and inefficient. And India remains poor and woefully short of decent jobs.

Where did India go wrong? Mr Sharma picks the leftward lurch in 1969—when Indira Gandhi nationalised banks to outflank opponents in her own party—as a moment when things shifted. Manmohan Singh’s famed budget of July 1991 was badly flawed because the reforms it contained were incomplete. Mr Singh opened up goods markets to competition but did nothing to free markets for land, labour and capital. A ban on selling farmland to industry remains; labour inspectors can still prey on factory owners; and without a bankruptcy law, capital stays trapped in dying firms. New factories could not readily spring up to compete with imports, and manufacturing has been in relative decline since the mid-1990s.

Mr Sharma thinks factories can still be India’s salvation. But manufacturing-led growth has become harder to pull off. Modern factories use more machinery and less labour than in the past. While India was making half-hearted reforms, China was securing its position in global supply chains. It is now tougher for aspiring nations such as India to break in. It is perhaps for this reason that others look for hope in India’s vibrant services sector. Hindol Sengupta is one such author. His “Recasting India” is a paean to the commercial flair of millions of hawkers and small shopkeepers plying for trade in India. Yet the small-scale service enterprises celebrated by Mr Sengupta are a developmental dead end. They are a sign of economic weakness and not vitality, as Mr Sharma rightly argues. Small traders seem less impressive in other countries only because the best entrepreneurs have been able to grow bigger.

via Entrepreneurship in India: Ready, steady, go | The Economist.

16/04/2015

The Statesman: Roadmap for India-Canada free trade pact by Sept: Modi

India and Canada on Wednesday expressed commitment to have a free trade pact, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying a roadmap will be laid for the market opening agreement by September.

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Modi said the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) will also be concluded soon.

“I am confident that we can conclude the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement very soon.

“We will also implement the roadmap to conclude the Comprehensive Economic Co-operation Agreement by September 2015,” he said at a joint press conference with his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper.

He said Canada has the potential to partner India’s economic transformation and “it exists in a new environment in India which is open, predictable, stable and easy to do business in”.

Prime Minister Harper and I are absolutely committed to establishing a new framework for economic partnership. I am pleased that we have made rapid progress on long-pending agreements,” Modi said.

On the free trade pact, Harper said there are many issues in this to be resolved, but “we are committed to see it through”.

Harper further said there was no reason why Canada should not have a free trade pact with India which “is a vibrant democracy. Nothing precludes that”.

The Canadian Prime Minister said while the trade between the two countries has increased, “it is still not as much as it should be”.

He expressed confidence that nuclear agreement signed today with India will raise the bilateral trade volume further.

The bilateral trade increased to USD 5.18 billion in 2013-14 from USD 4.83 billion in previous year.

via The Statesman: Roadmap for India-Canada free trade pact by Sept: Modi.

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