NEW DELHI, INDIA: “Green transportation means a lot of things to a lot of people,” pointed out Prasanto Kumar Roy, President and Editor in Chief, ICT Publications, as he moderated the discussion on Green Transportation in the EmTech India 2009 conference being held here.
Picking on his statement, his fellow panelists – Ravi Pandit, Chairman and Group CEO, KPIT Cummins Infosystems, Dr. Shrikumar Suryanayaran, DG, Association of Biotechnology Led enterprises, and Dr. Arvind Lali, Professor of Chemical Engineering, Institute of Chemical technology – shared what green transportation meant to each one of them. This propelled the discussion into varied topics like the economies of clean technology and its challenges.
The consensus at the end of the very stimulating discussion was that while Bio-Fuel and alternative energy engines were still far from being a reality, they are all set to get big in the coming years.
Any new technology comes with a lot of initial glitches, and Green Transportation is not a new technology alone, it is a whole new way of life.
The panelists see the future as bright but not without major challenges. According to Ravi, a holistic outlook is a must for this issue. “We don’t have to look only at the exterior level, but have to take the total CO2 emissions into account,” he said.
There were also discussions around the Electric and Hybrid models in regards to which India is still considered to be at the beginning of the road.
As far as bio-diesel is concerned the point of conflict between land usage for fuel and crops elicited much excitement amongst the audience and Srikumar generated a great deal of interest (and questions) when he talked about Micro-Algae, which is grown on the water surface as being a very advantageous option.
The nitty-gritty’s of all these concepts were implored by our much inquisitive moderator and finally we landed on the much debated question - the economies of alternative fuel vehicles.
While cars like Reva (the only electric car in India) are backed by huge subsidies, the Honda Civic Hybrid picked up only after its prices were slashed down. So are alternative engines still not capable of sustaining themselves?
The answer is a clear NO. That brings us to the cause of all ills - Infrastructure constraints. Fossils are widely adaptable because the basic infrastructure for them is in place, while we still haven’t worked out the path towards a greener transport.
In the end, the panelists’ vision for 2020 included lighter batteries that consume lesser fuel, a combination of various technologies and, of course, a lot of interest in this area.
Needless to say there are a lot of supply issues and a lot depends on policy measures.
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