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Forbes Column 08: Lighting The Way In India

Posted on Friday, May 2nd 2008

I had concluded a previous Forbes column by saying greed is infectious. My new Forbes column, Lighting The Way In India, highlights an entrepreneur who does not give a damn about greed. You have read his interview, perhaps, here.

This segment is a part in the series : Forbes Column 08


. Connecting With Your Intimate Bot
. The Gap in Google's Defenses
. A Recession-Proof Corner of the Tech Sector
. eBay's Bounce-Back Opportunity
. How To Dig Out Yahoo's Treasures
. The Microsoft-Yahoo! Battle Plan
. What Microsoft Should Do While Yahoo! Dithers
. The Next VMWare
. The Smartest Unknown Indian Entrepreneur
. The Coming Death of Indian Outsourcing
. India - Cash Rich, Product Poor
. How to Save the World's Back Office
. Latin America's eCommerce Leader
. The Next Indo-China War
. The Real VCs of Silicon Valley
. Fund Envy
. Bootstrap Yourself
. The Coming Convergence
. Lighting The Way In India
. Hydro-Alchemy
. How Amazon Could Change Publishing
. A Technological Fix For Education
. How Technology Can Save Retailers
. Mobile Microfinance
. How To Heat Up Solar
. How Chip Toolmakers Can Survive
. Kill The Business Trip
. Water Firm Enlivens IPO Market
. Web-Savvy Authors Reap Fame, Fortune
. Peeking Inside the iPhone
. Bootstrapping, Montana Style
. Entrepreneurs Flock To Online Travel
. Silicon Lazarus
. Carts Ahead Of Horses
. Weapon Of Mass Reconstruction
. Barack Obama' s Finance Lesson
. Stimulus Package For Entrepreneurs
. Building A Smarter Corporation
. Deconstructing The Cloud
. 'SaaS-ing' Back At The Economy
. Web 3.0
. My Adventure With Amazon
. An S.O.S. To Silicon Valley
. OLPC’s Last Billion
. Capitalism Revisited
. Bargains For Private Equity
. President Obama
. Perilous Protectionism
. Healing Health Care
. Stop The Fear Epidemic
. Obama
. 'Edutainment' Needs Entrepreneurs

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I work in the Energy Industry. So I know this stuff!

There is a much vaster indefatigable source of energy than windmills/turbines or solar panels or geothermals … a 30 ft by 30 ft structure can pump 40 MW of power day and NIGHT – DAY AND NIGHT !!!

That is an equivalent of 2 to 3 MILLION GALLONS A DAY of FRESH WATER THAT CAN BE MADE WITH THAT “FREE” ELECTRICITY FROM THE OCEANS if used for that!

No fosil fuels – … No CO2 … and cools the environment by an equivalent amount! Go figure. We could within 5 years stop the glaciers melting away faster than they are being laid! Stop Mountain tops becoming snow less – see Kilimanjaro to start … save VAST Swaths of low lying lands and human habitats being destroyed … Stop the Irreversible breakup of the ARCTIC and Anatarctic regions … imagine the Gangotri Shiva Linga already half its size in one decade where it has stood test of time for THOUSANDS OF YEARS!

FOOD SHORTAGES COMING DOWN LIKE A MILLION TON OF BRICKS ON EVERY SQUARE MILE OF THE WORLD – NEWS-REPORT -PEOPLE EATING CLAY MIXED WITH SOME FLOUR TO HAVE ENOUGH TO EAT TYPE OF SURVIVAL – DUNCE ECONOMICS OF TURNING FOOD INTO FUELS AND FUELS SKYROCKETING IN PRICES IN SPITE OF THAT – CAN WE EAT FUEL NOW?

WE CAN MOVE BACK FROM THE BRINK!!!

This has been shared with Vinod Khoshla an year or two ago after I helped finish the presentation for my colleague … OTHERS HAVE HAD it for longer than that … some Oil & Gas Majors … some EPC companies … they can not take the “gutsy” PUSSY CAT gamble of $100MM when they are CALCULATINGLY pumping FAR FAR vaster sums into R&D and pet projects which are dubious at most!

It is a proven technology and thermodynamics!!! [WITH VARIOUS UNECONOMIC INSTALLATIONS OUT THERE, ALREADY – WE CAN JUST MAKE IT ECONOMIC IN ONE SWEEP] I initiated and SIMULATED while bouncing back and forth these ideas with my friend this particular energy viability back in 1997 and we, the friend who has taken it up on himself promoting it (with my lowkey help in the background – and now I want to take it by the horns myself because of the looming devastation ahead!), and he and I have been at it since then trying to get someone to take a gutsy decision and say “we will support it if it is shown to be viable – meaning paying for an independent Engineering & Construction validation – cost of possible $250K – a cost of a house for some and a garage for some!! The main project for 40MW was costed at about $100MM using all tried and tested vendor equipment , almost all of which we use daily to specify in the Design of Oil & Gas installations. It is SIX (6) times CHEAPER than a COAL FIRED power station of same MWatts. IMAGINE – When the Energy is free … what is the profitability after a few of these are under your belt?! The FIRST Pilot Design alone has a better NPV than a COAL Plant by this SIX TIMES MULTIPLE!!! This would extend the life of fossil resources for a far more value added purpose for a long time – value that will be more profitable than fuel, possibly!

It would just take 100 MM people taking a plunge at this with $1.00 !!! and we could go and show the world!!! That is not $1.00 a day or such!!! That is less than the cost of a BURGER or A CUP OF COFFEE that one could afford to miss in a whole year!

Is this worth it? Is there a soul out there who is gutsy enough to take this on with us?! It would be FAR more exciting than wildcatting for OIL!

Anyway, you can see our work in the North Sea, proves that what we design and ENGINEER for Oil and Gas works, Designs in the Gulf … prooving it works, Offshore Asia … Offshore Brazil …, Offshore Africa … all proves that what we engineer after I SIMULATE it ABSOLUTELY Works ! Same can be done here.

So the $100MM Dollar Question stays looming … but here this is a first step!

After reading this Khoshla might try getting back to my friend’s proposal – but he better also call me too – through you Sramana … I have devastatingly played a MEEK role in this all along! I can not watch the impending starvations and chaos of climate coming to rein in our life time, without doing my Karma … purpose God gives us Life for! A blade of GRASS does not move without His will … and by His will, I hope I am serving His purpose … since I read Sramana’s Lighting The Way that is supposed to be the spark. I should add, this will mean a HUGE NEED for USA Technology & TALENT worldwide – something we still have! This is if WE in the US take the initiative NOW before others who WILL sooner or later learn their way and have technology of their own and move towards it leaving us in the dust – A TOTAL LOSS FOR USA, any way we look at it … ANY IDEAS?! ANYBODY?

Ken Friday, May 2, 2008 at 11:24 PM PT

Curious … how many IITIANS are there in the world today, present. … Can we put a dollar together from each and combine the talents to dissolve the Global Warming, FOOD, FUEL … WARS in tackling together what we are proposing here?

KP Saturday, May 3, 2008 at 12:24 AM PT

That doesn’t have to be done only by the IITians.

Sramana Mitra Saturday, May 3, 2008 at 9:20 AM PT

KP.

I was extremely interested to read about your ideas for this new generation project.

Can you tell me more about it please?

Thank you and look forward to hearing from you via Sramana.

David

David Bristow Saturday, May 3, 2008 at 2:04 PM PT

Ken,

What energy are you taking about? It has to come from somewhere.

Dasher Saturday, May 3, 2008 at 2:08 PM PT

Sorry,

I am back here now.

Sramana, it is absolutely right it doesn’t have to be just IITians, I mention them because I have seen how alumni conscious and in concert they are and they have the culture of communicating in a very brisk and camaraderie manner with all their past, present and future graduates … in concert.

I myself was born in Kenya, did my O’Levels there, A’Levels and Chem Eng degree in Salford, UK, 1977. Since 1977 I have been in the Oil/Gas/Chemicals/Energy Industry. Came to US in 1983, and did some earlier “structured” IT in 1987 and lately did some “unstructured” IT in 1999-2000 augmenting my Chem Eng. My colleague mentioned earlier is from Sri Lanka, so there is no IIT involved anywhere … but I have friends and being to their gatherings is most interesting … so my reasoning is that this “problem” would get the best shot in the world with such diverse talent working in, opinionated, but still trusting concert, parallel and cluster computing fashion, to quickly arrive there where we need to be. There is also the ethos of Karma Yog there which we all have … not just IITians, but it helps.

That said, I do want EVERYONE in the world to jump in – there is space also for Super Computers amongst Parallel/Cluster Computing – hard work also substitutes if they have this burning ambition to bring a rapid solution to our Earth’s problems that are all convergent on and emanating from “Energy” needs.

David, I would be only most glad to tell you more. Can you please email Sramana to convey your contact to me?

Dasher, in short, it is extracted from the thermal gradients in the oceans. One just CAN NOT IMAGINE the amount of energy therein. There is a whole torrent of solar energy coming in and going out from the Earth and there are vast areas where one can pinpoint its effects to locate the optimum points and extract it as Electricity – almost all along the Tropical Belt. Here is where all the cumulative technology design experience I have mentioned comes in its own!

Thanks,

Ken

KP Saturday, May 3, 2008 at 9:07 PM PT

Sramana,

Thanks for the forum.

There isn’t another one like it anywhere.

Regards,

KP!

KP Saturday, May 3, 2008 at 9:15 PM PT

I look forward to someone suggesting something concrete or an initiative for a private fund raising for equity intiative to build one Pilot project.

Money can go into escrow with independent control by Price Waterhouse or such …

There are no other fast track fast world impact alternatives that can beat this or affect Global Climate in time to reduce the impact of catastrophic food shortage hitting the world (food turned into fuel and dollars) – millions will die this year from famines and economic starvations … more the next ! … the Worldwide Fuel nooze is being tightened on the sanity of the world … Global warming is threatening civilization itself! Dramatic? Yes … but the proof is in the pudding already, today!

So, where have all inspired people gone?

If there is any doubt, the project would get validated and performance guaranteed by any contracted EPC company that designs and builds such facilities from conceptual and feasibility studies … a norm in Oil and Gas … for a fee for the engineering design.

Thanks,

KP

KP Tuesday, May 6, 2008 at 1:46 AM PT