Thursday, February 21, 2013

Did we tap enough wind power?

Today, someone shared with me the latest market statistics of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). It shows continued expansion of the wind energy market. In 2012, wind energy capacity globally reached 282,000 MW (i.e. 19% growth). But, the GWEC does not talk about the intensity of geospatial tech uptake in harnessing full potential of wind power.  

Nevertheless, India’s cumulative wind capacity is now 18,421 MW, which was 16,084 MW in 2011 (i.e. 14.5% growth). Some of the highlights of the global annual market update include: 
- Mexico has almost doubled its installed capacity, installing 801 MW for a total of 1,370 MW joining the list of countries (now 24) with more than 1,000 MW of wind power capacity.
- European markets, led by Germany and the UK, with surprising contributions from ‘emerging markets’ in Sweden, Romania, Italy and Poland, accounted for 12.4 GW last year, a new record.
- Both the Chinese and Indian markets slowed in 2012, but their annual installations still touched 13.2 and 2.3 GW respectively.
- Brazil led the Latin America market with 1,077 MW, to bring its total installed capacity to just over 2,500 MW, and Australia accounted for all of the new installations in the Pacific region, with 358 MW of new capacity in 2012 for a cumulative total of 2,584 MW.   

This GWEC statistics reminded me an exclusive interview with the first Dutchman in space and a former astronaut of the European Space Agency, Dr Wubbo J Ockels, published in Geospatial World - November 2012, wherein Dr Ockels stated that the use of fossil fuels should be stopped immediately because it harms the environment. In case of nuclear power, he observed that one can't calculate the consequences of nuclear waste because nuclear energy has unknown cost and one cannot compare it with anything that has a known cost.

Dr Ockels opined, "We have to develop a society free of waste. The best way to do this is to pay only for services while the ownership remains with the resources. This is where geospatial technology is extremely essential as it can help us to know the exact location of a resource so we can effectively harness it." 

Dr Ockels is currently involved in the production of energy from a ‘laddermill’ — a windmill consisting of a “ladder” of kites. From his aforementioned words, I understand that ‘windmill’ is one of the energy sources, which helps make society free of waste, and hence he preferred to associate himself with it. In addition, I learnt that geospatial is going to play a turnkey role in the expansion of wind energy market. A recent market report by Pike Research  boosted my belief. The report observed that the energy sector is now more reliant on geospatial technology. Nearly 27,000 off-grid remote sensing power systems using renewable or alternative energy would be deployed annually by 2020. The report further stated that remote sensing systems, including light detection and ranging (LiDAR) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems for the oil and gas industry, as well as remote monitoring using telemetry for environmental applications, represent a growing market for off-grid power. 

I researched more and tried to understand how good is geospatial tech uptake amongst wind energy producers/stakeholders. And, I came across a news that Second Wind, a developer/manufacturer of remote sensing equipment for the wind energy industry, and Pentalum Technologies, the developers of a new generation of cost-effective LiDAR wind measurement systems, forged a partnership in January 2013 to promote the use of remote sensing for the wind energy industry. Second Wind will work with Pentalum Technologies to sell and support the Pentalum SpiDAR wind measurement LiDAR system. 

In the wake of positive wind energy market report, DNV KEMA Energy & Sustainability, a global authority in business and technical consultancy along the energy value-chain, also came up with a common framework for the wind industry for discussing both energy losses and uncertainties around energy assessments.  

According to the framework, a typical wind resource and energy yield assessment derives gross generation from a site’s wind speed frequency distribution and a turbine’s power curve. Technical loss factors are then applied to derive expected net energy generation. Example loss factors include equipment availability, wake losses, icing losses, and electrical line losses. An uncertainty analysis is then conducted to determine the probability distribution of net energy production. Example uncertainty categories include those associated with wind speed measurement, wind shear extrapolation, modelling, and loss assumptions. However, without standard definitions for such loss factors and uncertainty categories, it is difficult to compare studies prepared by different consultants. Standardised definitions will not only facilitate direct comparison of energy estimates among different consulting studies, it will lead to more productive dialog and ultimately improved understanding of technical losses and uncertainties.

(This blog was first published on

Monday, February 18, 2013

The killer air!

Air pollution apparently affects everyone on the earth and causes millions of premature deaths every year. Global Burden of Disease (GDB) report observed that it is the 5th largest killer in India taking 6.2 lakh lives per year and Delhi is among one of the five most critically polluted regions in India. The report, released by the US-based Health Effect Institute, has ranked air pollution as one of the top ten killers in the world and sixth most dangerous in South Asia.
In addition, the burgeoning air pollution issue is costing billions to world economy. According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), air pollution costs GBP 15 billion per annum to the UK. The situation is not better elsewhere as per the European Environment Agency (EEA). The graph below is part of the EEA report. 

Experts believe that geospatial tech can rescue us from such a miserable situation. And, one of the impressive presentations could be seen in the online gallery of CEOI (Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation) Innovation in Remote Sensing event, which recently concluded in London. The presentation of Roland Leigh from the University of Leicester explains effective remote sensing techniques for air quality monitoring. Leigh's presentation covered applications of iTRAQ - Integrated Traffic Management and Air Quality Control Using Space Services.  

Leigh advocates use of novel technologies like CityScan – the NO2 scanner, CompAQS spectrometer, Airborne Air Quality Mapper and Ultra-Compact Air Quality Mapper. Some of the novel applications, practiced by Leigh, include hemispherical air quality scanning, remote sensing of air quality for operational urban management and remote sensing of air quality for environmental management. These technologies and applications substantially improved knowledge of emissions and downwind exposure.

My sole intention, behind sharing such technical insight, is to ignite a solution-centric debate. It bothers me that in the wake of the GBD report, such an insidious and long-standing issue could only generate headlines in the media without much fruitful discussions in addressing the issues. I wish the 4th pillar of our democracy will spread holistic awareness about the 5th largest killer of the country and suggest effective tech solutions, supported by success stories from all around the world. 

(This blog was first published on )

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ramayan with Facebook twist:

Ram changed his Relationship status :- married.
Lakshman & Sita like this.

Ravan kidnapped Sita.
Lanka's people like this.

Ram commented on Ravan's kidnap of Sita: Dude, u're dead!
Hanuman likes this comment.

Hanuman burns Ravan's Lanka.
Ram & Sita like this.
Ram commented: Well done, bro!!

Ram updated his status (via Fb mobile): On my way to battle wid Ravan. May the Force be with me!
Lakshman, Sita & Hanuman like this.
Sita commented: Come on, hubby! I'm counting on you!

Ravan also commented: Dude, bring it on!!

Dedicated to my all FB addicted frnds..:-);-). . . .

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Your web surfing history is accessible

"JavaScript allows things like Gmail and Google Maps and a whole bunch of Web 2.0 applications; but it also opens up a lot of security vulnerabilities. We want to let the broad public know that history sniffing is possible, it actually happens out there, and that there are a lot of people vulnerable to this attack," said UC San Diego computer science professor Sorin Lerner.

The researchers documented JavaScript code secretly collecting browsing histories of Web users through "history sniffing" and sending that information across the network. While history sniffing and its potential implications for privacy violation have been discussed and demonstrated, the new work provides the first empirical analysis of history sniffing on the real Web.

However, the latest versions of Firefox, Chrome and Safari now block the history sniffing attacks the computer scientists monitored. But, Internet Explorer does not currently defend against history sniffing. In addition, anyone using anything but the latest versions of the patched browsers is also vulnerable.

Credit: ScienceDaily