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Diptarghya Kundu

Diptarghya Kundu is chief marketing officer of Integrated Sciences, Inc., a California based Indian startup working on alternative efficient fuels to replace carbon-emitting sources of energy

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Indian Scientists Working on Efficient Alternative to Wood, Coal, LPG – and Even Solar

There’s reason to believe that this newcomer has the ability to disrupt the Indian energy market currently dominated by conventional fuels like coal or LPG

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What would you do if you knew that each time you use conventional fuels for cooking or room heating the gas emitted can cause hypoxia or even death? Then there’s scientific proof of the global warming fuel emissions cause. Are there any alternatives? Sure, you can go for solar or even hydro energy. But are you willing to pay the huge installation costs incurred?

Then there is fossil fuel; so cheap that the world’s poorest countries can avail them with the fast consumption of the limited resource. Fossil fuel based LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), CNG (Compressed natural gas) are considered the modern form of ‘safe’ cooking fuel and apparently, they are called a ‘green’ fuel as well. But are they really green and safe enough?

In India, LPG usage has grown by leaps and bounds in the past decade. But the nature of LPG being a volatile combustible, it has led to hundreds of thousands of fire-accidents, severe injuries and death (19,491 deaths, i.e. 17 percent of all fire accidents in India within 2010-2014).

In the US, CNG is the primary kitchen fuel. In 2011-2015, out of the 170,200 home structures receiving service from the U.S. fire department, 47 percent have been recorded to have caught fire due to a cooking gas leakage or a container burst. ‘Green’ fuel means that it should be eco-friendly. But all fossil fuels contain carbons, including LPG and CNG. 

As a carbon-containing fuel is burnt, it generates carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Emission of greenhouse gases with increasing carbon footprint becomes a severe concern. Worse than LPG or CNG are the primitive methods of coal or wood burning for kitchen fuel or room heating. These cause several deaths every year in the US, Europe, and Asia due to deadly carbon monoxide emission. 

Alternatives like solar energy are renewable, safe, and sustainable. But it’s expensive to install, and it’s difficult to maintain or recycle the panels. That has been one of the important reasons solar energy has not gained much popularity in India. Some might think of electrical energy as an alternative, as hype about electrical cars or EV’s escalate. But there must be a reason it took 52 years (1973 to 2015) to reduce the use of fossil fuel in global electricity generation from 75 percent to 66 percent. Alternative renewable energy sources are not as economically appealing or energy-efficient as fossil fuels.

What if there is another energy source bounding in abundance, besides sun and water, which could be recycled to generate fuel? 

A recyclable, renewable, safe, non-explosive fuel which produces no harmful emissions and is much more affordable than LPG – as a consumer, would that be interesting to you?

That is exactly what an Indo-Californian startup is working on. A team of Indian scientists have been intensively involved in research into such an alternative fuel for the last couple of years with some exciting outcomes in recent months. The results are conclusive enough to predict its large-scale application in a country like India. 

Also, there’s reason to believe that this newcomer has the ability to disrupt the energy market currently dominated by conventional fuels like coal or LPG which India is heavily reliant on. Maybe it is worth paying attention to how things roll out in this dimension in the coming years.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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