Tag Archives: renewable energy

Towards a Greener Future

I attended a conference “Making Green Economy Real” organized by The Boston Pledge at Bentley University outside of Boston. After opening remarks by Partha Ghosh, founder of The Boston Pledge, that provided some great insights into the challenges facing the economy, Prof. Bill Moomaw, one of the authors of the IPCC report that shared in the Nobel Peace Prize with VP Gore, provided a terrific overview of what was needed for the US to really go green. 

Recently returned from Washington, Prof. Moomaw had accompanied the Tufts team that entered the biannual Solar Decathalon sponsored by the Department of Energy.  The Decathalon is a challenge to design, build and operate a house that is completely powered by solar energy on site at the Washington Mall. Twenty teams from all around the USA, Puerto Rico, Spain and Germany participated. The winner for the second time in a row was Germany. But more important were Moomaw’s observations about the state of the art in solar and energy efficiency as represented by the various entries. Continue reading

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Innovative bus technologies go green

Looking for a quick and inexpensive way to make a short day trip to New York, I came across a couple of new bus services from Boston – Megabus and BoltBus – both offering free internet connectivity on the ride down. Always a sucker for technology, I chose to take the Megabus to NYC. The ride was surprisingly pleasant, on-time with clean new buses and continuous Wifi enabled internet access throughout as advertised.

Curious, I decided to find out more about the company and the technology. Looks like the buses are most likely equipped with Moovera Mobile broadband gateways. They connect to a 3G network on one side and provide Wifi coverage in the bus on the other side. An additional benefit is the availability of real time GPS tracking of the vehicle, plus Ethernet based connectivity for on board instrumentation and telematic applications. It all sounded very cool and hi tech for a bus company. I think the new Wifi bus services between Boston and NYC are attracting a younger hipper traveler as evidenced by my co-passengers on the trip.

Digging further I found that Megabus is a subsidiary of a UK based corporation, the Stagecoach Group.  The company seems to be an innovator in the area bringing inexpensive modes of mass transportation to market, encouraging more commuters to take their buses, trains and hovercraft and reducing carbon as a result.

In addition the company has also introduced a number of innovative environmental initiatives. In the past they have been one of the first companies in UK to introduce biofuel buses. An interesting program that they have implemented gives passengers a discount in exchange for their used cooking oil. Argent Energy, which operates the UK’s first large-scale biodiesel plant, is supplying all the biodiesel. In April they introduced a carbon neutral bus service in Scotland where they are looking to offset their emissions in partnership with a Scottish charity Global Trees

One hopes they will try to replicate their biofuel model in the US.

The New Philanthropy – New models for Social Impact

I had a great time attending the conference to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of my alma mater, IIT Bombay. The event was well attended with over 800 attendees and very well organized. It was fun catching up with some of my classmates after 30 plus years!

I had the pleasure of moderating a wonderful panel on “The New Philanthropy – New models for Social Impact” with four great speakers presenting a wide range of activities that their different organizations pursue in the social sector.  The panelists were

  • Shari Berenbach, Executive Director, Calvert Foundation
  • Omer Imtiazuddin, Health Portfolio Manager, Acumen Fund
  • Lisa Nitze, Vice President, Entrepreneur 2 Entrepreneur Program, Ashoka Global
  • Linda Segre, Managing Director, Operations & Initiatives, Google.org

I have written a more in-depth article for Lokvani, but some of the key points were: Continue reading