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IITian pedal towards a clean energy practice

IITian pedal towards a clean energy practice


On ‘the gross misuse of unlicensed Chinese e-rickshaws’, Sushil Reddy says they are better than petrol and diesel vehicles but they are still far from being environmentally smart.

Hot and flushed, his feet pushed the pedal with a throttle that accelerated his purpose, literally and figuratively. Inside a custom designed solar powered auto rickshaw, 30-year-old Sushil Reddy, an Energy Engineer from Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, has put his academic knowledge of conserving energy to practical use by riding 6,000 km in 60 days on a futuristic power management vehicle across the golden quadrilateral with the intention of promoting clean energy, through what he calls The SunPedal Ride.

It started in Bangalore on May 25 and will culminate there on July 26. Recently, it touched upon Delhi. There was horror in the voice and terror in the eyes of Reddy as he comprehended the dipping air quality in the city that was made evident by the burning in his eyes and dizziness in his head. “I’ve travelled through Mathura, Agra, Etawah, Kanpur, Lucknow, Sultanpur and Varanasi in the last few days, but as soon as I entered Delhi, the air became considerably toxic.

The extent of this was not felt in any other city. Thus, the need for alternate energy such as sunlight, geothermal heat, wind and rain to reduce carbon emission is preeminent,” says Reddy, who had completed 3,500 km when we spoke to him last. Delhi and other metros need to implement the AMG principle (avoid, minimise and generate), according to him. His zero emission vehicle could come as a handy tool for starters, he believes. In fact, the rickshaw has been developed as a prototype for public vehicles for busy cities such as Delhi.

In a similar context, the gross misuse of unlicensed Chinese e-rickshaws in the city and NCR has given him jitters. “Look at the way these vehicles are clogging the streets. Yes, they are better than petrol and diesel vehicles but they are still far from being environmentally smart as they use electric grids to charge their batteries which consumes a lot of energy and cost a lot too,” he says.

All through his journey, Reddy stops at significant places to engage with locals, industry stakeholders, and students to illustrate how the entire community has to be one with this idea as renewable power will ensure energy security for the nation in the future. “And, especially in cities like Delhi, where rapid carbon emission has chocked the atmosphere, now reaching up to the stratosphere, alternate energy has to be looked at for recovery, if it’s possible at all. “

If Harvard scientist, James Anderson is to be believed, the recovery is ‘all but impossible without a World War II-style transformation of the industry.’ In his recent report, he started that carbon pollution has shoved the climate back at least 12 million years. Considering this, Reddy utilised his time well in Delhi by visiting high impact places including IBIS New Delhi Aerocity where he interacted with staff members and guests demonstrating how his L5 category licensed rickshaw model (with a speed range up to 55 km per hour, and ability to carry 600 kgs of passenger and luggage load), is a viable option for commercial purposes as well as for public transportation.

He also met Upendra Tripathy, the Director General of International Solar Alliance, to discuss the possibility of the rikshaw’s inclusion in the mainstream transportation system. He also visited logistic companies, one of them being Delhivery, to suggest ways of reducing the carbon footprint in transportation.

“The dialogue has begun. Everybody I met has shown promise and extended a commitment to move the motion for clean energy but the planning and implementation will take time,” says Reddy, who is a Guinness World Record holder and Limca Record holder for the longest journey on a solar-powered electric bicycle that he undertook in 2016.

With this new journey, that he set upon, he is aiming for another one—the longest retrofitted e-rickshaw journey, but the motive is not to secure awards but to accomplish clean energy rewards.

About the vehicle
The rickshaw has been custom created by a Bangalore based company called Volta Automotive India Pvt Ltd, that converts petrol and diesel vehicles into electric ones. Sushil Reddy approached Jakson Group in Noida to get a solar panel fitted. He conceived it from scratch with no references, just vision of what he wanted. The one thing he wanted out of the vehicle was its strength to cover 200 km in a day easily with one or two batteries.

All this was sponsored for his endeavour. The model comprises a motor that runs the wheel. This motor is powered using a lithium battery. There is a charge controller that levels the voltage between the solar panel and the battery.

Source: newindianexpress
Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network


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