India’s ‘Plastic Man’ and His Incredible Innovation
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Did you know that an Indian has already invented a method to convert hazardous plastic waste into roads? Unfortunately, his achievement has neither been appreciated nor remembered by our government.
R Vasudevan, the ‘Plastic-Man’ of India is a Maduari-based chemistry professor. He came up with an innovative method to reuse plastic waste to construct better, more durable and very cost-effective roads. The roads also show greater resistance to damages caused by water during rains.
Sadly, our own country did not take him seriously, and now the Netherlands is testing his idea and constructing roads using his patented technology. The technique will involves molding of plastic waste using blue metal into pre-fabricated bricks. These bricks help to build roads quickly.
This system will not only help to use up dangerous plastics for a good cause, but also allow roads to be built quickly. The plastic also provides durability to the roads as well as lightens the surface load as plastic is lighter than traditional road material. The maintenance cost will also be lower compared to asphalt roads. As per The Guardian, these roads are also hollow, making it easier to install cables and utility pipelines below the surface. Sections can be prefabricated in a factory and transported to where they are needed, reducing on-site construction, while the shorter construction time and low maintenance will mean less congestion caused by roadworks. Lighter materials can also be transported more efficiently.
India needs such innovations to tackle its mounting environmental and infrastructure problems. It is surprising that no mainstream media channel has tried to highlight this novel innovation yet.
AN AVERAGE INDIAN ENTREPRENEUR IS A 30-YEAR-OLD MALE WHO NEVER ATTENDED IIT – QUARTZ
May 16, 2016 | On: Quartz
Contrary to popular perception, an average Indian entrepreneur isn’t a 25-year-old who’s graduated from an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).
An average technology entrepreneur in Asia’s third-largest economy is a male aged between 28 and 29. By the time his venture gets funded, he is over 32, according to data from Delhi-based startup Xeler8.
Xeler8, which curates data on other startups, analysed over 2,300 firms for this study. The sample startups operate in various sectors, including e-commerce, food technology, fintech, healthcare, agriculture technology, ad technology, data analytics, and gaming. The sample also includes large players like Flipkart, OYO Rooms, Snapdeal, and MuSigma.
Almost 50% of Indian entrepreneurs are graduates, and many of them hold post graduation degrees.
However, contrary to the commonly held belief, most do not hold degrees from premium educational institutes such as IITs or the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). In fact, graduates from premium schools form a very small percent of entrepreneurs in India.
In a semi-arid region of Satara district in Maharashtra, there is a plot of lush green land with about 20 fully-grown, beautiful trees – all of which were the part of a very efficient experiment. The seedlings for these trees were fed with water obtained from dry soil, with the help of solar energy.
“I did my PhD in America way back in the late 1970s. And most of my work was around solar distillation of water. I looked at everything that could possibly be done with solar energy at that time and found that if you dig a small hole in the desert, and cover it with plastic, solar energy heats the soil and you can collect a cup of water every day. This was something that remained at the back of my mind for years,” says Dr. Anil Rajvanshi, Director of Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) – a non-profit research and development institute based in Phaltan, Maharashtra.
In 1981, Dr. Rajvanshi returned to India with the aim of using his education to work for the development of rural India, and started establishing the energy and sustainable development work at NARI.
Dr. Anil Rajvanshi
“I came to this very dry and partially semi-arid region. Sometime in the 1980s, the Government of India conducted a very large-scale tree plantation program. But of the many seeds that were planted, only a few resulted in fully-grown trees. Most of the seeds perished,” he remembers.
What’s more disruptive than a hybrid of cooler and air conditioner that comes at a tenth of an AC’s running cost? This means electricity consumption of only 250 Watts per hour, compared to an air conditioner that consumes 2,400 Watts per hour. So if you were paying Rs 5,000 per month (air conditioner), you will now pay around Rs 500. And wait, it’s environment-friendly too, as it is possibly the world’s only cooling product that uses the refrigeration cycle but does not emit heat in the environment.
This miraculous cooling technology is called Vaayu, developed by Pranav Mokshmar from Indore and has been backed by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia. After almost five years of trials and errors, patenting process and funding efforts, Vaayu began operations in October 2014.
Vaayu Hybrid Chillers – a patented technology – acquired a funding of Rs 1 crore under collateral-free CGTMSE scheme of the State government of Madhya Pradesh through Corporation Bank, Indore. The startup has its manufacturing unit, constituting two plants, at Sanwer Road in Indore. The product has been tested for more than 100 units and the company is getting bulk orders from companies that care about environment and cost-saving. It has reached six States – Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Haryana and Uttarakhand, through its appointed dealers and distributors. These dealers are selling Vaayu to retail customers.
“Also, since the product is a new concept, we are opening ‘Vaayu Experience Zones’ for customers to get a feel of the Vaayu cooling. We have also appointed sales and service dealers to cater to the needs of the industrial and commercial customers,” explains Pranav.
Too good to be true?
Disbelief was a common reaction the founders – Pranav and Priyanka – received each time they made a presentation about Vaayu. “We were once presenting before a team of scientists and science professors and most of them said that our product defied all the laws of thermodynamics,” quips Priyanka.
So how does Vaayu work exactly? “As soon as Vaayu chiller is switched on, the compressor starts and the refrigerator flows in the cooling coil to chill the water. This water reaches the pads of the machine by pumps. The hot air outside comes in contact with the chilled water and the molecules present in the hot air lose temperature. The thermostat helps to put the compressors on and off as per the need of the water temperature to be maintained and prevents overheating. The condenser cools down the refrigerant and helps in dehumidification of excess RH to control the humidity level. The chilled air is finally pushed inside the area where the unit is installed through a fan of the machine,” informs Pranav.
In short, Vaayu doesn’t make you shiver like an AC but basically brings the temperature to a legitimate level and controls the humidity so that the environment becomes pleasant.
Vaayu chillers look like coolers and ACs so to make them workable in terms of installation and to meet customer needs. “We have recently launched a revolutionary product, VAAYU MIG 24, which has a capacity of cooling 1,000 sq.ft., and consumes only 800 Watts,” says Pranav.
The company intends on expanding to ten more States in the financial year 2016-17. “In the next five years, we plan to go pan India and also start exports, as we have received enquiries from Mexico, UAE , Africa etc. We are planning this expansion through sales returns along with expecting to get some funding through VCs,” he adds.
A power couple
Priyanka, Pranav’s wife, did most of her post-graduation studies after marriage. Pranav – a commerce graduate with a diploma in HVAC (heating, venting and air-conditioning) – worked as a product manager in multinational companies such as Carrier, Samsung and LG for almost 14 years. But being a technology-curious person, he started his own venture of commercial AC sales and service in 2008, and commissioned many noted projects in Madhya Pradesh. Priyanka, in the meantime, acquired an MBA in Marketing (Prestige Institute Indore) and PhD in Management (Devi Ahilya University) and apart from writing research papers, had begun giving lectures in various institutes in Indore.
“Initially, Pranav’s office used to be at home, so during the summer of 2010, his father pulled him up for heavy electricity bills, since his team used ACs. So one, day he got a few components of AC and they all began working with coolers. When I asked, I was told they were trying to see if a compressor could be fitted into a cooler. I seriously thought this must be one of his whims since he loved experimenting with electronic appliances and machines. Little did I know back then that he would end up inventing a technology we would patent later,” says Priyanka.
Pranav points out the importance of marketing the product. “Twice we had a choice between getting a lot of money from investors and selling out the patent. However, becoming millionaires just like that wasn’t exactly our goal,” shares Pranav.
Sometimes, the couple find it hard to come to terms with the fact that they have come this far. “But then we remind ourselves of what late Dhirubhai Ambani had said, ‘Think big, think fast and think ahead. Ideas are no one’ s monopoly’,” says Priyanka.
Vaayu recently won the Mega Launchpad – an event co-sponsored by YourStory Media. And their latest award is the Skoch Order of Merit and Skoch Best SME of India Award at the Constitution Club of India in Mumbai held recently. In addition, they are one of the top five startups chosen by the Government of Madhya Pradesh for the Prime Minister’s dream project ‘Start up India Stand Up India’.
STRIKE IS HEADING TO SWITZERLAND TO WIN 500K AT THE SEEDSTARS SUMMIT
Strike is representing India at the Seedstars Summit, during which the winner of the global competition for fast growing startups in emerging markets Seedstars World will be named and awarded with up to USD 500,000 in equity investment.
Seedstars Summit – March 3rd, 2016, Swiss Tech Convention Center at EPFL, Lausanne
LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND, February 11th, 2016 – Seedstars, the global organization with the mission of impacting people’s lives in emerging market through entrepreneurship and technology, launched its third edition of the Seedstars World competition in April 2015. The international team covered 54 countries, scouting for the best startups around the world. Strike has been selected to represent India and participate in a two day bootcamp, an Investor Forum and the Grand Final of Seedstars World. The global winner of this edition will be rewarded with up to USD 500’000 in equity investment. The best startups in other sectors such as travel and space will also be rewarded with equity investments and grants of up to USD 550’000.
Strike won Seedstars Bangalore in August last year, with its email productivity platform for mobile that helps users to research people within their Gmail app. On March 3rd, the Indian startup will represent the country and compete with other 53 startups from around the world for the title of “Seedstars World Global Winner”.
More than 3,000 startups from Eastern and Central Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America applied to participate in Seedstars World this year. Since April 2015, four regional teams and expert local juries have selected the most promising startups in 54 cities, from Santiago to Jakarta, passing by Ramallah and Beirut.
At the Summit, the speakers will discuss how technology and entrepreneurship impact billions of people’s lives in emerging markets. “Most people don’t really associate emerging markets to a billion of opportunities and we’re here to show them that these markets are already transforming into centres of innovation where talented people and changemakers grow,” explains Alisée de Tonnac, CEO at Seedstars World.
Around 1000 entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, corporate executives, business angels, government officials, journalists and startup enthusiasts are expected to join for an amazing experience in Switzerland.
“They tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds.” – Mexican proverb
Seedstars is a global organisation based in Switzerland with activities in more than 50 countries around the world. Its mission is to impact people’s lives in emerging markets through entrepreneurship and technology. The company’s goal is to develop and foster startup ecosystems by connecting, building and investing in driven entrepreneurs. Seedstars connects the best entrepreneurs with investors, corporates and media, and helps them to scale to new markets. They build companies by bringing together resources, talents and growth techniques, and eventually, invest in the most promising entrepreneurs. Sharing the values of trust, efficiency and diversity, Seedstars aims to support the whole entrepreneurial ecosystem from entrepreneurs to investors passing through governments and corporates.
The 14 Year Old Indian Boy Who Invented Email turned 52 on Dec 2nd 2015. But how many of us know that, Shiva Ayyadurai an Indian-American scientist invented Email when he was just 14.
Ayyadurai was born to a Tamil Family in Bombay. At the age of seven, he left with his family to live in the US. In 1978, aged 14, he developed a full-scale emulation of the interoffice mail system which he called “E-mail”. It replicated all the functions of the interoffice mail system: Inbox, Outbox, Folders, Memo, Attachments, Address Book, etc. These features are now familiar parts of every email system.
Studying at Livingston High School in New Jersey, Ayyadurai began his work on the email system for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. He closely observed that the desktop of each secretary, in addition to the typewriter, had an Inbox, Outbox, Drafts, Carbon Copy Paper, Folders, Address Book, Paper Clips (for attachments), etc, which they used each day to create and process incoming and outgoing mail.
Then he conceived an electronic version of this system. He created a computer programme of over 50,000 lines of code, which electronically replicated all the features of the interoffice mail system. On August 30, 1982, the US government officially recognized Ayyadurai as the inventor of email by awarding him the first US Copyright for Email for his 1978 invention. Yet his name is nowhere in modern history of computer science. Whoever claims the invention, Ayyadurai will remain the father of E-mail. Hope he gets the name in history he deserves.