How Many More Patents Would it Take to Make the World a Better Place to Live in?

This post was first published on July 30th, 2011.

In a country like India where the sun is out for the major part of the day, I wonder if we are capitalizing enough on this abundant and sustainable source of energy, especially in a time when we are close to running out of conventional resources such as oil, gas, and coal. Harnessing this energy in order to make the surrounding environment a little more conducive for better living has become imperative.

There has been some significant work in the field of green technologies, especially solar energy and wind energy and also subsequent protection for the same in the form of Patents. Some of the path-breaking inventions include solar collectors to produce warm water during the day and thermal dissipaters to obtain cold water during the night; solar distillation for tapping of solar energy to desalinate saline water, for drinking purposes and other household chores; multi-fuel vehicles which primarily runs on solar energy, and in the absence of solar energy, run on batteries and even improved wind turbine which provide enhanced conversion of wind kinetic energy into mechanical energy and operates in all wind conditions. These improvements comprise the use of lightweight modern building materials such as lightweight composite laminates to the reduce the weight of the turbine and the improved thermal properties of such materials decrease the tendency of turbine blades to form ice. In order to further improve the maintenance, safety and efficiency of a wind turbine, additional parameters of the wind turbine are monitored such as system for monitoring a wind turbine, wherein the sound produced inside the wind turbine where electrical or mechanical units are in use is recorded by means of an acoustic pick-up, further, an optical sensor such as a camera is provided that is directed at the location where the sound is produced.

There were also a few interesting patents that I chanced upon, such as a solar advertising board for collecting, storing and converting solar energy into electrical energy for illuminating advertising material during night time; a solar traffic signaling system, which uses solar Energy, energy-efficient LED-based Signal heads/Signal faces for warning and regulation and comprising of solar traffic logic controller having an in-built clock and calendar to automatically switch ON & OFF signals, and also change the timings during peak hours and holidays. These patents are ample proof to show that the inventors are taking the innovative road to save every inch of the planet.

A study on sustainable resources, particularly solar and wind energy from the year 2002-2007 in India show a steady rise in the amount of work that has been carried out which has been at its zenith in the year 2005 but sadly seen a gradual downfall since then. However, with entrepreneurs like Harish Pandey who was recently conferred with the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for promoting sustainable and affordable energy through his Bangalore-based Solar Electric Light Company-India (SELCO), one can only hope to see more and more people contributing towards sustainable energy to save the planet. As they say, if you want to pass on something for the next generation, give them a better place to live!

Authored By: Sneha Ashok

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