June 2008, Issue 106
to our bi-weekly
of Amsterdam Journal.
Taste of Diversity
is about creating greater awareness of cultural diversity and
strengthening, promoting and sharing of cultural wealth. The idea of
"intercultural dialogue" takes as its starting point the recognition
of difference and multiplicity of the world in which we live. This year's
focus is the future of INDIA.
Join our next Season
Event about Taste
future of INDIA
the Venture Capital Market in India Getting Overheated?
Venture Capital market in India seems to be getting as hot
as the country’s famous summers. However, this potential
over-exuberance may lead to some stormy days ahead, based
on sobering research compiled by global research and analytics
services firm, Evalueserve.
Evalueserve research shows that an interesting phenomenon
is beginning to emerge: Over 44 US-based VC firms are now
seeking to invest heavily in start-ups and early-stage companies
in India. These firms have raised, or are in the process
of raising, an average of $100 million each. Indeed, if
these 40-plus firms are successful in raising money, they
would garner approximately $4.4 billion to be invested during
the next four to five years. Taking Indian Purchasing Power
Parity (PPP) into consideration, this would be equivalent
to $22 billion worth of investment in the US. Since about
$1.75 billion (or approximately 40% of $4.4 billion) has
already been raised, even if only $2.2 billion is raised
by December 2006, Evalueserve cautions that there will be
a glut of VC money for early-stage investments in India.
This will be especially true if the VCs continue to invest
only in their current favorite sectors such as information
technology (IT), BPO, software and hardware products, telecom,
and consumer Internet. Given that a typical start-up in
India would require $9 million during its first three years
(i.e., $3 million per year) and even assuming that the start-up
survives for three years, investing $2.2 billion during
2007-2010 would imply investing in 150 to 180 start-ups
every year during this period, which does not seem practical
if the VCs continue to focus only on their current favorite
In contrast to the emerging trend highlighted above, Indian
companies received almost no Private Equity (PE) or Venture
Capital (VC) funding a decade ago. This scenario began to
change in the late 1990s with the growth of India’s
IT companies and with the simultaneous dot-com boom in India.
VCs started making large investments in these sectors; however,
the bust that followed led to huge losses for the PE and
VC community, especially for those who had invested heavily
in start-ups and early-stage companies.
After almost three years of downturn in 2001-2003, the PE
market began to recover towards the end of 2004. PE investors
began investing in India again, except this time they began
investing in other sectors as well (although the IT and
BPO sectors still continued to receive a significant portion
of these investments) and most investments were in late-stage
companies. Early-stage investments have been dwindling or
have, at best, remained stagnant right through mid-2006.
This article is based on Evalueserve’s experience,
which includes several hundred research engagements focused
on India and the Indian market for our globally dispersed
client-base over the last five years; and also interviews
with VCs, Indian entrepreneurs, consultants, and experts
within this ecosystem, along with our analysis of data from
the Indian Venture Capital Association (IVCA) and Venture
Intelligence India. It examines whether this new, very large
total investment can actually be ‘absorbed’ by
start-ups and early-stage companies in India. We will also
describe some of the ‘ground realities’ and highlight
a couple of ‘best practices’ that may help VCs
to invest more effectively in India.
full White Paper is available as a *.pdf
is the Knowledge Partnerat
our event about
of Diversity -
future of INDIA
future of INDIA
Thursday, July 3,
18:30-19:00, Conference: 19:00-21:15, Grill: 21:15-23:30
also include Indian dishes and some drinks!
Tolstraat 129, 1074 VJ Amsterdam
former Royal Asscher Diamond Factory
The conference language is English.
speakers and topics are:
Founder and Executive President of the Netherlands India Chamber
of Commerce and Trade (NICCT)
India's Unity in Diversity: Relevance for The Netherlands
Tewari, Managing Director, Cordares
Can the Indian Elephant Dance? Highlights and Opportunities
of the Indian Economy
Professor, School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru
University, New Delhi, India
Senior central government advisor on technology development and
Environment, Technology and Development
Director, Evalueserve Benelux and Omnisource International
Embassy of India, Global
Food Funatics, The Netherlands-India Chamber of Commerce and Trade
(NICCT), Evalueserve, Sichuan Foods, Innergy Creations, Kadarka
and India Tourism Amsterdam
WEBCAST at www.webcastingstudio.eu
We would like
to thank our supporter Innergy Creations
of Amsterdam blog
of Amsterdam blog
Fall of the US Empire
Architecture - some thoughts
about the Future
The following is an
excerpt from Clean-Energy
- Biofuels (global
production and wholesale pricing of ethanol and biodiesel) reached
$25.4 billion in 2007 and are projected to grow to $81.1 billion
by 2017. In 2007 the global biofuels market consisted of more
than 13 billion gallons of ethanol and 2 billion gallons of biodiesel
- Wind power (new
installation capital costs) is projected to expand from $30.1
billion in 2007 to $83.4 billion in 2017. Last year's global wind
power installations reached a record 20,000 MW, equivalent to
20 large-size 1 GW conventional power plants.
- Solar photovoltaics
(including modules, system components, and installation) will
grow from a $20.3 billion industry in 2007 to $74 billion by 2017.
Annual installations were just shy of 3 GW worldwide, up nearly
500 percent from just four years earlier.
- The fuel cell and
distributed hydrogen market will grow from a $1.5 billion industry
(primarily for research contracts and demonstration and test units)
to $16 billion over the next decade.
Together, these four
benchmark technologies, which equaled $55.4 billion in 2006 and
expanded 40 percent to $77.3 billion in 2007, are projected to grow
to $254.5 billion within a decade.
Study of Chinese Sports
In the first study of
Chinese Internet Word of Mouth (IWOM) around sports, Shanghai, China
based IWOM research and consulting firm CIC utilized patent-pending
technology to analyze 4,311,758 messages from mainland China online
message boards (BBS) from the 4th quarter of 2007. The study shows
that Nike led the discussion among 14 tracked sports brands with
over 42 % share of voice while Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets
were the most discussed athlete and sports team with 7.7% and 13%
share of voice, respectively. Basketball and football(soccer)dominated
the sports category buzz. The report also discusses the important
influence of online fan clubs, interactive campaigns, forum administrators,
and E-zines in shaping the discussion about sports, teams, athletes,
and sports brands.
By Simon Jones, Director, Human-Computer Studies Laboratory,
University of Amsterdam
In a few short
years innovation has moved from being the domain of wild-haired
creatives into an effective business process that acts as
one of the levers for extracting value . At this point
it is timely to pause and consider ‘what’s next?’
After all, the global environment continues to get more complex,
competition gets tougher and the demands of customers increasingly
sophisticated. How can countries, regions, cities, private
and public sector organizations respond to this challenge?
How can they succeed in a marketplace where innovation is
an established technique, widely deployed? How do we reach
way beyond what is possible and proceed as though it could
be? In short: in order to maintain competitive advantage,
what comes after innovation?
looks at the next wave of change for organizational and individual
creativity. It argues that to thrive in the non-linear, quixotic,
accelerating world we live in the creative response has to
evolve beyond systematic processes of innovation and become
spontaneous, volatile, impulsive and serendipitous. In short,
we need to be instinctive.
It seems paradoxical,
perhaps even reckless to suggest the next competitive edge
will arise from preferring instinctive action to formal process.
However, there are a number of existing cases where doing
precisely that has been the best route to higher performance.
the act of connecting human creativity into a supply chain.
Sometimes it is connected into an existing supply chain and
sometimes it creates an entirely new supply chain. Many organizations
have recognized the central role of innovation as a means
of extracting maximum value from assets old and new. Indeed,
many companies, cities and regions will claim to have a culture
of innovation and methods plus tools and techniques for innovating.
As such innovation is becoming a systematic process for creating,
managing and deploying human creativity . Contemporary
European economies see innovation as a main component of maintaining
economic success and ensuring future prosperity for their
people. However, the globalised nature of business means that
the emerging economies of Asia and beyond are similarly adopting
and adapting innovation practices as they too seek to climb
the added-value ladder. If the developed economies of Europe
are to maintain their competitive advantage just having an
innovation system will not be enough, they will have to accept
that their competitors can deploy innovation strategies at
least as effectively, just for example, as they do today with
quality systems. To flourish in the future Europe needs to
master the skill sets that lie beyond innovation.
has been possible for just over 100 years. In that time, engineers
and scientists focused on aerodynamics to develop smooth,
stable flying platforms. The creation of such aeroplanes has
had a transformative effect on our lives, of that there’s
no doubt. Aeronautical engineering developed rich and sophisticated
theories and models about the behaviour of airplanes. A key
element of any aeroplane is its control. The ability to fly
straight and steady under differing conditions makes for a
plane easy to manage and generally safe and sound. However,
where aeroplanes need to out-perform each other, such characteristics
are disadvantageous. In the extreme case of military fighter
aircraft, airframes which are inherently aerodynamically unstable
are not only desirable but offer the best opportunity for
surviving a dog fight . In pursuit of this goal, aircraft
designers have rejected much of traditional airframe design
and wilfully create planes which left unmanaged will hurl
themselves into pieces. However by harnessing these designs
to appropriate sensor, actuator and control systems, successful
flight is possible by continually adjusting the system to
correct the instability when needed but permits such instability
when the resulting changes deliver enhanced manoeuvrability.
In the mid 1950s,
Ornette Coleman produced his albums ‘Something Else’
and ‘Tomorrow is the Question’. These are generally
considered to be among the first Avant Jazz (also known as
Avant-Garde Jazz or Free Jazz). Ornette and others like him
found accepted Jazz styles to constrain not to liberate him.
Avant Jazz uses many Jazz idioms, but the role and rules of
composition are considerably weakened. Avant Jazz emphasizes
the role of improvisation and has few or no pre-composed elements
. In the last 50 years this approach has evolved considerably
and more structured and compositionally influenced forms have
also emerged . Nonetheless the underlying recognition is
that above and beyond a certain point structure and process
inhibits and it is only by wilfully freeing oneself of these
things is further progress possible.
The Game of
The Game of Life
 is a well known computer simulation where a large square
of cells, can be either black or white. Cells have a rule
to decide whether they change colour and this is usually decided
on the basis of the colours of the neighbours. The simplest
version checks what colour the majority of the neighbours
have and changes the cell colour accordingly. It’s a
lot of fun to observe and can create a series of remarkably
attractive pictures and animations. However it also has many
important practical applications. The Game of Life is one
representative of a class of systems known as cellular automaton
(CA) they turn out to be powerful tools for the analysis of
complex systems including encryption and many natural systems.
However they operate in a very precise way. All cells have
the same rules to obey and all cells update themselves at
the same time. As a result of these restrictions many important
problems, especially those that model living cells or the
phenomena of complex groups are not easily addressed by CA’s.
Moreover, the constraints on their behaviour are intrinsically
unrepresentative of real cellular systems. Researchers have
considered eliminating or modifying these constraints and
proposed asynchronous cellular automaton (also referred to
as stochastic or probabilistic cellular automaton) . These
devices still change state as a basis of neighbour information
but do so at a time of their own choosing and with a certain
probability of a change occurring. Such systems are far harder
to analyse and control. Sometimes they fail to do anything
useful and rapidly get stuck in a single state or oscillate
aimlessly around a few patterns. However it has also been
discovered that with suitable rules and suitable starting
conditions asynchronous cellular automaton can not only solve
problems faster and quicker that regular CA’s but also
solve complex problems that regular CA’s simply can’t.
If we look at
the three diverse examples above, there are a number of common
factors which point us in the direction of the post-innovation
have moved from an environment of a small number of cohesive
macro-rules to one with many overlapping and conflicting
participants have a very high level of skill and experience
in the domain
overall control system intervenes very frequently but each
change is relatively small
This seems to
be one of the characteristics of the post-innovation landscape.
Unstable aircraft are more manoeuvrable than stable ones.
The well established equations and design principles of aerodynamics
have been wilfully ignored to create a structure where instability
of the airframe is maximised. The elements of the airframe
fight against each other and together do not form a system
optimized for airborne transport. In Avant-Jazz the well established
compositional techniques, timing, tonal forms, melody and
rhythm have been disregarded. The sound produced however is
not random, each of the notes, phrases and forms have specific
musical intent, it is the rules that produce songs and melodies
that have been discarded. In cellular automata systems with
a single or a few update rules, they are now superceded by
devices where each cell has its own rule and conformance to
those rules varies according to time, context or chance.
To use a language
metaphor, in all these 3 cases, the established ‘grammar’
of the system has been replaced by something else but the
individual sounds, formants or syllables are redeployed not
One of the advantages
of innovation practices is that it deskills the process to
make it accessible to many people. However in these examples
of a post-innovation landscape, such practices are currently
only possible by those with extremely high levels of skills
and techniques. Unstable airframes require pilots with the
highest levels of training and expertise. Avant-Jazz is a
form simply impossible to play by any but the most gifted
musicians. The design and operation of asynchronous cellular
automata even now defeats leading mathematicians and computer
scientists. Success in the post-innovation landscape is likely
therefore to depend on access to individuals who have been
trained to the very highest levels and have significant expertise
in particular domains. Such individuals have to have mastery
of their specialist topic before they can effectively go beyond
innovation to create new economic, social and technical landscapes.
or control strategies usually operate on a macro-scale. A
goal is set, it is monitored at a relatively small number
of intervals (e.g. mid-life project reviews) and outcomes
generally assessed towards the latter of half of a project.
In the post-innovation landscape this is likely to be quite
different. The ‘occasional touch on the control stick’
strategy taught to pilots is highly unsuited to modern fighter
aircraft. They require frequent adjustments to stay in the
air. Indeed, the degree of instability is such that computer
support is generally necessary for most of these aeroplanes
to be flyable. In Avant-Jazz rehearsal and scores are generally
neglected. Instead a premium is placed on improvisation during
which players play instinctively based on their own phrasing
and the music that other players around them are currently
producing. At its best it results in music with a passion
and nuance unmatched by other forms. Cellular automata update
their own behaviour frequently, in the asynchronous case the
rules of updating are modified at least as often as the cells,
resulting in a complexity of behaviour unmatched by traditional
landscape will require different approaches from organisations,
different forms of interaction and different skill sets. Of
course the longstanding needs of entities will remain: they
have to have a purpose, operate within an eco-system or supply
chain and have ready access to financial, social, physical
and information infrastructure. Current innovation programs
are still necessary in the same way the need for quality systems
is also not bypassed. However, the post-innovation landscape
impacts leadership, organisational development, regional and
city innovation policies and the educational sector. The following
sections outline where and how these changes will be felt
and how best to adapt.
will need significant numbers of people who are given a great
deal of autonomy and these people will be entrusted with the
future of the organisation. Their own individual track records
will be of the highest calibre but their challenge is to deconstruct
skill sets and knowledge and create a new vocabulary and grammar
for themselves and their organisations. They may not know
precisely where they are going, but their instinct and flexibility
serves them well.
will have to spend much more time learning, experimenting
and exploring than is done today. Perfecting their operational
skills and exploring new concepts is vital to keeping good
instincts and the ability to create new vista’s
Their skill set
and approach makes them much more similar to elite sportsmen
or artists. In common with such types, they will have a relatively
short period in their lives where such instinctive abilities
can be effectively deployed. Thereafter roles for them in
developing new experts or other roles need to be sought.
mode of organisations will need to change. There will still
be the need for long-term strategy but this will necessarily
be broad brush and greater emphasis given to the culture,
beliefs and value of the organisation as the guiding lights.
must possess superlative change management capability such
that large numbers of small changes can be effortlessly and
fluently executed; a challenge for even the most able COO’s.
The organisation must have the capability to assemble and
reassemble itself frequently and rapidly to ensure effectiveness
as a new cultural and operational landscape is pioneered.
Regional and City Innovation Policies
Given the increasing
importance of attracting star players to a region or city,
the emphasis on a creative eco-system where supporting mechanisms
such as venture capital, world-class universities and a pleasant
living and working environment will increase in importance.
Furthermore, such individuals are in demand and need to be
attracted and incentivised to stay. Traditional inward investment
and regional development strategies have focused on companies.
Given the increasing role of instinctive leadership, this
approach is likely to be insufficient and emphasis on locating
and attracting key individuals either at or before their peak
performance will increase in importance.
Such a landscape
is likely to require significant numbers of talented individuals
who like premier league footballers or international artists,
are highly in demand for the relatively brief period they
perform to the highest standards. This rapid turnover of instinctive
experts means that the educational system needs to reform
itself to nurture and enhance creative talent of the highest
order. Europe’s elite institutions will need to expand
to significantly enhance the number of people with skills
of the highest level. This represents a new challenge to the
massification trend of contemporary higher education and research
that some will find difficult to attain.
requirement of the education system will be to hugely increase
the number of individuals who have sufficient mastery of a
domain to create a grammar and vocabulary that moves beyond
it and put that into practice. This is truly uncharted territory
for advanced education.
not the end of individual, organisational or regional creativity.
Human ingenuity remains central to competitive ability. The
systematic approach takes us so far, but examples for science,
technology and the arts show the fullest competitive advantages
come from highly skilled individuals, encouraged to reconstruct
their domains instinctively and possessing the courage and
fortitude to master a world of permanent instability and ruthless
Action: Making Innovation Pay’, Harvard Business Review,
James P. Andrew, Harold L. Sirkin, John Butman, Jan 9, 2007.
 ‘From Ideas to Income’, CEO Today Sovereign
Publications. Simon Jones, September 2007, accessible via
 ‘F16 Fighter’, Global Security Inc, http://www.globalsecurity.org/F16Fighter
 ‘Jazz’, Encyclopedia Brittanica Online, http://www.britannica.com/jazz
 Avant-Garde Jazz, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avant-garde_jazz
 ‘The Game of Life’ Scientific
American 223 120-123, Martin Gardner, October 1970.
 'Notes on finite asynchronous automata', W. Zielonka,
Informatique Théorique et Applications. v21. 99-135.
Simon Jones is
Full Professor at the University of Amsterdam and former CEO
of MIT's Media Lab Europe. He is Founder of Ictinos Innovation
which advises governments, regions, cities and corporations
in innovation policy and invests in and advises start ups
in the ICT and New Media area. He is based in London and Amsterdam.
Century: The Age of Entrepreneurship in the World's Biggest Democracy
by Kamal Nath (Author)
In a short time, India has proven itself a major economic power, generating
billions for its citizens and for the international community. How
did India become a global market mover? And just as important, how
can the Western world tap into the vast resources of commerce that
India has, mine its phenomenal growth potential in a wide array of
industries, and create a profitable relationship with the world’s
Few authors are as
qualified to answer those questions as Kamal Nath. Known at home
and throughout the world as the face of twenty-first century India,
as well as a major architect of India’s reform, Mr. Nath has
spent his entire professional life within the corridors of power,
helping to shape the policies that have catapulted his nation to
In India’s Century,
Mr. Nath goes beyond the “flatworld” view to reveal the
roots of the Indian economic miracle. With a compelling blend of
economic analysis, political insight, and cultural observation,
he traces his nation’s emergence from colonial rule in 1947
through four decades of planned economies, the gradual liberalization
of India’s economy in the 1990s, and finally, the rise of the
Indian global giant.
Nath also explores
his people’s unique can-do attitude (also known as jugaad)
and the ages-old entrepreneurial spirit that is once again free
to express itself at every level of Indian society. Along the way
Minister Nath provides understanding for businesspeople and world
policy makers attemptattempting to formulate strategies for forging
a mutually beneficial engagement with India in the twentyfirst century.
is must reading for business strategists, public policy makers,
and every thoughtful reader who wishes to understand more about
the world’s largest, most vibrant democracy and the role it
is likely to play on the global stage in the years ahead.
By Michael Akerib, Rusconsult
In the wake of today’s
energy crisis, the number of solutions to reduce our dependence
on oil and gas appear limited: alternative sources such as ethanol,
wind or solar power; nuclear power or coal.
Coal appears to be
a candidate of choice in view of its low price and its relative
abundance in some of the OECD countries, but also in China, a
country whose hunger for energy is growing exponentially.
In fact, the Middle
East is the only zone where the sub-soil is wealthy in hydrocarbons
but poor in coal.
At today’s prices,
oil is seven times more expensive than coal on a thermal unit
basis and this price difference explains the increase in global
coal consumption of 35% over the last five years to account at
present for 40% of electricity production.
Two-thirds of the
world’s reserves are found in four countries: the USA, which
holds 27% of the world’s reserves, Russia 17%, China 13%
and India 10%. These countries, together, also represent two-thirds
of global production.
The amount of reserves
has, however, been put into question. The same tonnages have now
been posted for several years, even in countries, such as China,
Vietnam or the US, which have a high extraction rate.
The Energy Commission
of the European Commission has strongly reduced the amount of
reserves, from an initial figure expected to cover 277 years of
usage, to 155 years. BP has an even more pessimistic outlook,
with a forecast limiting the reserves to 144 years.
Germany and Poland
have, of their own accord, and without providing any explanation,
also drastically reviewed downward their reserves – Germany
by 90% and Poland by 50%.
To confuse the issue
even more, Australia and India revalued their own reserves….
Production in the
countries of the European Union declined considerably. However,
there are plans in France to rehabilitate certain mines and even
to open new sites that were considered unprofitable until now.
Such a move would enable Europe to be less dependent on Russian
Only 20% of world
production is exported, the market being essentially domestic.
This, however, is set to change as previous self-sufficient countries
are now becoming net importers.
Seventy per cent
of the coal extracted is supplied to electricity producers, and
40% of the global electricity production is based on coal-burning
technologies. Coal thus covers a quarter of the world’s energy
Germany plans to
close its mines by 2018 and would replace their production by
the import of 50 million tons from Russia. Should such a contract
be concluded, Russia would need to double its production. RWE,
a major German utility, is planning to build three new coal-fired
In Poland, 80% of
the electricity produced is in coal-fired stations.
Italy is modifying
some of its electricity plants that presently burn oil so as to
function with coal.
In Britain, one third
of the production of electricity is coal-based.
Russia is also increasingly
looking at coal as an alternative to gas due both to poor planning,
a shortage of production and an absence of investments in the
required infrastructure. Russia’s coal production is presently
300 million tons and is forecast to reach 400 million tons by
2010. A five-year plan ending in 2011 should add 41 000 megawatts
of new capacity at a cost of $ 130 billion.
Coal production decreased
due to the restructuring of the industry, and Russia is the country
with the highest dependency on oil and gas for electricity production.
The present coal to gas ratio for electricity production is 26:71,
and the objective is to change it to 31:65.
The mines in Eastern
Siberia and the Pacific are economically viable, with an extraction
cost of Rubles 35 to 100 per ton, or approximately, $ 1.5 to 3.
The coal is particularly low in sulfur and it would be an attractive
product to export, if it were not due to the distance between
the mines and the ports, and the lack of a developed domestic
It is possible that
Gazprom will acquire the coal monopoly, as well as its present
near-monopoly on gas, the only obstacle being the Russian anti-trust
production is very much coal dependent, as 80% of its electricity
is generated by coal-fired plants. Tata Coal was awarded, in April
2008, a major credit line by the World Bank’s subsidiary
International Finance Corporation, to build, in the state of Gujarat,
their ‘Ultra-Mega’ plant which will burn coal to produce
4 billion watts per year as well as 23 million tons of CO2.
Coal production is
the monopoly of Coal India which is unable to satisfy the rapidly
increasing demand in spite of deposits of 100 billion tons. Thus,
India’s coal imports should continue to rise and could even
be higher than the country’s production of 400 million tons.
To maintain a steady
flow of imported coal, however, major investments will be required
in port and rail infrastructure.
An alternative to
imports would be to abolish Coal India’s monopoly and allow
private entrepreneurs to invest in coal production. There is little
hope that this development will take place as the trade unions
have indicated they would resist such a move.
China is a major
user of coal since coal-fired plants are responsible – just
like in Poland – for 80% of the country’s electricity
production. On this basis, China uses annually 2% of its reserves
and is now a net coal importer due, mostly, to the distance between
the coal mine and the largest consumers of electricity, and hence
of the power plants. The coal imports could reach 50 million tons
per year. This would allow the country to treble its electricity
production. It is believed that one new coal-fired plant is inaugurated
every week. Precise figures are not available as a large number
of these plants are operated illegally.
China Coal did a
successful IPO on the Hong Kong stock market in 2006, and raised
1.7 billion dollars, thus enabling it to increase its production
through the opening of new mines.
Another Chinese company,
Shenha Energy, a producer of both coal and electricity, has a
stock market value of $ 63 billion, which ranks it as the world’s
most highly capitalized coal producer.
The renewed attraction
of Chinese coal mining firms on the stock market is due to the
partial liberalization of sales prices, with a maximum increase
of 10% per year.
in China is driven not only by increased industrial output, but
also by the increase in living standards and therefore an increased
use of air conditioning systems.
In the US, 50% of
the electricity production is coal-based and the country is a
significant coal importer and the best quality deposits have been
exhausted or nearly-exhausted.
There are plans to
build up to 150 new plants, particularly to meet the growing energy
requirements of the West Coast.
and pension funds are extremely reluctant to fund these projects
as they expect the Federal Government to pass very strict regulations
in the near future.
The coal-miners lobby
has been very active in clamoring for billions of dollars to allow
electricity production from a mix of coal-based liquid products.
A process of converting coal into gas, underground, could enable
the country to reduce its oil imports by up to 30%.
Discussions are also
under way with the US Air Force for a 25 year contract to supply
a carbon-derived fuel, to partly replace the present consumption
of 10 billion liters of jet fuel.
Producing fuel from
coal, however, requires enormous quantities of water. Also, mining
activity alters the scenery in a major way.
The total number
of projects of coal-fired plants in the world add up to approximately
1 000 over the next five years. This would represent an increase
in coal consumption of 3%per year until 2015 and of 2% per year
from 2016 to 2030.
Coal generates 37%
of the world’s CO2 emissions, but remains
below the level of the emissions due to oil which represent 42%.
It is, however, a worse emitter of carbon dioxide per ton. It
also releases sulfur and some highly toxic pollutants not contained
in oil, such as mercury.
The 600 tons of mercury
released on an annual basis by China blow over Korea and Japan,
the Russian Pacific and eventually reach California.
The damage caused
by pollution has been estimated by the World Bank to cost China
10% of its GDP.
These problems have
led to several projects to ‘clean’ coal.
The European Union’s
CASTO (Capture to storage) program aims at reducing the cost of
capturing CO2 by one third, as the present level of 60 Euros is
The storage would
be done under the ocean floor, for instance in empty oil and gas
wells. Initial experiments on land in the US and offshore in the
North Sea have yielded positive results. There is nevertheless
a risk difficult to asses in case of a major earthquake.
China produced 1.5
billion cubic meters of methane from its coal deposits. This figure
represents 3% of its natural gas consumption. The 2010 target
is to reach 10 billion cubic meters, representing 10% of the total
A gaseification process
was developed in the US, based on the earlier Fischer-Tropsch
process, to transform the hydrocarbons contained in coal into
a hydrogen-rich mixture called ‘syngas’. This product
burns as cleanly as natural gas and can also be converted into
gasoline or diesel.
China invested $
4.5 billion, two-thirds of which were raised on the stock market,
to build two 2250 ton reactors to transform coal from the neighboring
mines into gas. The process makes economic sense with a barrel
of oil above $ 50.
The added value to
US coal mines of such a process would be huge and Peabody Coal,
the world’s largest producer with a turnover of $ 5.3 billion
dollars, has calculated that it would reach $ 3 600 billion for
this firm alone.
Power is working on a process called Integrated Gasification Combined-Cycle
which would enable not only a gasification, but also the use of
the gas to action a turbine. The CO2 could
be collected relatively cheaply and buried or used to produce
The cost of building
such a factory would only exceed by 15 – 20% the cost of
a classic coal-fired plant.
In conclusion one
can say that coal has a bright future, particularly if clean technologies
could be developed to reduce the heavy pollution it causes and
the anti-nuclear lobby is successful in blocking the building
of new nuclear power plants.
It is therefore urgent
to reassess reserves to limit the risk of building plants that
would not be ensured of a continuous supply of raw materials.
QD is a private owned organisation
dedicated to technology transfer, in various countries where inbalances
in development between urban and rural areas exist. Such imbalances
hamper the national development due to the wastage of human and
By the acceptance
and use of innovative technologies, this situation may be redressed.
This assumption is based on the observation that human behavior
changes, when new technologies are accepted and absorbed. In other
words: once accepted, innovative technologies can cause social
It is QD's goal to
select technologies which are innovative, attractive, maintenance
free, modularized (with local construction components), solving
immediate problems, and that can be operated in a decentralized
way (= effective management).
The technology sectors
QD has choosen are water, biogas, wind energy systems, dairy, light,
automotive and innovative decision support systems on urban planning
for rural and urban areas.
Portrait: J. C. Kapur
entrepreneur, solar scientist, futurist, founder chairman of Kapur
Surya Foundation and Kapur Soalr Farms. Publisher and Editor-in-Chief,
Affairs Journal. Author of India in the Year 2000; India;
An Uncommitied Society; Future of Man: Eastern and the Western View;
Human Condition Today (ed.). and over 50 major papers and articles
on issues relating to the future.
"The working of the present paradigm of 'Armament Protected
Consumerism' is aborting the process of evolution by freezing
it at the lowest of the seven stages of human advancement —
that is at the material level. Today we are suffering from the
human and ecological consequences of reckless globalisation
together with its paraphernalia of endless violence, terrorism,
conquest, civilisational conflicts and the break down of the
ethical and moral order. As this process advances, hundreds
of millions are being trapped at diverse levels of deprivation;
while only a few million are its visible beneficiaries. The
entire operation is envisioned, planned, manipulated, controlled
and monitored by a coterie of financial oligarchs, which periodically
changes its shape and face. The working of the present paradigm
of 'Armament Protected Consumerism' is aborting the process
of evolution by freezing it at the lowest of the seven stages
of human advancement — that is at the material level. Today
we are suffering from the human and ecological consequences
of reckless globalisation together with its paraphernalia of
endless violence, terrorism, conquest, civilisational conflicts
and the break down of the ethical and moral order. As this process
advances, hundreds of millions are being trapped at diverse
levels of deprivation; while only a few million are its visible
beneficiaries. The entire operation is envisioned, planned,
manipulated, controlled and monitored by a coterie of financial
oligarchs, which periodically changes its shape and face."
next Season Event is on Thursday, July 3
Registration: 18:30-19:00, Conference: 19:00-21:15, Buffet: 21:15-23:30
18:30 - 23:30
Location: Cultuurhuis Diamantslijperij, Tolstraat 129,
1074 VJ Amsterdam
former Royal Asscher Diamond Factory
of Amsterdam Open Business Club
of Amsterdam Open Business Club
Are you interested in networking, sharing visions,
ideas about your future, the future of your industry, society, discussing
issues, which are relevant for yourself as well as for the 'global'
community? The future starts now - join our online
comments, ideas, articles are welcome!
Please write to Felix Bopp, Editor-in-Chief:
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