Thursday, September 6, 2007

SAVE FUEL, और अपने देश की प्रगती में हाथ दो

IISc innovation may cut fuel bill

IISc has come out with a piece of research that should interest India’s energy ministry. The new technology enhances engine efficiency and cuts down fuel consumption and carbon emission, saving huge amounts of money for the energy-starved country.

Developed by K J Rao, Parvathi Ramaswamy and K B R Varma of the Materials Research Centre, the technology is simple and effective. It uses a coating of zirconia, a metal-mineral, inside the engine, enhancing its performance at high temperatures without hindering its working. Since most engines die out at high temperatures, the crucial part of this invention is the heat-absorbing property of the special coating of zirconia, the mineral which is available in abundance on the beaches of Kerala। India is one of only three countries where zirconia deposits are found.

Researchers applied zirconia coating on an engine, specifically on the piston and rings, and let it run. It was found that the engine survived temperatures of almost 400 to 500 degrees Centigrade. “The high temperatures inside the engine were absorbed by the zirconia coating, allowing the engine to run even at those temperatures. The engine was run for 35,000 km and yet the integrity of the coating was preserved,” Prof Rao said. The atmosphere created by the high temperature was being cooled or tempered by the zirconia coating or, as researchers call it thermal barrier coating. The cooling meant the heat was not escaping into the air nor was it being trapped within the engine. The thermal barrier worked as coolant, similar to the liquid used in a car to reduce high temperatures of the engine.

An engine with high operating temperatures (that is also cooled) generates more energy. “This means it will use or consume less fuel and energy. The result is there is a saving — of money and importantly fuel,” Prof Rao said. The thermal coating can be applied on railway engines, irrigation pumpsets, motors, vehicle engines, all static engines and even aeroengines. The study revealed that the coating improved engine efficiency by 7%. “It would on a national scale mean a saving of Rs 4,500 crore a year in the fuel bill of almost Rs 180,000 crore that India pays,” Prof Rao said. Savings will go up if industries too make use of this low-cost technology. thanks to Times Network.



GIVEN half a chance or even less, any motorcyclist with gasoline in his veins would want to own an imported high powered bike…A big imported bike! But wishes are not horses. And most of us can only drool at those machines when they roar past us every once in a while. Such high-end bikes from Yamaha, Honda, Ducati, Suzuki, Kawasaki, BMW and others are, as of now, the domain of a microscopic minority and they cost anything between Rs 5 lakh to 14 lakh. Many times over their original price tag.

Liberalisation has seen the market being flooded with high-end cars. Indians can now buy such cars as Porsche, Rolls Royce, BMW, Audi, Lamborghini, Bentley and a whole lot of other badges off the shelves. And if reports are to be believed,it may not be long before Tata Motors will be selling marquees like Ferrari,Maserati,Alfa Romeo and Lancia.

Unfortunately, you cannot step into a shop and buy a high-end motorcycle still. Simply because it is not there. None of the motorcycle manufacturers have a policy to sell the performance and lifestyle bikes from their international line-up.But you still see such bikes on the Well there are a few 'dealers' who sell these bikes at a premium, but it is anybody's guess as to how these bikes are brought in.

To import a new bike,one has top pay an import duty of 88% while a used bike attracts a duty of 142%. These figures do change sometimes,but not drastically,and if someone brings in a motorcycle by duly paying the duties, the price of the bike will simply go through the roof.

According to a source who deals in and repairs superbikes (I will use superbike as a generic term although it generally means bikes above 750cc) many of these bikes are brought in through the 'transfer of residence' route which means that the registered owner who has brought in the bike when he relocated to India from overseas. And he can sell the bike only two years after registering it in India.

But that is hardly the case.Most of these bikes change hands a number of times without actually being transferred.A signed transfer form usually does rounds. Some dealers import these bikes as spares parts because they attract lower duties. The chassis is offloaded at one dock while the engine,wheels and other parts are offloaded at different places. Most of the times,the details on the paper do not match the actual specifications of the bikes. Such bikes come a little cheap, but they still find ready takers.Since these bikes are brought in by ships,almost all these bikes sport MH (Maharastra), KA (Karnataka), AP (Andhra Pradesh) and MP (Madhya Pradesh) registration number plates.

But it is widely believed that the ones with MH number plates are the cleanest ones. This is because the registering authorities issue a proper Registration Certificate which mentions almost all the details relating to imports as well as the importer's passport number. But these are in a minority. Any dealer or owner who says that the original entry bill which is generated at the dock had been handed over to the registering authorities is lying through his teeth and most of them do that.The truth is that most documents including the entry bill is made in triplicate and one copy stays with the owner.

Even if you buy one of these bikes, you cannot really insure it always.The insurance agency asks for a whole lot of documents like original purchase bill,entry bill,custom papers etc and most of the guys do not have these. A comprehensive insurance is not possible because spares are not available in India and the agency cannot value the new parts or determine the loss in case of an accident.

Generally,the local police do not bother these bikers for their papers because someone who rides such expensive bikes might have connections in very high places (and this is the widely believed reason).But these bikers do fear the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DIR). A couple of years ago,the DIR had launched an extensive drive in Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore to account for these bikes.After the agency had seized a number of bikes, the rest went underground and disappeared for a few months. And they disappeared because most of them have imported the bikes through dubious means.I would certainly like to own one such bike,but I think I will wait for Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki to bring them in. All these manufacturers have announced that they will bring in performance bikes of up to 800cc in the near future.And if I really get desperate,I will buy a used BMW F650.It is legal, it is big and it is huge fun. But I wonder.Why do they make life so tough for a biker?

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