Space-based solar energy may solve energy crisis: Kalam

The two-day Southern Regional Science Congress marking the centenary year of Indian Science Congress Association began at Kongunadu Arts and Science College here on Saturday with the theme of `Science for shaping future of India.'

Over 300 scientists from leading institutions in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Puducherry will present papers at the congress, which is a prelude to the Centenary year National Science Congress slated to be held in New Delhi next year.

Inaugurating the seminar, former President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam said science can soon resolve the worsening energy situation in the country. "There is a growing possibility to harness energy from the space through space-based power systems. Space-based solar power has several advantages over the traditional terrestrial-based solar plants and India can play a pivotal role in this field,'' he said.

Kalam said scientists in the country are trying to develop nano batteries which will store solar energy in space and transmit it to the earth. "These batteries will store energy and transmit to the earth regularly and each kilogram of payload would touch several hundreds of watt hours. The level of solar irradiance is 1.4 times in extra-terrestrial level than on the surface of the earth. Moreover the panels can collect the solar energy 24 hours a day as against 6 to 8 hours in case of surface-based solar power plants. Also the efficiency of the space-based solar plants would be more, he added.

Delving deep into the need for multi-disciplinary approaches in science, he said one of his research students was developing ways to helpslow learners among children through scientific research. The human brain has billions of neurons. The quantity and quality of the neurons in the brain can be improved by providing greater and greater challenges to the brain at any age. My research student Fr George is making a model of the brain where the neuronal density is the key factor for the smartness of the brain. The model and some studies shows that focused damage does not diminish the capabilities to a greater extend. However, the widespread destruction of neurons decreases the capabilities drastically. If a way is found to increase the neuronal density at least in some areas we will be able to give better quality of life to the affected children, he said. "My research student is evolving methods for increasing the number of neurons through natural methods of challenging the brain, external stimulation or through the use of stem cells or a combination of these,'' he said.

Delivering key-note address, Union science and technology department secretary T Ramasami said the government was keen on encouraging science related research activities to improve people's lives. "From 1981 to 2001 there was a decline in research activities. After that the funding and resources for research programmes has increased and there is a considerable increase in research and development," he said.
Source : TOI

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