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Hybrid bicycle ‘Free Electric’ to provide free and clean electricity

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source: nationalgeographic
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Manoj Bhargava, 62-year-old NRI billionaire and philanthropist, on Friday, revealed the ‘Free Electric’– a hybrid bicycle which generates electricity. It is the main item constituting his clean and affordable energy project.

Priced between Rs 12,000 and Rs 15,000 per unit, the bicycle, which takes human mechanical energy and transforms it into electricity, can provide up to a full day’s worth of electricity with just an hour of peddling. As an affordable and clean energy producer, the device would be a welcome initiative in rural areas and other economically weak sections of the society.

“You won’t have to pay the electricity bill and the only side-effect is that you get fitter,” said Bhargava to Business Standard. 

The device has a simple design and anyone with some basic tools can make repairs if necessary. Bhargava believes that the ‘Free Electric’ is set apart from alternatives such as solar cells due to its robustness. The device was designed and developed in the US, but will soon be produced in India by companies picked by Bhargava.

Bhargava aims to distribute the item all across India, though he didn’t share a timeline for this nationwide launch. For now, it is to be launched in Uttarakhand first. Bhargava has not approached the Indian government yet but any help from the authorities is welcomed.

‘Free Electric’ is lined up for distribution by March, 2016. Bhargava believes that once the benefits of the device are adjudged by the people, demands for it will grow by hundreds and thousands.

“There are approximately 1.3 billion people around the world who do not have access to electricity,” said Bhargava, commenting on the main reason behind his initiative.

“The ‘Free Electric’ hybrid stationary bicycle was conceived as a product to provide electricity to this population. I am confident that this innovation will have meaningful and permanent impact on millions of lives in India,” he added.

Living Essentials, Bhargava’s consumer products company achieved success in 2004 with the introduction of an energy drink, ‘5-Hour ENERGY’. He started the ‘Billions in Change’ initiative as a means to finance and commercialize technology based projects which would help combat poverty.

Bhargava’s team is working at ‘Stage 2 Innovations’, a US-based innovation lab, on inventions which aim to provide affordable and clean energy, portable water and health care. It was after two years of hard work at the lab that ‘Free Electric’ came up as a viable product.

Other products under the scanner are ‘Rain Maker’, a water purification system, and ‘Limitless Energy’, a clean energy project.

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Highlighting the need for India-Austria collaboration in Clean Energy: Read Here!

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Clean Energy (representative image), Wikimedia

New Delhi, May 11, 2017: Highlighting the need for India-Austria collaboration in clean energy, Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal said a policy directive on quality of modules will soon be in place, according to a statement here on Thursday.

Goyal was speaking at the India-Austria Business Forum organised by the Ficci in collaboration with the Embassy of India in Vienna and Austrian Economic Chambers (Wirtschaftskammer A-sterreich WKO).

“India needs to put entire solar value chain under quality direction… The government will have a policy directive in place on quality of modules (by end of May),” the minister said, according to the industry lobby statement.

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The other policies to follow it would be on solar cells, which would be in the next six-seven months and on wafers and polysilicon in the next two years, it added.

Goyal said the two nations could leverage each other’s strengths to benefit both economies. India can offer better pricing for Austrian products while providing low-cost manufacturing base.

He underlined affordability was a paramount imperative to be able to change India’s energy mix.

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He also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a new dimension to renewable energy.

The latest solar tariff of four cents was a case in point for Modi’s vision of scaling up rapidly giving good returns in more ways than one.

Highlighting that within six months of his visit to Finland, there have been multiple exchanges facilitated by Ficci, Goyal said that India could fast track with Austria what it has done with Finland.

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A high-level business delegation accompanied the minister, who went to Vienna for the two-day business forum.

Noting that an estimated $160 billion is required to meet India’s ambitious clean energy goals between now and 2022, Ficci President Pankaj Patel highlighted the immense potential of green bonds for channelling debt capital funds towards clean energy financing in both the countries. (IANS)

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