Energy Management…… Yes,… Energy Can be Managed Too….

World is moving fast,.. very very fast,. unbelievably fast  some of us even can’t fathom of. But, why bother ? Just move with the flow….

But there is one problem,.. you will be left alone, others will move on. While some still think about how to reduce waste  during transport of vegetables (and still looking for a solution) others are looking into change the molecular structure of the cancer drug or some other important drug, or trying to find a way to utilize carbon dioxide as a raw material to generate liquid fuel…. Two worlds apart.

Third world countries encounter many problems; in fact they don’t have time to invest into more complicated problems. They have to face population boom, poverty, unemployment, most of all irregularities in the governance aka corruption and waste. Since their priorities are way different from the developed countries, energy management has never occurred to be a significant concern to anyone in the third world countries. The irony is, they are  the people responsible for the increasing global energy consumption, not the developed countries. Developing countries, mainly China and India takes a big chunk of global energy production, so does the pollution. Although they are trying or pretending of trying to control the issue, the statistics point otherwise.

World Energy Consumption

 The breakdown of global energy consumption shows the increasing trend of coal and natural gas usage,. however this trend is now slowly changing towards the renewable resources as the world is focusing on using less and less fossil fuel sources for energy consumption. Unfortunately the third world leaders are yet to realize the danger of depending on the fossil fuel. Sri Lanka is now in the receiving end since their crude oil supplier, Iran has got US trade sanctions, and as a result losing billions of dollars. It’s unbearable for a small country like Sri Lanka, but it seems to be OK with the authorities.  Planning is not the best practice in Sri Lanka. Sapugaskanda oil refinery went on regular two week maintenance, but we don’t have enough refined oil stock for next two weeks, according to the news items. Following the repairs, there will be another price hike, there are hints.

Even though this new trend on renewable energy continues, it will not be sufficient enough to fulfill the projected 35 TW global energy requirement by the year 2030. Just like in every other sector, the energy is also manageable. In short, energy management is the process of monitoring, controlling, and conserving energy in a building of an organization. However, this model applies to a system where three wasteful elements; wastage of other resources, inefficiency, and corruption is eliminated if not controlled. Unfortunately in Sri Lanka all these elements work on tandem and adds to the tax giving enough burden to the consumer. Before the commencement of the Chinese built thermal power plant, the minister of power and energy boasted about reducing the electricity prices, yet we were fighting against frequent breakdowns until recently. Our feeding reservoirs for hydro-power generation are half filled with sediments and mud, but I am not aware of any solution to clear them up to increase the storage capacity.  Out upcountry lands are fully occupied with vegetable cultivation and tea, the rest belongs to pine cultivation, which none contribute to preserve the feeding area for the reservoirs, hence we rely on the rain to fill them: unfortunate, bad planning. But still we are not too late to start over.

While planning energy management, the government can work simultaneously on all these areas to increase the efficiency,  capacity, and to have a long term vision on energy generation. Energy management can be initiated by the electricity board, and lead by example from itself: But, will they do it ?

Typically energy management involves several key steps:

  1. Metering your energy consumption and collecting the data.
    • Since the metering system is currently in effect, this step is already being implemented.
  2. Finding opportunities to save energy, and estimating how much energy each opportunity could save. You would typically analyze your meter data to find and quantify routine energy waste, and you might also investigate the energy savings that you could make by replacing equipment (e.g. lighting) or by upgrading your building’s insulation.
  3. Taking action to target the opportunities to save energy (i.e. tackling the routine waste and replacing or upgrading the inefficient equipment). Typically you’d start with the best opportunities first.
    • Each appliance takes up different amount of energy. Tungsten bulbs waste more energy than CFL, and LED bulbs consume almost 80% less than both of the above mentioned.
    • Energy Star ® appliances comply to less energy consumption and replace any regular appliance/equipment with Energy Star ® appliance.
    • Unplug the electrical items when they are not actually being used can save about 10% of the total electricity bill. Right now, a typical household has only one equipment that needs continuous power supply : the refrigerator. All the other appliance can be unplugged after the use, and you can see a clear difference.
    • Manage time by using an electrical item/equipment. For example, ironing the clothes can be done at once for the whole household rather than ironing them in different times of the day or week.
  4. Tracking your progress by analyzing your meter data to see how well your energy-saving efforts have worked.

(And then back to step 2, and the cycle continues…)

Energy management applies in all the sectors that involves at least a bit of energy: Basically everything. From power/energy generation to the household consumers, everyone in between can contribute in their own capacity for energy management. Private sector has the opportunity to increase their profit and the public sector can minimize its losses by the same system.

This topic spreads into every nook and corner in the society, and can be discussed for hours if not over few pages. Interested to know more ? Please drop a line, will extend into few more articles.

Life Really Sucks,.. Suck it up and face it head on……..

During  last 20 years of my life, I dealt with chemistry and life all around the world; I was lucky enough to meet various personalities: from prison inmates to company directors CEO’s, owners, politicians and what not…  When I was working at ITI as a novice research assistant, I met a prison inmate, and learned about their life, and prison life, which kept myself away from possible troubles; I have met several successful individuals as high ranking officials, owners and regulators of different organizations; worked with toddlers as well as world renown professors of chemistry, and everyone in between. during my Ph.D. and postdoctoral period, I dealt with hundreds of graduate students. Most of them are foreigners, some Sri Lankans. Each of these personalities are unique. Different from each other. Random, law of entropy.

All these experiences are invaluable, but it doesn’t make my life perfect, I am still learning… The stereotype is: students. Been there, done that, I had the same experience. They are so special to me since most of them directly dealt with me and asked for advice, and I did not hesitate to offer my help.  Most are in the age group of 21-30.  Among them majority are girls; Don’t ask : Wouldn’t tell.

Most of them had one common complain,. My Life Really Sucks. !

Really ?

Life is a philosophy, life is a war, life is a song, and what not…. Many philosophers and religious leaders have preached about life in many avenues: Google it.  In my opinion, life is a war: from beginning to the end. If one is successful at the first attempt, still it’s a war between the parents: you know what I mean. Some have hard time conceiving a child. Some go to greater extents to get remedies, trials, etc.  Once a sperm start swimming upstream, it faces million obstacles to beat the siblings to conceive an egg. The toughest war is won. During the nine months of pregnancy, the parents are in a battle to provide proper nourishment to the fetus and the mother. Once the nine months are passed, both the mother and the newborn  fight to get him/her out: another war. It’s not over yet,. Surviving many wars, you are here now. Life is a war,… Once you are ready to leave this life, still it’s a war,. You are fighting for your life, doctors, relatives are fighting for your life : you leave them, leaving the war to the others to arrange your funeral: THE LIFE IS A WAR !

During this war, we face a load of experience. Some are sweet, some not. But we always remember the bad experience. That’s the human nature, we never cherish the sweet moments of our life and ponder them, instead we cry over the sad moments. So you conclude : Life sucks.. ! Is this fair ?  Can someone’s life suck all the time ? I wonder,.. is it his/her lack of planning ? Or overconfidence ? Or being at the wrong place at the wrong time ? Or all of the above ?

Some plan their life very well, hence become successful. Some are too emotional, follow the others and plan their life, but fail. For example some do not try hard. giving up leads to misery. Winners never quit, quitters never win.  Most of us have support groups to get help in hard times,.. I have my dad and uncle. Between them I get most of my answers. I do have plan A, B and C. But still I fail sometimes. I feel life sucks.

It’s time, if not you have not already started. Plan the life, have a plan A, B, and C, Have a support group. Life is a gift, enjoy it. Admire the good memories, learn from the mistakes. You will see the transformation.

Life sucks,.. Suck it up and face head on… You will win.


You can read the Sinhalese translation of this from