The Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT-Guwahati) and government-owned hydrocarbon exploration and production corporation, Oil India, have announced they will collaborate to develop and introduce modern technologies in energy and related sectors. The partnership will also focus on cooperation in the transfer of existing technologies, knowledge up-gradation and innovation partnerships, training and skill development, and other areas of mutual agreement, according to a statement by the Institute.
The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to seal the agreement. The MoU will facilitate a new path to explore numerous opportunities in applied and translational research for the sustainable energy sector. IIT-Guwahati is among the few top institutions in India that are dedicated to developing state-of-the-art technologies and a skilled workforce in the field of petroleum and its allied industries, an official from IIT-Guwahati claimed. He said oil and gas industries would benefit as the partnership will lead to the development of indigenous technologies.
The statement added that collaborations between industry and academia are mutually beneficial. It provides the industry work-ready talent with specialised knowledge and practical training. Academia benefits by having opportunities to work on relevant technologies and challenging problems. A representative from Oil India noted that the organisation looks forward to more collaborations with IIT-Guwahati and the current initiative can enhance the efficiency of the industry and contribute to greater profitability.
The Oil India engineering service group constitutes core engineering departments, including electrical, civil, field engineering, instrumentation, field communication, information technology and logistics. The group makes various essential engineering services available to core areas like exploration, drilling, the production of crude oil and natural gas, the transportation of crude oil, and the production of LPG to the company’s other businesses.
Over the last seven years, India’s installed solar energy capacity has increased 17 times. The country represents 17% of the global population but its historical cumulative emissions are only 4%, while current annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are only about 5%. India added 1,522 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy (RE) capacity in October, which took the total installed RE capacity to 103.05 gigawatts (GW) as of 31 October, according to the monthly cabinet brief issued by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). This included 47.66 GW of solar, 39.99 GW of wind, 10.58 GW of biopower, and 4.82 GW of small-hydro capacity.
As per a news report, according to the October brief, projects of 50.98 GW capacity were at various stages of implementation while projects of 32.06 GW capacity were under various stages of bidding. The ministry note added that award letters were issued on 4 October to set up an aggregate capacity of 5,000 MW solar power plants using domestically manufactured solar PV cells and solar modules. India had set a target of 175 GW capacity by 2022, which would include 100 GW of solar energy, 60 GW of wind energy, 10 GW of small-hydro power, and 5 GW of biomass-based power projects. However, the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, recently raised the nationally determined contribution target of non-fossil energy capacity to 500 GW by 2030 from 450 GW at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.
The country’s think tank, the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog, has announced that it has prepared a draft policy for the Indian Railways to set up electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure at railway stations across the country. The move is an attempt to promote the use and development of the EV sector. The draft policy, which has been shared with the Ministry of Railways, also proposes the supply of renewable energy to the charging facilities in line with Indian Railways’ aim to become a net-zero carbon emitter by 2030.
According to a news report, the policy is under discussion with the Ministry of Railways. NITI Aayog has suggested that while the railways can plan to put in place EV charging facilities at all stations in a phased manner till 2030, the facility can be immediately provided at 123 redeveloped railway stations. The NITI Aayog CEO, Amitabh Kant, explained that railway stations are landmark locations, and they play a unique role in the entire transport sector, which makes them strategic locations to provide public charging solutions for EVs.
The government’s FAME-II (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and EV) scheme targets boosting the adoption of EVs, particularly in public and shared transportation, in a big way. The aim is to support nearly 7,000 e-buses, 500,000 electric three-wheelers, 55,000 electric four-wheeler passenger cars, and one million electric two-wheelers through subsidies. To achieve this, providing a good and accessible EV charging infrastructure network is critical. Apart from the already-existing government initiatives to scale up EV charging facilities, railway stations can provide a secure and accessible charging infrastructure to city residents.
Earlier this month, researchers from several Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) developed new technology to charge EVs, which costs about half of the current onboard charger technology. It can help considerably reduce the cost of two-and-four-wheeler EVs. As per a report, the lab-scale development of the technology is complete and up-gradation and commercialisation are in progress. One of the country’s leading EV manufacturers has also shown interest in this new technology and is ready to develop a full-fledged commercial product that can be applied to existing electric vehicles, the team claimed without naming the company.
The technology has been developed at IIT (BHU), Varanasi, in collaboration with experts from IIT-Guwahati and IIT-Bhubaneshwar. A representative explained that amidst the rising cost of petroleum products and increasing pollution levels, EVs are the best alternative to conventional IC engines. However, the lack of a high-power off-board charging infrastructure forces automakers to incorporate onboard chargers into the vehicle itself.
In the proposed onboard charger technology, the team is reducing an additional power electronics interface required for the propulsion mode and, therefore, the components involved are reduced. The technology will cut costs of the onboard charger by almost 40-50% in comparison with the existing one. The cost reduction in the chargers will subsequently reduce the cost of the EVs as well. An official noted that the technology will be entirely indigenously developed and will have a significant impact on the EV market.
A team of scientists from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has developed a predictive computer programme that could be used to detect individuals who are at increased risk of depression. In trials using data from groups of depressed and healthy participants, the programme achieved an accuracy of 80% in detecting those individuals with a high risk of depression and those with no risk.
Powered by machine learning, the programme, named the Ycogni model, screens for the risk of depression by analysing an individual’s physical activity, sleep patterns, and circadian rhythms derived from data from wearable devices that measure his or her steps, heart rate, energy expenditure, and sleep data.
Activity trackers are estimated to be worn by nearly a billion people, up from 722 million in 2019. To develop the Ycogni model, the scientists conducted a study involving 290 working adults in Singapore. Participants wore devices for 14 consecutive days and completed two health surveys, which screened for depressive symptoms, at the start and end of the study.
Our study successfully showed that we could harness sensor data from wearables to aid in detecting the risk of developing depression in individuals. By tapping on our machine learning programme, as well as the increasing popularity of wearable devices, it could one day be used for timely and unobtrusive depression screening.
– Professor Josip Car, Director, Centre for Population Health Sciences at NTU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine
This is a study that can set up the basis for using wearable technology to help individuals, researchers mental health practitioners and policymakers to improve mental well-being. But on a more generic and futuristic application, the researchers believe that such signals could be integrated with Smart Buildings or even Smart Cities initiatives: imagine a hospital or a military unit that could use these signals to identify people at risk.
Besides being able to accurately determine if individuals had a higher risk of contracting depression, the researchers successfully associated certain patterns in the participants’ behaviours to depressive symptoms, which include feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, loss of interest in daily activities, and changes in appetite or weight.
From analysing their findings, the scientists found that those who had more varied heart rates between 2 am to 4 am, and between 4 am to 6 am, tended to be prone to more severe depressive symptoms. This observation confirms findings from previous studies, which had stated that changes in heart rate during sleep might be a valid physiological marker of depression.
Over the next year, the team hopes to explore the impact of smartphone usage on depressive symptoms and the risk of developing depression by enriching their model with data on smartphone usage. This includes how long and frequent individuals use their mobile phones, as well as their reliance on social media.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, NTU Singapore has produced more advanced COVID-19 tools, hitting another milestone in the country’s efforts to combat COVID-19. A group of university scientists recently developed a laser-powered device that can trap and move viruses using light. Since it can precisely ‘move’ a single virus to target a specific section of a cell, the device, which can manipulate light to act as ‘tweezers,’ could contribute to the development of new approaches to disease diagnosis and virus studies.
The technology would also benefit vaccine development as it allows scientists to identify damaged or incomplete viruses from a group of thousands of other specimens in under one minute, compared to present techniques that are time-consuming and inaccurate, according to the scientists.
Associate Professor from NTU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, a medical geneticist who co-led the research, said: “The conventional method of analysing viruses today is to study a population of thousands or millions of viruses. We only know their average behaviour as an entire population. With our laser-based technology, single viruses could be studied individually.”
Digital transactions in the Philippines are expected to further increase as regulators and other stakeholders continue to strengthen the system and put additional safeguards to thwart financial transaction-related cyberattacks. The central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), aims for 70% of adult Filipinos to have bank accounts by 2023 as part of its digital transformation and financial inclusion bid.
During a recent briefing, the BSP Governor, Benjamin Diokno, said that as of the first quarter of 2021, around 53% of adult Filipinos owned electronic money (e-money) accounts, higher than the 29% in 2019. He also said it was encouraging to see the rise in the use of digital payments after the central bank hit its target to have 20% of financial transactions be done digitally by 2020. The BSP continues to introduce innovations on electronic payment systems in the country, particularly for PESONet and InstaPay, the two electronic fund transfer facilities under the central bank’s National Retail Payment System (NRPS).
While the central bank has received more complaints pertaining to online banking transactions compared to those related to automated teller machines (ATMs) and credit cards, since the pandemic started in 2020, Diokno stated that he does not consider the lack of public confidence as a major constraint to the use of online transactions. The biggest challenges in encouraging Filipinos to adopt digital payments are financial exclusion, lack of substantial savings to put in an account, lack of awareness of the need to maintain an account, and inability to meet documentary requirements to open an account. He noted that these issues are aggravated by problems with Internet connectivity, which is among the primary tools needed for digital financial services.
Last week, the BSP, along with the Philippine Payments Management Inc. (PPMI), launched a multi-batch settlements (MBS) facility that will increase the allowed daily transactions through PESONet. The MBS increases to two cycles the PESONet settlements in a banking day instead of the previous one settlement at the end of the day. The feature aims to incentivise customers to use PESONet for greater convenience, faster settlements, and better liquidity management.
According to a report, the volume of PESONet transactions rose by 26% year-on-year by end-2021 to seven million amounting to around PHP502 billion (US$9.7 billion), up by 37%. During the same period, InstaPay transactions rose by 47% to 45 million, amounting to PHP289 billion (US$5.6 billion), higher by 64% compared to the end-2020. PESONet is for bulk and recurring transactions while InstaPay is for low-value payment transactions. The MBS for PESONet is expected to drive up both the volume and value of transactions.
The average monthly value of PESONet transfers in 2021 was around PHP380 billion (US$7.4 billion). Based on the government’s projections, this figure could increase by more than 50% as it implements MBS in the next 24 months. As of 2021-end, there were 94 BSP-supervised institutions that provide PESONet services, and these include thrift banks (TBs) and non-bank electronic money issuers (EMIs).
The Indian Institute of Technology in Madras (IIT-Madras) is collaborating with a private player to research 5G technology. Through the partnership, the two sides will innovate in the 5G space and enable 5G frameworks validation. They will promote research towards the development of a low-cost and low-frequency 5G network setup for better connectivity in far-flung parts of the country. The objective of this partnership is to create a 5G base station and a single-box solution to enable better connectivity in rural areas. The private player, a global technology consulting company, will provide its expertise on the research capabilities and offer relevant infrastructure to support this initiative.
An expert stated that 5G promises to facilitate the next level of innovation to build a smarter society, but it is important to ensure that these benefits reach every part of the country. The partnership aims to leverage the technology to connect people from remote parts of India in a better way. An official from IIT-Madras noted that the Institute’s 5G testbed project is an effort to encourage Indian start-ups and the industry to take an early lead in 5G. The goal of the project is to build a testbed that closely resembles real-world 5G deployment.
A representative from the Department of Electrical Engineering at IIT-Madras said that the 5G technology has immense potential and could prove to be the best option to bridge the digital divide in India. For evolved urban areas, it will help advance and enhance the benefits of digital technologies over a faster connectivity network. The partnership will build and validate use cases leveraging the 5G testbed for application in domains like smart manufacturing, Industry 4.0, smart cities, and media.
Last November, the Minister of Communication announced that the government would indigenously design and manufacture telecom software and equipment to run 6G networks. The technology will also be exported to other countries. Apart from 6G, the government also plans to launch indigenous 5G technology, with the development of core software for the technology to be completed by the third quarter of next year.
As OpenGov Asia reported earlier, the auctions for the 5G spectrum are also likely to happen in the second quarter of 2022. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has reportedly started the consultation process for 5G spectrum auctions, and this is expected to be completed by February or March 2022. TRAI has granted an extension to the telcos for 5G trials, and the deadline has been shifted to 31 March 2022.
Earlier this year, the Cabinet had approved a set of nine structural and procedural reforms to address the short-term liquidity needs as well as long-term issues of telecom companies. As part of these reforms, the government had given the telcos an option to go for a four-year moratorium on payment of deferred spectrum and adjusted gross revenue dues. About 26% of the mobile subscriptions in India by 2026-end are expected to be 5G. 4G subscriptions could grow at a CAGR of 3%, going from 680 million in 2020 to 830 million by 2026. Currently, India ranks second in the average data usage in the world. The average data usage in India was 13 GB per month till the year 2019, which increased to 14.6 GB in the year 2020. By 2026, the average data consumption in India is expected to be 40 GB per month.
The Minister of Communications and Informatics Johnny G. Plate stated that the Government is preparing 4G as the backbone and 5G experience during the motorbike racing. This is part of the support for the telecommunications infrastructure sector to make the Mandalika 2022 motorbike racing sporting a success. In fact, the Ministry of Communication and Informatics has also increased bandwidth and prepared a 5G showcase.
At this time 4G will be the backbone of communication, but we are also preparing for a 5G experience. Some internet service providers are also ready for the 5G experience. In the Mandalika area, we have prepared and we will take good care of it. Also prepared for millimetre wave to showcase demo 5G high spectrum 26 and 28 GHz. Even then, we prepare for them to prepare a 5G experience.
– Johnny G. Plate, Minister of Communications and Informatics
Meanwhile, one telecommunications operator will also show a 5G case with fixed wireless access technology and immersive extended reality in the form of virtual racing. There will be a lot of 5G that will be placed in Mandalika for the experience using virtual reality that can be witnessed later. In essence, the cooperation between the Ministry and cellular operators as well as fibre optic operators is continuously coordinated.
To anticipate the increase in telecommunication users, the Ministry of Communication and Informatics has prepared an additional spectrum so that the Mandalika 2022 motorbike racing will run well. There will be 110 thousand visitors to Mandalika, which means the traffic bandwidth is high. We must prepare sufficient bandwidth so that the internet upload and download speeds are also smooth.
The average use of the lowest internet capacity between 2-3 Mbps speed must be prepared. Currently, the Ministry of Communication and Informatics has measured the availability in the Mandalika area above 10 Mbps. When a lot of people come, it will definitely have an effect. So that during the competition, everyone needs internet service, the Ministry will take care of this service properly so that they prepare 4G and 5G in massive areas.
With Indonesia set to become one of the world’s digital economic powerhouses, 5G will play an instrumental role in the economy going forward. To be among the world’s top five largest economies by 2045, the digital transformation is a crucial element for enterprises in speeding up growth to move away from a resources-driven economy to a knowledge- and digital-based economy. From smart factories to an AI-based new capital city in Kalimantan and digital-based agricultural businesses to the industrial Internet of Things (IoT), Indonesia has the potential to become Southeast Asia’s largest 5G market.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, Indonesia has one of the world’s highest percentages of internet users. Nonetheless, when compared to other Asian countries, it has a low internet penetration rate. In 2021, mobile internet penetration in Indonesia is expected to be 68%. Its reach is expected to increase to 79% by 2025. The penetration rate is the proportion of the total population that has internet access via a mobile broadband connection.
With increasing mobile internet penetration in the country, there has been an increase in demand for lower data prices, greater coverage, and better service quality. As a key strategy to attract more customers, Indonesian internet providers have proposed attractive data pricing plans as well as optimised data-oriented mobile services.
Moreover, on the popularity of mobile internet, fixed broadband subscriptions in Indonesia have been increasing in recent years. As a result, broadband penetration rates among households in the country have increased.
After the transition of terrestrial television broadcasting from analogue to digital, the Ministry of Communications and Informatics anticipates a frequency spectrum allocation for fast internet. According to the Director-General of Information and Public Communication, the 700-MHz frequency band is a gold band for improving broadband internet.
The Digital Government Exchange (DGX) allows senior leaders from digital governments to discuss relevant issues related to digitalisation. Organised and hosted by the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group Singapore, DGX is a one-of-its-kind international platform that has developed a community of like-minded leaders, facilitating information exchange, sharing of experiences, mutual learning, and exploration of potential areas for international collaboration and cooperation.
The platform also features technical Working Groups (WGs) where countries and cities deep dive into specific subject matters pertinent to governments’ drive for digitalisation. Designed with the intent of providing an open conversation yearly, the DGX WGs bring together international experts in their respective fields to conduct in-depth analysis. The 2021 edition saw representatives share experiences and opportunities on the topics of Cloud, Digital identity, Data governance, and Digital maturity.
The cloud WG dwelled on the momentous shift in the delivery of private/public information systems, where a new service delivery model provides benefits including agility and velocity, innovation, digital transformation, scalability, resiliency, cost-savings, data security, and transparency. Policy approaches and technology strategies were shared on risk management with cloud adoption.
The data governance WG focused on key trends in data governance policies, data governance regulations, and data organisational structures in supporting member countries’ broader big data ambitions. The WG also produced valuable insights on data stewardship and how processes, people, and technology are key enablers of data governance.
The digital identity WG produced insights on how countries utilise digital identity and models that might enable mutual recognition and/or interoperability. Given the pandemic, information was shared openly on respective governments’ experiences with leveraging digital ID for appropriate COVID-19 responses.
The digital maturity WG developed a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) framework for understanding different levels of digital maturity and conducted research interviews with member countries to validate the 7 elements of digital maturity in reimagining and redesigning governments’ digital estate. These elements are user-centred design, a culture of digital by design, data-driven approach, appropriate technology and infrastructure, senior leadership buy-in and appropriate governance, appropriate institutional funding and capacity, and digital capability.
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, a special edition of the Digital Government Exchange Safe Travel Working Group was convened in 2021. Digital governments and smart cities discussed safe travel solutions such as the generation of digital health certificates, cross-border verification, and open-sourced technical specifications or frameworks.
Singapore’s National Digital Identity (NDI), is one of the Smart Nation strategic national projects. As a foundational digital infrastructure, the NDI is critical to achieving Singapore’s vision of improving the lives of citizens, creating opportunities for businesses, and transforming the capabilities of government agencies. Singpass offers Singapore residents greater confidence, convenience and accessibility when transacting with the Government and private sector, online and in person.
Moving forward, a wider variety of transactions will be conducted digitally, from verifying identity and health certificates to cross-border data transfers. The National Digital Identity is expected to support a growing range of use cases for digital identity. NDI is exploring new initiatives that build on the principle of adopting open standards which support interoperability with different digital services and international partners.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, Singapore and the United Kingdom will work more closely to facilitate digital trade between the countries by signing three Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) in the areas of Digital Trade Facilitation, Digital Identities and Cybersecurity. The partnership will make digital transactions by businesses easier, safer and cheaper.
Under the Digital Identities Cooperation MoU, Singapore and the UK will work more closely to develop mutual recognition of digital identities between the countries. The MOU is an important step in the route to achieve interoperability of digital identity regimes between different jurisdictions, which can allow for more reliable identity verification and faster processing of applications, among other things.
Four research projects led by scholars at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) received grants worth HK$20.26 million in total from the inaugural Green Tech Fund under the Environmental Protection Department, Hong Kong SAR Government.
Established with an allocation of HK$200 million from the Government’s 2020/21 budget, Green Tech Fund aims to boost the research into and development and applications of decarbonisation and green technologies. Addressing issues on decarbonisation, energy efficiency, green transport and air quality, CityU joined with local industries and government departments to expedite low-carbon transformation in Hong Kong.
The project led by Chair Professor of Electrical Engineering received funding worth approximately HK$6.69 million. The objective is to develop a smart power conditioner (SPC) by reusing obsolete electric vehicle (EV) batteries, termed second-life batteries. The overall aim is to improve the power quality and energy efficiency within the electrical distribution network and meet the growing demand for charging EVs.
With an artificial intelligence (AI)-empowered diagnostic framework, the SPC system can estimate the remaining useful life of batteries and the health condition of major power components in the SPC through online monitoring. In addition, the system can help reduce electronic waste by controlling the charging and discharging profiles of the batteries to prolong their life. It can also reduce the power loss of the entire electric distribution network, and solve the frequent failure problems experienced by the power capacitor in the passive harmonic filter and capacitor bank.
A grant of approximately HK$ 5.69 million was awarded to the project led by the Dean and Chair Professor of Atmospheric Environment in the School of Energy and Environment (SEE). The research team will develop two types of portable low-cost sensors for the real-time monitoring of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air. Poisonous VOCs are key precursors of the ozone and suspended particulates that generate photochemical smog.
The two sensing systems that the team plans to develop will be mini metal-organic framework-based photoionisation detector sensors and metal oxide semiconductor sensors; and a portable thermal desorption-gas chromatograph-photoionisation detector system. These systems, which entail lower production costs than existing commercial monitoring devices, will help Hong Kong achieve decarbonisation targets and enhance air quality by controlling the emission of VOCs. In addition, they can be easily installed and are flexible enough for various mobile platforms that monitor VOCs at different horizontal and vertical scales.
The project led by the Director of Hong Kong Institute for Clean Energy and the Professor of Materials Science received funding worth HK$5.03 million. His team will develop highly efficient printable perovskite solar cells (PSCs) to help Hong Kong become a leading city in developing technologies for solar energy.
By developing perovskite as appropriate “ink” for printing films directly on crystalline silicon solar cells, the team aims to produce high-performance perovskite/crystalline silicon tandem solar cells that have 30% higher power conversion efficiency than conventional silicon cells. This technology can enhance the efficiency of photovoltaic systems installed on rooftops. In addition, the team will develop semi-transparent PSCs that can be used as solar windows for building-integrated photovoltaics.
The team consists of top perovskite scientists and experts in printable PSCs. It was noted, currently, more than 85% of energy in the world comes from non-renewable sources. Scientists should therefore bear the responsibility of developing new materials and technologies that will provide highly efficient and sustainable clean energy.
The Associate Professor of SEE was granted approximately HK$2.88 million for his project. Given the prevalent trend for developing green energy through the use of solar energy and water to generate hydrogen, the research team will develop a novel and large-scale photocatalyst panel for solar hydrogen evolution using water from various sources.
The team will put bismuth-based photocatalytic powder developed by Dr Ng on stainless steel plates with a transparent window as an outer frame for receiving sunlight. A thin layer of water (less than 1 cm) will be filled within the photocatalyst panels to generate hydrogen. The clean hydrogen produced by sunlight and water can generate electricity for small indoor devices.