Published: Wednesday 15 January 1997

eco-imaging: To cash in on companies eager to acquire a green image, the Calcutta-based Tara Risk Research Resources and Reward Private Ltd (Tara-4R) is planning to introduce environmental risk management services to business houses in India. The company will also institute an award for eco-friendly companies. According to Omkar Chatterjee, Tara-4R adviser, companies are keen about environmental risk management as environmental audits have become compulsory. The company will tie up with a US-based firm to provide information support for small companies intending to adopt green technology.

new think-tank: A new computer that emulates the human brain is all set to hit the market. Formulab Neuronetics Corp Ltd of Perth, Australia, has developed a machine that can process more complex prob lems than the current personal computers. Named the Richter Paradigm computer, the mach ine computes at much faster speeds than a PC running at 166 megahertz. The company has also developed a new card, Neurocard, which when inserted in a PC can turn it instantly into a 'reasoning' machine. The intelligent computer is priced at US $3,000.

spreading sunshine: The world's largest photovoltaic power plant will be built on the Thar desert in Rajasthan by a US firm Amoco/ Enron Solar. Solarex, its sister company and the world's leading supplier of solar equipment, will be providing new generation solar modules for the plant. The plant would produce 50 MW of electricity. Currently, photovoltaic power costs about 18 cents per kW hour. But it is likely to cost half the rate with the use of the new technology. Solarex has supplied solar power modules for numerous applications in developing countries.

reaching out: US-based Sprint Corp and its partners Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom, have formed a worldwide alliance to offer intranet services. The companies will employ Internet and World Wide Web technologies for use in their own in-house networks. The services will create a "single, worldwide, multipoint environment for information sharing and electronic commerce," the companies said. The intranet services would be offered to multinational corporations in various countries.

green engines: Three-wheelers, one of the most polluting vehicles, can now turn greener by installing compressed natural gas-based (CNG) engines. The engines have been developed by the Automotive Research Association of India, Pune. The two-stroke, single cylinder, 175-cubic centimetre air-cooled engine will be marketed soon. Under city conditions, the 25-litre gas cylinder, placed under the rear seat, gives up to 170 km mileage. With these cylinders, the cost of running three-wheelers would come down from Rs 1.20 to Rs 0.45 per km. The conversion of a petrol-based vehicle to CNG is likely to cost Rs 15,000.

bovine beds:Now cows can relax in style and yield more milk. Dunlop-Enerka factory in Drachten, Netherlands has begun producing luxury mattresses for cows. The company has come up with water-filled rubber mats, which can be filled with hot water for more comfort. Trials have shown excellent results. The cows, reluctant at first to lie on the waterbeds, found them so comfortable that they refused to get off them. The company has begun exporting the mattresses initially to UK.

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