2019 Feb 20
Countries all across the world are combatting issues against land, air, and water pollution, as well as global warming. Sri Lanka is no exception. While there is certainly progress, there are many other ways we could be joining hands to promote sustainable living.
Sri Lanka has over 1 million three-wheelers, the harmful emissions given out by these vehicles contribute drastically to air pollution and global warming. Taking up the challenge, 33 year old Sri Lankan engineer and lecturer at the University of Moratuwa, Sasiranga De Silva, has an innovative solution to this problem.
“Since university, I had a passion for electric vehicles and renewable energy systems, along with a particular interest in global warming, greenhouse gases, and emission reduction as well. Once I joined the University of Moratuwa I was looking for ways to get engaged with vehicle-related research and I later narrowed it all down to electric vehicles.”
So what exactly did he do?
Aiming to make Sri Lanka’s favourite mode of local transportation safer for the environment and its citizens, he created an electric conversion kit that would enable auto rickshaws to run on electric power. The kit itself is based around a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that can cover 110 km on a single charge. This reduces harmful emissions and works on lowered energy consumption. Another incredible benefit of this sustainable solution is that it’s a money-saving option.
Mr. Sasiranga will also be providing drivers with a charger to charge their vehicles overnight.
“The efficiency of an electric three-wheeler is much higher compared to the conventional gasoline three-wheeler. Therefore, the overall energy consumption is lower so greenhouse gas emissions can be considerably reduced. When you look at Sri Lanka, we have over 1 million three-wheelers on the roads so since we have the quantity, if we can convert at least 80% of these three-wheelers, the environmental impact will be huge.
And of course, the running costs. The electric three-wheeler is far less costly to operate than those run with gasoline so there will be a lot of monetary savings with the three-wheeler drivers and that could help them uplift their lives.”
His inspiring work has been recognized on an international level by the likes of the UN and even won a grant of US $10,000 and was one of the 12 winners of the “Asia-Pacific Low-Carbon Lifestyle Challenge” which supports youth that devise innovative ideas to enforce sustainable living. He plans to use this money to support his further research on this concept. But the prize also involved training in business and marketing, which will no doubt help him strategize his approach in taking his invention to a commercial level.
Still in the works is his prototype, on which he’s conducting various tests. Once done, he will be selling this product to three-wheeler drivers. When commercialized, this will also create more jobs for mechanics and engineers across the country!
Perhaps the biggest challenge he will face along the way is getting drivers to invest in making the switch, which is why it is highlighted that not only is this a sustainable option- but one that allows you to save your money in the long term, making it a worthy investment.
It is precisely this creative, energy-efficient, and cutting-edge thinking that will make Sri Lanka a safer place for the people at large to live in. We commend Sasiranga on this innovative leap and hope that this will spark greater motivation to engage in more sustainable measures of living, including electric vehicles, that will leave behind a significantly positive environmental impact.