Connect with us

Business

Solar Energy, the future of aviation?

Published

on

At nearly 600 miles per hour, today’s planes can transport hundreds of people from point A to point B. In the early twentieth century, the Wright Brothers flew a single-person glider for the first time. Today’s planes are massive structures capable of transporting hundreds of thousands of passengers at speeds of up to 600 miles per hour. 

Effects of Modern Aviation

In 2015, Solar Impulse 2, a solar-powered single-seat aircraft with a wingspan larger than a Boeing 747, became the first solar aeroplane to traverse an ocean using just solar power, flying from Japan to Hawaii. Solar cells cover its wings, which harvest the sun’s energy. At a top speed of 43 mph, this is adequate to carry roughly two tonnes of weight, including a single passenger. 

A solar-powered aircraft is powered entirely by the sun. It produces no toxic exhaust gases, does not pollute the atmosphere, and is environmentally benign. However, when compared to a Boeing 747-400 that can transport 400 passengers at 570 mph, it leaves something to be desired. Before a solar aircraft can be utilised economically, significant progress must be made.

For individuals who fly recreationally, solar-powered planes may be a wonderful idea, but are they better than jet-fueled planes? For people who need to go from one side of the planet to the other, the traditional jet-fueled plane is still the better option on account of economies of scale and time.

Advances in Aircraft Design

NASA and Boeing are collaborating on the next-generation plane’s wing design. Longer, thinner wings supported by a truss could reduce fuel consumption by up to 50%. However, modifying the entire design poses a significant risk, especially if it proves to be incorrect, therefore it’s unlikely to be seen anytime soon.

By 2050, low-carbon biofuels might replace up to 30% of aviation fuel. Cellulosic biomass — grasses and inedible plant parts – or algae are likely to be used as the fuel. Biofuels are still expensive, costing about three to four times as much as jet fuel, though this price may fall as production increases.

In conclusion

Solar-powered planes may not represent the future of commercial aviation; instead, redesigned planes that run on cleaner fuels are more likely to win. But only time will tell if it has a place in recreational flight. At the end of the year, the world’s first solar-powered plane will take to the skies.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business

Corporates and India’s youth: a symbiotic relationship

Published

on

Corporations have a big say in how today’s youth will grow up. Young professionals need not only adequate capabilities but also the proper mix of skills and experience to succeed in a world of rapid change, dynamic business environments, and growing demand for innovation, distinctiveness, and emerging technology. They’re also helping to shape a new culture based on their personal experiences, distinctive ideas, objectives, and job expectations.

Driving An Inclusive Culture

Understanding generational differences will require an organization’s ability to encourage inclusion for this group. It will go a long way if they work in an environment that is inviting, tolerant, and encouraging of their individuality. Employee resource groups can help you achieve your strategic goals. Fiserv’s YoPro (Young Professionals’ Resource Group) aims to create a welcoming and collaborative workplace.

Develop Emerging Leaders

Fiserv’s ‘Technology Analyst Program’ (TAP) is a program that recruits new talent from the country’s top engineering schools. Its goal is to improve the IT talent pipeline and create a more flexible and diverse workforce. Platforms for collaborating with disparate groups to solve problems, exchange ideas, and build novel solutions, in my opinion, function quite well.

Flexibility to Learn. Grow. Explore.

Fresh talent learns business subtleties best with hands-on experience where they can apply their range of skills and expertise to shifting demands, therefore job shadowing and mentoring are critical. Future generations will require even greater communication, teamwork, critical thinking, agility, flexibility, and program management skills. Individuals in a talent-focused business will be assisted in discovering methods to improve their abilities and gain the information required to take on expanded responsibilities or new roles.

Engaging Workplace Experiences

The workplace experience provided to colleagues throughout their careers may be the single most critical factor in keeping young professionals interested. Work-life balance, holistic wellbeing, community contributions, empathy, strong culture and values, growth, and learning opportunities have all taken center stage in employee expectations. Platforms that encourage the exchange of ideas, crowdsourcing, and hackathons to solve company and client problems, as well as innovative programs and guided innovation journeys, are all important tools for increasing productivity and engagement.

For these young professionals to reach their full potential, organizations and leaders must work together to develop a culture of collaboration and inspiration. Young and brilliant professionals enter the industry with a desire to study, become financially self-sufficient, and acquire expertise. Passion, knowledge, and youth will be the driving forces.

Continue Reading

Business

Brand mavens: Take a leaf from Tesla’s marketing playbook

Published

on

More than $25 billion. That’s the combined ad spend of Volkswagen, BMW, Toyota, Ford, and GM each year.

Now, compare that to Tesla’s ad spend, which is a nice round figure: zero. Zilch. Nada.

And Elon Musk insists it will always be that way. Maybe this contrarian thinking is a good thinking; after all, Tesla is now worth more than the 9 largest car companies put together.

But what can you learn from Tesla’s brand strategies? Read on to find out.

Word-of-mouth

Musk is on the record as saying “one customer should generate three”. Thus, it’s no surprise to see Tesla’s referral program constantly tweaked and optimised. Tesla’s incentives (such as giving customers and referrals $1000 off on their purchases) keeps the cash counters ringing.

Hype beast

Of course, Musk’s own Twitter following is enormous, and he uses his clout to feed the hype beast and drive buyers to Tesla in hordes. Like Apple, they use evangelists to spread the word, and bring more into the fold. And so they hype machine feeds itself, a self-perpetuating truth.

Showmanship

Through spectacular live events, Tesla generates waves (and sales) by putting on a show.

Falcon doors? Got it.

Electric trucks? You know it.

Even their failures go viral, like the broken glass on the Cybertruck. There ain’t any such thing as bad PR for Tesla.

Limited supply

Whether by design or accident, the limited production of Tesla’s and the crazy waitlists create a cocktail of demand that is just too heady. The waitlist for some of the cars stretch into months, and the recent shortage of chips will only exacerbate this. 

Do you think that’ll stop potential buyers heading to Tesla in droves? The opposite. It’s human psyche to want what you can’t have.

King of the hill

People want to know they own a piece of nothing less than the best, and Tesla feeds into this mentality expertly. 

Quickest production electric car at the Nurburgring? Check.

World’s Fastest SUV? Check.

A cybertruck that’s like nothing else? Double check.

Tesla owns the EV space right now, and it will take a lot of doing to unseat them. Sure, there are a lot of failings one can pin on the brand, but shoddy marketing isn’t one of them. Brand professionals can do a lot worse than take a leaf out of Tesla’s playbook. 

Continue Reading

Business

From billionaire to nillionaire: The amazing story of Bill Hwang

Published

on

We’ve all been there, losing money on account of something or the other. Maybe you lost your wallet. Maybe you chose to whip out a few notes near an open window. Maybe you donated it to a lost cause, like that friend who promised to pay you back, but never has (and never will). 

No matter what though, you’ll never get anywhere near the incredible implosion of Bill Hwang, whose company Archegos Capital Management lost a whopping USD 20 billion in 2 days. It is, without a doubt, one of the most spectacular financial missteps in modern history.

Who on earth is Bill Hwang?

Good question. Hwang, now 57, was once regarded on Wall Street as one of the greatest traders on the block, and you’ve probably never heard of him, just as you never heard of his nosedive into infamy. 

Since 2013, Hwang grew a measly $200 million fortune  into a mind-boggling pile of cash that would be the envy of Scrooge McDuck, and was worth $30 billion at his zenith. Had he cashed in his stocks, he would have joined the ranks of the world’s richest billionaires without blinking an eye. Remember; there are wealthier people than him, but their assets were largely illiquid: businesses, real estate, complex investments, sports teams, and artwork. Theoretically, Hwang had enough liquidity to be laughing all the way to the bank. 

And then, in two short days, it was gone. Poof. Just like that.

How did this happen?

Hwang kept a low profile, and used swaps, a type of derivative that gives an investor exposure to the gains or losses in an underlying asset without owning it directly. He didn’t like to show his hand or be too high profile, which is why few knew of him outside a select circle. Think of him as an elusive whale, the Moby Dick of investing. By using swaps, the identity and size of the positions taken by this Moby Dick were hidden from Captain Ahab. Heck, even the firms that financed his investments couldn’t see the big picture.

And then, the cookie crumbled.

Hwang’s playbook saw him use borrowed money to leverage his positions, and when Archegos defaulted on the loans taken out to fuel the massive machinery powering a massive $100 billion portfolio, it sent shockwaves through the financial world. Banks dumped his holdings like a hot potato, stock prices were savaged like a babe left to the wolves. Investors were left licking their wounds: Credit Suisse Group AG lost $4.7 billion, and Nomura Holdings Inc. were staring at a loss of about $2 billion.

Having ploughed most of its borrowings into a handful of stocks – such as ViacomCBS, GSX Techedu, and Shopify – Archegos had a highly concentrated portfolio, and kept its banks in the dark by trading via swap agreements. Banks extended him leverage and cemented his position in the underlying asset (such as stocks), with Archegos gaining (or in this case, losing) from changes in the stock price. But critically, the bank shows up in filings as the registered holder of the shares.

Thus, lenders didn’t know the extent of his leverage, or that he had over-extended himself with these very stocks by jumping into bed with other banks. And so, when it all came crashing down, it did so spectacularly.

Memories of meltdowns past

While Archegos’ collapse does evoke memories of financial meltdowns of yore, it didn’t cause a ripple effect of market losses because of good fortune, and perhaps character on Hwang’s part. His lenders, though, should have lent more scrutiny into his dealings, and leverage, and not played Russian Roulette with a loaded Bazooka.  

As long as transparency remains at issue at the top of the investing pyramid, whales such as Hwang will continue to roam free. But there’s a parable in there for us all; never bite off, or invest, more than you can afford to chew on. There’s some food for thought.

Continue Reading

Trending