Power & Energy

EditorNovember 17, 2017


With the new “Blue-Green Budget” for 2018, Sri Lanka is taking a leap to the future to ensure that we leave behind a sustainable and environmentally friendly landscape for future generations. Increased levies on large capacity engines, the implementation of a Carbon Tax, a reduction in Electric Vehicle taxes; are some of the few hallmarks of “going green”.

With the significant reduction in EV import duties, it won’t be long before the mass public is swept up in an EV extravaganza. However, before everyone starts buying an electric vehicle, it’s important to understand the infrastructure needs that must be put in place. The infrastructure, especially the charging infrastructure, must be adopted with a well-designed regulatory framework in place. These must take into account public safety, fire hazards, vehicle safety (battery and electronics), while delivering an optimum level of convenience to the public.

One of the benefits of the Electric Vehicle, aside from not having to worry about fuel shortages, is that it chargers like any normal electronic device. You just have to connect a charging cable from your charger to the vehicle. And just like most electrical appliances, different regions have specific standards that must be met, due to the various power supplies; line voltages, electricity limits. As an example, most Japanese appliances run at 110V/60HZ so they are not recommended for the Sri Lankan market, which operates at 240V/50HZ.

Electric Vehicle charging equipment are specified by various plug types, for their respective regions that are delineated by line voltage and/or current rating, called Type 1 through Type 4.

Type 1: Type 1 connectors are found in EVs manufactured for the North American and Japanese markets. These markets have a household supply (normal grid voltage) of 110V-120V.

Some Type 1 vehicles can be charged through a dedicated Charging Equipment that can operate at 230V-240V (from Dual/split phase supply of 120V line) and at 20A (standard high current Sri Lankan households are wired to deliver 15A only). Manufacturers clearly request the vehicle owner to have the unit installed by a certified electrician to ensure that right procedures and codes are followed to avoid dangerous situations from arising. Charging times with Type 1 can take from 4 hours to 21 hours.

Type 2: Type 2 connectors are found in the European Union, Australia, and since of late in Singapore. Type 2 was designed for markets with a national household supply (line voltage) of 230-240V, or 380-440V with three phase connections. Type 2 socket and connector allows for average home charging from 6 hours to 2 hours and also a “semi fast” charging in 1 hour at public locations. These also allow for fast charging with a combined socket (CCS2).

Type 3: Found in some parts of Italy and France but phased out due to Type 2 becoming the EU standard.

Type 4: Also known as DC fast charging, this is commonly found with Type 1 sockets. Type 4 chargers can only be used in public locations due to their high power requirements (from 40kW up to 150kW). These chargers can top up your average EV battery in less than 30 mins so they are quite convenient, but there is a disadvantage; the more times you charge the battery with a fast charger, the shorter your total battery lifespan.

Choosing the right standard: With all these various types, one might wonder what exactly is Sri Lanka’s standard for Electric Vehicles and Charging? At this time, we simply don’t have one. The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) is currently looking into setting up regulations and standards but the new “Blue-Green” budget has skipped that process all together. It is imperative that the standards are adopted and the commercial as well as private charging equipment deployed are regulated and enforced to meet the standards.

A majority of all-electric vehicles that are found in Sri Lanka are of Japanese origin. Therefore, one may be tempted to set Type 1 as the standard. However, this was designed and adopted for the Japanese and North American markets, having an entirely different grid supply, generally a Type 1 charger should not be plugged into any household outlet in Sri Lanka. Connecting an EV charger without fully knowing what your household supply can lead can lead to extremely hazardous situations. Use of poorly protected outlets and/or extensions codes too can lead to hazardous and dangerous situations.  Shown below are the results of over drawing from lower rated outlet/plugs.

As Type 2 is designed for same line voltage as found in Sri Lanka, it could be adopted as the best standard for this market. It complies with Sri Lanka’s grid, 230V-240V single- phase and 380V-440V three- phase. , EV owners can plug their Type 2 Charging Cable directly into an appropriately rated household outlet without having to worry about the voltage. They can use the same charging socket at public charging stations since Type 2 also allows for semi fast charging. However, the necessary studies must be carried out by the relevant authorities relevant authorities must carry out the necessary studies in order to determine the most appropriate standard for Sri Lanka.

However, if the Type 2 is adopted as the Local Standard, what does it do to 4000+ EVs that are designed for the Japanese market? An interim standard must be adopted until all EVs imported or locally manufactured adhere and comply with a single, uniform standard.  In the interim the government could look into setting up dedicated Type 1/Type 4 2 charging points (that are built to specific codes and regulations) to ensure that Type 1 EV owners are not left out, and slowly shift them to the national EV Standard. Similar approaches have been carried out in Germany and Singapore with the assistance of companies like Bosch who manufacture charging stations designed to comply with regulations in these countries. .

One might wonder why authorized dealers for vehicle manufactures are not selling their all-Electric Vehicles in Sri Lanka? It is primarily due to the lack of any EV/EV Charging regulations and standards. Yes, one manufacturer does sell an EV in Sri Lanka but there’s a catch, that model comes with a small petrol engine that charges the battery up.

An EV owner cannot service or repair an EV at a licensed dealership. Understandably the manufacturer, the authorized dealer, cannot take the responsibility for damages caused to the car or its systems due to consumers that may plug the car to any charger or charging station that does not meet standards required for the vehicle. It is similar to petrol or diesel cars having some minimum threshold for having the correct type of petrol/diesel available for the vehicle at fuel stations, a standard mandated by the regulator and enforced by the authorities concerned.

The Sri Lankan government has taken the right steps to ensure we go full electric by 2040. It is a lofty goal, an achievable one, which will serve the public and the environment well going forward. It is also therefore it is vital to ensure the proper regulations and standards that ensure safety of the consumer and the relating to Electric Vehicles are adopted and enforced. A priority is to adopt regulations governing charging stations that will address consumer safety and Charging are adopted. This article primarily covered the standards that relate to the consumer and its safety and that of the equipment, the standards that must be adopted must also consider the integrity of the grid that can be ensured by having the charging infrastructure meet industry standards for chargers, its electronics and quality. In the absence of correct regulations, we will expose the public to an unwarranted risk.

by Dr. Pasad Kulatunga

The writer is the Chief Technology Officer and Executive Director of Fairway Waste Management. He is also the founding and the Managing Director of Sustainable Alternatives (Pvt) Ltd, a project development company dedicated to deploying sustainable technologies in waste-to-energy  understanding the technologies as well as the societal impact of adopting these technologies.

EditorNovember 5, 2017


Game-changing innovation set to revolutionise the construction industry

D.P. Jayasinghe Piling Co. (Pvt) Limited, one of the leading companies in the field of construction, and piling in Sri Lanka, unveiled a game changing innovation for the local construction industrywith the launch of Sri Lanka’s first and only 3000mm diameter drilling rig at a ceremony held at the Waters Edge recently.

The launch, graced by General Manager of BAUER Equipment Malaysia Robert Neukaeuper and Upali Jayasinghe – Chairman/Managing Director of D.P. Jayasinghe Piling Co., and was witnessed by a large number of industry experts, including leading engineers, consultants, as well as top management teams from several private organisations and government institutions related to the construction industry.

Manufactured by BAUER Maschinen Group of Germany, the Bauer BG 39 hydraulic drilling rig is expected to take Sri Lanka’s construction industry to the next level in terms of quality, speed, flexibility and convenience. Powered by a CAT C 15 engine that produces 433 kW a 1,850 rpm, the BG 39 includes a maximum drilling diameter of 3000mm and a maximum drilling depth of 60m. It boasts of 389 kNm torque and is capable of completing pile boring within shorter time periods when compared to the other piling machines available in the country at present. Despite a total weight of 178 tonnes, the BG 39 can be safely transported and assembled in any part of the country within 48 hours.  The new machine will complement the wide range of drilling rigs available at the company that ranges from 600m to 2000m in diameter, all of which are from BAUER Maschinen Group.

Established in 2013, D.P. Jayasinghe Piling Co. offers a highly-personalised service through its dynamic team of expert service personnel that delivers a complete solution to all clients. It has set a benchmark by utilising only technologically-advanced equipment sourced from Sri Lanka’s market leader and German specialists in foundation engineering machinery, BAUER Maschinen Group. D.P. Jayasinghe Piling Co. has successfully completed over 50 pile construction projects to date covering a wide array of projects such as housing developments, apartment complexes, hospitals and many more. Some of the mega piling projects completed by the company since inception include the Mihidupura Housing Project at Edmonton Road – Colombo 05, One Colombo Project for TATA Housing Development at Slave Island, Ayurveda Hospital Building-Stage II – Colombo 08, Apartment Complex at Ward Place, Colombo 07 for Prime Land Residencies and Waste Water Pumping Station Project of Colombo Municipal Council – Wanathamulla, Bambalapitiya and Vystwyke Road.

Commenting on the game-changing innovation, Upali Jayasinghe – Chairman/Managing Director of D.P. Jayasinghe Piling Co. stated, “There are a significant number of large-scale private and public projects being planned for the immediate future across the island as Sri Lanka continues to expand her urban landscapes and country-wide infrastructure. Some of these include projects such as apartment complexes, hospitals, hotels, highways and overhead bridges. Using the BG 39, not only can clients cut down on the time and costs, they are also guaranteed of a superior quality finish. I can confidently say that we are the No.1 in the country when it comes to quality and this new drilling rig will further boost our standing in the local construction industry and enhance our reputation as a company that provides world-class, innovative solutions to our valued clientele.”

D.P. Jayasinghe Piling Co. is a subsidiary of D.P. Jayasinghe Group of Companies, an organisation founded by Deshabandu D.P. Jayasinghe in 1960 as a transport company. Over the years, D.P. Jayasinghe Group of Companies has progressively evolved to become a conglomerate specialising in diverse aspects across multiple industries. The group’s portfolio comprises of transport, heavy machinery, construction, real estate and property, warehouse complex and container yards.

EditorOctober 26, 2017


Keeping true to their promise of pioneering renewable energy trends in Sri Lanka, JLanka Technologies unveiled some eagerly anticipated products and technologies at Techno 2017. As Sri Lanka’s leading solar solutions provider, JLanka introduced GoEV – Sri Lanka’s first homegrown smart Electric Vehicle (EV) charging platform, followed by the launch of the internationally acclaimed SolarEdge HD Wave Converter at Techno 2017.

Designed and developed locally by JLanka, the GoEV platform supports the rapidly growing number of EV owners in Sri Lanka with multiple services and benefits. The platform’s features include an online monitoring system, SMS alerts, 24×7 support and much more, with a fully functioning mobile app. Mr. Nalin Karunasinghe, Consultant Engineer at JLanka introduced the platform to the gathering, together with DC fast charging units also manufactured for the first time in Sri Lanka, ideal for high traffic commercial hubs such as Colombo and other major cities across the country.

This was followed by Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Hon. Minister of Special Assignment and Chief Guest of the opening day at Techno 2017, unveiling the SolarEdge HD Wave Converter. Manufactured by SolarEdge Technologies Inc. of Isreal, the extremely lightweight SolarEdge HD Wave Converter uses digital processing to create high definition (HD) sine waves, and uses thin-film capacitors instead of larger electrolycs, resulting in an extremely smaller, cooler, highly reliable and manageable unit easily installed indoors or outdoors. The HD Wave Converter operates at over 99% efficiency, an unmatched statistic across the market.

“Technology and innovation are at the forefront of today’s renewable energy industry,” commented Srinath Dolage, Marketing Manager of JLanka. “To bring about the transformation of renewable energy at the rapid pace which is required today, JLanka is continuously investing in research and innovation, partnering with global leaders in solar power to provide Sri Lanka with the most economic and effective solar solutions available. By introducing the most ultramodern technology such as the GoEV Platform and the SolarEdge HD Wave, JLanka is leading a massive technological transformation across our country.”

The Monitoring Portal for IoT (Internet of Things) was also another major attraction at the JLanka stall. With added focus on energy management and conservation on a global scale, JLanka’s IoT Platform offers an intelligent network infrastructure to consumers, improving operations, safety and security, while also gaining valuable data and insight into managing electrical equipment and energy consumption in organizations across all industries.

“The interest shown by crowds over the 3-day exhibition has been overwhelming,” commented Srinath Dolage, Marketing Manager of JLanka. “Our vision of making solar energy easily accessible to the general public has certainly succeeded, and we are thrilled with the progress the country is making towards becoming a 100% energy self-sufficient nation by rapidly adapting to solar power solutions.”

EditorOctober 25, 2017


Wednesday, 25th October 2017, Colombo: A subsidiary of Lanka Ventures – a leading Sri Lankan venture capital company, the LVL Energy Fund is a limited liability company that invests in renewable and thermal power projects across Sri Lanka and beyond. With a diverse portfolio of energy projects spanning across Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal, the LVL Energy Fund will be the island’s only listed entity that possesses investments in thermal energy, as well as two key renewable energy sources; hydro and wind energy. In an effort to maintain and boost its growth trajectory, the company is currently preparing to launch an IPO, which will enable it to expand and strengthen its position at the forefront of Sri Lanka’s rapidly growing energy industry.

Hailing from solid roots and origins: The LVL Energy Fund was established in June 2006, as a result of its parent company, Lanka Ventures’ decision to venture more aggressively into the energy sector. Having handled power and energy projects since the year 2000, Lanka Ventures incorporated the LVL Energy Fund, with the primary objective of streamlining its investments in the power and energy industry into a single channel. The formation of the LVL Energy Fund enabled Lanka Ventures to further concentrate its efforts within the industry, whilst also putting the company in a stronger position to explore overseas markets with immense potential. With an initial capital of Rs. 300 million, followed by two successful private placements, the LVL Energy Fund kick-started with a solid foundation. Within a short span of time, the company attained significant success and stability, investing in wind and hydro power plants in several locations across Sri Lanka and later investing in thermal projects in Bangladesh.

A stronghold in thermal and renewable energy: The LVL Energy Fund currently invests in hydro, wind and thermal energy projects. Nearly 45% of the company’s investments are tied in thermal projects, whilst 30% and 25% of its investments are in wind and hydro projects respectively. LVL Energy Fund has investments in six operating local hydropower plants in Belihuloya, Aranayake, Ginigathhena, Galle, Norton Bridge and Bogawantalawa. The company also has investments in two operating wind power plants based in Kalpitiya peninsula in Puttalam district. More recently, LVL Energy Fund also invested in two thermal power projects in Rajshahi and Comilla, in Bangladesh.

A remarkable journey and track-record: Due to its wide variety of power plants situated across the country and key locations overseas, LVL Energy Fund will become the only listed establishment with stakes in hydro, wind and thermal energy projects –three key sources of energy for generating electricity. Having identified the seasonality and volatility of hydro and wind power operations, the company adopted a distinct strategy which involved the investment in a diverse range of power plants in various key locations. Whilst most players in the industry experience drastic peaks and troughs in their performance and profitability throughout the year, LVL Energy Fund’s prudent geographical and product diversification strategy has enabled it to sustain a consistent flow of income all year round. Moreover, over the past years, the same diversification strategy has been significantly instrumental in propelling the company towards a leading position in the local power and energy industry.

Ambitious vision and plans for the future: Commenting on the LVL Energy Fund’s outstanding journey thus far, as well as its ambitious vision for the future, Sumith Arangala – CEO, LVL Energy Fund Limited said: “Beginning from a small investment of Rs. 32 million in the sector at Lanka Ventures, LVL Energy Fund has come a long way since its inception. Over the past 11 years, we have gained immense stability and rooted ourselves in various strategic locations across Sri Lanka, and we have successfully tapped into two key overseas markets in Bangladesh and Nepal. The robust diversification strategy that we employ has remained our strong point over the years, and it is the same strategy that has elevated us to the summit of the local energy industry. Following several rounds of fund raising which culminated in a total fund base of nearly Rs. 2,700 million last year, we are now in a better position to explore more prospects and markets. As part of our ongoing efforts to further expand our operations, we will be launching an Initial Public Offering in the coming months. Part of the funds raised from the IPO will be channelled towards investment in three new hydro power projects in Sri Lanka and Nepal. We look forward to successfully growing and expanding LVL Energy Fund in the near future and contributing to the development of Sri Lanka’s power and energy industry as well as the country’s economic growth at large.”

An array of new projects and developments in the pipeline: As part of an ongoing effort to maintain its growth momentum as well as its significant lead in the market, LVL Energy Fund has several new developments and projects in the pipeline. As the potential in the local hydro power market is gradually diminishing, the company will look overseas for investment in hydro power as it has done in the case of the 10 megawatt hydropower project in Nepal that will be funded out of IPO proceeds. To further stabilize its operation, the company is looking to invest in a 100 megawatt thermal power plant in Bangladesh. Furthermore, the company is considering investing in two new wind power projects of 20 megawatts in Jaffna Peninsula. Lastly, as part of its next chapter of diversification, LVL Energy Fund will actively pursue opportunities to add solar power projects also to its portfolio in Sri Lanka.

Generating electricity and power from renewable energy sources instead of relying solely on fossil fuels, offers significant environmental and health benefits to the public and it also supports sustainable economic and industrial growth. Not only are renewable energy sources less taxing on the planet, they emit less pollution and are linked to less health risks. By embracing alternative energy production, industries can grow and thrive in a sustainable manner. Having recognized the potential of the alternative energy sector, the LVL Energy Fund made significant headway in establishing itself as a leading player in the local industry. Following its new development and expansion plans, the company is well poised to become a significant contributor to the regional and global energy industry as well.

EditorOctober 11, 2017


Following the 2016 cabinet decision to control the use of asbestos, numerous discussions and dialogues were held on and off the mainstream media concerning the pressing matter. As a widely popular roofing material used by majority of the populace in the country, it is important to take a look at the true nature of this material and whether it has the potential to cause health hazards as presumed.


What is ‘Asbestos’?

Asbestos is the commercial name given to a naturally occurring fibrous mineral. In the past, asbestos reigned the construction world as one of the most versatile materials. Today, the name has earned a negative image, facing a barrage of criticism on potential health hazards. However, there is a common misconception among many that the material asbestos is a single element, but this is far from the reality.

Asbestos is categorized into two distinct groups – Serpentine and Amphibole. The Serpentine group consists of Chrysotile fibres, while the Amphibole group further divides into five distinct fibre types namely crocidolite, amosite, anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite. In other words, Asbestos is in fact a naturally occurring fibrous material comprising a set of 6 distinct minerals.


Chrysotile Vs. Amphibole

According to the International Chrysotile Association (ICA), which released its latest collection of research papers titled “Compilation: Recently published studies in Chrysotile fibres – 2016”, several comprehensive studies conducted on the toxicology (the study of the nature,  effects, and detection of poisons and the treatment of poisoning) and epidemiology (the branch of medicine that deals with the study of the causes, distribution, and control of disease in populations) of the two types of mineral groups.


Impact on health

Solubility is one of the key factors of a mineral which determines its toxicity and potential health effects. A study on ‘Biopersistence’ – analyses the fibres’ solubility nature in the lung, and the lung’s ability to clear the external elements out of the system. Accordingly, ICA clarifies that based on biopersistence studies as well as ‘sub-chronic inhalation toxicology’ studies, Chrysotile fibres at highly concentrated exposure (of up to 5000 times the current threshold limit value – 0.1 fibres per cubic centimetre), caused no pathological response. Moreover, Chrysotile fibres are soluble in lungs, and does not reach pleural cavity.

However, when the same tests were conducted on amphibole asbestos fibres, the results were highly pathogenic (potential for causing disease) and even produced interstitial (space between organs / tissues) fibrosis as well as pleural inflammation. In addition, it was also observed that fibres had the potential to move to the pleural cavity. This is mainly due to the amphibole fibres being least soluble in the lungs.

Conversely, Chrysotile asbestos fibres displayed very low biopersistence, while the amphibole asbestos fibres displayed a very high level of biopersistence. ICA research papers further stressed that Chrysotile asbestos produce negligible health effect in comparison to amphibole asbestos and under controlled conditions, it can be used safely. On the other hand, Amphibole asbestos comprising solid silicate fibres with negligible solubility and high biopersistence holds higher potential in causing diseases even with short-term exposure.

At present only Chrysotile fibres are used in commercial applications in Sri Lanka, and they are used in the manufacture of high density roofing sheets. Comprehensive tests have been conducted globally on biopersistence studies and sub-chronic inhalation toxicology studies where they have clearly shown that under controlled conditions, Chrysotile can be used safely. Chrysotile fibre roofing industry has successfully served the nation for more than 70 years. Therefore, it’s crucial to consider the impact on the industry and the populace of the country in the long run, if the regulatory decisions were to be implemented.

EditorOctober 11, 2017


Tokyo Cement, the manufacturers of TOKYO SUPERLIGHT, Sri Lanka’s 1st Cellular Lightweight Concrete block, ceremonially inaugurated their state-of-the-art production plant with expanded capacity in Elpitiya recently.  The factory was declared open by the Chairman of Tokyo Cement Company (Lanka) PLC, Dr. Harsha Cabral P.C., in the presence of Managing Director Mr. S.R. Gnanam and other distinguished guests representing Tokyo Cement Group.

Setting up a factory in Elpitiya, Tokyo Cement was the first to introduce Cellular Lightweight Concrete technology to Sri Lanka, at a time when it was rapidly gaining popularity in the world as the most efficient method to build.  With the backing of Tokyo Cement Group’s trusted reputation and exceptional service, TOKYO SUPERLIGHT market share experienced a promising increase within a short span of time.  With the rise of modern construction projects adopting global technologies and trends, the company decided to invest further on this innovative technology by expanding production capacity to 100m3 per day.  The enhanced operations of the Elpitiya plant now stands ready to meet growing demands from contemporary property developers and home builders who seek maximum value in return of their investment.

Mr. S.R. Gnanam, Managing Director of Tokyo Cement Company (Lanka) PLC speaking at the event said, “2017 marks a landmark year for Tokyo Cement Group, adorned with many feats that reestablish our leadership position in the market.  We have always been pioneers in our field with many of Sri Lanka’s Firsts under our belt.  Today we are decreeing another one of them by inaugurating the country’s first and only cellular lightweight concrete block manufacturing plant.  When we introduced the TOKYO SUPERLIGHT Cellular Lightweight Concrete block, the industry needed a bit of convincing about its versatility.  But today it is the structurally and economically proven choice that can successfully meet all types of construction needs.  We are confident about the capabilities of TOKYO SUPERLIGHT block as the most innovative, efficient and environmentally conscious choice, to deliver great value to building projects both commercial or residential.”

What makes TOKYO SUPERLIGHT unique is its chemical composition that traps millions of micro air bubbles, making it much lighter yet stronger, unlike traditional cement blocks that use coarse aggregates.  Despite being 3 times lighter than conventional blocks the TOKYO SUPERLIGHT block records twice the compressive strength.  It is the only concrete block with inter-locking capability to help reduce mortar usage.  This is best suited for projects that demand faster building time while overcoming the shortage of skilled labour.  The robustness of the Block helps reduce cement usage by half and can save up to 50% of the labour cost making it the most efficient building material.  This hi-tech concrete block comes in three thicknesses, namely 4, 6 and 9 inches, to meet varying requirement types in mid to high rise building projects.

The eco-friendly, sustainable production process adopted at the Elpitiya plant gives TOKYO SUPERLIGHT a carbon footprint of just 1/10 of the traditional clay brick and 1/7 of the cement block, making it the greener choice in construction.  In addition, TOKYO SUPERLIGHT blocks provide superior thermal and acoustic insulation while being more fire resistant, making it 30% more energy efficient compared to other building materials.

TOKYO SUPERLIGHT Cellular Lightweight Concrete (CLC) block comes to the market from Tokyo Cement Group.  Tokyo Cement Group has earned its reputation as the most trusted supplier of high quality cement and concrete used in infrastructure projects that have stood the test of time.  Having supplied top quality products for constructions that mark Sri Lanka’s growth, from iconic structures gracing the Colombo skyline, to overhead bridges, railroads and suspended highway networks; the company has cemented its legacy as a partner in nation building.

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