UN Environmental Startup Prize Winner 2018

Mr. Sasiranga De Silva, lecturer of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Moratuwa who has won the Asia Pacific Low Carbon Lifestyles Challenge in the Low Carbon Mobility category by developing an affordable conversion kit to allow three wheelers to run on electric power has won a US$10,000 grant from UN.

The Asia-Pacific Low Carbon Lifestyles Challenge, which was held on 25th of March 2018, aims to mobilize and support young people with business ideas on how to foster energy-efficient, low-waste and low-carbon lifestyles. This is an initiative funded by the Ministry of Environment Japan, as part of SWITCH-Asia’s regional Sustainable Consumption and Production Policy Advocacy Component, the Asia-Pacific Regional Roadmap on Sustainable Consumption and Production and One Planet.  This initiative is carried out together with the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, The Thai National Science and Technology Development Agency and Sasin Entrepreneurship Center.

UN Environment’s Director for the Asia-Pacific region, Dechen Tsering, said, “The transport sector is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Electrifying our transport options is the kind of solution that will make an enormous impact on air quality in Sri Lanka and other countries across the region. We are thrilled to support innovation like Sasiranga’s initiative.”

The Sri Lankan government recently banned the import of polluting two-stroke three wheelers due to their low efficiency and high greenhouse gas emissions. Yet 300,000 remain on the roads, with many families relying on the income they provide as taxis. This solution will allow three wheeler drivers to convert their vehicles to an electric powertrain that will generate zero tailpipe emissions. Charging can be done at home through regular wall sockets, and the powertrain will offer a 100km range.

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