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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Superconductivity breakthrough can revolutionize power generation, power distribution and electronics industry.

European researchers on Tuesday announced the development of Superconducting tapes. The statement said that the breakthrough could one day revolutionize the power transmission and power generation industries. The statement went as far as to claim that the technology is already being used in many appliances.

Eurotapes, a European research project on superconductivity has produced 600 meters superconducting tape, said the coordinator of the project, Xavier Obradors, of the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona.

Superconductivity is a phenomenon discovered in 1911 by Heike Kamerlingh Onnes. Superconductivity is the ability of any material to conduct electricity with zero loss of electric charge. Conventional conductors like copper losses up to 10% of the charge in form of heat.

All superconducting materials discovered till now show their superconductive property at low temperature.  The highest temperature known superconducting material is highly pressurized hydrogen sulfide, whose critical temperature reaches 203 K (−70 °C), the highest accepted superconducting critical temperature as of 2015. The aim is to one day find a material that can work as superconductor at room temperature.

The use of superconductor, if any discovered to work at room temperature, can revolutionize the power distribution, power generation and electric appliances. The use of the material in appliances and other electronics would help manufacture of supercomputers, much lighter and cheaper than today. The power generation can be revolutionized by manufacture of much lighter and much more efficient wind turbines. It can convert small wind turbines into an electricity generation power house.

Wind turbines are a series of wire coils attached to the rotor blade spin in the presence of strong magnetic fields, provided by stationary magnets.  Making the coils from resistance free material can boost power generation.

The power distribution can be changed altogether. Right now, if you want to send electricity from the East coast of the US to the West coast, you could lose at least 60 percent of the energy because of the resistance within the wires. Imagine the superconducting transmission lines carrying charge from Gobi desert in China to London, without any line losses.  The solar panels near the equator can be linked to transmission lines helping better and much more efficient energy mix in favor of renewable energy as at all time there will be sun shining somewhere.

The discovery can one day lead to environment friendly power generation and power consumption. The race to develop first superconducting material at room temperature is yet to yield any viable results. The team in United States has announced the production of metallic hydrogen, a possible superconductor at room temperature, through application of pressure much more than at the center of Earth.

Australian researchers earlier mentioned that wind turbines two to three times more efficient than present ones can be manufactured using superconductors and would be ready to be installed on Australian shores till 2019.

Japanese team has hinted that they have discovered that critical temperature of materials can be enhanced by soaking materials in red wine.

Superconductivity research can one day free us from dependence on fossil fuel and make Earth a better place to live in for our children.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Growth of Islamic Finance in Pakistan

Assets of Islamic banks have doubled in the last four years and SECP is now considering amending laws and giving tax relief to enable them to issue sukkuk bonds and real estate investment trust.
“The assets in Islamic banking (in Pakistan) have doubled, jumping from Rs837 billion to Rs1.6 trillion, from 2012 to 2016, now accounting for 11.7% of the total banking assets,” said Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) in a handout on Saturday.

Read more about Islamic Finance
Non-banking financial institutions (NBFI) enjoy more support in religious classes of the country than Islamic banks. This is evidenced by stronger growth of assets in Sharia-compliant NBFI. The market share of assets in Islamic NBFI has grown from 14%, in 2002, to 33% now.

 “The SECP has recently conducted two consultation sessions with market participants to facilitate issuance of sukuk and real estate investment trust (REIT),” said Usman Hayat, head of the Islamic Finance Department at the SECP.

“The SECP is analyzing industry proposals and it shall consider making appropriate amendments to the relevant regulations, further reducing the cost and hassle for both issuers and investors. The industry proposals pertaining to tax issues regarding sukuk and REIT are being referred to the FBR,” he added.
At present 21 banking organizations are offering Islamic banking services in the country through 2,322 branches in 112 districts across the country.  “The SBP has a holistic approach to the promotion of Islamic banking and is providing enabling policy environment, Sharia governance, risk management, and capacity building,” says Ghulam Muhammad Abbasi, head of the Islamic Banking Department at SBP.
The assets of Islamic financial institutions are growing at a rapid pace but it is yet to be seen as how Islamic is the Islamic finance.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Who owns PSL cricket teams

Pakistan is a cricket loving nation. The cricket matches between Pakistan and India are biggest sports event and therefore good business opportunity for sponsors.

Pakistanis use to spend a lot of time on watching the game as it is long game unlike football.

Pakistan Cricket Board in its effort to reintroduce international cricket in Pakistan, established Pakistan Super League (PSL). PSL is a single entity and has five cricket teams as its franchises. The commercial rights to the initial franchises were sold for PKR 9.85 billion ( 91.4 million $) for a span of 10 years in December 2015. The first session, held in 2016, yielded 2.6 million $ in profit.

Owners of these teams are:-

Karachi Kings is owned by ARY Media Group. ARY Media Group is owned by  Salman Iqbal, whose net income for year is 90 million$.1 Karachi King was sold to ARY Media Group for a period of 10 years, from December 2015, for 26 million$, thus making it the most expensive PSL team.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Lahore Qalandars are owned by Qatar Lubricants Company limited (QALCO). QALCO is the only state-of-the-art lubricants blending plant in Qatar. This company is headed by Rana Fawad. It is the second most expensive team after Karachi Kings and was priced at 24 million $ in December 2015.

Peshawar Zalmi was sold to Haier Paksitan for 10 year period against 16 million US dollars. Javed Afridi is the CEO of Haier Pakistan. Haier Pakistan is subsidiary of Haier Group Corporation based in China.

Quetta Gladiators is owned by Omar Associates, a Karachi based company. The company was founded in 1969. Nadeem Omar is presently the CEO of the company. The group was basically a construction company but now the group is planning to enter into mining sector. The group acquired the franchise for 11 million$.

Islalmabad United Leonine Global Sports won the bid for franchise rights of Islamabad United for a decade against 15 million$. Leonine Global Sports is owned by venture capital firm Leonine Global which is based in UAE. The sports entity Leonine Global Sports also owns a franchise team in Hong Kong T20 League. The venture capital firm is owned by Ali Naqvi.  Ali Naqvi is a renowned businessman having business interests in different countries.

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