Energy shortages and affordable energy access are major challenges facing India
Energy Education | Conventional Energy Sources | Renewables | Energy Storage | Hydrogen | Energy Systems & Efficiency
Energy is a critical input for India's development. Energy shortages and affordable energy access are major challenges facing India. Innovations in conventional energy supply systems (coal, oil, natural gas), energy efficiency and renewables are essential for India's growth. The IMPRINT Energy initiative plans to create a roadmap to enhance the competitiveness of Indian industry in the energy sector by collaborative research, design and development, devise grand challenges for multidisciplinary research missions and enable disruptive technologies. The IMPRINT Energy theme will also articulate the needs for capacity building and manpower development for India's energy sector. India has the potential to achieve leadership in the Energy sector. Our goal is to create a framework to enable this.
The energy sector needs new skills, significant analysis and innovation. There is a need for re-training and upgrading the skill sets of existing energy sector personnel. Inter-disciplinary approaches and new curriculum / courses are needed to cater to technology development, system integration, diffusion of energy technologies. A spectrum of different courses and programme offerings involving engineering, science, economics and policy analysis needs to be drawn up.
Conventional Energy Sources
Since their discovery, fossil fuels due to their ease of availability and utilization have been, and still are, the major source of primary energy. However, the energy security of India is challenged because of, for example (I) non-availability of high-quality coal, (ii) low reserves of oil and natural gas, and (iii) scarcity of fuel-grade Uranium. Industry-Government-Academia RD&D effort needed towards tackling these problems. The adverse environmental impact of fossil fuels leads to local pollution, health impacts and global warming and climate change. In order to meet the challenge of climate change there is a need for efficiency in extraction and conversion of fossil fuels and developing cost effective carbon capture and storage.
Coal: India's energy sector is mainly dependent on coal. Indian coal is high ash and low Sulphur and offers significant technology challenges.
Topic: (1) Clean Coal Technology (2) Carbon Capture and Storage.
Title: Supercritical Boiler Design; Advanced coal cycles – IGCC; pre-combustion capture; oxy-fuel combustion
Oil & Natural Gas: Oil and Natural Gas are critical from an energy security viewpoint. Optimal utilization of the limited oil and gas reserves, exploration of unconventional oil and gas reserves and efficient upstream and downstream processing technologies are important from an energy security viewpoint.
Topic: (1) Efficient processing, (2) Enhanced Oil recovery, (3) Unconventional resources
Title: Low water fracking technology; Innovative drilling and discovery technology; Coal Bed Methane; Underground Coal Gasification
Nuclear: India has demonstrated indigenous capability in nuclear power plant technology. The challenge is to bring down costs, improve safety and have technologies for nuclear waste management.
Topic: (1) Inherently Safe Nuclear Reactors, (2) Advanced Thorium Power plants
Title: Reliability; Thermal Hydraulics; Nuclear Waste Management
The exhaustible nature of fossil fuels, coupled with the need for energy security of the nation and the climate change problem necessitates research and development in clean, green, renewable energy technologies (Solar PV, Solar thermal, Wind, Hydro, Biomass & Biofuels). Due to the tropical location of and distributed nature of renewable sources, India is in a position to utilize these resources for the overall development of the country. The mature, reliable, and cost-effective technologies in this group would still need a triple helix RD&D thrust as well as development of skilled manpower. Also, several technologies need fundamental, breakthrough research for cost effective solutions.
Topics: (1) System Optimization, (2) Collector & Receiver Design, (3) Testing
Titles: Application for process heat; Tracking heliostat; Optimization of heliostat field; Design of central tower receiver; Single tube receiver for LFR; Evacuated tube collectors; Cost effective Parabolic Trough System; High temperature selective coatings; System reliability analysis/testing.
Significant cost reductions have resulted in solar PV becoming almost cost effective. The challenges are to ensure the competitiveness of Indian cell and module manufacturing. so that India is not dependent on cell and module imports.
Topics: (1) Module reliability & performance (2) High efficiency, indigenous Si solar cells, (3) Technologies based on new materials for thin film solar cells (4) Artificial Photosynthesis
Titles: Fast, efficient, in-field diagnostics; Indigenous Si solar cell manufacturing; Materials and technology for flexible solar cells. Emphasis on competitiveness of indigenous PV manufacturing: Cost effective foundations
India has significant resources of agricultural residues, plant and animal wastes, fuelwood distributed across the country. Biomass technology offers the potential of local employment and is almost cost effective. There are several indigenous success stories, but widespread diffusion, standardisation has been a challenge.
Topic: (1) Efficient Gasification, (2) Pyrolysis, (3) Combustion, (4) Algal Biomass
Title: Efficient Process Development; Scale-up; Water management; Catalyst Development, Yield optimization, Liquid hydrocarbon transportation fuels (Green gasoline, diesel and jet fuel), Platform chemicals (eg. HMF, furfural etc), Bio-butanol
Topic: (1) Turbines for low wind speeds, (2) Offshore Wind, (3) Low head hydro turbines
Title: Vertical Axis Wind Turbines; Tidal stream Generators; Wind forecasting
To reduce peak shortage and to avoid the mismatch between energy supply and demand. Research & technology development and demonstration of cost effective short term and long term storage systems is of utmost importance. This is likely to be more important with higher share of renewable energy in power systems and for vehicles and low power devices.
Topic: (1) Large Scale Energy Storage, (2) Electric transportation, (3) Recyclability
Title: Safer/reliable batteries; Solid state batteries; Materials for next gen storage
Topic: (1) Compressed air, (2) Pumped hydro, (3) Flywheel
Title: Pump as turbine; Efficient compressors
Topic: (1) High storage capacity and kinetics, (2) Low T adsorption/desorption, (3) High cycle life
Title: Materials; Structural, chemical, and mechanical modifications; Integrated storage systems
Thermal Energy Storage:
Topic: (1) Latent Heat storage (2) Sensible Heat Storage
Topic: Hydrogen based infrastructure development
Title: Photochemical and Biological Hydrogen production processes; Solid State Hydrogen Storage Materials; High pressure hydrogen gas storage cylinders; Hydrogen pipeline; Hydrogen refilling stations; Hydrogen gas engine development; Fuel cells
Energy Systems & Efficiency
There is a need for the development of efficient energy systems. Options like, energy efficient appliances, demand side management, smart energy distribution systems, in addition to better and implementable energy policy can significantly reduce the energy demand and thereby help in overall economic development.
Topics: (1) Demand response implementation, (2) Intelligent microgrids
Title: Low cost communication; Market mechanisms; Stable microgrid operation technology
Topics: (1) Fuel cells for transportation, (2) IT-SOFC for power generation
Title: CO tolerance; Electrolyte material for intermediate temperature operation
Topics: (1) Efficient appliances, (2) Industrial energy conservation (3) Product and process redesign
Title: Benchmarking; Smart appliances; Alternate processes
Topics: (1) Passive architecture, (2) Zero-energy building and Energy Positive Housing (3) Novel materials
Title: Windows/envelope materials; Integrated design; Efficient lighting, Simulation/Optimization
Topic: (1) High toque density motor design for Indian roads (2) Flexible energy management and propulsion system design (3) Low cost electric vehicle design
IMPRINT Energy Strategy
A network of faculty members led by IIT and IISc faculty will draw up a roadmap for energy education and research for India. This will involve short term technology development and applied research in areas of relevance to Indian industry to enhance India's capability and competitiveness in energy areas: medium term mission mode collaborative projects and grand challenges and long term blue sky research. All these initiatives would need enabling and innovative funding and support structures and review mechanisms.