Decrease size
Reset to Default
Increase size

Issues addressed

Energy shortages and affordable energy access are major challenges facing India

Domain Themes

Energy Education | Conventional Energy Sources | Renewables | Energy Storage | Hydrogen | Energy Systems & Efficiency

Domain Team

Content Pending

Domain: Energy

Broad Coverage

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.

Energy Education

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.

  • Solar Thermal:

    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.

  • Solar PV:

    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

  • Biomass/Biofuels:

    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

  • Wind/Hydro:

    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

Energy Storage

To reduce peak shortage and to avoid the mismatch between energy supply and demand. Research &amp 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.

  • Electrochemical:

    Topic:  (1) Large Scale Energy Storage, (2) Electric transportation, (3) Recyclability

    Title:  Safer/reliable batteries; Solid state batteries; Materials for next gen storage

  • Mechanical:

    Topic:  (1) Compressed air, (2) Pumped hydro, (3) Flywheel

    Title:  Pump as turbine; Efficient compressors

  • Chemical:

    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.

  • Smart Grids:

    Topics: (1) Demand response implementation, (2) Intelligent microgrids

    Title: Low cost communication; Market mechanisms; Stable microgrid operation technology

  • Fuel Cells:

    Topics: (1) Fuel cells for transportation, (2) IT-SOFC for power generation

    Title: CO tolerance; Electrolyte material for intermediate temperature operation

  • Energy Efficiency:

    Topics:  (1) Efficient appliances, (2) Industrial energy conservation (3) Product and process redesign

    Title:  Benchmarking; Smart appliances; Alternate processes

  • Buildings:

    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

  • Transport:

    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.