The Indian Institute of Technology Madras Research Park (IITMRP), India's first university-based research park, announced its collaboration with the University of St Andrews. The partnership aims at helping India to achieve the country's energy requirements through renewable energy.
According to the research park, the partnership held two successful seminars in June on the theme “Towards 100% Renewable Energy — Routes to Net Zero”. The sessions led to discussions on different approaches and strategies to deliver low-carbon solutions. The project will largely involve researchers in the group led by Professor John Irvine, who is from the School of Chemistry at the University of St Andrews, and the Hydrogen Accelerator project staff.
The project received a grant of £60,000 from the UK government's Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office to support the cooperation up to March 2022. The project aims to share knowledge and understanding of low-carbon ener- gy systems and showcase examples of low-carbon energy in practice.
The project's primary objectives include jointly undertaking research and sharing knowledge and understanding of low-carbon energy systems. It also includes sharing research and delivering expertise in the application of low-carbon technologies as part of an overall energy system, while working together to develop a model for low-carbon innovation ecosystems.
The project will address four main areas of emerging technologies. These include the development of sodium-ion batteries and an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of different battery technologies, the decarbonisation of heat and cooling, PV systems for solar panels, and the decarbonisation of transportation.
Alexander Ellis, the British high commissioner to India, commented on the partnership, “Technology, research and innovation are at the heart of the UK-India relationship. I saw the partnership in action when I met researchers and entrepreneurs at IIT-Madras Research Park, who are already at the cutting edge of India's clean growth transition. The research partnership has great potential to develop world-class energy systems and products as we build back better from the pandemic.” Professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala, president of the IITM Research Park, highlighted the important aspect of this collaboration, saying, “Greenhouse emissions are a serious problem for the whole world. India has to do its bit. Commercial complexes like IITM Research Park, industries and high-income group urban housing need to take the lead and commit to using only green electricity and green hydrogen over the next decade. Technologies are available and innovative work cannot just make it more than economically viable. IITMRP is working to move close to 100% RE by wheeling in solar and wind-based electricity and creating chilled water and battery storage for energy." The partnership lists the development of “ready-to-implement technology” as part of their objectives and is focused on providing an atmosphere of information exchange and research on the matter. He added, “Both of the institutions in this project are strong delivery agents at a local level for such net-zero policies.” Besides building a platform for ongoing dialogue and cooperation, the collaboration also aims to assist both countries in promoting joint research and moving towards energy-based renewable systems.
Speaking about this partnership, Professor Irvine said, “Collaboration across borders is essential to tackle the challenges of climate change. Our work with IITM will help us to develop low-carbon solutions for energy storage, and support both our countries in meeting their ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions.” India and the UK have taken up ambitious efforts in moving towards renewable energy-based systems. The work undertaken in IIT-Madras and the University of St Andrews is complementary and offers significant potential for replication across geographies. The platform created by the two institutions will provide a further opportunity to find answers and solutions.