Chennai: The Carbon Zero Challenge, a renewable energy innovation challenge was launched on Thursday, March 9, 2017 at the IIT Madras campus by Dr. Jagmohan Singh Raju, IAS, Chairman, Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA), Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, and Ms. Ariel Pollock, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Consulate General in Chennai.
The challenge is a pioneering initiative by IIT Madras and IWMA (Industrial Waste Management Association) in collaboration with the U.S. Consulate General in Chennai, to identify innovative and indigenous solutions to India’s unique energy problems. Through their efforts, the partners aspire to foster a sustainable ecosystem wherein renewable energy and clean technology ideas can emerge and develop into long-term solutions.
The launch saw attendance from prominent academicians and industrialists in the city, particularly from the realm of Clean Technology and Renewable Energy representing Regen Powertech, Gamesa Renewable, Udhaya Energy Photovoltaics, Poseidon Solar, and IWMA. Key members of the organizing committee and well-wishers of the event spoke about the significance of this effort, particularly in the context of renewable energy needs and developments in India.
Addressing the gathering Prof. Indu Nambi, Department of Civil Engineering and Head of Environmental and Water Resources Division said, ‘Carbon zero signifies the collective humanitarian goal of reducing fossil fuels and minimizing greenhouse gas emission’.
Ms. Ariel Pollock, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Consulate General, Chennai highlighted, ‘Collaboration of India and US can provide several insights in the field of renewable energy’.
The event marked the formal launch of the competition, teams consisting of students/early entrepreneurs and/or start-ups belonging to these five states and/or UTs – Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Puducherry – may now register and submit their ideas on the web portal, from March 9 to April 30, 2017.
Launching the challenge Shri. Jagmohan Singh Raju, IAS, Chairman, TEDA said, ‘Emerging technology should be engineered so as to merge with the current life style. We have to wisely utilize the locally available energy sources like wind sun etc. to reduce the dependency on nonrenewable energy resources’.
Participants are expected to develop a Zero Carbon/ Renewable Energy System for any of the five thematic areas (agriculture, urban housing, transport, industries, water, and wastewater) using a combination of one or more renewable energy sources (solar, wind, biogas geothermal, ocean, and hydro).
Mr. S. Mani, Chairman, IWMA considers Carbon Zero Challenge a good platform for young minds. ‘If we have a triangle relationship that is between government industry and institute like IITs, it will give a solution for the carbon zero challenge’, he said.
From June onwards, shortlisted teams (a maximum of 25) will proceed to develop their ideas into prototypes with guidance from mentors based in India/U.S., and financial assistance from organizers. The year-long competition will culminate into a ‘Demo Day’ in December 2017, when the winner(s) would be declared. At the ‘Demo Day’, participants will be given opportunities to network with prominent industrialists and investors to promote their prototypes and explore their scalability.