IIT Madras teams bag two of the top five honours in Carbon Zero Challenge

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Chennai: The finale of Carbon Zero – Renewable Energy Innovation Challenge (CZeroC) was hosted today, 9th February 2018, by the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras). This South-India level event was conducted jointly with Industrial Waste Management Association (IWMA), U.S. Consulate in Chennai and Polaris, a Virtusa Company. The challenge aims to encourage technological innovations among college students and early startups. The winners were announced during the Grand Finale in the presence of a host of industry experts and dignitaries.
The projects that won the Innovation Excellence Awards with Funding for Incubation Support are:

a) Innovative Building and Cooling Systems – Student team from IIT Madras.

b) Enviro – Student team from IIT Madras.

c) Blue Wave – Startup from Bengaluru

Additionally, two more teams won the Innovation Excellence Awards but without funding support:

d) Turbo T – Student team from Dayananda Sagar College of Engineering, Bengaluru.

e) Ozone – Student team from Kongu Engineering College, Erode.
Shri Vikram Kapur, IAS, Principal Secretary to TN Government, Energy Department, was wad chief guest for the prize distribution said, “It is indeed a pioneering exercise undertaken by IIT Madras and others to encourage so many of you to spend time in developing projects in an era where energy is in the forefront and has undergone rapid transformation. The Government of India has announced ambitious plans to encourage the use of renewable energy. My best wishes to the teams who have participated in this challenge. I hope this contest sets a path for new breed of entrepreneurs.”

Mr. Vikram Kapur and other dignitaries interacted with the college students and startups who had qualified for the finals. The teams demonstrated their products to the dignitaries.

The challenge is a one-of-its-kind contest with the objective being to identify innovative and indigenous technological solutions to India’s unique energy problems and nurture them to reach a stage of market scalability. The larger goal was to foster a sustainable ecosystem wherein renewable energy and clean technology ideas can emerge and develop into long-term solutions.

Speaking about the Challenge, Mr. Robert G Burgess, U.S. Consul General, Chennai, said, “The U.S. Consulate is a strong supporter of innovation and entrepreneurship, which drive economic growth, improve quality of our daily lives and give us tools to address our shared challenges. As you launch your career, remember that innovation and social change go hand-in-hand. Your creativity and technical skills will benefit your community, your country and the world in the years ahead.”

An Expert panel of Screening Committee from the renewable energy and clean technology fields, evaluated the initial set of applications and the Top 54 Teams were shortlisted for Interviews. The shortlisted 54 teams pitched their project ideas to a Panel of Expert Jury on July 18, 2017. From this, a total of 25 teams were selected to go to the next phase of CZeroC

Presiding over the function, Prof Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, said, “IIT Madras is delighted to be associated with Carbon Zero Challenge. We’re very impressed with the number of submissions as well as the shortlisted teams. The area of energy is very important for the world, particularly India. New ideas that will help us to move to a greener and cleaner world are the need of the hour. We hope that this kind of effort will continue for many years and IIT Madras would be happy to be associated with it.”

Launched on 9thMarch 2017, this South India Renewable Energy Innovation Contest attracted teams comprising students/early entrepreneurs and/or startups belonging to these five states and/or UTs – Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Puducherry.

The name ‘Carbon Zero’ signifies the collective humanitarian goal of reducing dependence on Carbon-based Fossil fuels, and minimizing Greenhouse gas emissions. Seeking out innovative low carbon energy solutions is a small step towards achieving this grand objective. CZeroC contest invited applications from college students and early-stage startups from the South Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Puducherry and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

According to Mr. Kris Canekeratne, Chairman & CEO – Virtusa Corporation, “Congratulations to the winners and to every team that participated in the Carbon Zero Challenge – I am confident that the technological concepts showcased today will be part of our environmental culture in the very near future. At Virtusa, we use our technology expertise to help reduce the environmental footprint, demonstrate ethical maturity and respect for all. As such, we are delighted to partner with IIT Madras and the US Consulate General in Chennai in the Carbon Zero Challenge, aimed at identifying and promoting innovative solutions to India’s unique sustainable energy opportunities. We look forward to continuing this collaboration with IIT Madras in the years ahead.”

Apart from funding support of the order of Rs 5 lakh per team provided to build prototypes, the winning teams will continue to be provided Mentorship by experts from both India and the U.S., business Incubation opportunities besides the Rewards and Recognition.

Prof Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Principal Adviser, Ministry of Railways, Govt of India and Prof of IIT Madras, said, “A fossil-free future, which is the aim of CZeroC, is important for Earth to survive. The only way we can achieve this is by innovation and figure out new ways of generating and using energy such that carbon emissions become zero. This competition will help us take a few steps in that direction”

Prof. Indumathi Nambi, Department of Civil Engineering and Head of Environmental and Water Resources Division, IIT Madras, coordinated the Carbon Zero Challenge.