Dr Harsh Vardhan inaugurates Mission Innovation (MI) Face-to-Face Meeting of Innovation Challenges

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New Delhi: The Union Minister of Science & Technology, Earth Sciences, Health and Family Welfare,Dr. Harsh Vardhan inaugurated the Mission Innovation (MI) Face to Face meeting of Innovation Challenges(IC) here today. Dr. Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Dr. Dean Haslip (Chairperson, Analysis and Joint Research Group), and Dr. John Loughhead (Chairperson, Mission Innovation Steering Committee) were also present on the occasion.Members and senior representatives from Mission Innovation Countries and international agencies also participated in the meeting.

The objective of the meeting is to take stock of the deliverables by MI and its plans until 2020. Another major objective is to identify major gap areas in Clean Energy Innovation and how to address these beyond 2020 to make MI more impactful.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Harsh Vardhan said that Mission Innovation is the name coined by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and it was launched by 20 countries during COP 21 in November, 2015. He expressed happiness over the fact thatMI currently comprises of 24-member countries and the European Commission. He added that these countries have committed to double Government funding on clean energy research and development over 5 years and enhance international engagement in programmes on clean energy R&D.

The Minister saidIndia has taken concerted efforts to address climate change challenge by promoting and disseminating clean energy R&D and deployment activities. He added that renewable resources are now no longer fringe sources but has become a mainstay of energy mix. They are now critical both from environment and energy security point of view, he added. The Minister said that in India, we are going to increase the share of non-fossil fuel, and by 2022 we plan to increase our renewable energy capacity to much beyond 175 GW and later till 450 GW.

Dr Harsh Vardhan said that many countries have shown interest to emulate India’s remarkable successful journey in last few years in solar energy. The Minister added that India is also working to considerably increase the proportion of the biofuel blend in petrol and diesel. He also mentioned about world’s largest clean cooking fuel programme called Ujjawala Yojana releasing around 150 million connections so far. He also spoke about Saubhagya Yojana, Solar study lamp scheme, LED lights, micro solar Dome-Surta Jyoti, Atal Innovation Mission and a New Initiatives for Development and Harnessing of Innovations (NIDHI).

The Minister said that innovative solutions to provide clean energy with limited resources requires application of scientific understanding and ‘out of box’ solutions which can emanate from vast cross section of society. He said that the Ministry has initiated several national, bilateral and multilateral collaborative research programmes in solar energy, energy efficiency, advance biofuels and energy storage with significant investment.

Dr. Renu Swarup, Secretary DBT, reiterated India’s commitments to create a sound research development and demonstration eco-system involving all stakeholders both within India and connecting them globally. She said that this 2-day meeting is going to be very important and will guide us and direct us.

On the occasion, the Minister released a report on sustainable biofuels and bio-energy. He also awarded 5 Innovators as Mission Innovation India Champions for their exemplary contribution to energy related innovations.

Dr. John Loughhead, Chairperson, Mission Innovation Steering Committee, highlighted the initiatives of Mission Innovation since its inception and also acknowledged the contribution of participating countries and partners in devising several R&D initiatives and business models for accelerated clean energy innovations. He appreciated the spirit of cooperation of the members.

Dr. Dean Haslip, Chairperson, Analysis and Joint Research Group, stated that innovation challenges under Mission Innovation have succeeded in pooling resources of several countries for research, development and demonstration in technology areas which can have impact. He added that we need to use this meeting for sharing our views.

Mission Innovation was announced on November 30, 2015 due to pioneering efforts by India, France and USA, as world leaders came together in Paris to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate changes. Mission Innovation (MI) is a global initiative of 24 countries and the European Union to dramatically accelerate global clean energy innovation. As part of the initiative, participating countries have committed to double their governments’ clean energy research and development (R&D) investments over five years, while encouraging greater levels of private sector investment in transformative clean energy technologies. These additional resources are expected to dramatically accelerate the availability of the advanced technologies that will define a future global energy mix that is clean, affordable, and reliable. Mission Innovation has identified eight (8) Innovation Challenges which are global calls to action aimed at accelerating research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) in technology areas where increased international attention would make a significant impact in shared fight against climate change. The Innovation Challenges cover the entire spectrum of RD&D; from early stage research needs assessments to technology demonstration projects. India is also co-leading Smart Grids, Off Grids and Sustainable Biofuels Innovation and is actively participating in all ICs and other activities of MI. These challenges taken up under Analysis and Joint Research and co-led by India and Canada includes:

1. Smart Grids

2. Off-Grid Access to Electricity

3. Carbon Capture

4. Sustainable Biofuels

5. Converting Sunlight

6. Clean Energy Materials and

7. Affordable Heating and Cooling of Buildings Innovation Challenge