IIT Madras Energy Consortium Hosts Industry Meet to drive the Transition to a Low-Carbon Future

CHENNAI : Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) Energy Consortium hosted an Industry Meet today (30th June 2022) to boost the National and International efforts towards a low-carbon future. The ‘Industry Day’ event focused on providing international perspectives and an outlook on the evolving global energy challenges and opportunities for India.

The Energy Consortium’s Strategic Action Teams, comprised of IIT Madras faculty and advisors from member industries, presented reports on various projects underway in areas of National Importance such as hydrogen economy, carbon capture and storage, ammonia value chain and energy economics for net-zero, among others. A discussion on policy imperatives and international collaboration from Government Representatives was also held.

Addressing the Inaugural Session of Industry Day, Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, said, “We are moving towards creating a Department for sustainability. We have strong industry collaboration for this already. These initiatives can attain their final objectives only with strong industry collaboration.”

Further, Prof. Kamakoti said, “When we look at energy, we are looking at a holistic picture and where we can save energy. We are looking at building a 2,000-seater hostel and are going to use some of the best, proven energy conservation techniques. The Institute will make it available for start-ups that want to work on ‘Building Automation.’ We want to use our Open Air Theatre for Drone Testing. We want to put everything in our campus to multiple uses.”

Prof. Kamakoti added, “Name anything in energy, IIT Madras has a group working on it and these groups are interdisciplinary. IIT Madras is also an ‘Institute of Eminence’ under which we are establishing Centres of Excellence (CoE). Nearly 20 per cent of CoEs in the Second Phase will be dedicated to energy.”

The IIT Madras Energy Consortium was established in December 2021 to leverage the institute’s expertise to accelerate the de-carbonization of Indian industry’s energy systems. It aims to be a critical contributor to India’s Net Zero journey by providing valuable R&D assistance to Indian industries in low carbon energy transition pathways.

The Consortium is an umbrella effort to aggregate individual research efforts across IITM and multiple industry partners together to address grand challenge areas that are critical to energy security of the country and accelerate the technology and innovation efforts.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof Raghunathan Rengaswamy, Dean (Global Engagement), said, “IIT Madras aspires to be in the forefront of the global carbon net zero initiatives and the activities of the energy consortium are a step in that direction.”

The event brought together the industry founding members of the Energy consortium alongside representatives from NITI Aayog and the Consulates of the U.S. and Australia to enable international collaboration on topics in energy research, technology, innovation and policy imperatives. The global leadership of major Corporate firms Shell, and Baker Hughes, shared their perspectives on the top energy priorities for their businesses in India and globally.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Chris Barkey, Chief Technology Officer, Turbomachinery and Process Solutions at Baker Hughes said, “We are excited to be part of the IIT Madras Industry Meet focused on the crucial topic of the transition to a more efficient, sustainable and low carbon energy future. As an energy technology company, at Baker Hughes we continuously work to advance both our technology and the sustainability of our own operations in order to meet the growing demand for energy and simultaneously reducing associated emissions.”

Further, Mr. Chris Barkey said, “We understand that while technologies available today can help lower emission reductions and decarbonize the energy supply chain, they are insufficient on their own to meet net-zero targets. A dual strategy focused on implementing efficiency measures today and investing in new energy solutions is required. We will continue to invest in growing and developing new climate technologies solutions including CCUS, hydrogen, clean integrated power and emissions management, as well as digital and integrated solutions such as industrial asset management.”

India’s energy challenges are problems without borders, requiring technology and engineering solutions. Technology solutions at scale in India are potentially global solutions and industry-academia partnerships give power and momentum to such technological developments.

Partnering with IITM on the Energy Consortium, Shell India said, “We are glad to be part of the energy consortium with IIT, Madras. We are transforming our business to meet our Net Zero Emissions target globally, therein- providing more low-carbon energy choices such as biofuels, hydrogen, renewable power from solar and wind power etc. Digital technologies are driving cost efficiency, providing new revenue opportunities and changing business models, and we see an immense role in the digital transformation of the energy industry. We feel this forum will provide the right platform to pursue the Energy Transition journey ahead.”

The Key outcomes envisaged from the Industry Day Event include:

Ø Grand challenge areas for research at Energy Consortium are identified and shared with multiple stakeholders including academia, industry and government

Ø Methodologies for transparent and clear metrics such as achieving a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and addressing sustainable development goals overall will be formulated

Ø Preparing future leaders with diverse perspectives, who would be capable of navigating the cultural rewiring that comes about from a sustainable energy-dominated future

IIT Madras’ expertise includes carbon capture and storage, gas hydrates, coal and biomass conversion to useful chemicals, renewable energy systems including applications in desalination and cold storage, electrolyser technologies for CO2 conversion and green hydrogen, energy storage technologies beyond lithium, and distributed energy management including for AC and DC microgrids.

The IIT Madras Energy Consortium, which is part of the Office of Global Engagement, IIT Madras, brings all energy research together as one large effort. The consortium has active participation from more than 50 IIT Madras Faculty from multiple disciplines, with significant technical expertise and demonstrated contributions on the world stage. In addition, we have over 250 postgraduate students (PhD and MS) and about 25 plus post-doctoral fellows working in various domains related to energy.


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