‘IIT-Madras Launches Second Phase of ‘Carbon Zero Challenge’

Chennai: The Second Phase of the ‘Carbon Zero Challenge’ was launched at Indian Institute of Technology Madras on Wednesday (19th July 2017). Personalities from academia, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs took part in the event.

The Carbon Zero Challenge is a pioneering initiative by the IIT-Madras and Industrial Waste Management Association (IWMA), in collaboration with the U.S. Consulate General Chennai, Polaris – A Virtusa Company, Shaastra 2018 and Energy Alternatives India (EAI), to identify innovative and indigenous solutions to India’s unique energy problems.

The main objective of this initiative is to recognize and nurture original solutions and enable them to reach a stage of market scalability. 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 name ‘Carbon Zero’ signifies our collective humanitarian goal of reducing dependence on Carbon-based fossil fuels, and minimizing Greenhouse Gas Emissions. This attempt to seek out innovative low-carbon energy solutions is a small step towards achieving this grand objective.
The challenge has invited students and early stage entrepreneurs from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Puducherry and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, to isolate problems in five thematic areas and develop solutions to the same. The areas chosen are Agriculture, Urban Areas/Cities, Transportation, Industrial Processes and Water and Waste Management.

In Phase One, over 530 teams had submitted a proof-of-concept solution in the form of a video or presentation along with a 2-page abstract, out of which 57 belonged to Agriculture, 149 to Industries, 73 to Transportation, 125 to Urban Areas/Cities and 126 to Water & Waste Management.
The top 26 teams were shortlisted for the Phase II during which they will be receiving upto Rs. 5 lakhs each for building prototypes. They will also be paired with mentors from India and the US, who will guide and motivate them in building a prototype of their idea over a period of 6 months and will also help them prepare a business model. The challenge will culminate in a ‘Demo Day’, which will see attendance by experts from industry and academia. The best solutions will receive prizes in cash and kind, and all the teams will be provided with opportunities to interact with investors and researchers to further develop their ideas. For more info, visit http://www.czeroc.com

Prof. Sandipan Bandyopadhyay, Assistant Professor, Department of Engineering Design, IIT Madras, delivered a lecture on the topic “Paper to Prototype”. He familiarised the audience with prototyping process through examples of prototypes and products which he has developed during past years in IIT Madras. “A successful prototype is developed after multiple prototyping processes and the former can be achieved if the conflict between engineering and design parameters are addressed”, he added.

Following his talk, there was an interaction with two IITM alumni, Mr. Swostik Dash who is project officer in R2D2 Laboratory, IIT Madras which involves in research of human movement and prosthetic devices and Mr. Pulkit Agarwal who is a part of start-up called ‘Planys Technologies’ which provides submersible robotic inspection and survey solutions using Remotely Operated Vehicles.

Following that, was the workshop on “Idea 2 Market: An Entrepreneur’s Toolbox” by Dr. Hiran Vedam from nH2. She gave many insights about entrepreneurship to the participants and idea to convert a prototype into a business model which was followed by a Q&A session.

The participants explained about their ideas through “Elevators Pitch” to the venture capitalists and entrepreneurs in a session organized to create funding opportunities. They presented posters to the potential investors. Dr. Murali Padmanabhan from Virtusa Corporation and Mr. Mukundan Narasimhan, CEO PlaySolar Systems also spoke during the occasion.

Prof. R. Nagarajan, Dean, International and Alumni Relations, IIT Madras and Coordinators of CZC Prof. Indumathi M Nambi, Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras, and Mr K Sivaraman from IWMA also addressed the audience.