Summary of R&D Conclave on New and Renewable Energy-Prospects for Cross- Cutting Technologies held on 9-10th August, 2012
Summary of R&D Conclave on New and Renewable Energy-Prospects for Cross- Cutting Technologies, held on 9-10th August, 2012 Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi
Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) organized a two-day “R&D Conclave on New and Renewable Energy” on 9-10th August, 2012 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Hon’ble Minister of New and Renewable Energy inaugurated the Conclave. Dr.R. Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India, Shri B. K. Chaturvedi, Member (Energy), Planning Commission, Government of India and Shri Gireesh B Pradhan, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy addressed the participants during inauguration. A Compendium on on-going R&D projects on new and renewable energy was also released by Dr. Farooq Abdullah on the occasion. The Conclave aimed to present the on-going R&D projects funded by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and to seek the views of related stakeholders for faster development of new and renewable energy technologies in the country. Around 200 participants including eminent Scientists engaged in research and development activities in new and renewable energy, policy makers from relevant government departments, experts and researchers from R&D institutions, organizations, industries etc. participated and contributed to deliberations in the Conclave. The compendium which included a brief status of 113 on-going R&D projects in the areas of solar thermal, solar photovoltaics, biogas, cookstoves, biofuels, hydrogen and fuel cells and wind energy was distributed to participants and media persons. The programme of the event is given in Annexure-I.
2. In his inaugural address, Dr. Farooq Abdullah stressed on the need to expand the development and deployment of renewable energy technologies such that they are used even in the remotest place in the country. He further stated that special attention is needed to develop industrial base for indigenous manufacture of technologies and to develop reliable energy storage technologies for effective utilization of renewable energy technologies. Dr. Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Adviser to Government of India commended the MNRE’s efforts for promoting R&D for technology development in new and renewable energy in the country. Speaking on the need for going for research to cut costs, Dr. Chidambaram gave the example of poly-silicon produced at economical cost will be critical to the development of solar power in India. Shri B. K. Chaturvedi, Member (Energy), Planning Commission gave a brief over view on energy scenario in the country and mentioned that the Planning Commission is supporting the faster development and deployment of renewable energy technologies in the country. He said that renewables contributed to about 14,660 MW power during the 11th Plan and it will become more important in future. He emphasized on the need to address the technical and management issues for faster deployment of renewable energy technologies. Shri Gireesh B. Pradhan, Secretary, MNRE stated that though the 11th Five Year Plan witnessed an impressive progress in research and development and deployment in renewable energy sector, the R&D efforts should be directed towards application and deployment. He mentioned that MNRE funded 169 R&D projects in the area of solar energy, bio-energy and hydrogen and fuel cells with a total outlay of about Rs.525 crore to the various R&D institutions, organizations, industries, etc during the 11th Plan, and the outlay for R&D activities in the Ministry is expected to be doubled in the 12th Five Year Plan. Shri Alok Srivastava, Joint Secretary, MNRE, while expressing vote of thanks assured that the conclave will provide an opportunity for interaction among the Principal Investigators of the R&D projects and the research professionals from both R& D institutions and industry.
3. The Conclave Programme comprised of four technical sessions on solar thermal, solar photovoltaics, bio-energy and hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, respectively. In all, about nineteen Principal Investigators presented the outcomes and results of their on-going R&D projects. The deliberations and discussion during the technical sessions focused on technology development and commercialization and provided an insight into possible R&D projects to be taken up in the 12thPlan. The power point presentations made by the speakers are given in Annexure-II. The deliberations are briefly described below;
Technical Session-I (R&D on Solar Thermal Technologies)
4. In this technical session, presentations on three on-going R&D projects on technology development and validation through demonstration using solar concentrating technologies for power generation and one on-going project on solar passive architecture and green building technologies were presented by the respective project investigators. The session was chaired by Prof. S. Srinivasa Murthy, Emeritus Professor, IIT Chennai. Prof. J. K. Nayak, IIT Delhi presented the progress of the project on “National Solar Thermal Power Testing, Simulation and Research Facility”. It was shown that 1 MWe Solar Thermal Power Plant using a combination of parabolic trough and lineal Fresnel Reflector technology is nearing completion and the plant will be commissioned very soon at Solar Energy Centre, Gurgaon. Shri B. K. Jayasimha of WRST, Brahma Kumaris, Rajasthan presented the project on “1 MWe Solar Thermal Power Plant with 16 hrs. thermal storage for continuous operations”. It was shown that the plant uses indigenously developed 60 sqm fixed focus paraboloidal reflector with static cast iron cavity shaped receiver and the two-stage twin turbine genertaors from Siemens, and generates 24 MWh electricity per day and 10 lakh litres hot water. Shri Nitin Goel, SunBorne, Gurgaon presented the progress of the project- “Development of a Modular Central Receiver CSP Plant”. The plant, which will be a prototype system comprising heliostats each 150m2 area, volumetric cavity receiver, storage and solar controls will be installed at Solar Energy Centre for performance evaluation. It was shown that the designing part has been completed and the installation will be commenced soon. Mr. Rajan Rawal, CEPT University, Ahmedabad presented the progress of the project – Centre for Solar Passive Architecture and Green Building Technology. The on-going efforts on the various aspects of energy conservations in buildings, tools for designing and performance evaluation were highlighted. As these projects are still at installation nearing commissioning stage or just installed detailed performance results could not be presented.
5. In the discussion session the participants asked relevant questions from speakers concerning the various aspects of materials used in development and manufacture of concentrators and the receivers systems, cost considerations and performance of solar thermal power plants and storage for un-interrupted power supply, which were addressed by the respective speakers. The project on solar passive architecture also received attention from the audience which suggested that a coordinated approach may be followed for wider acceptance of the outcome of the project in building sector. In his concluding remarks, Prof. S. Srinivas Murthy, chairman of the session emphasized that the performance of these plants needs to be thoroughly evaluated and further R&D in development of materials for reflectors and receiver systems should be scaled up for arriving at the optimum solutions for large scale deployment in future. He also suggested that storage is critical requirements in solar thermal power plants for uninterrupted power supply, and therefore research in these areas need to be pursued vigorously.
Technical Session-II (R&D on Solar Photovoltaic Technologies)
6. In this session, 4 on-going R&D projects on solar photovoltaic technologies were presented by the respective project investigators. These projects involved the development of materials for solar cell, device structures, manufacturing techniques, and development of balance of system (BoS) components. The session was chaired by Prof. Vikram Kumar of IIT Delhi. Dr. Rajeev Jindal of Moser Baer India Ltd. presented the progress of the project on “Development of CIGS solar cell pilot plant to achieve grid parity ’’. It was shown that with 15% module efficiency and cost of 1$/Watt, grid parities can be achieved. The process parameters are optimised for 100cm2 area. At present the efficiency of the devices on small areas are about ~4%. Prof. J. Vasi of IIT Bombay presented the progress of the project on “National centre for Photovoltaic Research and Education (NCPRE)”. It was shown that a laboratory with comprehensive equipment for developing crystalline silicon solar cells has been developed under the project. NCPRE is in the way to achieve 20% Silicon solar cells. Prof. Shanti Kumar Nair of Amrita Centre for Nano-Sciences (ACNS), Cochin presented the progress of the project on “Centre for Excellence in Integrated Nano-material based photovoltaic storage devices and development of an integrated panel consisting of photovoltaic cells and Nano structured thin film super capacitor cells. It was shown that the research efforts are going on to develop 12% efficiency Nano structured thin film super capacitor cells. Dr. Sushil Kumar of NPL, Delhi presented the progress on R & D on thin film solar cells. It was shown that a high frequency PECVD process for the high growth rate of device quality amorphous & micro/nano crystalline silicon thin films on glass substrate was developed under the project. The work carried on the deposition of amorphous and microcrystalline films and also on hybrid organic and inorganic Nano composites was also presented. It was shown that the efforts are going on to achieve 10 % module efficiency.
7. In the discussion session the participants asked relevant questions from speakers concerning the various aspects of solar cells development particularly efficiency and import of technology, which were addressed by the speakers. In his concluding remarks, Prof. Vikram Kumar, Chairman of the session emphasized that vigorous research for solar cells development need to be supported for indigenous development of efficient and cost effective solar cells. He mentioned that at present the share of crystalline solar cells is 85 % and the focus of research should be towards improving efficiency from current 16 % to 20%. He further mentioned that the MNRE should develop policy conducive to industry participation in development of efficient and cost effective solar cells. It was also felt that research in system components also needs to encouraged which has potential to increase the overall system efficiency.
Technical Session-III(R&D Bioenergy)
8. In this session, the progress of the five R&D projects in thermochemical conversion of biomass, biogas generated from leafy biomass and kitchen/vegetable wastes, synthesis of fuel from biomass, pyrolysis and bio-fuel were presented by the respective Principal Investigators. The session was chaired by Prof(Mrs.) P. Parikh, Emeritus Professor, IIT Mumbai. Dr. N. K. S. Rajan, CGPL, IISc Bangalore presented the progress of the project” Advanced Biomass Research Centre”. It was shown that R&D efforts under the project are focused on technology package development to replace fossil fuels in industries by gasifier, development of higher capacity engine and improved efficiency, development of standards and test protocols of gasifiers, etc. Dr. S. Khuntia, CSIR-IMMT, Bhubaneswar presented the progress of the project on “Development of Integrated Ultrasonically aided Biomethanation Plant with pre and post treatment of materials for enhancement and faster biogas generation from leafy biomass and and kitchen/vegetable wastes”. It was shown that the prototype plant was developed for commercial applications which can convert 100% minced waste vegetables into biogas and the plant can generate 35-65lit/kg biogas with average methane content 65-72%. Dr. Vijayanand S. Mohan of IIT Guwahati presented the project on “Synthesis of Green Transportation Fuel by Biomass Gasification Integrated Fischer-Tropsch(FT) Synthesis”. It was shown that the process of FT was studied in detail including the effect of the various operating parameters and that further research is required for optimization of FT process towards gas type from different biomass. Dr. Aneesha Singh, CSIR-CSMCRI, Bhavanagar presented the progress of the project” Large Scale Micro-propagation of elite genotypes of Jatropha curcus”. It was shown that research is focused on mass multiplication of identified elite accessions cultivated in field trials through micro propagation technique and efficient tissue culture generation. Prof. Anuradha Ganesh, IIT Bombay presented the progress of the project “Design and Development of Vacuum Pyrolysis Plant to Process Various Agriculture and Agro-Industrial Biomass to Demonstrate its Technical and Economical Feasibility”. It was shown that the process of vacuum pyroloysis unit was optimized and a plant of capacity 50kg/day was fabricated and performance studied and both cotton stalk and ground nut shell gave an oil yield of about approx. 40% and charcoal yield of around 30% with varying amount of aqueous fractions. Continues charcoal removal unit is the next step. Fabrication of a gas fired pyrolyser unit of capacity 100kg/hr is expected to start by mid-August 2012.
9. In the discussion session, the participants asked relevant questions from speakers regarding gasification, biogas production capacity from vegetable wastes, FT process, etc., which were addressed by the speakers. It was felt that field performance evaluation of gasifiers is important for optimum performance and cost considerations for desired applications. In the case of biogas production from vegetable wastes it was felt that such plants are commerciality available and detailed performance is required to arrive at cost-effective design of plant. In FT system, it was felt that techno-economic evaluation also needs to be carried out. In her concluding remarks, Prof(Mrs.) Parikh, Chairman of the session emphasized that R&D institutions, organizations, industries should pursue research in bio-energy including gasification, biogas, biofuels, cookstoves, etc vigorously for development of cost-effective and efficient technologies for promotion of biomass energy in the country.
Technical Session-IV(R&D in New Technologies)
10. In this session, five R&D projects on Research, Development and Demonstration projects related to Hydrogen production, storage of hydrogen and application of hydrogen blended in CNG and Hydrogen as fuels in internal combustion engine on hydrogen under mission mode were presented by the respective Principal Investigators. The session was chaired by Prof. R. Natarajan, former Chairman (AICTE) and Director, IIT Madras, Chennai. Prof. Debbarata Das, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur presented the progress of the project on “Mission Mode project on Hydrogen Production Through Biological Routes”. He highlighted that three pilot demonstration plants with reactor capacity of 10 cubic meter each are proposed for installation at Kharagpur, New Delhi and Hyderabad with hydrogen generation capacity of 30,000 to 50,000 litres per day. In addition, design of a 100 cubic meter bio-reactor for commercial application of the process would be another deliverable of the project. Shri Saurabh Rohilla of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) presented the progress of the project on “Use of hydrogen (up to 30%) as fuel blended with compressed natural gas in internal combustion engine”. It was also highlighted that under the project seven CNG vehicles (2 three wheelers, two cars, two mini buses and one cargo vehicle) were tested for emissions and performance using different blends of hydrogen (up to 30%) with CNG and the vehicles were optimized for operation with 18% hydrogen (by volume) blended with CNG as fuel for field trials. Prof. O.N. Srivastava, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi presented the progress of the project “Mission Mode project on hydrogen storage materials (Hydrides): Research and Development”. He presented the results of R&D work undertaken so far on storage of hydrogen in catalyzed magnesium hydride, complex hydrides such as sodium aluminum hydrides and grapheme, and those efforts are directed towards achieving hydrogen storage of 4.5 to 5 wt% in these materials. He informed that based on the materials developed by BHU for hydrogen storage; MIDHANI, Hyderabad would undertake manufacturing of large quantities of viable hydrides on conclusion of the project. Prof. B. Vishwanathan, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai presented the progress of the Project “Mission Mode Project on studies on hydrogen storage in carbon materials. It was shown that the project is focusing on developing appropriate and readily available carbon materials for storing about 5 to 6 wt% hydrogen. One patent in this regard has been filed by the project team. He also informed that M/s. Nano Ram Technologies, Bangalore is the industrial partner in the project and would undertake industrial production of the materials developed under the project for hydrogen storage. Dr. Mathew Abraham, Senior General Manager, Mahindra and Mahindra made a presentation on the project “Mission Mode Project on Development and demonstration of hydrogen fuelled internal combustion engines for vehicles”. It was shown that two nos. of multi cylinders turbo charged engine with power output of about 90 bhp are to be developed and thereafter to be mounted on two mini buses, which are to be run for about 1 lakh kilometer for collecting field performance data. He informed that the initial design work of hydrogen fuelled engine has been completed and the controller development work is in progress.
11. In the discussion session, interesting questions were asked by the participants relating to stratification of Hydrogen and CNG, whether decree in CO is proportionate to hydrogen blending with CNG or absolute and also impact of hydrogen blending with CNG on overall efficiency of engine, etc, which the speakers addressed to the satisfaction of participant’s. In his concluding session, Prof. Natarajan, the chairmen expressed satisfaction that the Mission Mode Projects on hydrogen energy, which are mostly being implemented in consortium mode, have been producing promising results and have commercial potential.
12. The Conclave concluded on 10th August 2012 with a Panel Discussion under the Chairmanship of Dr. R. Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India. The panel included Dr. T. Ramasami, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Shri Gireesh B. Pradhan, Secretary, MNRE, Prof. R. Natarajan, Former Chairman, AICTAE and Director, IIT Madras, Prof. Vikram Kumar, IIT Delhi and Prof. S. Srinivasa Murthy of IIT Madras. The panelists, which also included chairpersons of the technical sessions commended the efforts of MNRE to promote R&D in new and renewable energy and the achievements thereof by the respective project Investigators. They mentioned that the conclave was timely and recommended that R&D efforts need to be scaled up along with industry's involvement with proper strategy for translating the lab scale achievement to commercial product taking into account the risk of failure also. It was also recognized that publicity for market development is also of paramount importance for promotion of the use of renewable energy technologies/systems. Dr. R. Chidambaram, stressed that while directed research need to be given a priority, for innovation the basic research should also be encouraged. In solar thermal, it was emphasized R&D needs to be vigorously pursued in development of collector material and receiver systems. In solar photovoltics, R&D should be supported on all areas of solar cells with goals to achieve cost effectiveness with higher conversion efficiency. Bio-energy research should be supported for commercialization of gasifiers, biogas, biofuel involving industry. R&D in hydrogen and fuel cells technologies should be supported for technology development leading to commercialization. Storage figured as prominent area for vigorous research. Secretary, MNRE in his concluding statement acknowledged that the two day R&D conclave provided an opportunity to all research professionals to share experiences and exchange their views on the on-going R&D efforts. He recognized that though partnership with industry needs to be encouraged, but in view of the constraint of funds, he emphasized on to prioritize the areas for directed research and partnership with industry. It was considered that the event should be organized annually so that the developments are updated and inputs from researchers are considered in taking the progress further to achieve goals.