Thrust Areas

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Government of India
Ministry of New and Renewable Energy
(R&D Coord. Group)

 “Thrust Areas with Action Plan for RD&D”
For Technology Development
New and Renewable Energy

JUNE, 2016


Ministry of New and Renewable Energy
(R&D Coord. Group)

1. Introduction

1.1       The objective of RD&D Programme of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is to promote technology development and demonstration for widespread deployment of new and renewable energy for various applications in cost effective manner across the country. RD&D efforts are directed towards process/ technology development and demonstration with emphasis on cost reduction and improving efficiency. The RD&D projects are sanctioned to various R&D/academic institutions, industries etc. following the MNRE’s policy and guidelines dated 18.10.2010.  169 nos. of R&D projects in solar thermal, solar PV, biogas, bio-fuel, hydrogen and fuel cells were sanctioned by MNRE in the 11th Plan Period with total budget of Rs.525 crore to various R&D/academic institutions, industries, etc., 60% of which was sanctioned for solar projects.

1.2       The support provided by MNRE has strengthened capacity and capability of R&D/academic institutions, industries for carrying out R&D for technology development and demonstration in new and renewable energy. In addition,  during the current 12th Five Year Plan, the Ministry has strengthen its three institutions, namely, National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), Haryana, National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE), Chennai and National Institute of Bio-energy (NIBE), Punjab for R&D in solar, wind and bioenergy, respectively, in addition to testing and evaluation in these areas. A total amount of Rs.417 crore has been spent on RD&D by MNRE till December 2015 in the proportion given in table below.

Sl. No.

Project area

Amount spent

 in Rs. (crores)

Proportion of investment (%)


Solar energy




Wind energy








Small Hydro




New Technology(Hydrogen & Fuel Cell)













2. Brainstorming Consultations Meeting on RD&D

2.2       A day-long “Brainstorming Consultations Meeting” was held on 5th January 2016 in the Conference Hall of MNRE for reviewing of RD&D projects funded by the MNRE and for identifying “Thrust Areas with Action Plan for RD&D” for support by the MNRE. The meeting was chaired by Sh. Upendra Tripathy, Secretary, MNRE, and was attended by invited key experts from the field of new and renewable energy from R&D/academic institutions and industries apart from Group/Divisional Heads handling RD&D programmes in the Ministry. A compendium on the status of R&D projects funded by MNRE was distributed to participating experts for their perusal. The status of various areas of new and renewable energy at both national and international level was presented by key experts and the progress of R&D projects was reviewed and discussed as per programme annexed. List of participants is enclosed at Annexure.

2.3       A detailed discussion was held on the progress of the projects sanctioned and thrust areas for RD&D with Action Plan for faster technology development and demonstration. The thrust areas, which include systems integration to improve the reliability of the system, have been identified on the basis of domestic experience and the need of technology development keeping in view the cost effectiveness inline with international ongoing R&D efforts. Experts suggested that the R&D projects sanctioned should be periodically monitored by MNRE so that proper and timely action is taken for implementation. They also suggested that the achievements under R&D projects should be validated by standard institutions having testing and evaluation expertise and facilities and accordingly the efforts should be scaled up for further development and demonstration of technology. The thrust areas were identified for RD&D and Action Plan prepared for technology development and demonstration for large scale use of new and renewable energy for various applications across the country.

3. Thrust Areas for RD&D and Action Plan

3.1       It was decided that in all areas the project programme should be developed associating industry keeping in view scalability and bankability to ensure the utility of the outcome for product development for commercialisation. The efforts should be continued till commercialization of technologies/systems/components. The thrust areas identified for RD&D and Action Plan emerged from the “Brainstorming Consultations Meeting” are given below;

Solar Thermal

  • Development and optimization of low cost reflectors, efficient and cost effective receiver systems and coatings  for  Solar Thermal Power Generation Technologies
  • High efficiency novel storage- technologies to cover wide temperature and capacity ranges, materials, systems and integration with CSP technologies.
  • High efficiency CO2 Brayton cycles (100kW-1MW) 
    Super critical CO2 Brayton cycle: > 50% cycle efficiency even at 500oC receiver temperature.
  • Hybridization of solar thermal power technologies  with other RE sources for (non-grid) power generation
  • Development of solar thermal technologies/systems including evacuated tube/CPC collectors for cooking, water heating, cooling, drying, desalination and industrial processes
  • Hybridization and polygeneration

Action Plan/Strategy

  • Establishment of performance standards and testing
  • Centres of excellence/Consortium based approach in specific areas mentioned above  in specific areas
  • HYBRIDIZATION and RETRO-FITTING with Coal Based Thermal Power Plants. This can improve the efficiency, increase the capacity and reduce the CO2 emissions.

Solar Photovoltaics

  • Improving Si PV efficiency and reducing the material and processing cost.
  • Making Si material from sand
  • Strengthening Research Groups for research in new areas such as PERC cells, dark silicon cells, Si nano-wire cells, passivated interface cells, micromorph cells etc.
  • Second generation (thin film) for improving their efficiency and stability.
  • Third generation cells including organic semiconductor PV, DSSC, perovskite based cells as long term solution to the energy scenario.
  • Improving modules quality and reliability in cost effective manner.
  • Development of standard designs for supporting structures to mount SPV systems for application on different widths and types of canals and reservoirs/lakes.
  • Assessment of water saving in reduced evaporation and performance enhancement of SPV systems installed over water bodies.
  • Materials and fabrication Technology for solar cells and modules
  • Production Technology for solar cells and modules.
  • Balance of Systems to draw power from PV array
  • Inverters and converters and storage systems
  • Power Conditioning Units (PCU) with high weighted average efficiency inverters (with MPPT) and Charge Controllers for off-grid solar power plants. Power Conditioning Units(PCU) with high weighted average efficiency inverters(with MPPT) for low capacity solar power plants for grid connected(Grid Exporter) configuration
  • High Efficiency BLDC Motors (with MPPT) for solar pump configurations. High Efficiency inverters (with MPPT) for solar pump applications
  • Development of Materials and Fabrication Technologies for solar cells and Modules
  • Measurement facilities for calibration solar cell efficiency
  • Flexible solar panels & frontier technologies.

Action Plan/ Strategy

  • Technology demonstration should be scaled up for applications in various sectors like Telecom. Railways, Defense, Space, etc.
  • In all RD&D efforts, industry which are at present producing modules from cells and wafers to be associated.
  • The target of efficiency for silicon solar cells should be 25% by 2022
  • The R & D/academic organizations working in the area of crystalline silicon solar cell should be directly linked to the Indian Industries, which are at present producing modules from cells and wafers. In addition, the Indian Installers of PV Systems with c-Si modules should be part of this consortium. The association with academic and R and D organizations will help the Industries in upgrading their product and help in solving technical problems,
  • Setting up test labs for testing input material such as Si wafers, EVA, Tedlar, pastes etc. to help industries.


  • Development, demonstration and evaluation of existing and new designs of biogas plants for biogas generation utilizing different feedstock for cooking, power generation and transport applications. 
  • Development of efficient and cost effective slurry handling system
  • Standardization of multiple designs of biogas plants – all sizes, all feedstock based. Performance testing utilizing standardized gas flow meters for measurement of biogas generated.
  • Technology development for reduction in HRT
  • Performance validation and cost economics before approval.
  • New enzymes/ consortium of bacterial development of fast biomethnation processes
  • Development in new materials of biogas plants for cost reduction.
  • Standardization biogas slurry based bio-fertilizer, value addition and marketing network development.
  • Bio-manure up-gradation (incorporation of micronutrients into the slurry for land application).
  • Development and standardization of scrubbers for biogas purification and gas flow meters.
  • Development of efficient 100% biogas engine for power generation. 

Action Plan/Strategy

  • Development of centralized biogas generation plants with distribution through piping.
  • Development of business model for biogas fertilizer plants should be taken up. Strategy should be developed for large scale biogas plants, i.e., sewage treatment plants, sugar industry effluent, goushalas etc.
  • Mechanism and regulation should be developed to segregate the municipal
  • solids wastes and Polluter–Pays principle should be made mandatory to stop the burning of crop and industry derived biomass source.
  • City dairies are to be mandated to treat their waste and produce biogas.
  • Technology development and demonstration and standardization of Bio CNG.Bio Gas scale up projects. Only those projects which have reduced HRT ~ 1-2 days and which can give BIO-CNG at ~ 25 Rs/Kg must be scaled up
  • Command area for biomass waste collection and utilization in urban and rural areas needs to be promoted.
  • Promoting Bio–CNG marketing mechanism with standardization and control systems.

Hydrogen Energy

  • Hydrogen production from various feedstock in association with industry
  • Technology for storage of hydrogen
  • Establishment of a Centre of Excellence For New Energy Forms.

Fuel Cell

  • High Temperature Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell with combined cycle
  • Low Temperature Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell
  • Planar Solid Oxide Fuel Cell
  • Phosphoric Acid Fuel Cell (for civilian applications only)
  • Direct Methyl/ Ethyl Alcohol Fuel Cell
  • Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell
  • Bio-Fuel Cell

Action Plan/Strategy

  • R&D should be pursued in partnership with industries in material development, reactors/fuel cells, storage vessels.
  • Centres of Excellence may be set up with focused R&D for long terms gaols.
  • The indigenous technology for storage of hydrogen needs to be encouraged on priority basis.
  • Focused R&D projects need to be supported for hydrogen production through biomass gasification, bio-hydrogen, thermo-chemical splitting and thermolysis of water.
  • In all areas of RD&D, industry must be associated with projects for technology development and demonstration ensuring commercial applications.

Control and Operation Issues with Integration of Renewable Energy Sources (RES)

  • Development of Low Cost High Efficiency Converters and Associated Controls for Integration of Solar And Wind Generation Plants :
  • New Topology, Maximum Power Point Tracking, Power Quality Control, Grid Synchronization, Voltage and Frequency Control, Active and Reactive Power Support, Online Health Monitoring and Accelerated Life Testing.
  • Development of Controls for Power Management of RES Sources
  • Grid Connected and Islanded Operation, Standalone Operation with Storage, Smart/Net Metering
  • Microgrid Development
  • Microgrid Architecture Design- AC vs DC, Converter Topology and Controls for integration of various RESs and Energy Storage systems, Fast and Adaptive Protection, Island Detection and Management scheme. Pilot Microgrid Test Bed for R&D.
  • System Wide Power Management and Controls
  • Wind, Solar irradiation, load forecasting, power balancing Ancillary Services, SCADA/EMS with Renewable Management, Synchrophasor Technology for Dynamic Monitoring and Control, Wide Area Control, Offshore wind farm integration, Flexible AC Transmission System (FACTS) Controllers.

Action Plan

Centre of Excellence in Grid related Research for RES Integration

Energy Storage

  • Batteries and Supercapacitors
    • Lithium ion batteries
    • Solid state batteries
    • Hybrid capacitors
    • Redox flow batteries
  • Metal-Air systems
    • Zinc-air rechargeable batteries
    • Lithium-air rechargeable batteries (futuristic)
    • Iron-air batteries (futuristic)
    • Aluminium –air batteries (futuristic)
  • Organic systems
    • Organic, green, environmentally friendly electrode materials for all organic batteries  
    • Pb-acid batteries, alkaline batteries (Ni-Fe, Fe-air, Ni-Metal hydride), Li- based batteries (Li-ion, Li-air, Li-S), redox flow batteries (Zn/Bromine, soluble Pb) and electrochemical capacitors (electrical double layer and pseudo capacitors, Pb-C battery-super capacitor hybrid).
    • Small Capacity Pumped Storage systems

Action Plan/Strategy

  • Consortium for RD&D for technology development and demonstration between the institutions and industries.
  • Fabrication and Demonstration of 2-3 Ah Li-ion cells and battery pack of 30 Ah for energy storage applications to sources from wind/solar with a cycle life of 3000 cycles.
  • Fabrication and Demonstration of 2-3 Ah Li-ion cells and battery pack of 60 Ah for energy storage applications to sources from wind/solar with a cycle life of 5000 cycles.

VII. Wind

  • Wind Resource Assessment and forecasting
  • Wind Turbine System Design(wind turbine rotor, mechanical structures / materials, electrical components)   
  • Wind Energy Integration(wind power plant capabilities/Grid planning and operation)
  • Offshore Technology (resource, off-shore structures, turbine design and simulation understanding the external climate and wake effect).
  • Small wind & wind solar hybrid.

Action Plan/Strategy

  • Proper resource assessment including satellite based data
  • Standards for wind turbines and related systems/components
  • Industry association with R&D programmes.  


Small Hydro Turbines and generators

  •         Development of ultra-low (below 3 m) head turbines
  •         Development of permanent magnet generators for small capacity
  • hydropower systems
    ·         Development of flowing water kinetic energy based systems
    ·         Development of IT based performance monitoring of SHP systems
    ·         Development of Small Capacity Pumped Storage systems 

Action Plan/Strategy

  • Development of software for resource assessment for site identification including use of modern techniques like RS and GIS.
  • Standardization of SHP turbines and systems including automation  for pwer plants
  • Industry association with R&D programme.

Renewable Energy Resource Assessment

  • Technique Development for high-resolution solar and wind / wave energy forecasting using model, satellite and in situ data
  • Roof-top solar energy modelling using satellite-based 3D-city model
  • Exploratory research investigation on Bio, Geothermal and Small-Hydro energy resource assessment with Satellite data
  • The validation exercise of satellite-driven energy outputs with NIWE will continue as benchmarking activity.

Action Plan

  • Resource assessment should be vigorously pursued and reviewed for its accuracy.
  • Validation of satellite data against ground measured data and also comparing the same with that obtained from foreign source including from NREL and then developing a model for resource assessment across the country.