Three compendiums collating information on ongoing research activities in the country related to hydrogen and fuel cell and materials for energy storage and conservation by scientists, industry, utilities, and other stakeholders from R&D laboratories and academia, was launched on July 26, 2021.
The compendiums called Hydrogen and Fuel Cell (HFC) 2018, Material for Energy Storage (MES 2018), and Material for Energy Conservation and Storage Platform (MECSP 2017) were launched by Professor Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, GoI on 26th July 2021.
Greater utilization of renewables in our energy mix is India’s policy objective to achieve decarbonisation. While there are several pathways for decarbonisation varying in time frames, hydrogen produced from renewables is considered as the cleanest energy source.
Considering the importance of Hydrogen in the emerging landscape of clean energy, the Department of Science & Technology (DST) had already incubated a small R&D program few years ago to act as a pilot that can be scaled up according to national needs and priorities in future. A set of twenty-nine projects have been supported under this program till so far, across three important areas related to Hydrogen economy, namely, production, storage, and utilization. All these projects are currently in different stages of implementation. The program can now be fine-tuned and closely aligned to fulfill the specific R&D needs and priorities of the National Hydrogen Mission, with corresponding scaling up.
Materials discovery and development cross-cut the entire energy technology portfolio, from energy generation and storage to delivery and end-use. Materials are the foundation of every clean energy innovation: advanced batteries, solar cells, low energy semiconductors, thermal storage, coatings, and catalysts for the conversion, capture, and use of carbon dioxide. In short, new materials constitute one of the cornerstones for the global transition to a low-carbon future. The process of discovering and developing new materials currently entails considerable time, effort, and expense. Each newly discovered molecule is run through simulation, synthesis, and characterization, with synthetic procedures taking from 10 to 20 years at a very high cost. However, materials discovery and development are at the cusp of a transformational change that could reduce the time to design, optimize, and discover new materials by at least 10 times, cutting it down to one or two years.
Identifying the challenges and opportunities associated with the materials discovery, DST, under its Clean Energy Research Initiative, mounted a thematic Research and Technology programme on Materials for Energy Storage (MES 2018) and Materials for Energy Conservation and Storage Platform (MECSP 2017). A total of Twenty Six projects have been supported under this program so far, and Four MECSP centres set up by DST, Government of India, nucleated at IIT Delhi, IISc Bangalore, NFTDC Hyderabad, and IIT Bombay.