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New Delhi : A virtual function was held to mark the launch of the Global Center of Excellence in Affordable and Clean Energy (GCoE-ACE) at the Indian Institute of Technology, Dharwad (IITDh), Karnataka, on January 28, 2022, in the presence of, Prof. K Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India.

The center is supported by the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) donation from HHSIF. The first phase of the CSR project with HHSIF is to establish equipment for the GCoE-ACE mainly as skill development, fabrication, and R&D equipment. The subsequent phases are envisaged to encourage innovation and to provide incubation support for the solutions to the grassroot problem statements in the affordable and clean-energy domain.

A brief introduction to the center was given by Prof. SRM Prasanna, Dean (R&D), IIT Dharwad. He mentioned that India is blessed with many renewable energy sources like solar, wind, biomass, and such affordable technologies for clean energy can be developed and optimised, which will precisely be the scope of this center.

Prof. K Vijay Raghavan mentioned that energy and energy solutions are a critical part of the adaptation and mitigation of climate change. He added that in the past two decades, there has been an enormous increase in the research on Solar, Wind, Nuclear, and other forms of energy and the results of such research are yet to come to the market more effectively. IIT Dharwad will be one of the very few institutions in the country which is joining hands with industry partners such as Honeywell in training the young generation to address the complex problems of mitigation and adaptation to climate change. As the global temperature rises, there are big challenges ahead in high temperature and high humidity areas which make people dysfunctional.

Secondly, energy availability for farming is another big challenge, further energy availability for the health sector, education sector with 24×7 accessible education for all are some of the important challenges that this GCoE needs to address. Finally, Raghavan added, the Government has launched a hydrogen mission and one of the objectives is to use the energy required for its generation from clean energy sources such as solar and wind energy hence calling it green hydrogen energy. The center’s research & development efforts may go in that direction too. With these points, Raghavan congratulated all the stakeholders IIT Dharwad, Honeywell, and SELCO Foundation for establishing one of its kind GCoE in Affordable and Clean Energy, according to a PIB release.

Vinayak Chatterjee, Chairman, Board of Governors, IIT Dharwad, mentioned that the launch of the Global Center of Excellence in Affordable and Clean Energy is a historical milestone for IIT Dharwad. The center proposes to put the academic involvements, research & developments in the lab for field tests in the countryside. The work at the center would make a long-lasting impact on the daily lives of the country at large.

“Honeywell is committed to creating solutions to help communities meet challenges in energy, water, and air,” said Ashish Gaikwad, President, Honeywell India, and Director, HHHSIF.

Prof. P. Seshu, Director, IIT Dharwad, reiterated the Prime Minister message that IITs must become India’s Instruments of Transformation. He assured that the center will work towards United Nations Sustainable Development Goal – 7 on Affordable and Clean Energy and contribute to the goal set by the PM to achieve net-zero emissions. Affordable and Clean Energy is the perfect field for this as it has a multiplier effect on many aspects. Apart from technology development and pilot-scale deployment, the team has plans for contributing to the capacity and capability building in this critical field.

The grassroots level problem identification/implementation partner for the center will be SELCO Foundation. Dr. Harish Hande, Chief Executive Officer, and Founder, SELCO Foundation, emphasised how the center is crucial as it opens up a support system for need-based impact-driven technology innovation for health and livelihoods that focus on low-income communities. He added that the bold step taken by the leadership of IIT Dharwad to open the doors of IIT to innovators and entrepreneurs from non-IIT backgrounds would be a game-changing precedent for other IITs as well.

Other dignitaries present were Pratap Samuel, President, Honeywell Technology Solutions Lab; Pooja Thakran, Sr. Director – Corporate Comms and CSR, Honeywell India and HHSIF;  Huda Jaffar, Director, SELCO Foundation, Board members, and faculty members from IIT Dharwad.