UK-India Sustainable Energy Technology Network

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Research and Graduate Services

Abstract

Security and sustainability of energy supply and delivery are major global challenges. New materials, engineering solutions and technological innovations are needed to help meet competing needs of poverty deduction, rapid economic development and climate change. The UK and India face different challenges over the next 50 years in developing sustainable energy supply. The UK has a developed energy network that needs modernisation using efficient energy generation technologies, fuel switching and carbon capture and storage. Demand reduction is also necessary in order to meet targets set by the 2007 Energy White Paper ( Meeting the Energy Challenge ) which commits to a 26-32% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020 and 60% by 2050. India's requirement for energy is increasing in line with its rapidly expanding economy, presenting a major challenge for its government in providing and securing access of supply sufficient to sustain current levels of growth. Load shedding (i.e. power cuts) is a common occurrence across much of central and southern India resulting from demand levels which exceed energy generation capacity. However, human development goals mean that India needs significant economic growth over the next 25 years to eradicate poverty and to develop its rural economy. For India, a massive expansion in energy production, sourced from hydroelectric and coal-fired power generation is predicted, with production likely to treble between 2005-2030. Despite national electricity supply and electrification schemes, a large proportion of rural population remains without electricity. Advances in the application of small-scale technological solutions are required for localised energy generation and fuel use in rural areas. This Sustainable Energy Technologies Network focuses on two of these major development challenges: delivery of large-scale increases in fossil fuel generation that is both efficient and clean; and utilising technological developments to address small-scale, dominantly rural energy needs in locations beyond current electricity networks. The network team comprises academics from the University of Nottingham, Loughborough University and the University of Birmingham, industrial partner RWE npower and researchers from the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur; the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi; the Centre for Sustainable Technology, Indian Institute of Science (CST, IISc) Bangalore and the World Institute of Sustainable Energy (WISE), Pune. Complementary network expertise spanning the scientific fields of chemistry, physics, engineering and geology, along with socio-economic and policy areas will allow new technological solutions to be adapted to meet the needs of local communities. Through network activities which bring together academic and scientific experts, local communities, NGOs and industry, and by publicising meetings, research opportunities and recent advances in a range of media, we hope to build a sustainable community of energy researchers which has global brand coverage. In this way and through our successes, we anticipate creating a step-change in mutual UK-India energy-related activities.We anticipate advances for both countries in the development of novel solutions for carbon capture and storage (CCS), increased plant and fuel efficiency through research into materials, biomass and hydrogen production and combustion kinetics, and the application of small-scale alternative technologies to meet the needs of rural communities. In addition, through combining scientists and engineers with social scientists, economists and policy experts, we seek to enable a holistic approach to developing and deploying new technologies which will make significant contributions to economic development of the countries involved.

Publications

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