July 12, 2011
School of Engineering, Coimbatore
Last year, the President of India declared 2010-2020 as the Decade of Innovation. A National Innovation Council was set up; the intention being to focus on inclusion, so that development could meet the needs of those at the bottom of the pyramid.
Defined simply, inclusion is the process of offering opportunities to the poorest of the poor to participate in the development of the nation, instead of having them simply remain as beneficiaries of welfare programs.
Now a new collaborative project between the Amrita School of Engineering and Royal Institute of Technology KTH, Sweden might also help include the poorest in India’s development process.
This was highlighted at a workshop in Stockholm on India’s Challenges of Inclusive Growth and New Opportunities in the Indian Research and Innovation System.
The event was co-organized by the Swedish Agency for Growth Policy Analysis, Swedish Embassy in New Delhi, Indian Embassy in Stockholm and KTH.
Distinguished members of the Indian National Innovation Council expressed their views on achieving inclusion through innovation. Among them were Mr. Sam Pitroda, advisor to the Prime Minister of India on Public Information Infrastructure & Innovations.
The joint Amrita-KTH project was presented by Dr. Robert Lagerström of KTH’s School of Electrical Engineering. Dr. Lagerström was part of a delegation of KTH researchers that visited Amrita’s Coimbatore campus last April.
Titled Energy Management on Smart Grids using Embedded Systems, the project is sponsored by the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems and the Department of Science and Technology (DST), India.
By integrating communication devices in an electrical network, smart grids can enable consumers to make use of renewable energy from sources such as solar panels and windmills. They can enable small producers to either sell their excess electricity or buy as needed, in an automated fashion.
“Smart grids have power systems tightly integrated with ICT systems,” explained Dr. Lagerström. “The new challenge consists in integrating these systems in the smartest possible way, making the best use of their respective strengths. Requirements such as security, scalability and reliability are important issues to manage.”
“While KTH is designing the smart grid architecture, focusing on non functional requirements in terms of modifiability and security, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham is developing the technical and power aspects using embedded systems and wireless sensor networks,” he elaborated.
Once implemented, the project will help reduce the gap between power demand and supply, especially in rural India, which suffers from chronic power shortages.