February 21, 2011
Amrita Center for Nanosciences, Kochi
It is estimated that 68 percent of India’s carbon dioxide emissions come from burning coal. In order to produce electricity, India burns over 400 million tonnes of coal every year.
Now the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is pushing ahead with projects designed to replace coal-generated electricity in our country with clean energy.
In September 2010, the Amrita Center for Nanosciences received a multi-crore rupees grant from the Ministry to develop nanomaterials-based solar photo voltaic (SPV) cells.
Nano materials hold much promise, as dye-sensitized solar cells are cost-effective as well as comparable in efficiency to the best technologies available worldwide.
The SPV cells use the basic principles of photosynthesis, wherein plants convert solar energy into food.
In addition, Amrita has designed and patented a new technology, whereby the same panels can be used both for generating and storing energy. Solar energy generated in one layer can be stored in another layer using super capacitor technology.
Amrita’s work in this area was recently reviewed when a fifteen-member team of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy visited the Amrita Centre for Nanosciences.
The fifteen Members of Parliament were so impressed with the path-breaking work accomplished within a short amount of time, that they invited the Center Director, Dr. Shantikumar Nair to Delhi, to make a complete presentation to all members of the Standing Committee.
“SPVs have the potential to revolutionize the energy scenario in the country,” stated Shri. P. C. Chacko, the committee chairman. “The advanced research work in this area at Amrita is very impressive.”
Starting 2011, the Center will also begin offering a new M.Tech. program in Nano Solar Devices. Several students will receive fellowships funded by the Ministry.
Applications will also be invited from research scholars and doctoral students for advanced research in generation and storage devices.
This will mark the successful initiation of the second major program of the Amrita Center for Nanosciences. Its flagship program in stem cell research and tissue engineering emerged in a short amount of time to become known as one of the best such programs in the world.
The Center’s work in solar energy generation and storage will also perhaps generate much attention. Its success will have far reaching impacts – as indigenously designed and manufactured technology can finally help curb India’s carbon dioxide emissions.