Prof. Kamanio Chattopadhyay
Welcome to the Interdisciplinary Centre for Energy Research (ICER) at IISc, Bangalore.
Energy is one of the most important issues facing our country today, and therefore, the development of affordable and efficient energy sources are paramount. Further, the use of energy is the dominant contributor to climate change, and therefore, the current patterns of energy production and consumption are unsustainable. In view of this, several new missions have been announced by the Government of India (such as the Jawaharlal Nehru Mission in Solar Energy), with a major thrust on research and development in the respective areas.
Indian Institute of Science (IISc), a 100 year old Institute founded in 1909, was at a cross road during the recent Centenary celebration. Built on long traditions of strong and fundamental research in science and technology, IISc today stands firmly on its national and international reputation in cutting edge science and technology. The vision for the next 100 years that emerged from the Centenary discussions was to take up challenging socially relevant research that would directly make a difference to the people of the nation and to the world. In this context, energy was indentified to be one of the most important issues facing our country today and, therefore, the development of affordable and efficient energy sources are paramount. At the national level, several new missions have been announced by the Government of India (such as the Jawaharlal Nehru Mission in Solar Energy), with a major thrust on research and development in the respective areas of energy. In line with the national level initiatives, as part of this post-Centenary vision, the IISc Energy Initiative was launched in 2010 with a major thrust on renewable energy including solar power and associated technologies. Although research on energy science and related technologies has a long tradition in the Institute, this is the first time that an interdisciplinary approach has been undertaken to bring together core expertise from various disciplines under one roof to work towards development of cutting edge research on energy. Research in energy is interdisciplinary by its nature, needing expertise in many different domains, and IISc, with its broad expertise in different disciplines is uniquely placed to undertake such a programme of research. Under this new Energy Initiative, research on various fields such as concentrated solar power (CSP), next generation solar photovoltaic (PV), high storage density battery, green buildings, sustainable technologies and climate change issues have been undertaken.
In 2012, the Energy Initiative led to the establishment of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Energy Research (ICER) at IISc. This new centre is uniquely placed to address the research challenges in the diverse fields related to energy, by engaging in interdisciplinary studies across many different fields as well as research that cover areas from the basics through to application and development. Thus, the Centre has taken a highly interdisciplinary approach toward translating fundamental knowledge into practical solutions that will enable sustainable energy production both in the urban and rural sector. Some major projects which have been initiated under the Centre include the India-US consortium named Solar Energy Research Institute for India and the United States (SERIIUS) under the US.-India Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center (JCERDC) programme, the National Centre for Combustion Research & Development (NCCRD), and the Research Centre for Solar Power in IISc’s Challakere Campus for development of research test beds in solar thermal as well as in photovoltaics.
In order to drive such initiatives, the ICER has signed MoUs with a number of leading Indian and international institutions engaged in cutting edge energy research, and also launched a new Interdisciplinary PhD programme to admit students with diverse backgrounds in science or engineering with keen interest in energy related. With enthusiastic and inspired students and faculty members, our young Centre is already flourishing with activities. At ICER, we are committed to the goals and objectives of making this place a major hub of energy related activities, ranging from training of manpower to performing cutting edge collaborative research and development.