[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 3-Oct-2008
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Contact: Allan Chen
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley announce India energy R&D program

Berkeley, CA — The U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California, Berkeley have announced a joint research and development program in which researchers will work with the government and private sector of India to develop paths toward reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) while maintaining sustained economic growth.

The Berkeley-India Joint Leadership on Energy and the Environment (BIJLEE) will bring together researchers from Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley, including its College of Engineering, and other U.S. and Indian universities, institutions, and corporations to develop energy-efficient and renewable energy technologies. At the same time, BIJLEE will address the policy innovations needed to transfer these technologies to the marketplace, with the goal of combating climate change and promoting economic growth with solutions that are appropriate to India. BIJLEE's collaborative, outcome-oriented research will come from Berkeley Lab, the College of Engineering, and a new center in India.

"The goal of BIJLEE is both timely and visionary: to accommodate rising demands for energy with a richer mix of sustainable alternatives," says S. Shankar Sastry, Dean of UC Berkeley's College of Engineering. "UC Berkeley and the Berkeley Lab will partner with government and industry in India to spark innovations in renewable energy technologies and transform market and policy mechanisms for adopting these technologies. Both countries – indeed, the entire planet – will benefit."

As a strong advocate of BIJLEE's mission and a founding supporter of this new partnership, Dr. Purnendu Chatterjee, chairman of the global investment firm The Chatterjee Group, will contribute $2,000,000 to endow two chairs in Berkeley's College of Engineering. His gift will establish a chair in energy technologies to support an eminent professor pursuing research in such areas as energy efficiency, renewable fuels and power, and sequestration of fossil-fuel emissions. Dr. Chatterjee's generosity also creates a chair in engineering biological systems.

"When leading experts from both India and Berkeley unite on cooperative ventures, new technology and long-term solutions are likely outcomes," says Dr. Chatterjee. Purnendu Chatterjee earned both his Masters and Ph.D in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from the College of Engineering, in 1972 and 1974, respectively.

Scientists in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division including Division Director Arun Majumdar, Deputy Director Ashok Gadgil, and International Energy Group Leader Jayant Sathaye are participating on the Berkeley Lab side. Researchers from UC Berkeley include Shankar Sastry, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences as well as Dean of Engineering; Ramesh Ramamoorthy, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering; and other researchers with interests in India, energy-efficient and renewable energy technology, and international economics issues.

"Berkeley Lab and the UC Berkeley campus have taken leadership in creating the BIJLEE program," says Majumdar, who is also a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley. "However, it will also be open to collaborations with any institution or corporation interested in contributing to its effort. No other National Laboratory is adjacent to a major research university with such strengths in clean energy development and south Asian studies, and with strong connections to India. Our proximity to the Silicon Valley's culture of investment and innovation and its large Indian expatriate community will also help advance this effort."

"India has one of the largest populations and fastest growing economies in the world, and it is the world's largest democracy," says Majumdar. "For the foreseeable future, it will have one of the fastest rising rates of greenhouse gas emissions, along with China. The U.S. needs to figure out how to address these growing emissions in partnership with these two rapidly expanding economies if we are to have any chance of reducing those emissions globally." Berkeley Lab already has a China Energy Group that works with the Chinese government and private sector on these issues.

The Indian economy is growing about eight to nine percent per year. India is the sixth largest greenhouse gas-emitting nation in the world. "There is considerable interest in India now in developing the technological capacity and institutional expertise to reduce their GHG emissions while maintaining economic growth," says Majumdar.

BIJLEE scientists will conduct research on the three pillars of sustainability: basic science and engineering, new technology development, and policies to promote market transformation to further energy efficiency, clean energy sources and smart growth. "Only a combination of these approaches will lead to measurable progress in reducing GHG emissions," says EETD Deputy Director Gadgil.

EETD has had a successful 35-year record of developing energy-efficient end-use and advanced technologies, and evaluating policy and market transformation of efficient technology and clean energy. The Division has also worked with other nations to train staff and help their leadership develop greenhouse gas reduction plans. UC Berkeley is a world leader in developing new sustainable energy technology thanks to work ranging from carbon-neutral biofuels research to the use of advanced information technology R&D for clean energy at the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS). UC Berkeley's Department of South Asian Studies is one of the most distinguished in the nation.

BIJLEE will conduct R&D initially in the following areas: energy-efficient buildings, electricity systems, energy analysis, energy conversion and storage devices and systems, information technology, forestry and renewable energy. The work on energy-efficient buildings will draw on EETD's decades of experience to conduct work in lighting, windows, cool roofs, HVAC systems, integrated design and technology for super-efficient buildings and software for building design and simulation.

Electricity systems and renewable energy research will draw on existing expertise to examine pathways to providing more clean and renewable energy, and expanding and improving the reliability of the transmission and distribution system. The research will focus on technologies for electricity storage; solar energy utilization through photovoltaics, solar fuels, and solar thermal; and waste heat recovery and refrigeration. Currently, India faces rapid energy demand growth and severe, intermittent shortages of electricity. The shortages limit economic growth, and the use of fossil sources like goal and diesel to supply electricity contribute to GHG emissions.

Forestry offers a potential means of offsetting GHG emissions in India. International Energy Group Leader Jayant Sathaye has studied forestry in India for many years, and has contributed his expertise to the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments on forestry as a GHG mitigation strategy.

EETD researchers will also examine energy and water issues in India. Deputy Director Gadgil is the inventor of UV Waterworks, an inexpensive energy-efficient technology for disinfecting drinking water on a village scale, whose use is now expanding in India. His research team is also studying inexpensive methods of removing arsenic and other contaminants from drinking water.

BIJLEE will formalize and expand research relevant to India that has been ongoing for 20 years through funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, State Department, Environmental Protection Agency, and Agency for International Development, international institutions and philanthropic foundations, along with the support of the California Energy Commission, the California Public Utilities Commission, California utility companies and other institutions. This research has been conducted in partnership with several Indian research and academic institutions including: the Delhi School of Economics, Indian Institute of Science, Indian Institutes of Technology, International Institute for Energy Conservation, International Institute of Information Technology, Jadavpur University, Prayas Energy Group and The Energy Research Institute. Other partners include the Confederation of Indian Industry, ITC Ltd., Satyam Computers, Tata Power, Reliance Energy, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited, Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport and other utility and private companies. The work of these Indian institutions has received financial and in-kind support from the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, Ministry of Power, Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission, Ministry of Environment and Forests and other national and state agencies. In addition to the aforementioned supporters, BIJLEE's future efforts in India will be supported by The Chatterjee Group in cooperation with the Department of Science and Technology, Infosys and other private companies, and international philanthropic foundations.


Berkeley Lab is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory located in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the University of California. Visit our website at http://www.lbl.gov.

Educating Leaders, Creating Knowledge, and Serving Society—UC Berkeley College of Engineering. www.coe.berkeley.edu

For more information, see the BIJLEE website at: http://india.lbl.gov

A recent agreement with the Indian state of Maharashtra is described here: http://www.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/sabl/2008/Feb/Maharashtra.html

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