Saturday, December 24, 2011

Low-cost solutions needed to tap solar energy: IIT-B chief

PUNE: Director of Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) Devang Khakhar has said that finding technologically efficient and economically viable solutions to harness solar energy is the biggest challenge before the country.
"While there are other options to secure clean energy, solar power is the most promising one and needs greater research to see that we have low-cost solutions," Khakhar said at the graduation ceremony of the 103 Engineer Officers Degree Engineering (EODE) and 16 Technical Entry Scheme (TES) courses at the College of Military Engineering (CME) here on Wednesday.
The CME is a premier armed forces institution that offers BTech degree courses in civil, electrical and mechanical engineering besides short courses in combat engineering, to the officers from all three wings of the services and officers from friendly foreign countries.
According to Khakhar, energy is the biggest issue today if one considers the important developments in technology and the emerging areas of research. "The question is how can we harness energy efficiently and use it cleanly so that there is no impact on environment," he said. "This is crucial as India is poised to be among the largest users of energy," he added.
"Fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil will eventually run out and options like clean coal technology, nuclear, solar and wind power will acquire greater significance. However, exercising these options involve huge costs and the same leads us to the question of how we can do this economically," he said.
Khakhar said, "Solar energy, in particular, needs attention in terms of research. At IIT-B, we have joined our sponsors to invest almost Rs 100 crore in a slew of projects relating to low-cost solutions in solar energy."
He also identified nanotechnology, biotechnology and information technology as the other areas that will be crucial for engineers, both in uniform and civilians, in the days ahead. "The emphasis has shifted to making smaller equipment and using things with smaller features, which makes nanotech a crucial area," he said.
"For defence, the nanotech applications are as varied as developing new types of micro chips to making sensors for explosive detection," said Khakhar. "Similarly, information and communication technology has acquired greater significance in context of security and cyber warfare."
Khakhar said, "These are the major themes of technological development, which the combat engineers are needed to be well aware of. They have to continue with acquiring knowledge in new domains and producing technologies that are cost efficient and economical."
Earlier, Khakhar presented the BTech degree from Jawaharlal Nehru University and the awards to the passing out student officers from the 103 EODE course, which commenced on December 29, 2008 and 16 TES course, which started on January 2, 2008.
Of the 62 officers from the EODE course, 24 graduated in civil, six in electrical and 32 in mechanical engineering. In all 44 officers scored first class and 18 passed with second class.
Major Rajneesh Kumar and Captain Vidyut Mahato received the gold medals for standing first in the overall order of merit in the civil and the electrical engineering branches, respectively. Lieutenant Sharad Godiyal received the gold medal for standing first in the 16 TES mechanical stream.

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