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  • Published: Dec 30th, 2008
  • Category: India
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India, US cos join hands to electrify Bijlee research


| Sourced From The Economic Times |

NEW DELHI: Fancy owning cars painted with particles that will cool your vehicle drawing solar power and still not leave a trace of carbon in the air?
Or buildings that remain cool while consuming far less energy than they do now?

These and several other sustainable energy solutions for a wide variety of everyday needs could become a reality with India and the US deciding to bring together scientists in both the countries with support from corporate groups.

The ministry of science and technology is all set to launch BIJLEE or the Berkeley-India Joint Leadership on Energy and the Environment, under which the US government will spare its top scientists and engineers to develop sustainable energy solutions for India, said an Indian government official, who declined to be identified.

Institutions supporting the initiative include the University of California, Berkeley, the Indian Institute of Science and various Indian Institutes of Technology. The Indian governments research body, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), played a key role in envisaging the project.

All this was also confirmed by Purnendu Chatterjee, chairman of investment company The Chatterjee Group, which is a major corporate supporter of the initiative. US-based Mr Chatterjee is an alumnus of the University of California, Berkeley, and his group is most known in India for its investment in Haldia Petrochemicals.

He is not alone in the BIJLEE initiative. Indian groups such as ITC, Tata Power, Reliance Energy, Infosys and some California-based utilities are also supporting this project, which needs strong participation from industry to help design technologies that are commercially viable.

BIJLEE will attempt to find sophisticated ways to lower energy consumption across a range of industrial processes and could potentially benefit everything under the sun from building houses and cars to consumer electronics, lighting systems and water purifiers.

Officials say its benefits will be particularly relevant in a fast industrialising and growing economy such as India as traditional ways of energy consumption could vastly increase global carbon emissions. India is set to be the worlds third largest carbon dioxide emitter by 2015 at current economic growth rates, the International Energy Agency said in World Energy Outlook last year.

Efficient energy solutions could help also India lower the cost of its energy bill the country imports nearly 70% of its crude oil requirements now. For India, which could not meet the electricity production target set in the tenth five-year plan and is struggling to meet those in the 11th plan, BIJLEE raises hopes of cost-effective energy-saving products and technologies as it explores areas such as energy conversion, storage devices and renewable energy.

Americas national laboratory under its Department of Energy, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is likely to get funding from the US government for the project. Berkeley Labs is part of a similar initiative on sustainable energy with the government and the private sector in China, the fastest growing major economy.

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