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Special Content


Issue no 14, 01-07 July 2023

Mission MAHIR: Driving Advanced Research & Innovation in Power Sector

EN Explain

Power and Energy are two essential inputs for economic development and improving the quality of life in India. Development of conventional forms of energy for meeting the growing energy needs of society at a reasonable cost is the responsibility of the Government. Advanced and high-impact research on the latest and emerging technologies related to the energy sector is an immediate necessity. In order to stay ahead in the rapidly advancing world of innovation, it is crucial to quickly identify emerging technologies and develop the technologies indigenously, at scale, for deployment within and outside the country. Such technologies will serve as the main fuel for the economic growth in future and make India a manufacturing hub of the world. Towards this end, the Ministry of Power and Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) have planned for end-to-end development of advanced technologies to make the future power system in the country robust and advanced so that India takes the lead in the disruptive technologies in the power sector, as to ensure self-reliance in meeting our energy needs with wide societal and commercial benefits. To leverage emerging technologies in the power sector, a national mission MAHIR has been launched by the two Ministries.

What is MAHIR? Mission on Advanced and High-Impact Research (MAHIR) aims to identify emerging technologies in the energy sector and take them to the implementation stage. The mission will serve as a catalyst for national priorities such as achieving 'net zero' emissions and promoting initiatives like Make in India and Start-up India. It will also contribute towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With a projection of India's growth rate of 7% in the coming years, the electricity demand is expected to increase at close to 10%. Furthermore, India is aiming for an energy transition following the Prime Minister's vision of LiFE which requires not only massive investment but also a transformational approach driven by research & innovation. In this regard, MAHIR will work towards IndustryAcademia-Government collaboration to create an ecosystem for innovation and translation of research in the power sector. The Mission will work with premier institutions such as IITs, IIMs, NITs, IISERs and Universities on the one hand and public and private power sector startups and established industries on the other, with the government acting as an enabler for creating an innovation ecosystem.

Mission Objectives

The key objectives of the Mission are as follows: Š

·         To identify emerging technologies and areas of future relevance for the global power sector and take up indigenous end-to-end development of relevant technologies

·         To provide a common platform for power sector stakeholders for collective brainstorming, synergetic technology development and devise pathways for smooth transfer of technology

·         To support pilot projects of indigenous technologies (developed especially by Indian start-ups) and facilitate their commercialization

·         To leverage foreign alliances and partnerships to accelerate research & development of advanced technologies and to build competencies, capabilities and access to advanced technologies through bilateral or multilateral collaborations, thereby facilitating exchange of knowhow and technology transfer

·         To seed, nurture and scale up scientific and industrial R&D and to create vibrant & innovative power sector ecosystem

·         To make India a leading country in power system related technologies & applications development

Areas Identified for Research

To begin with, eight areas are identified for research: (i) alternatives to Lithium-ion storage batteries (ii) modifying electric cookers/pans to suit Indian cooking methods (iii) green hydrogen for mobility (high efficiency fuel cell) (iv) carbon capture (v) geo-thermal energy (vi) solid state refrigeration (vii) nano technology for EV batteries (viii) indigenous CRGO technology.

Structure of the Mission

The Mission will have a two-tier structure - a Technical Scoping Committee and an Apex Committee. The Technical Scoping Committee (TSC), chaired by the Chairperson of Central Electricity Authority, will identify ongoing and emerging research areas globally, recommend potential technologies for development under the Mission, justify the techno-economic advantages, provide research outlines, and conduct periodic monitoring of approved research projects. In addition, the TSC will survey and identify the on-going and emerging areas of research globally and will make recommendations to the Apex Committee. The TSC shall identify the potential technologies that can be considered for development under the Mission. The TSC will bring out the relevance of the technology for the future of the Power Sector and justify the Techno-economic advantage of indigenous development of the Technology and come out with a roadmap for market creation for the Technology. The TSC will also provide a broad range of specifications desired from the final product. Periodic monitoring of the approved research projects will also be carried out by the TSC. The Apex Committee, chaired by the Union Minister for Power & New and Renewable Energy will deliberate on the technology and products to be developed and approve the research proposals. The Apex committee will also look into international collaborations. Moreover, the Apex Committee will approve the research proposals and monitor the progress of research. The technology/product to be developed under the Mission will be deliberated by the Apex Committee. The final approval of all the research proposals/projects shall be given by the Apex Committee. If the TSC recommends international collaboration for the development of technology, the same shall also be taken up by the Apex Committee for discussion with the collaborating country. Approval of any collaboration, the technology to be developed and agreement to be entered into with the collaborative country will be decided by the Apex Committee. Central Power Research Institute (CPRI), Bengaluru will provide all necessary secretarial assistance to the Apex Committee and Technical Scoping Committee.

 

Scope of the Mission: Under the Mission, once research areas are identified and approved by the Apex Committee, the proposals for outcome-linked funding will be invited from companies/organisations across the globe. The selection of the proposal shall be done through Quality cum Cost-Based Selection (QCBS) basis. The organisations of the Ministries may also co-develop the technologies with the selected Research Agency. The IPR of the technology developed would be shared by the Government of India and the Research Agency. The Mission shall also fund pilot projects of technologies developed by Indian Start-ups and facilitate their commercialisation through the Central Public Sector Enterprises under both the Ministries. The start-ups will have to share the IPR with the Government of India/ Central Power Research Institute. The Mission will facilitate international collaboration for smooth exchange of know-how and Technology Transfer. The Mission will be responsible for seeking collaboration with the best laboratories of the world for joint development of technologies.

 

Key Modalities Planned for an initial period of five years from 2023-24 to 2027-28, the Mission will follow the technology life cycle approach of 'Idea to Product'. The Mission will be funded by pooling financial resources of the Ministry of Power, MNRE and the Central Public Sector Enterprises under the two Ministries. Any additional funding needed will be mobilised from Government of India's budgetary resources. Proposals will be invited from companies/educational institutes/reputed universities/research laboratories/ research organisations/ industries/startups/other reputed agencies across the globe. The initial scrutiny of the proposals will be carried out by the Mission Secretariat and subsequently screened by the Technical Scoping Committee. Based on the recommendation of the TSC, projects will be placed before the Apex Committee for final consideration. A centralised web portal for Mission will be created on the cloud which will provide collective information of running status of all the activities under the Mission. Such a portal will be a dynamic repository of information on all activities/components, resources and outputs, associated with the Mission. This will be maintained and continuously updated for monitoring the progress of the Mission by the Mission Secretariat.

 

Compiled by: Annesha Banerjee and Anuja Bhardwajan

Source: PIB