A new Centre of Excellence for India’s energy security set up at IIT Bombay

India is amongst the fastest growing economies of the world today, but this rapid growth rate is required to be sustained for the upcoming decades to achieve the desired levels of economic growth. The most important aspect in ensuring India’s energy security in the coming future and crucial steps need to be taken in this direction.

Recently, a new Centre of Excellence has been set-up at IIT Bombay in collaboration with the leading Public Sector Undertakings in the Oil and Gas sector as well as a leading engineering company.

Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL), Oil India Limited, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited and Engineers India Limited are the partner institutions for this new Centre for Excellence.

These companies will collaborate with the Centre of Excellence, IIT Bombay to conduct different research projects in order to prepare these conceptual projects into the implementation-ready mode.

The funding for the Centre of Excellence, IIT Bombay will be provided by the 6 participating Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs). The development of this Centre of Excellence, IIT Bombay is a noteworthy development as there have been ongoing talks regarding foreign investment in the oil and gas sector from Mr Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

The first meeting of the Centre of Excellence, IIT Bombay was held on 7th November 2019 which was chaired by Dr Anil Kakodkar, who is also the chairman of the governing council for Centre of Excellence, IIT Bombay. Mr Kakodkar also happens to be an integral part of a high-level committee set-up by the Mistry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

Recently, Mr Anil Kakodkar, who is a nuclear physicist, elaborated on the idea for setting up the Centre of Excellence, IIT Bombay by saying that “India’s energy import bill is rising and proving unsustainable. We need to secure energy resources and find more energy resources in India. The centre will deliberate on the implementation idea of non-conventional ideas.”

As per a statement released by IIT Bombay, Mr Dharmendra Pradhan mooted the idea for setting up the Centre for Excellence at the institute during his visit in the month of December 2017. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed earlier in the year 2019.

Mr Kakodkar further added that “The idea is to try and see if artificial intelligence, digital refineries and other concepts can be applied to the sector to create leadership in this domain. Energy equivalent for biomass is significant.

Can we derive a significant part of our energy needs through biomass?… The centre will identify areas and projects based on industry needs. The advisory council includes people from industries. We will look at short term problems.”