India Needs To Develop Disruptive Technology To Achieve Its Decarbonisation Target By 2050, Says Anil Kakodkar

by Bhaswati Guha Majumder - Aug 26, 2021 04:02 PM +05:30 IST
India Needs To Develop Disruptive Technology To Achieve Its Decarbonisation Target By 2050, Says Anil KakodkarInnovative technologies needed to accomplish the objective of decarbonisation by 2050.
Snapshot
  • Anil Kakodkar, former AEC chairman stressed the need for rapid deployment of pressurised heavy water reactors that are indigenous, very competitive and deliver high performance.

    It was said during the TIFAC tech talk series that the amount of clean energy available would expand 120 to 140 times, with solar, wind, and nuclear power being the primary sources.

Former Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) chairman Anil Kakodkar stated on Wednesday (25 August) that lower cost of energy is critical for economic growth, and India should focus on creating innovative technologies to maintain costs competitive, as well as accomplish the objective of decarbonisation by 2050.

During an online event organised as part of the Technology Information, Forecasting, and Assessment Council's (TIFAC) tech talk series, he stressed the need for rapid deployment of pressurised heavy water reactors that are indigenous, very competitive and deliver high performance, as well as strategies for light water reactor deployment and hydrogen cogeneration.

It was said that the amount of clean energy available would expand 120 to 140 times, with solar, wind, and nuclear power being the primary sources. According to Kakodkar, who is a former head of TIFAC, an agency under the Department of Science and Technology, the share of electricity consumed would increase mostly for e-mobility.

While for usage in industry and transportation, surplus biomass can be transformed to hydrogen or hydrogen replacements, Kakodkar believes that carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) is an unavoidable part of the transition to a low-carbon economy. As reported, he went on to say that hydrogen and electric mobility, conversion of surplus agricultural residue, solar, wind and nuclear energy to hydrogen or hydrocarbons, non-fossil heating and refrigeration, as well as the conversion of coal to fluid fuel are some of the key areas for future decarbonisation efforts.

The nuclear physicist also mentioned CCU for reducing emissions and increasing local petrochemical production to fulfil demand and improve the balance of payments as well as energy security. Additionally, Kakodkar said that Steam electrolysis, thermochemical splitting of water, solar thermal, energy storage technologies, production of hydrocarbon substitutes using hydrogen and bio-mass and CCU technologies are among the critical technologies to enable a circular economy around hydrocarbon fuels and life cycle management of energy systems.

He believes that while an increase in CCU is possible, a circular economy focused on carbon or hydrocarbon use would only showcase the challenges of net-zero emissions. He claimed that there is a need for new problem definitions, out-of-the-box thinking and disruptive technologies.

In the case of Indian’s commitment towards a decarbonising economy, the previous Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said in April that as a responsible global citizen, India is committed to decarbonising its economy, even if the country's priorities differ from those of the developed world.

He stated that India's incremental energy demand will be met by renewable energy, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement that the country’s energy basket would meet 40 per cent of its needs from renewable sources by 2030.

Pradhan said in his address to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS): "We will embrace new energy technology... Gradually we will phase out our existing energy consumption pattern. We will transit towards a greener and cleaner path. But looking into our affordability challenges, looking into more price sensitivity in our domestic economy, we are using gas as a bridge fuel."

Even though he said that oil and coal will continue to be in India's energy basket for some time, “gradually we are making them more cleaner...and we will go up to hydrogen energy. This is our roadmap”.

Pradhan, who is currently serving as the Minister of Education and Minister of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, also stated that "Western world..has lots of technology, lots of resources, and we have a market. If we can synergise in research and development, and the new technology in digitalisation, you will get a market for your technology and financial investment would be safer in a policy-driven market in India.”

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