Under the aegis of a growing Australian Aid (AusAid) programme, Australian Prime Minister Mr. Kevin Michael Rudd announced $1 million contribution to The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) for the project between CSIRO and TERI, aiming to develop a zero emissions solar cooling system for use in remote rural communities in un-electrified areas. This Australian assistance in Climate Change will be mainly towards technical cooperation in renewable energy, energy efficiency and water resource management for the period 2009-10.
Lauding TERI's sustainable development mission in India and other developing nations, Prime Minister Rudd said, "There are very less organizations like TERI in the world. Australia as well as AusAid is happy to collaborate with such a premier institution. The expanded fund will support ‘bottom-up' investigator-initiated research and introduce new projects demonstrating both excellence in science and a clear path to end use for either commercial or public good. The increased investment in the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund will, in particular, seek to support more applied research and engagement of industry partners in order to produce outcomes that help address some of the pressing challenges that both countries face, especially global warming and Climate Change."
The Prime Minister also welcomed TERI's research collaboration with Deakin University in Australia in the general area of Biotechnology -- with an initial emphasis on industrial application research in the area of Bio-energy and food. He said, "The fellowship program between TERI and Deakin University in Australia will support exchanges for Australian and Indian researchers in the area of advance science and biotechnology"
Reciprocating to the Australian premier and informing the gathering on the TERI-Australia knowledge building projects, Dr R K Pachauri, Director General TERI, and Chair Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), said "Our aim is to broaden this interaction over the coming years, and progress into other areas of Biotechnology and Nanotechnology. For the future we are even considering the development of joint facilities to undertake research not only for India and Australia but to also address issues of global concern." Dr Pachauri further said, "Expansion of the two ongoing technological projects will accelerate the deployment of essential services to rural communities in India -- vastly improving their economic livelihood. This shows the commitment the Australian government has towards issues of sustainable development, especially focusing on the upheaval of the poorest communities".
The AusAid grant will primarily benefit two ongoing projects in India being conducted by TERI, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) – Australia. Work has been initiated on the ‘Solar cooling for urban and remote rural applications' project to develop a solar–biomass hybrid cooling system for combined, decentralized cold storage and power generation application in the rural areas. Accelerating the deployment of ‘Smart Mini-grids' is the second TERI-CSIRO project.
For the TERI-Deakin University collaborative programme, the first batch of three Indian students will kick-start a unique PhD research program. While TERI will be the base for a large component of their research, a significant period in Australia will be spent for conducting critical experiments where they will be having detailed interactions with their Deakin supervisors. Each student has two leading researchers as supervisors – one from TERI and the other from Deakin.
The partnership between CSIRO and TERI will benefit the rural community by enabling:
-- An additional demonstration of refrigerated food storage using renewable energy in rural villages in India.
-- Monitoring of renewable electricity production and power distribution through a village level `smart minigrid'.
-- Provision of safe drinking water through the application of synergistic desalination technology.
The two projects -- managed by the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), Australia -- is jointly funded by the Asia Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate (APP) and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India.
The Australian prime minister was shown around the TERI laboratories by Dr Banwari Lal, Director, Environmental and Industrial Biotechnology Division TERI, and Dr Alok Adholeya- Director, Biotechnology and Bioresources, TERI. The Environmental and Industrial biotechnology division at TERI focuses on basic and applied research on using microbial resources for biotechnological intervention in environmental pollution, harnesses capability of microbes for production of green energy and screening of biodiversity for bioactive molecules. The Biotechnology and Bioresources division of TERI fosters a multidisciplinary approach to solve the environmental problems and to improve plant species for sustainable utilization through biotechnology. The Division, on one hand, focuses on basic and applied research on using microbial resources for biotechnological intervention to address agriculture and energy- and environment-related issues, and on the other, supplements conventional methods of improving plant species with biotechnological techniques. The Prime Minister was also taken through a poster exhibition on renewable and clean energy technologies developed by TERI by Mr. Amit Kumar, Director Energy–Environment Technology Development (EETD) Division TERI. The focus areas of the EETD Division are -- sustainable buildings: mainstreaming through the national agenda, mainstreaming renewable energy, advancing bio-energy solutions, and managing and transforming the waste in environment-friendly manner.