Assessment of energy sector transition on agriculture and human health

This SLP is only for students selected for the WashU-IITB Joint MS program in Aerosol Science and Engineering. The co-supervisor from Washington University will be Prof. Randall Martin.

The energy sector in India is expected to undergo a major transition in the next decade with natural gas playing a major role in meeting the energy needs. This includes transition in rural India from biomass-based cooking to LPG (liquified petroleum gas) as well as transition in the transport sector from petrol/diesel to CBG (compressed biogas). Several questions though emerge related to this transition. First, what are the likely transition scenarios given that several other sectors also compete for the same energy sources? Second, what is the implication of this transition, and the resultant change in the local pollution levels, on human health and agriculture?

This project aims to answer these questions by combining energy sector dynamic models with local/regional emission inventories and a chemical transport model. An existing dynamic model [1] will be refined to capture the local/regional effects as a function of macro-economic decision making.  This would be linked to modulate emissions datasets developed under different mitigation scenarios for India [2] for future time-points (2025 or 2030). A state-of-the-science chemical transport model (GEOS-Chem) [3] will be applied to simulate how changes in emissions modify ambient air quality, with feedbacks on agricultural productivity and human health. 

The expected outcome of this work is better understanding of the broader implications of energy transition and identification of desired pathways.

Relevant literature:

1. Vinod Vijay Kumar, Andrew Hoadley, and Yogendra Shastri. A consequence analysis study of natural gas consumption in a developing country: Case of India. Energy Policy. 145, 111675, 2020.

2. Kushal Tibrewal and Chandra Venkataraman, Climate co-benefits of air quality and clean energy policy in India, Nature Sustainability, 10.1038/s41893-020-00666-3, 2020.


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