Energy, Climate and Sustainability

Ongoing research in the Energy, Environment and Sustainability area, addresses non-fossil energy, industrial energy, climate and environment. In the area of energy, major research  topics under investigation are: Biomass and biofuels, Fuel cells, Solar thermal power, Process modeling and energy analysis and Combustion systems. In the area of biomass and biofuels, research addresses challenges at different scales. This includes work on improving biomass productivity through metabolic engineering, enhancing fuel production and selectivity through enzyme improvements, and achieving techno- economic feasibility through optimization approaches. In the area of fuel cells, research is aimed towards better selection of electrode materials by understanding processes that influence performance degradation. Work in the area of solar thermal power plants is focused in solving the challenging control problems in the domain. In industrial applications, work is mainly focused on industrial process modelling and energy integration as well as risk analysis. Research is also being carried out on in-situ coal gasification and biomass combustion under the theme of combustion systems.

In the broad and cross-cutting area of environment, which includes climate and sustainability, highly complex systems are being studied through phenomenological understanding and modeling of atmospheric constituents and transport, statistical methods for understanding and reducing uncertainty and complex systems-based modeling tools. The specific topics under investigation are: Climate, Sustainability, Water pollution, and Carbon capture systems.

Sub Research areas

Battery management system for electric vehicle and drone application

Fire hazard in electric vehicle is one of the key problem that requires immediate attention. One of the way to prevent such fires in battery systems is have a competent battery management system which can predict the potential failure of the battery pack. Battery management system (BMS) consists of battery model, parameters and state estimation algorithms and optimziation toolboxes. Traditionally, circuit based models are being used in these BMS which do not provide physical understanding of the battery systems.

A combined computational and experimental investigation of the catalytic hydrogenation of carbon dioxide to ethanol

CO2 conversion into value-added products has the advantage of lowering CO2 emissions and producing beneficial chemicals. The conversion of CO2 to C1 molecules including methane, methanol, formaldehyde, etc. has been the subject of extensive investigation in recent years. Comparatively, there aren't many studies on the production of ethanol from CO2 hydrogenation, despite the fact that ethanol is a more desirable product that can be easily converted into high-value molecules like ethylene or used as a blend in gasoline.

Integration of Occupational Health and Safety and Sustainability Principles for Development of Technologies and Process Designs

The need for effective environmental governance has been gaining wider engagement through emphases on adoption of sustainability principles and goals. With growing production, trade and use of a widening variety of chemicals, business, regulatory and research attention continues to focus on the environmental, occupational and public health consequences of chemical processes and exposures. Occupational safety and health (OSH) have not yet been adequately promoted as a constituent of environmental sustainability.

Operationalization of the Principles of Circular Economy in the Indian Process Industry: Challenges and Strategies

The principles of circular economy (CE) have been conceived to achieve an appropriate balance between economic, environmental and social imperatives so as to overcome the hitherto negative impacts of their disjunction in industrial practice. Nevertheless, the operationalization of CE principles in the industry remains fraught with challenges as there is often a predisposition to prioritization of economic performance over environmental and social, in order to retain competitiveness.

Electrocatalytic CO2 reduction reaction: Multiscale modelling of transport, catalyst surface evolution, and reaction processes

According to the Paris climate accord signed in 2016 with the aim of substantially lowering the risks and impacts of climate change, the goal is to pursue technologies that can limit the rise in average global temperature to ~1.5 degree C above the pre-industrial levels by 2050. One of the important greenhouse gas emissions being targeted is carbon dioxide. Currently, production of commodities crucially linked to growth and development, such as cement, steel, plastic, ammonia and aluminum, are resulting in large CO2 emissions.

Molecular scale understanding of ionic transport and reactions inside a fuel cell and batteries

The focus of this project is on molecular scale understanding of transport processes and reactions in fuel cells and batteries. Student working on this project will learn about state-of-the-art techniques to study determine the mechanism and rate constants for these processes.

Modeling and Simulation of Li-ion Batteries and Fuel Cells Impedance Response

Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS) offers a way to determine and quantify the transport and kinetic processes occurring in energy storage and conversion systems such as Li-ion batteries, fuel cells and electrolyzer. EIS is a powerful technique that helps in quantifying the various transport and kinetic resistances hampering the performance of the said systems. Apart from that, health monitoring of batteries and fuel cells (estimating the remaining life and capacity fade) has become very critical for enabling e-mobility.

Enabling Fast Charging and Safe Operation for Li-ion/Na-ion Battery: Modeling, Simulation and Optimization

Battery charging time is one of the most critical factors that will govern the penetration of electric vehicle in the market. Reduction in battery charging time is also desirable for portable electronics including cellphones. Significant research is underway to reduce the charging time of a lithium-ion/Na-ion battery. Ensuring safety while fast charging as well as discharging is also crucial for battery usage.