Solar energy can be used to combat climate change”, opine Scientists from India and Australia during Indo-Australian Solar Energy Workshop at Amity

Amity Institute of Renewable and A1ternative Energy kick started a two day Indo-Australian Solar Energy Workshop from February 09- 10, 2010 at Amity University Campus, Sector 125, Noida. The workshop is supported by Department of Science and Technology, Delhi and is attended by speakers and delegates from IIT’s located in Chennai, Kanpur, Guwahati and Mumbai.

The workshop was inaugurated by Dr. Lachan Strahan- Deputy High Commissioner, Australia, Dr. Prahlada- Chief Controller, DRDO, Mr. A K Sood – Advisor, International Program , DST, Ministry of Science and Technology, Dr. Igor Skryabin- Australian National University, Dr. Ashok K Chauhan- Founder President, Amity Universe and Mr. Ajay Chauhan- Trustee, Ritnand Balved Education Foundation and CEO, Manz Automation India Private Limited (a JV between Manz Automation, Germany and Delhi-based Technicom-Chemie marketing solar energy equipment and offering technical support for renewable energy programmes in India)

Welcoming the august and distinguished gathering, Dr. Ashok K Chauhan- Founder President, Amity Universe promised that the projects developed out of the discussions and deliberations during the two day workshop would be commercially utilized. Dr. Chauhan also announced the launch of “Amity Indo- Australian Commerce Science and Technology Foundation”, which will work in the areas of Commerce, Science and Technology and thereby bring laurels to both the countries

Thanking the University for providing him an opportunity to be a part of Indo-Australian Solar Energy Workshop, Dr. Lachan Strahan- Deputy High Commissioner, Australia said “Though I have a history background but watching scientists doing good work gives me immense pleasure. Challenges before us, as a planet and as a race is to find a living which is in harmony with the planet. The kind of work you scientists have been doing goes very much to the heart of this fundamental challenge before us. I agree that IT has opened up wonderful new ways of communication but there is no substitute for coming together and meeting each other face to face. The creative energy that comes out with direct contact results in wonderful possibilities. The challenges confronted by all the nations are same. It’s been two months that Copenhagen Conference took place where the world community grappled with the challenge of climate change. We all acknowledge that it was a difficult conference and agreement to so many issues was not reached. We also know that technology must be a part of the solution to climate change, we must find ways of developing cleaner sources of energy. Solar energy must be a part of that solution, I know that there are fairly difficult challenges in changing solar energy’s enormous potential into an energy source which can make contribution to our societies. What we need to do is to find ways to make solar energy more efficient and less costly. The two Governments- Indian and Australian have recognized the fundamental importance of solar energy. India has its own solar energy mission, it has sets its ambitious targets for solar power generation. Australian Government has set its own renewable energy targets ie 20% by 2020. This conference will strengthen the expanding relationship between India and Australia” Re-iterating the decision taken by Australian Prime Minister last November, H. E further said, “We want to take India into front rank of various International partnerships and form strategic partnership with India. One absolutely fundamental cause of forging that strategic partnership between India and Australia is based upon the work of the scientists like you, we see science as one of the pillars of the relationship between the two countries. That is very much the reason why two Governments committed 100 million dollars together last November to extend bilateral strategic research fund over the next five years. We genuinely see India as one of our most important science partner. We would like to see all of you working together on mutual research projects to give real substance to that strategic partnership”.

Sharing his views during the occasion, Dr. Prahlada- Chief Controller, DRDO said, “such workshops need to have global perspective in the background but at the same time there should be local consideration and local concern. Solar energy is the mother of energy .Solar power should be cost effective and affordable for common man. The whole world is looking at solar energy in an important way because the implications of harnessing solar energy are very high. One very important fact is that India and Australia are blessed with abundant sun, which should be utilized to the fullest extent. I think the science and technology persons from both the countries have abundant sun to play with. Normally, DRDO deals with missiles, aircrafts, torpedoes etc but off late, we have started looking at solar energy for various reasons, for example, we do develop unmanned air vehicles but now we are talking about solar powered unmanned air vehicles which can keep roaring for days and days. The need of the hour is low cost, low weight solar batteries made of plastic or polymer. DRDO is encouraging institutes and students to carry on research in this area and in next ten years lot of opportunities exist for this in Solar Energy sector.”

Sharing the aim and objectives of the workshop, Dr. Igor Skryabin- Scientist, Australian National University and Australian Coordinator of the workshop said, “the workshop endeavors to identify the collaborations in the area of research between the two countries. Australia has a long history of solar research and other related technologies. What we want to do is come up here and talk, discuss and make you aware of the technologies that we have and understand the technologies that you are working on as well. We already have collaborative research projects in place with India. We have the seedlings what I am hoping of this workshop is that these seeds will grow substantially during the discussion and deliberations of the workshop.”

Dr. V K Jain – Director, AIRAE appraised the gathering about the proceedings of the workshop which includes 150 participants, 38 speakers- 10 from Australia and rest from India, 38 lectures and 2 interactive sessions. Further, Dr. Jain expressed his concern about the exhausting non-renewable sources of energy, citing “solar energy” as a substitute of the same. He remarked that India is blessed with 300 sunny days in a year which means over 5, 000 trillion kilowatts of solar energy in a year but the cost of solar energy needs to be reduced to make it a viable source of energy.

Numerous speakers from industry, R& D centres and Universities across Australia and India would be present their views during the two day workshop including Professor Andrew Blakers- Director, Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems, Australian National University, Dr. Steve McEvoy- National Solar Energy Centre, CSIRO Energy Technology, Dr. Elizabeth Thomsen- Australian National University, Dr. S Iniyan- Anna University, Dr. R S Anand- IIT K, Dr. Ashish Garg- IIT K and many more. The topics that will be discussed during the workshop are “ High Efficiency Flexible Solar Cells”, “ Dye Sensitized Solar Cells”, “ Solar Thermal Systems”, “Hybrid Polymer : CdSe Nanocomposite Solar Cells”, “ Phase Change Thermal Storage for Solar Application” etc.

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