A gateway to clean and green energy

India’s economic revival post the two-and-a-half-month lockdown period could be channelized into searching for cleaner sources of energy that would benefit both nature and its inhabitants. To start with, the central government should look for ways to utilize abundant solar energy available in most parts of the country. In this case, the focal point should be to energise the nearly 39,000 non-electrified healthcare centres as well as numerous primary and secondary schools in the Indian countryside.

As of now, the Indian government hands out heavy subsidies to the fossil fuels sector. Instead of this, in an effort to kick-start the much needed clean energy revolution, the government may transfer the subsidies to the renewable energy sector, thereby enabling it to take small strides that could lead to giant leaps in the coming decades. United Nations climate body chief Patricia Espinosa said on April 22, “With this restart, a window of hope and opportunity opens, an opportunity for nations to green their recovery packages and shape the 21st-century economy in ways that are clean, green, healthy, safe and more resilient”. In fact, India’s own energy research centres, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), echoed similar views. A research fellow at CEEW, Karthik Ganesan, said, “There is a phenomenal opportunity for India in re-thinking if there is a better way of spending these (coal and oil and gas) subsidies to make them investment-worthy”.

Utilization

The present realities exhibit that organization enrichments for limitless power have trebled over the last five years to Rs 9,930 crore in 2019 from Rs 3,224 crore in 2014, as it were, driven by India’s assurance of setting up plants that could help generate an estimated 175 Giga Watt (GW) by 2022, according to the CEED report. In comparison, India spent more than Rs 80,000 crore towards subsidies for the coal, oil and gas industry. It is, therefore, apparent that, at present, India is spending an enormous amount of money towards non-renewable energy sources, which needs to change soon. In fact, the subsidies for the non-renewable sources exceed by seven times when compared to the renewable sources. Unless this is reversed, it will be extremely difficult to promote clean energy in India.

As of now, 56% of India’s electricity needs are generated from coal, 36% from oil and gas while about 3% is obtained from cleaner sources. However, India has made rapid strides in terms of utilizing renewable sources of energy – Renewables now amount to around 20% of India’s total installed power capacity, up from just 13% in 2014.

A good time to promote the use of renewable energy is now, after the resumption of industrial activities, post removal of lockdown, in an effort to meet any shortfall through renewable energy. Decisions and strategies made now will define the future since the benefits from these decisions will be visible only after 1-2 decades from now. Therefore, judicious use of fossil fuels on one hand and aggressive promotion of renewables are a good way forward. 

Volatility of fossil fuels

Industries that are mostly run from power generated by coal and other fossil fuels had a period of nearly 10-15 years that were quite stressful. Case in point is the underperformance of the Indian coal-mining and coal-fired companies. In December 2018, Greenpeace reported an average loss of 10% per year from 2013, costing a total of Rs 25,000 crore in losses.

One among several research set-ups that study the usage and financial benefits of renewable energy source, Matt Gray from Carbon Tracker estimated the economic feasibility of countries that have invested their energy dependence on coal and also in order to recover from the effects of the lockdown imposed by COVID-19. In fact, he specifically cautions India against using coal to spur its industries back after the lockdown and cites a reason for it to support his claim. In India, 2% of the current 222 GW coal fleet is running at a loss; an additional 66 GW is in the pipeline anyway 23% of this will enter the market with a negative cash flow, the Carbon Tracker report said. Matt Gray’s report also adds, “51 per cent of operating coal power costs more to run than building new renewables”.

Setting up the renewable energy network

In order to effectively distribute the benefits of renewable energy, small units of solar power supply units may be supplied to small and medium scale industries as well as small residences in towns and cities. On the other hand, in remote rural areas of the country, electricity generated from solar cells could be used to power small rural schools, hospitals, etc. Although relatively higher initial capital costs tend to deter people from using solar or other renewable energy, funding for these may be allotted from government agencies as well as from Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds in order to popularize such schemes. In fact, massive funding schemes, called KUSUM (meant to promote solar pumps), have been launched in order to promote the use of solar power in far-reaching areas of the country.

Some caveats must also be mentioned which deal with strengthening the existing electricity grid so that the grids are able to absorb the introduction of electricity supply from renewable energy sources. Moreover, it may take at least a few years before tangible benefits from renewable energy are financially visible. In addition, adequate training needs to be provided to workers who would be at the forefront of this massive changeover from conventional energy sources to unconventional sources. Ultimately, these actions could help steer India towards a path of recovery, make the air cleaner and, make sure that the inhabitants may experience clean, breathable air in the recent future.

Worldwide coal use in power generation must fall 80% below the 2010 levels by 2030 in order to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C, as per an examination conducted by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The hitherto unexpected benefits obtained from a prolonged near-global lockdown will go to a complete waste unless coal and fossil fuel usage is limited and more and more renewable energy sources are promoted at an aggressive rate. It would only be possible if more countries realise the benefits as well as the urgency of the situation in tackling the disastrous effects of global warming and, therefore, take necessary steps that can mitigate damages done to the environment from unabated use of fossil fuels.

Choosing career during challenging time!

What do we learn from a challenging situation like this? Well, one of the take-home messages for all of us that by taking appropriate measure one can fight an adverse situation and turn it into a favourable one. Likewise, you need to take charge of the career of the ward and turn it into a successful one. The definition of “success” being debatable, you all must try to do something which leaves footprints on the path of development of society through technological breakthroughs.

 What is the best in you?

 The most common question one face during his school days is probably “what do you want to become in your life?”. It is asked with the intention to support your career. The most common applauded answer is probably as per traditional mindset such as doctor or engineer. But is it the only question that one should ask? Let’s take a lesson from the life of accomplished people. If we look at the life of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Mahatma Gandhi, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, Acharya J. C. Bose, Prof. C. V. Raman, Prof. Homi Bhabha, our president Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, then we find they are all known for their work and contribution towards society. They are not merely recognized by the career they choose. It’s their intention and actions rather than career options. Whichever field you choose, making an impact is most important.

So, you can say to your child, “what do you want to do in your life” is a more basic and pertinent question rather than “what do you want to become in your life”. If you concentrate on that question and explore what you want to do in our life then it would tell you what stream you should choose, what career you should choose and many more.

It is not an easy question and takes time to find an answer. The most common guiding line by the seniors is “pursue your dreams”. But dreaming without full information about the future possibilities is not an option you should go for!! In today’s world, where the job market and job roles are changing so fast, you should choose a stream that offers flexibility. Flexibility in terms of further study areas and flexibility in the career options. Science is the only stream that has the potential and diversity to offer this much flexibility.

Why Basic Science still today?

I hope, there is no doubt whatsoever in anyone’s mind about the importance and usefulness of basic science, even today! In fact, all the aspects of the development of humankind is marked by the progress of science. Because today’s science will create tomorrow’s technology. So, the question is not really about the utility of science but the prospect of a career in science. Somehow one misconception is there in the mind of common people that there is a limited job available to students of science disciplines. But in reality, this is just the opposite. If you take the example of any advanced country then the economic model they are following is that of the knowledge economy.

This knowledge economy is propelled by the rapid advancement of scientific innovation. Rapid innovation in science is only possible if you have a skilled workforce capable of carrying out cutting edge scientific research. In India, slowly and steadily we are also moving towards a knowledge-based economy. That is why one can see every company has its own dedicated R&D wing which seeks to employ thousands of employees trained in science. India’s transition to a knowledge-based economy is also reflected through various government initiatives like Atal Innovation Mission, Startup India etc. But that is about the high-end job. Traditional jobs like jobs in the government sector, teaching job in schools, Colleges and Universities and private sectors mostly employ people from science background. So we can say if you are talking about a job in science then it is limited only by your imagination. The possibility is limitless.

School of Basic and Applied Science (SOBAS) at Adamas University is committed to delivering quality education in science and applied areas of Science and at the same time to create world-class scientific knowledge.

To meet our objectives, we have created an ecosystem that focuses on three main areas:

(i) Teaching-Learning pedagogy (ii)  Intellectual capital (iii) Infrastructure.

Let us briefly tell you about the features of these three areas:

(i) Process of delivering education:

  • Outcome-Based Education followed in major National and International Universities.
  • Choice Based Credit System for all programs.
  • Freedom to Choose an area of Specialization based on individual choice in Postgraduate program.
  • Regular monitoring of Syllabi by renowned external experts from Academia and Industry.
  • Learner-centric pedagogies.
  • Healthy Student-faculty ratio.
  • Equal attention to Theory as well Practical classes.
  • Uninterrupted class in every situation including pandemic (Online class, Smart Lab)
  • D2P: Every student (UG & PG) is encouraged to publish their dissertation in reputed peer-reviewed journals.
  • Academic & Industry Internship program in reputed organizations.
  • Number of Value Added Courses
  • Co-curricular Activities like National & International Conferences in Technical collaboration with reputed International Publishing Houses like IOPScience, Elsivier, Springer, AIP Publishing etc. , Seminars, Webinars, Field visits etc.
  • Various Extra-curricular Activities through different club activities like Writer’s club, Environmental Club, Film Club, Dance Club etc.
  • Adamas Comprehensive Excellence (ACE) scorecard to track the holistic growth & development of each student – regular monitoring by individual mentor
  • Special classes for competitive academic examinations (JAM, NET, GATE)
  • Special guidance for higher studies in abroad through Study Abroad Program
  • Special guidance for entrepreneurial & innovation activities through SOBAS Innovation & Incubation cell
  • Improvements of soft skills through various programs organized by Career Development Cell (CDC).
  • Regular career guidance and campus interviews organized by Career Development Cell
  • Single window grievance cell for students through SOBAS care.

(ii) Intellectual capital

  • Experienced Faculty Members with specializations in a wide range of Science & Applied science subjects.
  • Publication with major International journals
  • Experience in conducting high-quality research in India & abroad.
  • Experience in conducting sponsored research from Government agencies & Industry.
  • Regular update of knowledge through various Faculty Development programs, online courses.
  • Knowledge exchange and research collaboration through physical/online seminars, academic visits

(iii) Infrastructure

  • Smart Classroom with projector facilities
  • State of the Art Laboratories
  • High-End Computation Facility with many software like Mathematica, Matlab, R, Python, QGIS, SAGA, GIS, tnt MIPS etc.
  • The flexibility of conducting activities through online/offline mode.
  • Digital infrastructure like Canvas, Smart Lab, TCSion, Microsoft Teams, digital tablets etc.

Currently, we are running our programs through six domains – Chemistry, Environmental Science, Forensic sciences, Geography, Mathematics & Physics. Various Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Doctoral courses offered by these departments can be accessed through our website – https://science.adamasuniversity.ac.in/. Also, any queries regarding our school can be addressed to sobascare@adamasuniversity.ac.in.

Finally, to all our prospective students we would like to say, we harvest knowledge in its pure form, come join us in our quest and try to make a difference in tomorrow’s world!