Energy is the harbinger of growth, development and prosperity of a nation. However, the conventional sources of energy are limited, hence they need to be conserved and utilized efficiently. Moreover, locally available renewable sources of energy have to be harnessed and utilized for various end-uses. Any such effort in this direction requires trained human resource. Several leading engineering institutions offer inter-disciplinary masters course on energy studies, covering technical as well as management aspect.
Others offer Solar Energy Utilization, Power from Renewables, Solar Architecture and Energy Conservation courses in various branches at undergraduate level. There is an elective paper on Science and Technology of Solar, Hydrogen and other Renewable Energies in model curriculum of Physics (M.Sc.) developed by Curriculum Development Committee of University Grants Commission.
Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy holds tremendous potential in research and development, employment generation and entrepreneurship for almost all streams of engineering, technology sciences and humanities.
An indicative list of research and development opportunities in promising renewable energy technologies include: (i) Development of Carbon nano tubes and quantum dot based efficient solar cells (ii) Development and design of white LED based lamps for illumination (iii) Design of efficient incandescent lamp using strands of single and multi walled carbon nano tubes in place of tungsten filament (iv) Development of efficient and cost effective fuel cell (v) Utilization of Hydrogen Energy in transport sector (vi) Engine systems for renewable fuels – design of new engine system and/or modification of existing engine for ethanol, bio-diesel, biogas, producer gas, hydrogen etc (vii) Development of climate specific Energy Conservation Building Codes (Viii) Design of energy efficient houses and buildings incorporating solar active and passive architecture, energy efficient windows and daylight harvesting (ix) Battery storage for SPV applications (x) Seed development and farming of Curcas Linn (Jatropha), Ricinus Communis (Castor oil) and Pongamia Pinnata (Karanja) for bio-diesel production (xi) Production of cellulosic ethanol from sweet sorghum, cassava, maize, sugar beet and extraction of ethanol from agricultural wastes (xii) Development of genetically engineered high calorific value fuel wood species which burns without toxic emissions (xiii) Technology development for recovery of energy from urban and industrial waste.
To facilitate Research and Development in Energy conservation, Renewable Energy and related areas, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has instituted National Renewable Energy Fellowship for M. Tech. and Ph. D. programmes in these fields. Moreover, Solar Energy Centre of ministry provides opportunity to UG and PG students of engineering and sciences undertaking project work in the area of Renewable Energy.
Employment opportunities for energy graduates and post graduates exist in Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency, Jammu and Kashmir Energy Development Agency, Rural Electrification Corporation and Integrated Rural Energy Programme. Openings also exist in organizations under Ministry of New and Renewable Energy for technical development, testing and certification such as Solar Energy Centre, Centre for Wind Energy Technology, Centre for Fuel Cell Technology, National Hydrogen Energy Board, National Biofuel Centre, Sardar Swarn Singh National Institute of Renewable Energy, SPIC Science Foundation etc.
Positions are available in research and development institutions like The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Petroleum Conservation Research Institute, Sardar Patel Renewable Energy Research Institute, Central Power Research Institute, several of IITs and NITs, Devi Ahilya Vishvidyalay, and Jadavpur University etc. Public and Private Sector Companies involved in manufacture of mature Renewable Energy Technologies are also looking for Energy professionals. A suggestive list includes CEL, BHEL, TATA BP Solar, Suzlon Energy Ltd. NEG-MICON, Vestas, Asian wind turbine, Weizmann Ltd. etc.
These days even conventional power generating companies have started investments in renewable energy and prefer professionals with renewable energy background. NGOs like Sri Aurbindo International Centre of Education & Winrock India International etc. working in the field of Energy and Environment also hire energy professionals. International agencies working for development such as World Bank, Asian Development Bank, India Canada Environment Facility etc. also seek energy experts.
In Jammu and Kashmir, energy education seems to be gearing up recently. National Institute of Technology, Srinagar has been imparting Renewable Energy education to students of various branches since long. Several research groups are also active in the field of renewable energy and energy conservation. Industry not only requires technical manpower in energy but energy managers as well. M.Tech programme in energy management is offered by Sri Mata Vaishno Devi University of Katra.
Author is senior lecturer Physics, NIT Srinagar