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Sailent Features of Research


Energy is a critical factor supporting economic and social development of any region. Growing concern with local and global environmental degradation, much of which is traced to energy use, has reinforced the importance of prudent long term energy planning. The change in land use patterns and various large scale developmental projects in coastal districts have affected the fragile ecosystem considerably. It is necessary to identify, measure and monitor the cumulative effects of land use decisions across space and time apart from exploring the environmentally sound technologies. This endeavour encompasses the simultaneous consideration of hydrological, soil and bio resources, the need for making better use of analytical tools and approaches which address spatial and temporal variability is critical. Hydro resources development and management includes issues such as arable and non arable land issues such as crop and livestock management, surface and ground water management and conservation, soil conservation, forest utilisation and human settlement concerns. Energy policy analysis aims to increase the understanding of the current and future characteristics, roles, and interactions of government, markets, and technologies. The acquired understanding is used to inform technology, benefits, market, policy, and program decisions as energy efficient and renewable energy technologies advance from concept to commercial application. Technology analysis evaluates the attributes of renewable energy technologies, examining in terms of potential costs, benefits, risks, uncertainties, and timeframes. The benefits analysis looks at the economic, environmental, security, and other impacts of renewable energy programs. Policy analysis, evaluates rules and regulations that can advance — or provide alternatives to — renewable energy technologies in meeting national goals.

Development of RIEP : Regional Integrated Energy Plan

The central theme of the energy planning at decentralized level would be to prepare regional energy plans to meet energy needs and development of alternate energy sources at least-cost to the economy and environment. This involves the finding of a set of sources and conversion devices so as to meet the energy requirement/demand of all the tasks in an optimal manner. This optimality depends on the objective to minimise the total annual cost of energy and the dependence on non-local resources or maximise the overall system efficiency. Factors such as availability of resources in the region and task energy requirements impose constraints on the regional energy planning exercise. Thus, regional energy planning turns out to be a constrained optimisation problem. Regional Integrated Energy Plan (RIEP) developed using Decision Support Systems (DSS) approach with Integrated Energy Planning concepts gives an optimal mix of new/conventional energy sources. This area based energy plan decision support system using GIS (Geographic Information System) was implemented for Kolar district (UNDP -NRDMS project, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India).  Details are available at This model is adopted by the Ministry of Science and Technology in a co-ordinated programme: Bio-Geo Database and Ecological Modelling for Himalayas. RIEP mechanism takes into account various available resources and demands in a region. This implies that the assessment of the demand supply and its intervention in the energy system, which may appear desirable due to such exercises, must be at a similar geographic scale. This is a computer-assisted accounting and simulation tool being developed to assist policy makers and planners at district and state level in evaluating energy policies and develop ecologically sound, sustainable energy plans. Energy availability and demand situation can be projected for various scenarios (base case scenario, high-energy intensity, and transformation, state-growth scenarios) in order to get a glimpse of future patterns and assess the likely impacts of energy policies.

  • Optimisation based on the cost minimisation, shows the cost saving of the order of 36% and energy saving of the order of 19%.
  • Optimisation of maximisation of efficiency (source-device-enduse) shows the energy saving of 20% and the cost saving of 32%.
    • An innovative, attractive and easily implementable Integrated Regional Energy Plan, based on indepth work, mathematical modelling and optimisation.

Diatoms for Sustainable Gasoline :

  • We propose ways of harvesting oil from diatoms, using biochemical engineering and also a new solar panel approach that utilizes genetically modifiable aspects of diatom biology, offering the prospect of “milking” diatoms for sustainable energy by altering them to actively secrete oil products.

Ecologically Sound Alternatives :

  • An environmentally sound alternative model proposed for Bedthi hydro electric project at Magod site in Uttara Kannada district is shown to reduce the submergence area from 95 to 5.8, without any reduction in the 850 million kWh capacity and 40.5% reduction in  cost. This design is accepted by the government and is being implemented.

Renewable Energy :

  • Identified potential micro, mini and small hydro potential sites in Bedthi and Aghanashini river basins. If all identified streams are harnessed an estimated 720 and 510 million kWh can be generated annually. Based on the research outputs, under Indo Norvegian Programme (KSCST-TIDE), three Micro hydro projects were implemented and commissioned in 2002.
  • Proposal of  harvesting solar energy in 5% of the present wasteland in coastal taluks shows, it can meet 35% of the present electricity demand of the district.
  • Bioresources from forests and agriculture is of the order of 13705 million kWh is sufficient to meet the bioenergy requirement of the region.
  • Biogas potential based on livestock population indicates it can meet 30% of total population domestic energy requirement.
  • Wind potential in coastal taluks is good during pre-monsoon period, wind farm of 2 MW could be set up in 5% of wasteland available along the seashore in Karwar and Kumta taluks.

Energy Auditing :

  • Detailed household and industrial energy auditing shows that there is a scope for saving energy of the order of 27 to 42%.
  • Proposed a methodology for assessing a bioresource status in a region, which is being used by UNFCC for CDM projects.
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