IIT Guwahati identifies Research Priorities contributing to Green Growth and Sustainable Development

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GUWAHATI : Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati Researchers are identifying key action steps and research priorities to contribute towards Green Growth and Sustainable Development.

The rapid depletion of fossil fuels, anthropogenic emissions and ever-increasing energy consumption has triggered an increasing interest in the future energy system based on renewable resources. The use of abundant and readily-available feedstock and energy storage that do not contribute to carbon footprint are two global challenges that have caught the attention of researchers world-wide.

Aligning with the priorities of G20 Summit being hosted by India in 2023, IIT Guwahati is working towards developing affordable, high-performance and environment-friendly energy storage and production systems that are also sustainable. This will be the institute’s major contribution in building a sustainable future.

Highlighting the need for research on sustainability, Prof. Parameswar K. Iyer, Officiating Director, IIT Guwahati said, “The development of inexpensive, high-performance, sustainable, and environmentally friendly energy storage and production systems is of utmost importance in the current scenario where energy demand is ever-increasing.”

In this context, multiple efforts are underway at IIT Guwahati towards achieving Sustainable Goals of Green Hydrogen Generation and Carbon Dioxide Sequestration.

These include:

· Development of Perovskite Oxide based Catalysts for generation of Green Hydrogen

Prof. Mohammad Qureshi, Department of Chemistry, IIT Guwahati, and his research team are working on developing Perovskite Oxide-based Catalysts to generate Green Hydrogen. They have achieved this by finding a correlation of different structured materials with the electrochemical performances by designing a library of morphological electrocatalysts and utilized for water splitting leading to generation of Hydrogen.

Elaborating on the impact of this research, Prof. Mohammad Qureshi, Department of Chemistry, IIT Guwahati, said, “We have progressed significantly in the electrolytic water splitting into hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2). Notably, hydrogen is an energy carrier which can be used for various applications in fuel cells and in stationary and portable power generators without any greenhouse gas emissions.”

· Formulation of efficient ‘pincer’ Catalytic systems that transform industrial / biomass wastes into hydrogen

Dr. Akshai Kumar Alape Seetharam, Head, Centre for Nanotechnology, IIT Guwahati and Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, IIT Guwahati, and his research team have formulated efficient ‘pincer’ catalytic systems that transform industrial / biomass wastes into hydrogen and speciality chemicals. Tiny amounts of these ‘pincer’ catalysts repeatedly convert large amounts of biomass derived products to speciality chemicals and Hydrogen. Alcohols and related biomass derivatives, for example, can be transformed into speciality chemicals, fuels and hydrogen, that find extensive use in food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, polymer industries, and in the energy sector.

Elaborating on how this research will help in the Green Growth and Sustainable Development, Dr. Akshai Kumar, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, IIT Guwahati, said, “Though, renewable energy sources, based on wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass have garnered considerable attention as alternatives to fossil fuels, most of these are naturally intermittent and fluctuating. Towards this end, our group has accomplished development of efficient liquid organic hydrogen carrier (LOHC) systems based on abundantly available Biomass for efficient hydrogen storage and transport applications”


· Development of photocatalysts to convert solar energy to Green Hydrogen

Dr. Nageswara Rao Peela, Associate Professor, IIT Guwahati, along with his research team has developed photocatalysts that can convert solar energy to Hydrogen by using an artificial photosynthetic system (by mimicking the nature).

The research team has successfully developed a corrugated optofluidic device for photocatalytic water-splitting to generate hydrogen and oxygen from solar energy at a larger scale.


· Development of inexpensive, less toxic and efficient catalysts to mimic Artificial Photosynthesis

Prof. Parameswar K. Iyer, Officiating Director, and Faculty, Department of Chemistry, IIT Guwahati, and his research team have developed Photo and Electro catalysts for Carbon Dioxide Reduction Reaction (CRR) and hydrogen evolution reaction (HER).

Their ingeniously-tuneable synthetic routes make them easily accessible as compared to other semiconductor platforms. By adapting certain alteration approaches, such as molecular or elemental doping, researchers have dramatically reinforced the photocatalytic activity in the direction of efficient proton or Carbon Dioxide reduction to boost both the photochemical efficiency and selectivity.

Elaborating on the need of a mature hydrogen economy and a net-zero carbon footprint, Prof. Parameswar K. Iyer, said, “The use of hydrogen will diversify energy sources as it significantly reduces not only the greenhouse gas emissions but also the environmental pollution during energy conversion. Hydrogen is typically produced from fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal. However, in recent years, renewable and sustainable energy sources have shown considerable potential in hydrogen production apart from photocatalytic, thermochemical, or electrolytic water splitting into hydrogen and oxygen.”

Along with this, IIT Guwahati has also established a ChemDist Centre of Excellence for Industrial Nanotech Innovations (CD-CoE) with an aim to develop and commercialise new-generation technologies and products related to ethanol manufacturing from agro-based feedstock apart from development of efficient protocols for conversion of Ammonia into green Hydrogen.

Elaborating on impact of the collaboration with IITG, Dr. Sunil Dhole, Director, ChemDist Group of Companies said, “Altogether, in addition to taking the India and world to the carbon neutral phase, the innovative technologies developed at IITG are targeted to generate a huge business revenue along with sizeable employment generation.”

In addition to this, aligning with Govt. of India’s vision to reduce country’s carbon emission by 50% by 2050. Chemdist Group Pune in collaboration with IIT Guwahati (Nano Centre) has started developing various carbon capture technologies which are low on operational cost and affordable that lead to Nano-Fertilizers.

Elaborating on status of the various technologies developed at IIT Guwahati, Shri. Tushar Wagh, Director, ChemDist Group of Companies said, ”Most of these patented technologies are at TRL 6-7 stages and will take around 1-2 years to come to the commercial stage.”