IIT Kanpur to Establish Department of Sustainable Energy Engineering

Clockwise, left to right: Dr. K Radhakrishnan, Chairman of the Board of Governors of IIT Kanpur; Professor Abhay Karandikar; Professor Ashish Garg; and MFF founder and CEO Rahul Mehta.

In a meeting held on December 7, 2020, the Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT Kanpur) approved the creation of a sustainable energy engineering (SEE) department, with the aim of becoming a vital contributor to India’s growing clean and renewable energy sector. The Mehta Family Foundation (MFF) and its MFF CARE team will assist the new department through various means, such as facilitating collaborations between IIT Kanpur and international partners and supporting a state-of-the-art physical infrastructure for world-class teaching and research.

MFF played a pivotal role in forming the Rice–IITK Research Center, a first-of-its-kind collaboration between Indian and American academic institutions. The two institutions signed a memorandum of understanding in January 2020, agreeing to share resources and perform research to develop energy solutions, materials, and sustainable technologies. MFF founder and CEO Rahul Mehta expressed the hope that the new department and the Rice–IITK Research Center will lead the way in the field of energy sustainability and inspire the next generation of students working in the field of energy sustainability.

This SEE initiative comes at a time when India’s government has committed to sourcing at least 40 percent of its energy requirement from clean and renewable energy sources by 2030, as pledged in the Paris Climate Agreement. The new department aims to excel in education and research in this vital sector for India.

According to IIT Kanpur director Professor Abhay Karandikar, “students will engage in cutting-edge research in frontier and futuristic areas related to energy sustainability, with clear focus on new, renewable, and alternate energy technologies. The goal is for students to become well-rounded energy engineers poised to contribute to the energy industry as well as academic and research organizations.”

“The current research focus of the new department will be on energy generation via solar, wind and other clean resources; batteries and super capacitors; energy storage and distribution; smart grids; carbon capture; clean alternative fuels; waste-to-energy; clean water; and energy policy and economics,” said Professor Ashish Garg, who is coordinating efforts related to the new department. “The research portfolio will further expand into new areas as the department grows and matures.”