Big expectations for SERIIUS
December 17, 2012. By Gisela Bühl
The Government of India and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have recently announced the award of three Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Centers (JCERDC). The JCERDCs are designed to promote clean energy innovation by teams of scientists and engineers from India and the United States. The two governments had signed an agreement to establish these JCERDCs on November 4, 2010 during President Obama's head of state visit to India.
The largest of the JCERDCs, that for Solar Energy, is now ready to start operation. The Center is called the Solar Energy Research Institute for India and the United States (SERIIUS). SERIIUS is jointly funded by the Government of India (through the Department of Science and Technology) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) over a 5-year period starting October 1, 2012, with funding of $25 million for 5 years in a 50%/50% split between the two countries. The Consortium is also supported by cost sharing from its members—more than 30 partners from India and the US—with at least $25 million in matching funds. The India-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) will co-ordinate the activities of the Center in India.
The lead institutions for SERIIUS are the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in India and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in the USA. The other organizations which are involved in this multi-party consortium-based activity are: From India: Clique Developments Ltd.; Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (“C-STEP”); Hindustan Petroleum Corporation, Ltd.; Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science; Indian Institute of Technology Bombay; Indian Institute of Technology Madras; International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI); Moserbaer India Ltd.; Thermax Ltd.; TurboTech Precision Engineering Ltd.; and Wipro, Ltd.
From USA: Arizona State University; Carnegie Mellon University; The Colorado School of Mines; Corning Incorporated; Cookson Electronics; General Electric Company; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc.; Purdue University; RAND Corporation; Sandia National Laboratories; Solarmer Energy, Inc.; Stanford University; University of Central Florida; University of South Florida; and The Washington University at St. Louis.
The vision of SERIIUS is to create an environment for cooperation and innovation “without borders” to develop and ready emerging and revolutionary solar electricity technologies toward the long-term success of India’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Energy Mission and the U.S. DOE SunShot Initiative. It will enhance existing and develop new scientific and research collaborations in solar energy science and technology to provide concerted, joint efforts that leverage the extensive body of existing research programs, capabilities, experience, and knowledge within the large multidisciplinary team of world-renowned universities, premier national laboratories/institutes focusing on solar energy R&D, and leading companies that comprise SERIIUS.
The overall goal of SERIIUS is to accelerate the development of solar electric technologies by lowering the cost per watt of photovoltaics (PV) and concentrated solar power (CSP) through a bi-national consortium that will innovate, discover, and ready emerging, disruptive, and revolutionary solar technologies that span the gap between fundamental science and applied R&D, leading to eventual deployment by sustainable industries. SERIIUS will address critical issues in fundamental and applied research, analysis and assessment, outreach, and workforce development. Throughout this joint effort, a key element is engaging a significant base of Indian and U.S. industry that is dedicated and committed to developing solar energy for both India and the United States.
SERIIUS has established three research thrusts with the following objectives to ensure high impact R&D to address key technical barriers in solar electricity generation:
• Sustainable Photovoltaics: Develop next-generation materials, devices, and manufacturing
processes tailored to India’s needs, environment, and resource availability
• Multiscale Concentrated Solar Power: Overcome critical science and engineering challenges
for reliable multiscale CSP systems
• Solar Energy Integration: Identify and assess key technical, economic, environmental, and policy barriers to enable a research agenda for technical readiness in India and to benefit the United States.
Prof. Kamanio Chattopadhyay of the Indian Institute of Science, Consortium Co-Director from India, said on the occasion of the launch, “SERIIUS represents a major opportunity for Indian and US scientists and technologists to work together to help mitigate one of the major challenges of the present society, that of energy security for the present and future generations. It is truly a program with no borders where we shall learn, understand and innovate solar energy solutions together in a seamless fashion that may lead to a paradigm shift in solar energy technologies.”
Dr. Lawrence Kazmerski of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Consortium Co-Director from USA, said, “We’re extremely excited about this novel research venture bringing together the world’s two largest democracies in an historic R&D collaboration of the best minds and organizations in solar research from India and the United States to make clean-energy technologies real much earlier than many think possible. Our two countries have a long history of technology cooperation—and SERIIUS, based on our belief that we can produce far more together than separately, provides a robust path for meeting our national goals quicker and smarter.”
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