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Address at the inauguration of

The South Asian Conference on Renewable Energy


New Delhi
18 April 2006
Energy Independence
Energy Independence
is the lifeline of a nation

I am delighted to participate in the inauguration of the


South Asian Conference on Renewable Energy organized by
the

Ministry

of

Non-conventional

Energy

Sources

in

partnership with the Associated Chamber of Commerce and


Industry of India (ASSOCHAM). My greetings to the organizers,
energy experts, energy planners, academicians and the
distinguished

guests

participating

in

this

conference.

particularly greet the energy specialists from SAARC countries,


Myanmar, Thailand, China and Mauritius and the invited
speakers from Europe and USA.
Energy Independence
The era of wood is almost nearing its end.

The world

energy forum has predicted that fossil based oil, coal and gas
reserves will last for another less than ten decades. The
unpredictable

increase

in

the

cost

of

oil

continuously

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam


www.presidentofindia.nic.in
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prompted me the study the Energy scene. Based on the study


I have discussed about Energy Independence as part of my
Independence Day Address to the nation, on 15 August 2005.
There I mentioned that Energy Independence has to be our
nations first and highest priority. Our target is to achieve
Energy Security by 2020 leading to Energy Independence by
2030 and beyond. This study may be of useful to the
participating countries of the South Asia conference on
Renewable Energy. Hence, I would like to present the actions
suggested to be taken in the generation of renewable energy
for realizing energy independence in India as a case study.

Structure of Energy Sources

For meeting the development targets of India our power


generating capacity has to increase to 400,000 MGW by 2030
from the existing hundred and thirty thousand Megawatts of
power.

This has got to be achieved through three different

sources namely hydel capacity, nuclear power and nonconventional energy sources primarily through solar energy.
The hydel capacity generated through inter-linking of rivers is
expected to contribute additional 50,000 megawatts of power.
Large scale solar energy farms of 100s of megawatts capacity
in certain number could contribute around 55,000 MW. The
nuclear power plants should have a target of 50,000 MW of
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power. The balance has to be generated through the


conventional thermal plants through coal and gas and other
renewable sources of energy such as Wind power, Biomass,
power through municipal waste and solar thermal power.

The strategic goals for Energy Independence by 2030


would call for a shift in the structure of energy sources.
Firstly, fossil fuel imports need to be minimized and secure
access to be ensured. Maximum hydro and nuclear power
potential should be utilized, apart from the use of coal and gas
based thermal power generation. The most significant aspect,
however would be that the power generated through renewable
energy technologies has to be increased to 25% against the
present 5%. It would be evident that for true Energy
Independence, a major shift in the structure of energy sources
from fossil to renewable energy sources is mandated. I have
given an energy independence mission to my country.

Also, I

would like to share with you my thoughts on how the certain


areas of both conventional and non-conventional energy can
be structured together to meet our national development
needs. Let me discuss about the profile of renewable energy
systems. Firstly I would like to talk to you on Solar Energy.

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Solar Energy

Solar energy in particular requires unique, massive


applications in the agricultural sector, where farmers need
electricity exclusively in the daytime. This could be the
primary demand driver for solar energy. Our farmers demand
for electric power today is significantly high to make solar
energy economical in large scale. Shortages of water, both for
drinking and farming operations, can be met by large scale
seawater desalination and pumping inland using solar energy,
supplemented by bio-fuels wherever necessary.

We also need to embark on a programme in solar energy


systems

and

technologies,

for

both

large,

centralized

applications as well as small, decentralized requirements


concurrently, for applications in both rural and urban areas.

CNT based solar cells for higher efficiency: One of the


important need for achieving energy independence by 2030 is
to increase the power generated through renewable energy
sources from the existing 5% to 25%. Particularly, the energy
produced through solar energy has to increase substantially.
The low efficiency of conventional photo voltaic cells has
restricted the use of solar cells for large application for power
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generation.

Research has shown that the Gallium Arsenide

(GaAs) based PV cell with multi junction device could give


maximum efficiency of less than 30%. Hence it is essential to
launch a research mission on Carbon Nano Tube (CNT) based
PV cell which has got higher level of promise in efficiency.
The CNTs provide better electron ballistic transport
property along its axis with high current density capacity on
the surface of the solar cell without much loss.

Higher

electrical conductivity and mechanical strength of CNT could


improve the quantum efficiency to the order of 35%. But, this
is not sufficient.

Recent research has shown that the

alignment of the CNT with the polymer composites substrate is


the key issue and this aligned CNT based PV cells would give
very high efficiency in photovoltaic conversion. The polymer
composites increase contact area for better charge transfer
and energy conversion. In this process, the researchers could
achieve the efficiency of about 50% at the laboratory scale.
Our scientists have to take up this challenge and come up
with the development of a CNT based PV cell with an efficiency
of at least 50% within the next three years so that it can go
into the commercial production within five years.

In addition,

they can also take up the development of organic solar cells,


dye-sensitized solar cells and third generation solar cells.
There are lots of opportunities for research in fundamental
science in this area and I would like to suggest the energy
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experts participating in this conference to work in a coherent,


consorted way with a mission mode programme to achieve
faster realization of commercial availability of CNT based PV
cell with 50% efficiency. There can be multiple projects for the
laboratories and Universities of the South Asian countries.
In addition to this there is a need to create a Rural
household solar mission which will provide LED based Nano
Crystal lighting system through small solar PV Power Plants to
the 70 millions households who are presently using kerosene
oil for lighting.

Let me now share with you certain experience

in how economically disposed of municipal waste. This


experience may be useful to the some of the South Asian
nations.
Power through Municipal Waste

In the Power generation Sector of the energy economy, we


need to fully use the technologies now available for generating
power from municipal waste. Today, two plants are operational
in India, each plant generating 6.5 MW of electric power.
Studies indicate that as much as 5800 MW of power can be
generated by setting up 900 electric power plants spread over
in different parts of the country (India) which can be fueled by
municipal waste. Municipal waste is generally considered to be
a

health

liability.

The

electric

power

generation

using
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municipal waste can help in the creation of clean environment


and also add to the incremental power. India will be happy to
share this technology with all the South Asian countries.
As the transportation sector in India consumes about
90% of the total available oil, I would like to discuss the
possible energy policy in this sector.
Energy in Transportation Sector

The Transportation sector in India is the fastest growing


energy consumer. It now consumes nearly 112 million tonnes
of oil annually, and is critically important for Indian economy
and security. We produce only 25% of our total requirement.
In the scene of dependability of fossil material based systems,
is becoming uncertain, it is essential energy policy has to
evolve new energy avenues. They are the Bio-fuels, hydrogen
based fuel, electric powered vehicles.
Use of Biofuel: India has nearly 60 million hectares of
wasteland, of which 30 million hectares can be made available
for energy plantations like Jatropha or any other bio-fuel
plant. Once grown, the crop has a life of 50 years. Each
hectare will produce about 2 tonnes of bio-fuel per year at
about Rs. 20 per litre. Biodiesel is carbon neutral and many
valuable by-products such as glycerin, oil cake and herbal
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products flow from this agro-industry. Intensive research is


needed to burn bio-fuel in internal combustion engines with
high efficiency, and this needs to be an urgent R&D
programme. India has a potential to produce nearly 60 million
tones of bio-fuel annually using 30 millions hectares of land
thus making a significant and important contribution to the
goal of Energy Independence.

Indian Railways has already

taken a significant step of running two passenger locomotives


(Thanjavur to Nagore section) and six trains of diesel multiple
units (Tiruchirapalli to Lalgudi, Dindigul and Karur sections)
with a 5% blend of bio-fuel sourced from its in-house
esterification plants. In addition, they have planted 75 lakh
Jatropha saplings in Railway land which is expected to give
yields from the current year onwards. This is a pioneering
example for many other organizations to follow.

Similarly

some of the States such as Chattisgarh, Andhrapradesh,


Madhya Pradesh, Uttranchal and Tamilnadu have energy
plantations in India.
Farmers have started cultivating Jatropha in many areas.
But they have certain problems such as low productivity, nonavailability of standardized good seeds and technical advice,
non-availability of information about
esterification

agencies

and

lack

of

oil extraction and


knowledge

about

prospective purchasers of Jatropha seed or Biofuel. To enable


the farmer to work without interruption, there is a need to
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take a comprehensive view of the total chain from Jatropha


plantation to efficient, extraction, esterification and marketing.
I would suggest action to be taken by different stake holders in
the following way.
Research, Development and Production of Plant
variety: Indias waste land is spread in different regions with
different climatic conditions and also falls in the category of
rain fed or irrigated land. To cater to this variety of soil and
climatic conditions research is required to determine the
particular plant variety which will give the maximum yield of
Jatropha seeds and the maximum yield of oil from that
particular seed. Also research is required to find varieties of
species and hybrids which will start yielding Jatropha seeds
early with a higher yield per crop. Based on this research seed
farm or stem farm are required to be created for each state
and the selected proven seedlings or seed must be provided to
the farmers including the know-how on the number of plants
and pattern to be used per hectare, preparation of soil prior to
plantation and the right time

of planting the seeds. Later,

farmers should also be advised to use the right type of


fertilizers

and

organic

pesticides

including

trimming

methodology and the periodicity. Also farmer should be given


advice on friendly intercropping plants along with Jatropha
which will enhance his revenue.

Finally it has to result in


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establishing number of high yield Jatropha seed banks in the


country.
Government Support: The available waste land must be
allotted to self-help groups or bio-fuel co-operatives on lines of
dairy development co-operatives being successfully run in
Gujarat and many other states. They should create a focus
state wise bio-fuel mission with specific bio-fuel production
targets and the facilitating mechanism to be provided to all the
willing farmers from bio-fuel plantation to esterification and
marketing. The co-operatives or self-help groups must create
bio-fuel or Jatropha seed collection centers with a notified
payment in different villages, so that the farmers producing
Jatropha can sell their products without difficulty. It is also
essential to encourage youth with entrepreneurial ability to
create bio-fuel enterprises including contract farming of
Jatropha plantation.
Crushing and Esterification: Some of our agricultural
universities have developed small sized bio-fuel plants and
technology is available for 250 liter per day production. There
is need to scale up this plant and standardized in the range
one to five tonnes per day capacity for installation in different
regions. Also there is a need to identify plant manufacturers
who can produce quality standardized plants to different
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regions in the country and also undertake trouble free


maintenance of the plant. Some of our large industries should
undertake indigenous design and production of cost effective,
high efficiency, seed processing, crushing and esterification
plants for commercial availability including exports.
Automobile Manufacturers: It has been reported that
some four wheelers, trucks and heavy vehicles have been run
fully on bio-fuel without any change to the automobile power
plant. In other cases, successful tests have been conducted in
running cars to specified distance with 10% blending of biodiesel. There is need for the automobile manufacturers in
partnership with laboratories and Universities to carry out
research for determining the optimal blend of bio-fuel without
modification to the engine or the modification required for the
engine for 100% utilization of bio-fuel.

The automobile test

agencies can become certifying agencies.


Nations have to have a policy that they will introduce in
cars which will use 25% blend of bio-fuel with the diesel, and
trucks with 100% bio-fuel use by the year 2012. This will call
for

the

automobile

manufactures

to

incorporate

the

appropriate design changes and development in future cars.

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The aim should be to take the short term and long term
view of the economics of bio-fuel plantation and provide a
facilitating environment to the farmer, bio-fuel enterprises,
researchers, so that eventually the nation could move forward
towards energy independence in a time bound manners. It is
pertinent

to

note

that

apart

independence

this

bio-fuel

from

sector

is

providing

energy

volume

large

employment generator for our rural youth which no other


sector can match in the present circumstances.

I am sure

what is applicable to Indian situation will definitely be useful


to some of the South Asian countries since they enjoy the
same climatic and terrain conditions.
Let us now study the nuclear energy profile of India.

Nuclear Energy
The present nuclear power capacity of 14 reactors which
is 2720 megawatts is expected to go to 7420 megawatts by
2010 with the completion of nine reactors which are now in
progress. Eventually as per present plan BARC is expecting
the capacity to be 24,000 megawatts by 2020. Hence, there is
a need to plan right from now to increase this capacity to
50,000 megawatts by 2030.

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Nuclear power generation has been given a thrust by the


use of uranium based fuel.

However to meet the increased

needs of nuclear power generation, it is essential to pursue the


development of nuclear power using Thorium, reserves of
which are higher in the country. Technology development has
to be accelerated for Thorium based reactors since the raw
material for Thorium is abundantly available in our country.
To maximize the thorium utilization the development of Fast
Breeder Reactor has been rightly taken it up.

Conclusion
The world has already realized that the peace and
prosperity of any nation is secure only when the rest of the
world is also prosperous and at peace. Similarly, the energy
consumption from renewable resources has to be maximized
for all nations irrespective of their economic status if the world
has to remain a livable habitat for our future generations.
Hence, sharing of knowledge of useful technologies without
much of a concern for intellectual property rights for the good
of the mankind should be the defining spirit for international
collaboration in this sector. Keeping the above reality in mind,
I have the following suggestions for the participants of this
conference.

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(a).

The conference can create a web site with details of

participants, their interests and their experiences in different


areas of renewable energy programmes. The web site can be
designed to provide updated information on the progress made
by participating South Asian countries in different renewable
energy projects and experts in the field.

Any one in the

participating countries should be able to post questions in


areas where they would like to get expert advice on specific
scientific and technical issues.
(b).

Most of the knowledge from various research and

development agencies on renewable energy is in the form of


technical reports, best practices and experimental results and
technology review reports.
information

bases

from

These are what are known as


which

practicing

farmers

and

entrepreneurs would like to obtain specific knowledge which


could be in the form of answers to his or her questions. In
other words, what the farmer or entrepreneur is looking for is
the knowledge culled out of many reports reflecting the
experiences of all the partner countries. With the advances in
data mining and knowledge engineering, it is possible today to
make this facility available to the user through human and
computer

assisted

interface.

This

conference

must

symbiotically combine the experiences of all the Scientists and


Engineers of South Asian countries to make interactive
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consultancy for encouraging people to use non-conventional


energy.
(c).

The conference may consider creation of different

multinational technical task teams for various areas of


renewable energy programmes such as Solar, Wind, Biofuel,
Geothermal and Tidal. The leadership for these teams can be
assigned based on the core competence of different countries.
(d).

The conference may also consider laboratory to

laboratory,

industry

to

industry

collaboration

without

geographical barriers for combining the core competencies of


multiple nations and lead to products and systems.
(e).

The conference must draw a road map for the

percentage of energy consumption to be met by renewable


energy at the global and national levels, as well as city and
household levels of each country.
(f).

While the Wind and Biofuel may be well suited for

localized needs, thus contributing to distributed compact


power systems, this conference should explore the possibility
of a large scale renewable energy project of several thousands
of megawatt capacity as a commercially viable joint venture
between South Asian nations. One such possibility is in the
regime of efficient use of renewable solar energy.

This will
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need the combined power of the joint venture nations to


conduct state-of-the art research, development, professional
implementation, management and commercial exploitation.
With

these

words,

inaugurate

the

South

Asian

Conference on Renewable Energy and my best wishes to all


the participants of this Conference on Renewable Energy for
success in their mission of realizing Energy Independence by
2030.
May God Bless you all.

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