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India Map Image Facts about Energy in India and the Developing World
  • Worldwide, more than 1.5 billion people lack access to electricity (UNDP & WHO 2009)

  • India hosts the world's largest population without access to electricity— 400 million people, or about one third of the country (GEA 2012, IEA 2010)

  • Worldwide, more than 2.5 billion people lack access to modern cooking fuel (UNDP & WHO 2009)

  • In India, more than 800 million people – 75 percent of rural households and 25 percent of urban households – rely on wood, dung and other solid cooking fuels (GEA 2012)

  • India is the seventh largest producer and consumer of electricity in the world (CIA World Factbook 2013)

  • In Mumbai (population 12.5 million), the number of cars has increased 51 percent since 2007 (Times of India, May 15, 2013)

The Search for Game-Changing Energy Technologies for the Developing World
May 15-16, 2013
Reliance Industries Ltd. Corporate Park
Navi Mumbai, India

Video by Mark Shwartz

In May 2013, GCEP and Reliance Industries Ltd. co-hosted a workshop on the challenges of creating and applying new energy technologies in the developing world. This special event was held at Reliance Corporate Park in Navi Mumbai. Reliance Industries is India's largest energy company. Leading thinkers and practitioners from academia, industry and non-governmental organizations came together to discuss global energy needs, potential applications of state-of-the-art energy technologies and collaborative approaches to advance research on practical solutions for supplying energy to developing countries.

Keynote Image

Keynote Speaker: R.A. Mashelkar

The seed for the workshop was planted by Ajit Sapre, Reliance group president of research and technology, during his talk at the 2012 annual GCEP Research Symposium at Stanford. Sapre discussed an innovative approach to global energy challenges, inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, called "Gandhian engineering of inclusive innovation." The concept - the brainchild of R.A. Mashelkar, former president of the Indian National Science Academy - is that sustainability can be achieved by eradicating poverty through the development of energy-efficient technologies that are high quality and affordable. Mashelkar elaborated on the Gandhian approach in his May 15 keynote address at the Mumbai workshop.

A few days earlier, GCEP got a firsthand look at the energy and sustainability challenges facing rural India with a tour of four remote farming villages with Reliance Foundation pilot programs designed to improve agricultural yields and provide access to cleaner energy.

Villagers Image

More than 400 million Indians lack access to electricity.

In one village, Jamuniya, the Stanford team was shown a pilot project that converts cow dung and water into methane gas for cooking. The biogas converter provides residents a healthier alternative to traditional cookstoves that burn wood or dung as fuel. To observe the technology in action, see the video, "Cooking with biogas in India."

Video by Mark Shwartz

In addition to talks by Sapre and Mashelkar, the workshop featured presentations by GCEP staff, including Director Sally Benson and researchers Charlie Barnhart and Jennifer Milne. Stanford faculty members Banny Banerjee, Bruce Clemens, Lynn Orr and Mark Thurber also discussed a broad range of topics, from cooking needs in the developing world to cutting-edge advances in renewable energy.

Other speakers from India included Anil Gupta (Indian Institute of Management), Sydney Lobo (Tata Power Company), Anil Rajvanshi (Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute), Homi Bhedwar (DuPont) and Vinay Jammu (GE).

The workshop also included breakout sessions that focused on the needs for breakthrough energy technologies, criteria for their successful implementation and identification of opportunities in the developing world for specific energy areas. The meeting concluded with a discussion of collaborative approaches and next steps that should be considered moderated by Pete Hanik (Reliance Industries). Click here to see videos of the workshop presentations.



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