“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests the temperature rise should be limited to 1.5°C by the end of this century for the world to survive, “says Dr. Karthik Rajendran, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Science.  “For this, we need to reduce the emission by almost 50% of 2010 levels.” He further points out that while we may produce electric cars instead of petrol cars, electricity from solar and wind instead of coal, natural gas biologically as biogas instead of shale gas one question is at the center of these technologies – cost.

Dr. Rajendran’s quest to understand the factors influencing commercial viability of bioenergy systems began in Chennai during his bachelors’ thesis on hydrogen production leading subsequently to numerous lab simulations to understand the bottlenecks of commercialization.

On techno-economic analysis as an early indicator of commercial viability

Techno-economic analysis is an examination of various specifications of the technology at its inception stage when it is merely an experiment in a conical flask. “We analyze components on basis of all aspects of technology, economic feasibility, environmental sustainability, market realization and social integration. We can identify bottlenecks early on that hasten the technology out of the laboratory towards commercialization. This enables us to more accurately predict the fate of bioenergy/bio-based product developed out of laboratory.”

The role of institutional and government support

“In my Masters studies at UB Sweden I realized not all technologies being developed in labs are successful and that economics is not the only component that hinders commercialization. We need good institutional and governmental policy, including technical support, to advance such clean energy systems. This is when I started working on integrating technology, economics, and government policy. I compared different European technologies including biogas, electric cars, solar, and wind to understand the role of state/government subsidies towards green technology development. What I found was that electric car technologies for example do little to prevent C02 emissions, yet they receive more incentives from the government compared with other renewable energy systems. It’s about the source of electricity. Be it coal or wind plant if it’s not a green electricity source it is not a green vehicle.”

The science of energy waste conversion

Dr. Karthik Rajendran’s initial research on bioenergy production from waste looked specifically at hydrogen from algae. He currently focuses on bioenergy with carbon capture and utilization with the cost factor being the main parameter. Dr. Rajendran explains how this works. “For example, due to long term storage issues excess solar or wind energy spills over and is wasted. This excess electricity is converted to hydrogen through electrolysis. Then the hydrogen can be combined with CO2 from a bioenergy system to produce methane. This is known as Sabatier reaction. In Europe this research is happening with an aim to convert existing gas grids to a green gas grid by 2050.”

Several of Dr. Rajendran’s published papers examine electro fuels, circular bio economy and techno-economic analysis.

Amaravati, 7th August 2019: At the University Research Council meeting held on campus, and presided by Dr. P. Sathyanarayanan, Founder and President of the board, a renewed commitment was made to research of national significance such as energy conservation and sustainability.

An illustrious, distinguished and accomplished group of academicians and scientists provided direction and mentorship to the faculty members and research scholars. The council comprises Prof K. Satyanarayana – Director, IIT Tirupati, Prof. U.B. Desai – Director, IIT Hyderabad, Prof. P. Appa Rao – Vice Chancellor, University of Hyderabad, Prof. Gautam R. Desiraju – IISc, Bangalore, Dr. S.R. Rao – former Senior Adviser, Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, Prof. B.S. Murthy – IIT Madras, Chennai, Dr. Padmanabham – Director, ARCI, Hyderabad, Prof. B.V.R. Chowdari – Senior Executive Director, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and Prof. D. Narayana Rao – Pro-Vice Chancellor, SRM University – AP, Amaravati.

The meeting commenced with an opening presentation by Prof. D. Narayana Rao, Pro-Vice Chancellor, SRM AP, Amaravati highlighting the areas of research currently undertaken and proposed to carry out by the University’s 107-member faculty. The Chairman of the Research Council, Dr. V. K. Saraswat – Member of NITI Aayog, addressed all the members through a video call and advised them on the need and development of research activities. Dr. Saraswat also highlighted the importance of aligning research programs with the national agenda.

Vice Chancellor, Dr. Jamshed Bharucha emphasised SRM AP Amaravati’s focus on societal impact through original research in an interdisciplinary environment. The new research lab building and the X-Labs will facilitate these initiatives.  Faculty Members made presentations on the current as well as proposed research activities

The council commended the quantum and quality of work already done by SRM AP Amaravati in just two years of inception.  Members pointed out that the kind of MOUs and collaborations effected with different organisations are crucial for the faculty to be able to sustain research. Specific appreciation was about Hydrogen Powered Train (Jal-Janak Rail) being developed in collaboration with Integral Coach Factory (ICF) of the Ministry of Railways, SRM-Amara Raja Center for Energy Storage Devices. Special mention was made to the sports science centre as it is often an overlooked area.

Prof. P. Appa Rao offered that the experimental facilities of University of Hyderabad can be accessed by the faculty members of SRM University-AP, Amaravati.  Dr. Padmanabham invited the faculty members of SRM University-AP, Amaravati to establish collaborations with ARCI, Hyderabad and make use of the state-of-the art experimental facilities available at ARCI.

Commenting on the occasion, Dr. Kasthurirangan Gopalakrishnan, Associate Dean – Research said, “The inputs provided by the council have not only been encouraging but have also been extremely insightful. They have provided diligent inputs and guidance. Our faculty found this experience extremely motivating.”

3rd August, 2019, Madras School of Economics, Chennai:  The Chennai International Centre (an organization providing a platform for intellectuals and luminaries to share transformational ideas) invited an expert panel to talk on Indian Healthcare Services. The panel members comprising Dr. Shailender Swaminathan (Health Economist, Researcher, Associate Dean – SLABS, SRMU – AP, Amaravati), Dr. Keshav Desiraju (Former Health Secretary, Government of India), Dr. Soumya Swaminathan (Chief Scientist, WHO) discussed the significance of a holistic approach in the healthcare sector with moderator Dr. Nalini Krishnan, Director, REACH – Resource Group of Education and Advocacy for Community Health.  Panelists addressed the inaccessibility of medical facilities in India stemming primarily from a lack of government funding, high cost of drugs and the low literacy rate.  The panel also recognized how this inaccessibility leads to poor utilization of technology and low insurance penetration.

“How India is able to fund healthcare five years from now is of significance,” opined Dr. Shailender Swaminathan, citing the US healthcare system, “The U.S. aimed at funding healthcare services of people over 65 years through the contribution of younger citizen and taxpayers. This previously successful U.S. model is on the verge of failure as the cost of drugs increased at a higher pace exhausting the funds.”

Pointing out that policies must be directed towards reducing the poverty rate in India to suffice for increasing healthcare expenses, Dr. Swaminathan added that “High expenditure on healthcare services leaves no funds for purchasing basic consumption goods, further pushing citizens below the poverty line. “

He explained that insurance policies in India cover only hospitalization bills whereas outpatients (patients who do not require hospitalization) are unable to pay the daily medical expenses. This lack of outpatient insurance drives up insurance costs, as minor health issues are not treated, leading to eventual hospitalization of the patient.

According to Dr. Swaminathan an integrated approach towards healthcare would prompt the government to provide free diagnostic and treatment services of high quality to outpatients.  The panel concluded that the government must focus on primary healthcare services, prevention of diseases, insurance inclusivity and healthcare promotion.

Healthcare panel in discussion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShU1nH1w0Fo

May, 2019: Following discussions between SRM APs Biology research team (initiated by SRM AP Pro VC Prof. Narayana Rao and Dr. S. Chandrasekhar, Director CSIR-IICT, Hyderabad) and the Applied Biology division of CSIR-IICT, Dr. Manjunatha Thondamal, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology at SRM AP, was invited to establish a C. elegans facility at IICT campus and train the scientists/students.

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In April 2019, at the 2nd Global Outreach Research and Education Summit held at HITEX Exhibition Centre in Hyderabad Dr. Nimai Mishra’s pioneering work in nanomaterials was recognized with the “Young Researcher in Chemistry” award, an initiative of the Global Outreach Research & Education Association (GOREA).

At the summit, attended by over 100 delegates from all over the world, Dr. Mishra, delivered a talk on “Nanochemistry: Impact in Device Fabrication” specifically, the control synthesis of nanoparticles via colloidal chemical route and their application in solar cell and LEDs. 

Through his research, Dr. Mishra, Associate Professor of Chemistry at SRM AP, has attempted to develop a synthesis technique that can produce blinking free semi-conductor nanoparticles for increased energy savings in the use of light emitting diodes (LED), lasers and solar cells.

“For the past decade there has been considerable work in this field and in 2013 as a post-doctoral fellow at Los Alamos Lab in the US I began to focus exclusively on this research. The technology has wide application potential including bio-imaging diagnosis in the health sector.”

For Dr. Mishra, whose education and research background includes IIT-Madras, NUS, Singapore, Los Alamos National Lab, USA and IIT-Genova, Italy, the summit was an opportunity to share ideas on how to meet challenges in higher education research.

The papers presented at the summit were a diverse mix of subjects from materials science, digital dentistry, blockchain technology and the booming smart classroom market in India.

The Global Outreach Research & Education Association (GOREA) is a charitable foundation established in 2018 to promote technical advancement, entrepreneurship and skill development. GOREA achieves this through a global association of educationists, technologists, industrialists, business leaders and policymakers working towards the growth of research & education industry.

Earlier in February at IIT-BHU in Varanasi Dr. Mishra was awarded the Young Scientist Award” at the International Conference of Functional Nanomaterials (ICFNM-2019)” organized by IIT-BHU along with IIT-Guwahati and Society of Interdisciplinary Research in Material and Biology (SIRMB). The shortlisted six candidates were faculty from IIT, NIT, DBT Institute.

Of the event, Dr. Mishra said, “Speakers were from IIT, IISER and IISc. The good news is that most were aware of the work being done at SRM AP and admire the broad ambitious vision of the university management.”

Nanomaterials are an increasingly important product of nanotechnologies with applications in medicine/healthcare, electronics, environmental health, technology and industry.

“The reason so many disciplines like chemistry, physics, engineering and biology are looking at this field is the exciting properties of materials at a nanoscale.  It has broad application potential including bio-imaging diagnosis in the health sector.” says Dr. Nimai Mishra, Associate Professor of Chemistry at SRM AP.

Through his own research, Dr. Mishra, has attempted to develop a synthesis technique that can produce blinking free semi-conductor nanoparticles for increased energy savings in the use of light emitting diodes (LED), lasers and solar cells.

“For the past decade there has been considerable work in this field and in 2013 as a post-doctoral fellow at Los Alamos Lab in the U.S. I began to focus exclusively on this research.”

In April 2019, at the 2nd Global Outreach Research and Education Summit held at HITEX Exhibition Centre in Hyderabad Dr. Nimai Mishra’s work in nanomaterials was recognized with the “Young Researcher in Chemistry” award – an initiative of the Global Outreach Research & Education Association (GOREA).

Dr. Mishra, delivered a talk on “Nanochemistry: Impact in Device Fabrication” specifically, the control synthesis of nanoparticles via colloidal chemical route and their application in solar cell and LEDs. 

For Dr. Mishra, whose education and research background includes IIT-Madras, NUS, Singapore, Los Alamos National Lab, USA and IIT-Genova, Italy, the summit was an opportunity to share ideas on how to meet challenges in higher education research.

At the summit, attended by over 100 delegates from all over the world, the papers presented were a diverse mix of subjects from materials science, digital dentistry, blockchain technology and the booming smart classroom market in India.

The Global Outreach Research & Education Association (GOREA) is a charitable foundation established in 2018 to promote technical advancement, entrepreneurship and skill development. GOREA achieves this through a global association of educationists, technologists, industrialists, business leaders and policymakers working towards the growth of research & education industry.

 Earlier in February at IIT-BHU in Varanasi Dr. Mishra was awarded the Young Scientist Award” at the International Conference of Functional Nanomaterials (ICFNM-2019)” organized by IIT-BHU along with IIT-Guwahati and Society of Interdisciplinary Research in Material and Biology (SIRMB). The shortlisted six candidates were faculty from IIT, NIT, DBT Institute.

Of the event, Dr. Mishra said, “Speakers were from IIT, IISER and IISc. The good news is that most were aware of and admire the broad ambitious vision of the SRM AP university management.”

In a meeting with SRM AP faculty, Dr. G. Satheesh Reddy drew attention to the prestigious ‘Make in India’ initiative, called for research on futuristic technologies for the nations benefit, and encouraged SRM AP to emerge as a hub for new technology development. Dr. G. Satheesh Reddy is eminently qualified to speak of matters like aligning future university led research objectives with national priorities. He holds four key national government portfolios; He is Secretary to the Government of India in the department of Defence R&D; Chairman, Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO); Director General, Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister (RM).

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SRM AP Pro VC Prof. Narayana Rao presenting memento to UTI President, Vistasp Karbhari

December 03, 2018: In a joint discussion presided by SRM AP Pro VC Prof. Narayana Rao, Registrar D. Gunasekaran, SRM AP faculty and staff, Pranesh Aswath, UTI Vice Provost for Academic Planning and Policy, UTI President Karbhari spoke of how, in face of global changes in education and workforce demands, education must adapt in modality with a flexible and adaptive curriculum. Karbhari explained the strides UTI has made in these critical areas.

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Dr. Anil K. Suresh, Principal Investigator, Associate Professor, Biotechnology with SRM AP Pro VC Prof. Narayana Rao

A newly established research facility in the main academic block will house advanced equipment for research related to applications like cellular culture, drug delivery, cell imagingand cell cytotoxicity.  Dr. Anil K. Suresh, Principal Investigator of the cell culture laboratory who is currently an Associate Professor at the department of Biotechnology spearheaded the acquisition of lab equipment such as the Type 2 biosafety cabinet, CO2 incubators, cell counting machine, inverted and upright microscopes, table-top centrifuge, – 20 and 4 degree refrigerators and cell storage facility.

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The Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions Pv.t Ltd in Bangalore along with SRM AP will set up a centre at SRM Amaravati to carry out research in Artificial Intelligence for health care. SRM AP Pro Vice Chancellor Dr. D. Narayana Rao and BOSCH Bangalore have been in discussions on this initiative that will bring together researchers from SRM AP’s engineering program and Bosch, a leading supplier of technology and services in mobility solutions, industrial technology and energy.

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