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New technologies implemented by India’s Ministry of Renewable Energy

Over the last few years, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has used several new technologies as part of its programmes, for research, development, and demonstration projects. These technologies include fuel cells, battery operated vehicles, and biofuels. Hydrogen, ocean, and geothermal energy are harnessed using these technologies.

Hydrogen energy

Hydrogen is a clean fuel and an energy carrier that can be used for a broad range of applications as a possible substitute for liquid and fossil fuels. The Ministry has supported research and development in several aspects of hydrogen energy including its production, storage, and its use as a fuel for the generation of mechanical, thermal or electrical energy. The application of hydrogen in fuel cells for power generation has been demonstrated as a result of initiatives launched by the Ministry.

Hydrogen-fuelled small power generating sets, two and three-wheeler vehicles, catalytic combustion systems for residential and industrial sectors, and fuel cell buses have also been developed.

The Ministry has also launched training and manpower development workshops.

Some of the Ministry’s current initiatives include a Hydrogen Energy Centre at Varanasi. Also, the development of a process for the production of hydrogen from renewable and fossil fuel-based liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons through the non-thermal plasma reformation technique.

Chemical energy

The main objective of the chemical sources of energy programme is the development and applications of fuel cell technology which produces electricity, water, and heat through the reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. Fuel cell technology offers high conversion efficiency, modularity, compactness, and noise-free operations. Fuel cells are environmentally benign.

Prototypes of polymer electrolyte membrane or proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) and phosphoric acid fuel cells (PAFCs) have been developed in India. The applications of these prototypes have been demonstrated for power generation (PEMFC and PAFC) and transport sectors (PEMFC).

The Ministry has developed direct alcohol fuel cells, test protocols, and solid oxide fuel cells that operate directly on hydrocarbon feedstock. Furthermore, it has created high-performance intermediate temperature solid oxide fuel cells (IT-SOFC) through low-cost ceramic processing techniques.

Ocean energy

The total identified potential of tidal energy is about 12,455MW, with potential locations identified at the Khambat and Kutch regions, and large backwaters, where barrage technology could be used.

Further, the total theoretical potential of wave energy in India, along the country’s coast, is estimated to be about 40,000MW. These are preliminary estimates. This energy is, however, less intensive than what is available in more northern and southern latitudes.

The objective of the Ministry’s ocean technology programmes is to accelerate and enhance support for resource assessment and the deployment of ocean energy and to harness it for power generation.


To meet the increasing energy needs of the country and for energy security, the National Policy on Biofuels was announced in 2009.  The major goals of the policy were the development and utilisation of indigenous non-food feedstock raised on wastelands.

The objective of the biofuel programme is to support research and development, pilot plants and demonstration projects leading to the commercial development of second-generation biofuels. The ministry supports research projects for the development of technologies to produce biofuels through biogas, pyrolysis, and gasification.

Geothermal energy

The aim of the geothermal technology programme is to increase support for the research, development, resource assessment, testing, and deployment of geothermal energies in the country. To harness it for power generation and to overcome energy production-related barriers. The technology programme is open to public and private sectors to carry out projects in India.

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