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India’s Mission MAHIR Advancing Power Sector Tech

The Ministry of Power and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy have launched a National Mission to identify emerging technologies within the power sector and indigenously develop them on a large scale. These technologies will be deployed domestically and internationally.

The collaborative National Mission, titled the Mission on Advanced and High-Impact Research (MAHIR), will facilitate indigenous research and development, and demonstrate cutting-edge technologies in the power sector. Its focus is to identify emerging technologies and advance them to the implementation stage. By harnessing these technologies as the key drivers of future economic growth, the Mission aims to establish India as a global manufacturing hub.

Scheduled to commence from the fiscal year 2023-24 and continue for an initial period of five years until 2027-28, the Mission will adopt the technology life cycle approach, progressing from the conceptual stage to the development of a final product.

The Mission has identified eight specific areas for focus. These areas include exploring alternatives to Lithium-Ion storage batteries, adapting electric cookers/pans to align with Indian cooking methods, developing green hydrogen for mobility through high-efficiency fuel cells, advancing carbon capture technologies, harnessing geothermal energy, enhancing solid-state refrigeration systems, utilising nanotechnology for electric vehicle batteries, and promoting indigenous technology for CRGO (Cold-Rolled Grain-Oriented) materials.

The key objectives of the Mission are as follows:

  • To identify emerging technologies and areas that hold future significance in the global power sector. It will then undertake the indigenous end-to-end development of these technologies.
  • To establish a common platform for stakeholders within the power sector to engage in collaborative brainstorming and synergistic technology development. It will facilitate the smooth transfer of technology by devising effective pathways.
  • To provide support to pilot projects involving indigenous technologies, particularly those developed by Indian start-ups. It aims to facilitate their commercialisation and widespread adoption.
  • To leverage foreign alliances and partnerships to expedite research and development in advanced technologies. It seeks to build competencies, capabilities, and access to advanced technologies through bilateral or multilateral collaborations, promoting knowledge exchange and technology transfer.
  • To nurture and scale up scientific and industrial research and development efforts within the power sector. It aims to create a vibrant and innovative ecosystem that supports research and development activities.

An Office Memorandum to this effect has been issued. The Mission will be funded by pooling the financial resources of the two ministries and the Central Public Sector Enterprises under them. In case there is a requirement for additional funding, it will be mobilised from the government’s budgetary resources.

The Mission will have a two-tier structure – a Technical Scoping Committee and an Apex Committee. The Technical Scoping Committee (TSC) will identify ongoing and emerging research areas globally, recommend potential technologies for development under the Mission, justify the techno-economic advantages, provide research outlines, and conduct periodic monitoring of approved research projects.

TSC will survey and identify ongoing and emerging areas of research on a global scale and provide recommendations to the Apex Committee regarding potential technologies to be considered for development. The TSC will also carry out periodic monitoring of the approved research projects.

Meanwhile, the Apex Committee will deliberate on the technology and products to be developed and approve the research proposals. It will approve the research proposals, monitor progress, and look into international collaboration.

Once research areas are identified and approved by the Apex Committee, the Mission will invite proposals for outcome-linked funding from companies across the world. The selection of proposals will be based on Quality cum Cost-Based Selection (QCBS) criteria. The Ministries’ organisations may also collaborate with the selected research agency to co-develop the technologies. The intellectual property rights (IPR) of the developed technology will be shared between the government and the research agency.

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