ABB, IIT Madras enters into R&D partnership for microgrids & green energy


ABB on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding with the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) to build microgrids as well as joint R&D in the field of rural electrification, utilization of natural non-fossil resources, battery energy storage and their connection to loads and main grid.

The MoU signed also includes internship opportunities to post graduate students of IITM for the next three years.

The company in a statement said “thousands of Indian villages still un-electrified, the decentralized microgrids are a viable solution to power these villages. A low-maintenance microgrid has the potential to eliminate dependence on expensive diesel fuel and the grid. “

Indian Institute of Technology, Madras and ABB will work closely to design, build and supply equipment for up to two microgrids in rural areas. Along with ABB equipment, the microgrid will enable homes to be fitted with energy efficient DC devices like LED bulbs, TV, Cell phone charges, Brushless DC motor based fans, specially designed by IITM.

 IITM will manage the project till the transfer of the installations to the local distribution utility (DISCOM).


This is a great opportunity to combine our expertise with bright young minds from this renowned institute to devise and deploy solutions tailored for India,” said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer. He added “Microgrids technology is an important part of our Next Level strategy and well poised to make the Indian government’s vision of power to all a reality by providing access to energy and ensuing economic empowerment to the people.”

“IIT is committed to implementing an affordable solution for supplying electric power to Indian homes, whether they are off-grid, or homes with several hours of power cuts. At the same time our solution helps reducing the home’s monthly power bills even when there are no power-cuts, a must for most middle and lower-income homes. Simultaneously IITM is committed to a vision of India moving completely to Electric Vehicles by 2030. Towards this it is ready to commit the best-in class technology. The R&D cooperation with ABB will help them get to these goals faster,” said Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras.

IITM has used its solar-DC technology to power 4000 off-grid homes in Rajasthan during the last few months. These homes are located at places where vehicles cannot travel and material including solar-panels and batteries are transported on camels or tractors.

ABB will also support research at IITM’s Battery Engineering Center to improve the life and discharge cycles of Lead-Acid to Lithium-Ion batteries for the next five years. Immediate applications range from telecom tower backups to grid ancillary services and renewable integration. In addition, the research has the scope of including storage solutions for electric vehicles (EVs), important in light of the recent push for EVs to act as virtual power plants to store surplus energy and support the grid in times of deficit.

The Modi government recently launched National Mission on Electric Mobility program which targets six million electric vehicles by 2020.

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