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National Mission on Advanced and High-Impact Research (MAHIR)

Why the Scheme is in News?

The Ministry of Power and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy are collaborating on a new initiative called the National Mission on Advanced and High-Impact Research (MAHIR). This mission aims to identify and develop emerging technologies in the power sector within and outside of India.

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Its goal is to promote indigenous research, development, and demonstration of the latest technologies in the power sector, making India a global manufacturing hub. The funding for this mission will come from the Ministry of Power, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, and Central Public Sector Enterprises, with additional resources allocated from the Indian government’s budget if necessary.

Introduction

Scheduled to run for an initial period of five years from 2023 to 2028, MAHIR will follow a technology life cycle approach from idea to product. Union Power & NRE Minister Shri R. K. Singh emphasized that this mission will play a crucial role in achieving national priorities such as Net Zero emissions, as well as supporting initiatives like Make in India and Start-up India.

It will also contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Minister Singh highlighted the significant growth expected in India’s electricity demand and the need for research and innovation to drive the country’s energy transition.

About National Mission on Advanced and High-Impact Research (MAHIR)

Power Secretary Shri Alok Kumar stated that MAHIR will foster collaboration among industry, academia, and government to create an ecosystem for innovation and research translation in the power sector. The mission will engage with prominent institutions such as IITs, IIMs, NITs, IISERs, and universities, while also working with startups and established industries in the power sector. The government will play a facilitating role in establishing this innovation ecosystem.

MAHIR: Aim and Key Objectives

The main objectives of the Mission are:

1. Identifying emerging technologies and areas with future significance for the global power sector and undertaking the complete development of relevant technologies within the country.
2. Establishing a shared platform for stakeholders in the power sector to collaborate and collectively brainstorm ideas, develop synergistic technologies, and create pathways for smooth technology transfer.
3. Supporting pilot projects for indigenous technologies, particularly those developed by Indian start-ups, and facilitating their commercialization.
4. Utilizing international alliances and partnerships to expedite research and development of advanced technologies and to build expertise, capabilities, and access to advanced technologies through bilateral or multilateral collaborations. This will facilitate the exchange of knowledge and technology transfer.
5. Fostering and expanding scientific and industrial research and development, as well as creating a dynamic and innovative ecosystem in the power sector of the country.
6. Striving to position our nation as one of the leading countries in the development of power system-related technologies and applications.

MAHIR: Key Areas of Research

Firstly, the research will focus on the following eight areas:

1. Exploring alternatives to lithium-ion storage batteries.
2. Adapting electric cookers and pans to cater to Indian cooking techniques.
3. Utilizing green hydrogen for efficient fuel cells in mobility.
4. Developing methods for carbon capture.
5. Harnessing geo-thermal energy as a renewable source.
6. Investigating solid-state refrigeration technologies.
7. Utilizing nano-technology to enhance electric vehicle (EV) batteries.
8. Developing indigenous technology for cold-rolled grain-oriented (CRGO) materials.

MAHIR: Structure of the Mission

The Mission will consist of two main bodies: the Technical Scoping Committee and the Apex Committee.

Technical Scoping Committee

  • The Technical Scoping Committee, led by the Chairperson of the Central Electricity Authority, will analyze and identify current and emerging research areas worldwide.
  • It will suggest potential technologies to be developed as part of the Mission, provide justifications for their techno-economic advantages, outline research plans, and regularly monitor approved research projects.
  • The Technical Scoping Committee (TSC) will conduct a survey to identify ongoing and emerging research areas globally. It will then present recommendations to the Apex Committee.
  • The TSC will determine the potential technologies that could be developed within the Mission. It will highlight the significance of these technologies for the future of the Power Sector and justify the advantages of indigenous development.
  • The TSC will also create a roadmap for promoting these technologies in the market.
  • Additionally, the TSC will define the desired specifications for the final product.
  • It will also be responsible for periodically monitoring the progress of approved research projects.

Apex Committee

  • The Apex Committee, led by the Union Minister for Power & New and Renewable Energy, will discuss the technologies and products to be developed and approve the research proposals.
  • The Apex Committee will also consider opportunities for international collaborations.
  • The Apex Committee will provide approval for research proposals and oversee the advancement of research activities.
  • It will deliberate on the technologies and products to be developed under the Mission.
  • The Apex Committee will have the final authority to approve all research proposals and projects.
  • If the TSC recommends international collaboration for technology development, the Apex Committee will discuss it with the relevant collaborating country.
  • The Apex Committee will make decisions regarding the approval of any collaboration, the selection of technology to be developed, and the agreements to be made with the collaborating country.

The composition of the Apex Committee will be as the following table represents:

Union Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy Chairperson
Secretary, Ministry of Power Member
Secretary, Ministry of New & Renewable Energy Member
Secretary, D/o Science and Technology Member
Principal Scientific Adviser or his / her representative Member
Chairperson, CEA Member
Representative of NITI Aayog Member
Joint Secretary/Economic Adviser (T&R), Ministry of Power Member
CMDs of NTPC / PGCIL / PFC / REC / NHPC / NEEPCO / THDC / SJVNL / GCIL / IREDA, MD, SECI, Chairpersons BBMB / DVC and DGs of NPTI / BEE / NISE / NIWE / NIBE Members
Directors of IITs, Delhi / Bombay / Madras / Kanpur Member(s)
Director General, CSIR Member
Director General, CPRI Member Convener

MAHIR: Scope and Vision

  • Once the research areas are identified and approved by the Apex Committee, the Mission will invite proposals for funding from companies and organizations worldwide, with a focus on achieving specific outcomes.
  • The selection of proposals will be based on a combination of quality and cost considerations. Ministries’ organizations may also collaborate with the chosen Research Agency to develop the technologies.
  • The intellectual property rights (IPR) of the developed technology will be shared between the Government of India and the Research Agency.
  • Additionally, the Mission will provide funding for pilot projects undertaken by Indian Start-ups and assist in their commercialization through the Central Public Sector Enterprises under both Ministries.
  • Start-ups will be required to share their IPR with the Government of India or the Central Power Research Institute.

The Mission will facilitate international collaboration to enable the exchange of knowledge and technology transfer. It will also seek partnerships with top laboratories worldwide to jointly develop technologies.

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