Beyond Awards - All that KPIT Sparkle has to offer

Opportunity does not come gift wrapped. You must take risks. But what if we told you that we've got an opportunity on the offering and there are no risks attached? At best, the most risk you'll have to take is to get out of your comfort zone and the spectrum of excuses that are keeping you from taking your innovative idea to success. Before you dismiss this as a 'too good to be true' kind of claim, read on. This opportunity that we are talking about is KPIT Sparkle. Since its inception in 2015, KPIT Sparkle, a one of a kind an innovation contest, has provided science and engineering students from across India, a platform to present innovative ideas related to the field of energy and transportation to solve real-world problems. The competition is open to all students from an undergraduate level to Ph.D. While KPIT sparkle is a competition, it is quite unlike regular contests. There is an award, and a handsome one, but this competition moves beyond awards. So let's begin with the scale of the program. In 2015, the first edition, 100 colleges participated in the contest which rose to 1121 in the 5th edition. 22150 students participated in this program in 2019 submitting 2065 ideas. While the competition is getting tougher owing to its rising popularity, here's a look at what all you could win.

Solve real-world problems Let's talk about opportunity first. This year along with the 'i Innovate' contest, we are hosting another contest called 'i can crack IT'. The 'i Innovate' contest looks for valid and innovative ideas in the area of 'mobility and energy'. This year's theme for the same is 'Mobility & Energy for the Future'. The students can choose their topic of innovation from a range of 12 categories such as Electric vehicles, solutions for improving road safety, sensors and actuators for Automotive, renewable energy solutions, etc. You can submit more than one idea and can participate as an individual or with a team. There is no restriction in terms of team configuration your team members can be from the same or different college, department or branches. The second contest called 'i can crack IT' is the new challenge for this year. Here we, KPIT, provide you with a problem statement spanning across topics such as automotive diagnostics, artificial intelligence and analytics, autonomous driving, infotainment, cybersecurity etc. and expect you to come up with a solution for the same. We will enable you to crack this challenge by providing the required environment, useful links, and access to data available for research! Of course, that's only part of the fun. The world and India suffers from thousands of problems in the energy and mobility space. These are crying to be solved. And, who better than the energetic young generation to crack those problems. Who better than you to innovate and work on a solution that may save the world tomorrow! Exciting or outrageous, if your idea is innovative, you get a chance to win. One of the winners of the 2019 challenge was a team of engineering students from Belagavi. Their invention a special Power Chair that charges your phone while you relax on it! Other young minds at KPIT Sparkle have created things like a vertical axis water turbine (VAWT), which is 24% more efficient than a conventional system. Some have designed a scalable plant-based microbial fuel cell technology while others have designed a novel transmission system (single stage gearbox) to increase the load carrying capacity and gradeability of existing e-vehicles. Clearly, the thousands of problems we spoke of earlier present millions of opportunities too! All that glitters the prize money It is not just plaques and certificates at KPIT Sparkle. You can also get excited about awards worth Rs. 21 Lakhs for students and Rs. 60,000 for their mentors for 'i Innovate'. 'i can crack IT' presents 20 awards of Rs. 50,000 each. Have we got your complete attention now? And this money is only a part of the whole prize. Resume building Most companies look at the kind of experience you have gathered in your student life during their hiring process. Participating in a contest like KPIT Sparkle adds to your resume value immensely. This platform gives you an opportunity to showcase your skills, innovative mindset, problem-solving capabilities, teamwork and dedication to project completion. And the biggest brand names in the world look for that on your resume when they come to campus. KPIT Sparkle is a coveted contest that sees students participating even from premier institutions such as the IIT's, NIT's as well as other colleges across India. In this contest, you'll be working on real-world problems providing real-world, working solutions. And such opportunities make any resume shine. Interact with top industry minds Our jury consists of stalwarts from the industry. Imagine the opportunity and the kind of learning you get when you interact with great minds like Padma Vibhushan Dr. R. A. Mashelkar who heads our jury panel. Contestants in past events have had the golden opportunity to collect feedback from great minds like Dr. Peter F Tropschuh, Vice President, Strategy Sustainability, AUDI AG, Dr. Carl Perrin, Director, Coventry University, Dr. Milind Rane, Professor, IIT Mumbai, Dr. Pravin Kumar, Professor, IIT Guwahati and Dr. Siddhartha Mukhopadhyay, Professor IIT Kharagpur. They have found that a well-placed word or a subtle nudge has helped them transform their thinking and inspired them to newer heights. Unparalleled opportunities to bring your idea to life We have partnered with DST and AICTE. DST is the knowledge partner for KPIT Sparkle and takes the winning and promising KPIT Sparkle ideas to the next level for the actual application using DST incubation centers through various DST schemes. The AICTE partnership enables active and deeper participation of key institutions and support from their faculty for motivating and guiding students for quality ideas. Along with this, there are internships from KPIT on offer for the promising 3rd year UG / 1st year PG Engineering students. Added to that are joint IP creation and filing opportunities with KPIT. Your innovation at KPIT Sparkle may be the stepping stone to a new product, a new business, or a new world. Recruitment opportunities When we meet so many impressive young minds at KPIT Sparkle, how can we not be tempted to make a deeper commitment to them? Quite obviously, this is a recruitment opportunity to take seriously. Over the last couple of years, several valid idea submissions for KPIT Sparkle have resonated with us so much that we have offered to employ their creators. Some of these people have then driven those ideas to a logical conclusion as KPIT employees! So, what do you think? Wouldn't you want to be a part of a competition that opens up a world of opportunities for you? Are you in it to win it? If yes, sign up now at

What's new in KPIT Sparkle this year?

It's not just about ideas it's about making ideas happen. If you have an idea, and if you want to bring it to life, KPIT Sparkle is the platform you've been waiting for.

Having been around for 6 years now, KPIT Sparkle has been a key milestone on the road to shape the innovations of the future. And what better way to do this, than by getting students from undergraduate, post-graduate and Ph.D. courses on board from colleges across India and encourage innovative thinking?

By bringing the industry and academia together, we encourage students and faculty to come up with innovative ideas on the most important topics of today. Students from Science, Engineering, Design, and Management streams are given the opportunity to identify a real-life use-case or problem, develop a solution and comprehensively demonstrate it through a working prototype.

A quick recap

Since the past 6 years, KPIT Sparkle has successfully been running what has now become the "i Innovate" contest. Students from colleges across India are given the golden opportunity to submit innovative and out-of-the-box ideas across a wide range of topics. They can select their own problem statement, propose solutions and submit their ideas to the contest. "i Innovate" not only gives students the platform to solve problems related to specific areas within the mobility and energy space, it also awards them with lucrative awards such as IP ownership opportunities, incubation opportunities, monetary benefits, as well as employment opportunities. What's more, students get the chance to interact with and seek advice from the great minds and experts of the industry and academia, who judge the projects during the contest. Students also get the chance to work on research projects of their interest within the KPIT family.

What's new in 2020

With so many advancements happening in the energy sector, our focus this year is on "Mobility and Energy of the Future". Through the "i Innovate" contest, students can propose a problem statement in the area of Mobility and Energy and offer their innovative solutions. This year, the categories under mobility include electric vehicles, hybrid electric, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, machine learning and Artificial Intelligence for electric vehicles, telematics for 2/4 wheelers, solutions for improving road safety, shared mobility, and sensors & actuators for automotive. And the categories under energy include energy storage technologies, energy generation technologies, and renewable energy solutions. While the "i Innovate" contest will run as previously, this year, we're also introducing an exciting new contest called "i can crack IT". A contest related to real-world industrial problems, "i can crack IT" provides participants with a problem statement and encourages them to come up with the best solution. All the required environment, useful links, and access to data available for research will be provided by KPIT. Students can add one faculty as a team member, and also file for a joint patent for their solution with KPIT. Since mobility and energy are the key areas we work on, there are specific areas where we need help. Through "i can crack IT", we are encouraging students, as well as faculty, to come up with ideas, and help us solve problems. This year, the categories for "i can crack IT" range from automotive cyber security, connected vehicles, and infotainment to autonomous driving, electric vehicles, powertrain, alternative powertrain, automotive diagnostics, tools, and analytics. Once a student registers for "i can crack IT", he/she can choose any category of interest. Once the problem statement is selected, he/she will receive a document with all the details about the problem. "i can crack IT" offers lucrative internship opportunities for 3rd-year undergraduate and 1st-year post-graduate students, as well as joint IP opportunities with KPIT. With 20 awards of INR 50k each, it also offers an industry exposure program to professors who reach the first milestone. "i Innovate" winners stand the chance to win amounts ranging from 10 lakhs to 1 lakh for their innovative solutions. Are you up for it? How many times have you come up with an innovative idea, but failed to build a prototype simply because you did not have the right platform or the support to bring it to life? With KPIT Sparkle, that will never happen again. A team of experts from industry and academia will handhold you throughout the journey of your idea from concept to prototyping. If you are an undergraduate, post-graduate or Ph.D. student from any Science, Engineering, Design or Management college in India, if you're up for challenges, and if you have the knack of solving problems in the area of Mobility and Energy, register for any of the two exciting contests, get rewarding offers, and allow your bright mind to sparkle. With 40,000+followers on Facebook and more than 66,600 impressions on Twitter, KPIT Sparkle is extremely visible. It has successfully been able to reach out to students across the country with its innovation contests. For more information, you can get in touch at

6 options to replace fossil fuels in our cars

~The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it~ Robert Swan

That fossil fuels play a dominant role in the world today is known to all. Having been a fundamental driver of the Industrial Revolution, and a major contributor of most of the technological, social, economic, and development progress that followed, fossil fuels have brought about a global change in many ways. But with a growing list of environmental impacts such as air pollution and emittance of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, the time has come to switch to more renewable sources.

Yet, in 2018, fossil fuels provided 80% of the total energy used in the USA, the world's leading economy. As greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, the world is running out of time to avert devastating impacts.

The longer we wait to curb fossil fuel usage, the greater the damage they will cause to the environment.

With car sales touching the 78.7 million mark in 2019, it's about time to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, transition towards renewable sources, and balance the role of energy in social and economic development.

Here are 6 options to replace fossil fuels in our cars:

1. Electricity: Although electric vehicles have been around for a while, Tesla has made the electric car concept undeniably trendy. Not only are they reliable, cheap, and safe to operate, with modern looks and features, they are also more fun to drive. Since they use high-powered batteries to store electric energy that powers the motor, they minimize the carbon footprint drastically. According to a report by the USA's Department of Energy, electric vehicles displaced 323 million gallons of gasoline in the US alone. All they need is a plug-in station, and you're good to go.
2. Hydrogen: With emissions virtually nil, hydrogen is another great alternative to fossil fuels. Since power is generated within a fuel cell, they emit only water vapor. An energy efficient vehicle that runs on hydrogen offers fuel efficiency twice as much as a vehicle that runs on fossil fuel. They can convert up to 75% of fuel into usable energy, and drive distances of up to 500 kilometers on a single tank. Since most hydrogen vehicles are equipped by regenerative brakes, they create a better environmental profile, while offering the same driving experience.
3. Propane: Propane, or liquefied petroleum gas, is another clean-burning and high-energy alternative to fossil fuels. Although propane vehicles are typically more expensive, the fuel itself is far cheaper than petrol. Also, since the fuel is in a gaseous form, the engine runs far more efficiently, especially in cold weather. The vehicle's power, acceleration, and cruising speed are similar to those of conventionally fueled vehicles. Plus, the ease of maintenance and reduced emissions have spurred the use of propane across transport vehicles from small cars to heavy-duty trucks.
4. Ethanol: Made from corn or sugarcane, ethanol or ethyl alcohol is a renewable source of energy that is picking up steam (pardon the pun) in the global fuel supply scene. Since ethanol contains less energy compared to fossil fuels, more of it is needed to get the same results. Yet the production and use of ethanol is known to demand greenhouse gas emissions anywhere between 52 to 86% less. Despite the energy needed in producing ethanol being substantially large, the total amount of energy that goes into the process is comparable to the energy released by burning the resulting ethanol fuel, resulting in an energy balance.
5. Natural gas: Natural gas finds great application in the industrial sector, mainly for heating buildings and generating electricity. Now it is also becoming a viable fuel for cars. Not only it is abundantly available, but it also has very low carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide emissions. Today, many hybrid compressed natural gas vehicles are available that are highly fuel-efficient. They offer mileage similar to fossil fuels while burning more cleanly. It is estimated that in India alone could have 10 million CNG vehicles on the roads by 2025.

Do your bit Although fossil fuels have long powered the transportation industry, environmental concerns and government regulations are driving car manufacturers as well as consumers to actively seek substitutes for the conventional fossil fuel-powered engine. Electricity, hydrogen, propane, ethanol and natural gas are some extremely efficient greenhouse-friendly alternatives. With fossil fuel levels dropping, and their environmental risks increasing, it's time we switch to more greenhouse friendly alternatives and do our bit for the environment.

~It is our collective and individual responsibility to preserve and tend to the world in which we all live~ Dalai Lama

Are you up for a challenge? Here is where we need your help

We don't grow when things are easy we grow when we face challenges

At KPIT Sparkle, over the past 6 years, we have been a witness to the brightest minds of the country showcasing their potential and innovation at an inspirational level.

These students come up with out-of-the-box ideas and solutions, and we're happy to do our bit in facilitating these new ways of doing things. Over this time, undergraduate, post-graduate, and Ph.D. students from Science, Engineering, Design or Management colleges in India have grabbed the platform to bring their ideas to life.

But what's success without a little bit of challenge? This year, we're looking to challenge students, professors, and faculty through an exciting contest where they can showcase their imagination, skills, and initiative in the areas of Mobility and Energy.

What is the contest?
A KPIT Sparkle first this year, the 'i can crack IT' innovation contest gives participants an opportunity to solve real-world problems. They can choose from a range of problem statements across various categories within Mobility and Energy and try to come up with the best solution. Since all the required links, data, and informational resources are provided by KPIT, all the participants have to do is to rack their brains and come up with out-of-the-box solutions that are modern and innovative. Students can add one faculty as a team member, and also file for a shared patent with KPIT for the solution they provide.

Mind you, these are not easy or run-of-the-mill problems. These are problems that our in-house experts have already grappled with and found challenging. Challenging enough, in fact, for them to have to turn to you, bright young minds with a request for help.

How does it work?

The 'i can crack IT' contest is for all students of undergraduate, post-graduate, and Ph.D. courses from Science, Engineering, Design and Management colleges and universities across India. Students can participate either as an individual (=1 member) or as a team (=3 members including a Professor). The good news is, there is no restriction on team configuration team members can be from the same or different department(s), branches, and colleges.

Once a student registers for 'i can crack IT', he/she can opt for a category of their choice and pick from a list of problem statements. Once a statement has been selected, all the details of the problem are provided, along with important deliverables and milestones.

What is the theme?
As fossil fuels start losing their sheen, renewable sources of energy pick up steam, and the trend of automation becomes a mainstay, there is a lot happening in the energy sector across the world. Transportation and Mobility is being similarly transformed.

To keep pace with the myriad changes happening in the sector, KPIT Sparkle focusses on the theme of Mobility and Energy for the future. If you have an inclination towards modernizing these sectors, there are a number of problem statements you can choose from, and submit your solution to win exciting prizes:

  • Automotive cybersecurity
    o Device authentication mechanism over LIN
    o Fuzz testing on LIN-based implementations
    o Identification and validation of vulnerabilities using penetration testing
    o Security assessment of secure flashing and bootloader
    o Security assessment of autonomous vehicles
  • Connected Vehicles
    o Biker to biker communication
    o Optimum routing for on-demand delivery
  • Infotainment
    o Automotive Init
    o Qt Quick Optimization
    o App Armor SMACK SE Linux Evaluation for KIVI
    o Calendar Integration Using Konnect
    o HCI Snoop Log
    o Intelligent Testing System
    o KD Bus Migration
    o MFI Trace Parser Tool
  • Autonomous driving
    o Design and develop efficient multiple object tracking algorithm
    o Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) for different fonts and non-roman scripts
    o Gaze, micro-gestures and hand-signal detection of law-enforcement officers and other road-users
    o Detection of kerb-side parking-slot with poor kerb-side/lane-markings
  • Electric Vehicle
    o Motor efficiency
    o State of health
    o Optimization of battery thermal management
  • Powertrain
    o Fusion of physics and machine learning
  • Alternative powertrain
    o Solid state battery
    o Hydrogen storage
    o Hydrogen purification
  • Automotive diagnostics
  • Tools
    o Expense recognition software challenge
    o Test automation tools
  • Analytics
    o EV schedule generation and optimization

How you can participate
Participating in 'i can crack IT' is extremely easy all you have to do is, log on to, register by filling in all relevant information and select the problem statement you want to address. Once you receive the problem statement document, you need to carefully go through it to understand the deliverables and milestones that you will have to commit to. You are then expected to submit the expected output mentioned in Milestone 1. All the submitted ideas and solutions will then be evaluated for Milestone 2. Those teams that complete the second milestone will then compete for the awards.

Pull up your socks
As the world progresses at lightning fast speed, the younger generation (i.e. you!) is looking for opportunities to challenge itself and emerge as a winner. And that's the opportunity that KPIT Sparkle's 'i can crack IT' offers.

By bringing aboard students from different branches and colleges across India, the innovation platform has been set. All that remains now is to get solutions to some of the most complex problems of tomorrow. And that's where you come in.

So, if taking up challenges is your forte, 'i can crack IT' is your gateway to success. Not only can you choose a problem from your area of interest, but you can also enjoy joint IP opportunities with KPIT, get some much-needed industry exposure, and win awards of INR 50k each.

AS they say, don't limit your challenges challenge your limits!
For more information, drop in an email at

A Vision of Smart Transportation for India's Smart Cities

In only a few years, we may well be able to realize our dreams for a hundred smart cities in India. These cities would be responsible, responsive, and visionary. They would achieve this through reliable and efficient transportation facilitated by mobile apps, big data, sensors, the Internet of Things, and the "Smart" applications of technologies and processes.

Enabling connectivity between civic facilities, transportation assets, and devices can allow these changes to take shape. As municipalities leverage information and communication technologies, we can imagine a future not very far away from where we live in cities with extreme connectivity and augmented urban services in terms of transportation, utilities, and energy.

In fact, intelligent mobility- connected and sustainable multi-modal transport may be at the heart of a smart city.

Smart city transportation challenges and opportunities If public transport is made accessible and robust through shared mobility, citizens will be able to choose it over private transportation options for their commuting needs.

Let's explore the challenges and opportunities in smart mobility:

Connecting vehicles to their surroundings We can use a wide variety of applications, services, and technologies to enable the connection between vehicles and their surroundings.

Get warned about a jam in your path and take another road- it's possible when your vehicle is connected with the traffic light that can sense congested areas nearby.

A connected vehicle will include communication devices- embedded or portable- which enable in-car connectivity with other devices in the same vehicle.

The connected vehicle also needs to be able to interact with other vehicles and 'things' that are external. The applications of doing so include infotainment, parking assistance, telematics, remote diagnostics, traffic safety, and support, autonomous self-driving vehicles, and more. Possibilities are still emerging -the technology exists. Now it's up to those with the imagination to make things happen. Using Electricity to fire up mobility Tesla's electric car models are perhaps the most talked about in this regard. According to InsideEVs, Tesla Model 3 was the top-selling plug-in car in Canada for September 2018. In the USA, Tesla is reported to have outsold some iconic luxury car brands in recent time periods. The Tesla model 3 also happens to be the safest car according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Electricity-powered cars present a uniquely synergistic opportunity for smart city initiatives as they reduce pollution and open avenues to explore efficient resource utilization for a more responsible generation and a greener future.

Smart Parking Facilities Parking solutions can help optimize the limited parking spaces in urban localities while providing an efficient way of parking cars. Smart parking solutions can help ensure smoother traffic flow and less congestion.

Companies around the world are working toward making parking systems sustainable and useful as per city plans. That's an idea whose time has come in India too and we need solutions that are specific to our urban centers.

Smart stations Smart stations are the transit hubs that bring together a wide variety of transportation services to help visitors commute. These can be used as centers for deploying autonomous, connected vehicles- cars, taxis, and urban freight. These can also become centers for urban renewal and community spaces.

Driver and vehicle monitoring The connectivity of both the vehicle and the driver to the internet opens up a unique opportunity to monitor them in real-time. By doing so, any anomalies in vehicle health can be identified before it does any damage.

Moreover, driver performance and safety can be taken into consideration- allowing for faster reaction in cases of incidents on the road. This can also drive more intelligent and specific services like tailored insurance premium quotes driven by the driving habits of the individual.

Weather analysis and routing An intelligent transportation system can help you leverage data about the weather forecast and plan your travel efficiently. The vehicle driver can gather information about various routes and the subsequent climate conditions to define an ideal travel route that avoids delay and hassle. As can be imagined, this could prove a boon in our nation of extreme weather conditions.

Mobility on demand Using information present in the data management ecosystem, a smart city can have an app and interactive kiosks that integrate the private and public mobility providers. Then, people can choose the best option for them, based on their needs and get the right vehicle delivered or be routed to it. The future may not be dominated by personal vehicles.

Security as a challenge More research and analysis has to go into ensuring that these provisions of convenience don't harm the security of data or citizen privacy in any manner. When we talk about the Internet of Things, we often say there is enough data, but less understanding of it.

The availability of data simply means there is more of what malicious attackers can use. A major challenge for implementing smart city solutions will be to make sure the security is as stringent as without all that connectivity.

Urban Density as a challenge Multi-modal mobility options attempt to solve the issue of high urban density that often disrupts traffic management. This system offers access to various modes of transport via a single interface such as a mobile app. Mobility-as-a-service can be used to integrate the first and last-mile connectivity seamlessly.

The increasing penetration of mobile phones, coupled with the proliferation of digital technologies, can help offer innovative transportation solutions to contribute to the adoption of MaaS.

Connected vehicles as the foundation of a smart city The latest IDC smart cities spending guide highlights that smart city-based spending will reach $189 billion by 2023. According to the study, the priority areas today include resilient energy, infrastructure projects, data-driven public safety, and intelligent transportation.

These priority areas will account for over half of the entire global spending for smart cities throughout the 2019-2023 forecast.

In order to make intelligent mobility viable, feasible, and cost-effective, it's clear that the best brains will have to get to work to find out solutions to the most pressing challenges and create prototypes that can be tested in reality.

Let's brainstorm the future of Smart mobility as without smart mobility, a Smart City will be but an impossible dream!

(KPIT SParkle's sixth edition is an opportunity for you to shape meaningful mobility solutions for the future.

We invite industry and academia to brainstorm the Mobility & Energy solutions of tomorrow. This platform is for students of undergraduate, post-graduate, and Ph.D. courses from the Science, Engineering, Management, and Design streams across India.)

What India Must Do To Lead The World In Solar Power?

Here's some good news. India is emerging as one of the leaders for fighting climate change. This is driven by several innovative solutions. And it's despite (or because of?) the initiative to supply the people with electricity 24x7 by 2030.

In fact, there was a clear lead for the country in some estimates. The hope now is that India could easily achieve the target of 40% of its non-fossil based power capacity by 2020. Based on that, the Indian government has also increased its goal of renewable energy capacity to 227 GW from 175 GW.

However, emerging economies like India have to strike a balance between energy generation, deployment while battling other constraints such as development and availability of funds. Here are some challenges faced by India in the task to become a world leader in solar power:

Lack of a Better Solar Power Supply Chain At present, the solar power supply chain in the country is short of the mark. It needs to be improved to be seamless, transparent, robust and wide-spread if India needs to achieve its target of securing more GW of renewable energy.

Shortage of Investment There is a shortage of investment to build new solar projects. Bloomberg projects a shortfall of $2.5 trillion of investment in solar through 2040. This is when compared to the level of investment that is needed to meaningfully climate change.

Solar Cell Imports and Exports India imported 89% of its total solar cells from China in 2017-18. At current economies, the solar industry is finding Chinese imports more cost-effective as compares to the costs of manufacturing here. However, this dependence on the neighboring country is creating its own roadblocks.

Dipping Solar Power Tariff The next big problem is the dipping solar power tariff, which today stands at an average of Rs. 2.44 per unit. Even as tariffs drop, the set-up costs and equipment costs are not decreasing. Solar power producers worry about low ROI and a long time to recover costs.

The good news is that the Indian government is cognizant of many of these issues. Some possible solutions they are looking at to these issues include:

Government of India imposed 25% safeguard duty on Chinese solar cells till July 2019. The same duty is slated to decrease to 20% till January 2020, and then, dip to 15% in July 2020. This can to an extent curb the overdependence on China for solar cells. While this will impact costs in the short term, it could drive up manufacturing in India. As economies of scale set in, the overall cost could also reduce.

The government may take the initiative to lower the costs of solar panel setups and the costs of the equipment. This will give more incentives to individuals and organizations to adopt and switch to solar power.

As a part of its focus, the Government of India is implementing transparent bidding. This will help procure solar power based on a tariff-based competitive bidding process. And under the KUSUM (Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan) Scheme, it has planned to offer 27.5 lakh solar pumps to farmers. This could help them install 10 GW of Solar Power Plants, which will have the capacity of 0.5 to 2MW each.

There is also a wealth of ideas and innovation emerging to inspire change in the sector.

The World Bank is giving India's solar energy dream a push by providing over $1 billion for its solar plans. This includes a Grid Connected Rooftop Solar project, which is for putting solar panels on the rooftops across the country. With the help of this project, 100 MW of energy has already been financed.

Inventive solutions such as Bio-Solar cells are an interesting take in making solar power commonplace and affordable. While research is still, only underway, in this direction, the invention can become a potential resource for supplying long-term power.

Floating Solar Farms made from floating solar panels are another incredible idea that can propel India to adopt solar power on a wide scale. It has already been implemented in nations where there is a lack of space for installing ground-mounted solar systems and soon enough, we could see it happen in India. This could reduce the equipment and setup costs to a large extent and works perfectly for industries that are looking forward to not waste either water or land.

Switching to Perovskite solar cells is another innovation that could pave the way for India to become a leading solar power nation. Known for its excellent light absorption and versatile nature, these cells can help realize solar energy deployment on just about any surface. And that's not all. These cells could cost just 10 to 20 cents per watt, compared to 75 cents per watt for traditional silicon-based panels anywhere from 3X to 8X cost savings.

India may be in the early days when it comes to solar power. But it wants to shoot for global leadership. While many of the innovations and research in solar power are happening in other countries, India is keen to amplify its efforts to leapfrog the world and become the solar leader.

The 5 Biggest Energy Opportunities in India Today

It is speculated that India's energy consumption will grow 4.2% per year over the next 20 years. If so, we will overtake China as the world's largest energy market by 2030.

Of course, that rate of growth in energy demands comes with its own set of challenges. The task is not just how to produce more energy. It's how to do so responsibly? This is why the Indian Government is focusing on the sector announcing a number of energy initiatives. This includes the promotion of energy efficiency and increasing the number of clean energy resources.

Even scientists and engineers are working hard to figure out different ways to manage the product, distribution, and management of energy, be it to schools, homes, businesses, cities, villages and so on. This is where they are using new technologies, which not only makes energy more efficient but also more accessible than ever before. There are challenges aplenty that demand smart solutions. Let's take a look at some of the biggest energy opportunities in India today:

1. Zero-Emission from power generation After being the focus for auto manufacturers, zero-Emissions is becoming quite the popular buzz-word in industrial circles. Innovations such as a generator that can eliminate CO2 are catching the eye. This generator produces power at a much lower cost. The best part is that it operates within all the rules and regulations governing greenhouse emissions. The underlying technology uses oxygen to burn natural gas. It provides an alternative source of energy to those employed by power plants. While this is just one of the ways to go about zero-emissions, there is plenty of scope to reduce CO2 and therefore, reduce the carbon footprint of industries.

2. Grid-Scale Energy Storage Battery-based energy storage is another energy opportunity that is making headlines. It allows electricity to be stored and delivered within milliseconds, reduces grid instability and enables more energy to be captured and delivered on demand.
A major step in this direction was taken when India got its first ever grid-scale battery energy storage system. The 10 MW grid-connected system, is owned by AES and Mitsubishi Corporation and is all set to pave the way for wider adoption of grid-scale energy storage technology across India. The best part is that this battery-based energy storage uses no water and is linked to zero-emissions. With India aiming to set up 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, a more accessible and cost-effective way to store that energy could prove extremely helpful. The scope here is limitless and the wider vision is to harness and integrate solar and wind energy resources into the country's grid for delivering reliable and responsible power supply to all consumers.

3. Recycling Rainwater Several Indian cities are facing acute water shortage. This is a crisis that goes beyond the dry summer spells. One of the ways to overcome this is to recycle rainwater. If you are wondering what conservation of water has to do with energy? Well, apart from being a laudable goal in itself, water has for long also played a key role in energy generation. The Norwich University for instance through its online civil engineering degree program is teaching students to explore the myriad possibilities of using rainwater as an energy resource.

4. Solar Power - India has the ability to generate over 1,900 billion units of solar power annually, which is equal to the entire annual power demand until 2030. The increasing efforts to increase the share of this renewable energy is behind the ever-growing solar power generation over the past few years. The best part is that the country receives annual solar radiation of more than 5000 trillion kWh, which is a huge amount of energy that can be harnessed. Currently, India's solar energy sector relies heavily on imported products. This is an obstacle that can be overcome with new innovations in creating domestically manufactured products for use across the generation and storage of solar power.

5. Hydel Power In the late 2000s, hydroelectric power was considered as a sustainable and a renewable alternative to both coal and gas-based electricity in the country. This led to the setting up of a number of hydel plants. However, since 2008, hydropower started taking a backseat. Today, India has 4,500 MW of hydel projects with a capacity of less than 25 MW each and the hydropower potential (more than 25 MW) of the country stands at over 1,45,000 MW. To take things forward, innovations are needed at a variety of stages. This includes upstream (literally) in recharging the river systems so that they can continue to flow and generate power. There is also room for innovations in improving the storage of water as well as of the generated power. When brought together, these can be helpful to drive more intelligent use of hydel power in the press for renewable energy.

These are but some of the energy opportunities that exist in India today. As you can see, the scope is vast. The scale is huge. And the ecosystem is connected. As the youth who will inherit the nation, what is your take on these opportunities? What do you think can drive more innovations? Share your ideas with us. We are all ears!

Innovative transport solutions for India's far flung villages

The total rural workforce in India comprises 21 million women and 63 million men. Out of this population, 55% prefer to walk or use a bicycle to reach work, but this decision does not stem from personal choice, it stems from a lack of accessibility to public transport, and not having the means to pay the price for distances beyond 10 km.

Even though one may not realize it, rural India is actually the backbone of the major metropolitans. The Skills Gap Report by the NSDC reported that around 119 million additional skilled workers will be needed by 24 sectors such as logistics, handloom and so on, by 2022. But because the cities of India are already bursting at the seams, a strong public transport system would be the need of the hour, to enable rural workers to travel long and short distances at an accessible rate. Without that, the rural workers would be hamstrung without being able to access the jobs that need them.

Of course, poor transport connectivity also impacts daily life in villages. This restricts the access of the rural population to medical facilities, education, and opportunities.

In this blog, we will look into some such solutions that have promising potential for connecting India's most rural areas.

Kinisi Electric Bicycles Kinisi is a unit of the experimental township, Auroville in rural Tamil Nadu. They fall under the Center for Scientific Research. They saw that the muddy trails and lack of roads in the area and the surrounding villages were proving dangerous for two-wheelers to navigate, and so the Kinisi cycle was born. These are electric cycles which use the momentum built by pedaling to generate a push so that one can cover very long distances with minimal effort. They are also designed for the harshest weather conditions and the toughest terrains, making them ideal solutions for villages. They charge fast and are highly efficient as well.

Drones for blood transportation Recently, an unmanned aerial vehicle, a UAV, successfully deployed a single unit of blood from a remote village to a primary health care center in Uttarakhand! The use of drones to transport blood is an innovative and effective way to reach remote and geographically difficult to access areas. The drone was created by an IIT Kanpur alumni and can carry 500 grams of blood in a single flight. It can also fly up to 50 kilometers on one charge! This could be a game changer for villages where access to the right medical facilities or treatment could prove fatal. So many people succumb to injury or lose their lives during childbirth on account of a lack of blood in case of transfusions. Consider how that situation could be remedied with accessible, simple, air transport?

Telangana and the 'electric tuk-tuk' revolution Telangana has much of the resources and infrastructure it needs to lead the way for the electric vehicle revolution in India. This is why the startups in the state receive a fair share of the grants and funding from the government. In fact, Telangana based Gayam Motor Works Pvt Ltd are in such popular demand, that their clientele includes the likes of Amazon, Ikea, and Uber! The operational cost of an electric rickshaw is one-seventh that of a petrol rickshaw, which means that they are not just green but are also very lean and cost-efficient. When distributed widely, these electric tuk-tuks can transform the way villagers commute.

Enabling informal carpooling The world offers inspiration for our problems too. For eg, rural America runs on Liberty, which is just like Lyft or Uber, but more focused on communities with transportation gaps. It's not just about rides, but about providing mobility as a service. Local partners are identified and engaged, and the rates set are very affordable. The strategy has worked so well that they were able to expend to 60 counties across the US.

While we may not have the infrastructure to set up fleets of vehicles in Indian villages, what could be set up is an informal carpooling system, one where car owners can connect with people in the area and carpool at a minimal cost. This provides an income for the vehicle owner and also enables people to travel at subsidized costs.

There's no doubt that rural India needs access to mobility, whether it's for long work commutes to neighboring cities, to visit relatives in a nearby village, or to drive better access to important facilities. More infrastructure may not be the best answer, because that brings its own set of cost and environmental challenges, so it's more about making our current systems more intelligent and cost-efficient.

The electric bikes for example that have made the sight of farmers zipping around quite a common sight in the region because they have the durability and adaptability of a cycle, with the energy of your average scooty! Even the humble homegrown electric tuk-tuk has massive potential beyond metropolitan cities.

These solutions are not just cost-efficient but are also green. When the huge population of rural India starts adopting these innovative alternative transport methods, it could be the signal for a transformation that could benefit us all.

How India's Clean Energy Sector is Shining and Leading the World

India is now among the world's fastest-growing economies. The good news is that the growing economic development of the country is in-sync with its efforts in becoming a world leader in the clean energy sector as well.

For instance, India plans to achieve 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022 as a part of its climate commitments. Out of this, 100 GW is to come from its solar projects. These projects will include about 60 GW from the ground-mounted and grid-connected projects as well as 40 GW from the solar rooftop projects. The wind power projects are going to deliver 60 GW. For now, the country has installed capacity of about 80 GW. Moreover, the country has a goal to set up 500 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity by 2030. This has the potential to put the country in pole position among the nations of the world.

How is India Progressing on the Clean Energy Map?
With a sustained and planned increase in the investments in the sector and a growing number of clean energy installations, India is just behind Chile in the 2018 Climatescope report. Also, it ranked 4th on E and Y's Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index in the past year. Additionally, it became the single largest market for distributed standalone solar projects in the first half of 2018. It should be noted that these accounted for about 33% of global sales.

The nation also witnessed a record low solar tariffs of ₹2.44 per unit while the wind power tariff dropped to a record low of ₹2.64 per unit.

India becoming a key player of clean energy can be due to the promise of rural India, which offers tremendous opportunities in clean energy. Farmers, in particular, represent a $50 billion opportunity in clean energy. Of this, $40 billion is offered by agriculture. The non-rural sector, on the other hand, presents opportunities that are worth more than $13 billion.

These opportunities are driven by some rapid changes that are taking place, including companies taking interest and investing in the sector and support systems emerging.
Among the Government Initiatives for boosting clean energy is the National Solar Thermal Power testing, research and simulation facility. It includes a grid-connected Solar Thermal Power Plant of 1MW capacity. Moreover, the initiative will include a test set up for the interested firms and institutions, who want to test the performance of various solar materials, concentrators, components, and systems for a Solar Thermal Power Plant.

SoftBank's SB Energy is investing in India's renewable energy portfolio, with more than 3,000 Mw of renewable capacity. The CEO of the firm also went ahead and promised free power from its solar plants in India to the ISA member countries post the completion of the asset's initial 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) period. The firm also invested $250 million in Ola Electric, an electric mobility service company. Singapore-based Sembcorp plans to invest in its Indian subsidiary, SEIL (Sembcorp Energy India Limited). As of June 2019, the firm owns 1,700 Mw of capacity in India, including 550 Mw under development. But no country can steer ahead in any sector without innovation. Here are some inspirational innovations that represent the nationwide commitment that is propelling India's clean energy sector towards massive growth:

Atomberg Technologies created an energy-efficient ceiling fan. Based on BLDC (Brushless Direct Current) motor technology, it consumes about 65% less electrical energy as compared to conventional motor technologies. It is all about the reduction of energy usage without any compromise on air delivery.

Avant Garde is a Kerala-based cleantech startup, which claims to be the country's first and only startup that has a 100% renewable energy commitment. The firm aims to innovate and introduce affordable and sustainable solutions in renewable energy via a decentralized and distributed approach. The firm is creating wind turbine generators, which will be cost-effective but without compromising on the performance aspect.

Basil Energetics has come up with a renewable energy solution, which includes a smart micro-grid. This grid offers a completely decentralized energy solution that can be used in both rural and urban areas. Furthermore, it also provides a solution to manage green power as a package including solar panels and innovative hybrid household electrical appliances. The entire demand and supply of electricity is managed by the smart grid, which ultimately leads to the use of more solar power for running hybrid equipment. This makes the conversion from DC to AC redundant, and at the same time, makes the system energy efficient. India Go Solar is an eCommerce marketplace in India, which offers a platform to customers for purchasing various solar products. This includes solar rooftop kit, solar backpacks, solar mobile chargers, and other services and projects. This is a great initiative to make clean energy easily accessible in various households.

The Road Ahead A robust support system along with thriving innovations and emerging solutions for energy storage is the key to scale up clean energy innovation deployment if India wants to remain at the top in the clean energy sector. This will not only pave the way for new technologies but keep yielding continuous returns from potential investors. In the long run, clean energy innovations will play a major role in offering reliable energy to rural as well as urban India. The sector is booming and the opportunities are many!