Highlights in 2020
Highlights in 2020

High impact innovation activity triggered by MI

India successfully led three MI Innovation Challenges viz. Smart Grids, Off Grid Access to Electricity and Sustainable Biofuels and actively participating in other five challenges. A unique funding opportunity was provided to the scientists and technologists in MI countries to collaborate and develop solutions in consonance with Mission Innovation objectives of accelerating clean energy research, development and demonstration. The clean energy investment has exponentially hiked during the last five years and a major portion of expenditure in Clean Energy RD&D has been made on international collaborations under the umbrella of MI. DST spear headed the global cooling prize to develop a 5 times lesser climate impact cooling solution.  This initiative has been hailed as one of the major success stories of MI 1.0. DST has launched a Micro Solar Dome- Surya Jyoti, a unique solar energy operated lighting device, which has the potential to reduce CO2 generation by about 12.5 ton per annum and save of 1750 million units of energy generation. The funding in Clean Energy has directly supported many scientists and has been successful in attracting an increase in number of researchers working in clean energy sector. The programme has enabled the developed technologies “from the lab to the market” and resulted in knowledge sharing among MI member countries.

Mission programmes on clean coal technologies, alternative fuels such as methanol and Di-Methyl Ether (DME), Energy Storage Materials, Building Energy Efficiency and Hydrogen Economy are helping us in fulfilling our commitment for a Clean Fuel. MI offered a unique opportunity to create a collaborative framework and network of researchers, innovators and industries in this endeavour. This strategic ecosystem would help foster long-term technology innovation growth, including in focus areas that may seem niche today.

Proposal(s) under MI2.0 (B2020): India is also committed to new Missions under MI 2.0 and continuation of activities under the Innovation Platform. Govt. of India has set out national missions to promote India’s sustainable development objectives, which are as follows:

  • National Solar Mission: is a major initiative of the Government of India targeting installing 100 GW grid-connected solar power plants by the year 2022[1].
  • National Biofuel Policy has the objective of reaching 20% ethanol-blending and 5% biodiesel-blending of fuel by the year 2030[2].
  • National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency aims to strengthen the market for energy efficiency through implementation of innovative business models in the energy efficiency sector[3].
  • National Mission on Sustainable Habitat at aims to make cities sustainable through improvements in energy efficiency in buildings, management of solid waste & shift to public transport.[4]
  • National Water Mission integrates water resource management helping to conserve water, minimize wastage and ensure more equitable distribution both across and within states[5].
  • National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem aims to facilitate formulation of appropriate policy measures and time-bound action programmes to sustain ecological resilience and ensure the continued provisions of key ecosystem services in the Himalayas[6].
  • National Mission for a Green India is aimed at protecting, restoring and enhancing diminishing forest cover and responding to climate change by a combination of adaptation and mitigation measures.[7]
  • National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture seeks to address issues regarding ‘Sustainable Agriculture’ in the context of risks associated with climate change.[8]
  • National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change aims to build a dynamic and vibrant knowledge system that informs and supports national policy and action for responding effectively to climate change challenges, while not compromising on the nation’s growth goals.[9]
  • National Bioenergy Mission aims to boost rural economy by utilizing bio-resources and create a large number of jobs at village level[10].
  • National Hydrogen Mission for generating hydrogen from green power sources, its storage, transport and utilization. [11]

Update on clean energy innovation policies and strategies

  • Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, 2020: The Government of India initiated process of formulation of Science, Technology and Innovation policy with energy as major vertical [12]
  • NATIONAL BIOTECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY- 2020-25’’: Document outlines India’s strength and confidence in delivering a knowledge Driven Bioeconomy. Implementation plan includes Mission on the scaling of indigenous cellulolytic enzymes for 2G Ethanol and development of technologies for next-generation clean fuels including Bio-Butanol, Bio-Hydrogen and Bio-Jetfuel.
  • Planning to launch a platform on “Hydrogen Valley” covering the entire hydrogen value chain (production, storage, distribution and final use) for several hydrogen applications.
  • India is first among the MI member countries to establish a Clean Energy International Incubation Center (CEIIC) for supporting and promoting clean energy-based start-ups. It is a joint initiative of Government of India (GoI) and TATA trusts designed to offer “lab to market” support for national/international clean energy enterprises.
  • Considering the role in IC1 activities, India is keen to actively participate in the Green Powered Future Mission & continue the momentum created in the last five years.
  • India is actively participating in the development of MI-2 mission – Cities through identifying innovation potential in cities mission.
  • India is actively contributing to the development of Innovation Communities for affordable heating and cooling of buildings as part of MI 2.0.
  • Facilitating academia – industry collaboration and stakeholder engagement through liaison programs such as ACREX 2020 and Smart Cities India 2021.
  • “Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN Yojana” for providing financial support to Integrated Bio-Ethanol Projects using lignocellulosic biomass & biomass & another renewable feedstock. In first phase, four commercial scale cellulosic ethanol plants, each with 100KL/day ethanol capacity and using agricultural residues have been selected for viability gap funding.[13]A report submitted by NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) which serves as a Think Tank of the Government has suggested a roadmap for 20% Ethanol blending in Petrol by 2025. The report suggests year-wise targets for the production & supply of ethanol; manufacture of compliant vehicles and regulatory simplification.
  • India approved modified scheme to enhance ethanol distillation capacity in the country modified scheme for extending interest subvention for those setting up grain-based along with molasses-based ethanol distilleries.[14]
  • Initiated in February 2019, the KUSUM scheme aims to support farmers to replace existing diesel pumps with solar PV pumps (with both on-grid and off-grid features). The scheme aims to allow farmers to sell power to the DISCOMs at a predetermined price and aims to add solar and other renewable capacity of 28 GW by 2022.
  • Net-metering policies are being implemented in 28 states aimed to enable faster expansion of distributed solar PV.
  • Custom and excise duty benefits to the solar rooftop sector, with an aim to lower the cost of setting up as well as generate power.[15]In November 2020, the government announced production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme worth Rs. 4,500 crores (US$ 610.23 million) for high-efficiency solar PV modules manufacturing over a five-year period.
  • In December 2020, SJVN Limited, a PSU under Ministry of Power entered into an MoU with Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd. (IREDA), a PSU under Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, to provide its services to SJVN for green energy projects.
  • The Indian Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) was launched in March 2019and provides a 20-year perspective and outlines actions needed to provide access to sustainable cooling. India is the first country in the world to have a Cooling Action Plan.
  • Recently, the Finance Minister in the Union budget for 2020-21 formally announced the NHM which aims for generation of hydrogen from green power resources. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has also disclosed that the draft regulations for NHM will be finalised by the end of this month and will thereafter proceed for approval of the Union Cabinet [3]. Though it is speculated that NHM will emphasize on generating green hydrogen and enabling its commercial use as a transportation fuel, however, it is yet to be seen what roadmap the government has envisioned in its draft regulations.
  • Recently, the National Hydrogen Mission was announced which aims for generation of hydrogen from green power resources. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is drafting regulations and road map for NHM.

Major innovation initiatives and programmes in 2020/21

India launched five R&D program calls in the year 2020-2021; MI Call 2019, National Innovation Challenge Awards for 1) Designing and Developing Energy Storage Devices for Rural Household/ Enterprise Applications, 2) Integrated Clean Energy Material Acceleration Platform (IC-MAP), 3) India-Sweden Collaborative Industrial Research and Development Programme on Smart Grid, 4) Carbon Capture Innovation Challenge (IC3) and 5) Integrated Local Energy Systems with European Union (EU).

  • India-Sweden Collaborative Industrial Research & Development Programme 2021 aims to foster and support the development of collaborative R&D projects in Smart and sustainable cities and transport systems and Clean technologies, IoT and digitalization (DST will support up to Maximum limit of INR 1.5 crore per project of the total Indian Project Cost) and Vinnova (Swedish) will provide funding to Swedish side participants up to 2,500,000 (two million five hundred thousand) Swedish Krona.
  • In collaboration with MI and Joint Programming Platform of ERA-NET Smart Energy System launched a Joint call 2020 entitled ‘Digital transformation for green energy transition (MICALL20)’ and has committed 1 million Euros.
  • India participated in ACT-3 call focussed on carbon capture, utilisation and storage with a commitment of 2 million Euros and set two virtual centres on CCUS at IIT Bombay and JNCASR, Bangalore.
  • India announced a call on local energy systems with European commission committing an investment of 9 million Euros.
  • IC1 Smart Grids: Under the MI mandate to support smart grids ISGAN MI IC1 collaboration has been initiated. A Letter of Intent (LOI) has been signed between IC1 and ISGAN, identifying common interests within R&D Tasks – Storage Integration and Flexibility Options. Smart-Grids team developed Smart Grids Innovation Accelerator (SGIA) framework to foster and accelerate the deployment of the smart grid by providing access to critical documents in the smart grids field, such as policies, strategies, technical reports, case studies, best practices, roadmaps, implementation plans, and digital twin objects.
  • India-European Union Flagship Call on Integrated Local Energy Systems US $ 5 million
  • LOTUS-HR (Reserve Activity: Management of Solid Waste (Barapullah Drain- Floating Debris Clean-up) at Barapullah site in collaboration with the Danish partner-aims to remove floating debris including plastics from Drain and process such waste by way of disposing it by the most efficient method/ technology such as Carbonization.
  • Local Treatment of Urban Sewage Streams for Healthy Reuse (LOTUS), aims to demonstrate a novel holistic (waste) waste water management approach, that will produce clean water that can be reused for various purpose (e.g. industry, agriculture, construction etc.)
  • Innovative Algae Platform for Industrial Wastewater Valorization InWAP in collaboration with Denmark aims to Lab-scale optimized process development for various industrial wastewater treatment using potential algal strains

Private sector engagement in 2020/21

Clean energy research program has over 60 industries actively participating in different projects.  For instance:

  • Tata Power DDL is participating in MICall19 project entitled “Mobile Substation and Grid Storage System”
  • A Request for Proposal (RFP) was announced in collaboration with Sweden “India-Sweden Collaborative Industrial Research and Development Programme on Smart Grid” for Indian and Swedish companies along with R&D organizations.
  • DST is nurturing start-ups through its R&D initiatives and have facilitated industry liaising and visibility to research outcomes through the start-up galleries at ACREX 2020 and Smart Cities India 2021.
  • A national consortium of smart grids stakeholders involving leading industries provide support in policy and decision making in the smart grids
  • The Department of Biotechnology DBT and its Public Sector Undertaking, BIRAC has joined hands with Tata Trusts in successfully setting up the Clean Energy International Incubation Centre (CEIIC) in 2018, to provide end-to-end support to start-ups. CEIIC Incubation expanded its Portfolio to 24 start-ups and one of the Start-ups (Takachar), was selected as UNEP Champion of the Earth for 2020. Under the Avoided Emissions Framework: India-Sweden Collaboration: eight start-ups incubated at CEIIC have a combined potential to help avoid more than 98 million tonnes of GHG emissions per year by 2030.
  • Global Cooling Prize – This international innovation competition (announced by Hon’ble Minister of S&T, ES and H&FW) led by the Government of India alongside the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and Mission Innovation is spurring the development of super-efficient and climate-friendly residential cooling solutions for homes. The eight finalists of the Global Cooling Prize were announced on 15th November 2019.The finalists have been awarded US$200,000 each to develop, ship their prototypes to India for testing and grand award ceremony is scheduled for 29th April 2021.

Major activities in support of the Innovation Challenges in 2020/21

The major activities supported in different MI Innovation Challenges for the year 2020-2021 is as below:


  1. 1. Smart Grid Challenge: India being co-lead of IC1 smart grid proposed a closure event and consolidated report with involvement from all member countries to exhibit the IC1 achievements till date and plans to release it at theMI-6 event. DST, India also participated in Annex 6 ISGAN Power System workshop held in November 2020 and delivered a technical talk on “Localized Power Balancing for Flexibility Advancement” under the theme “Capturing Flexibility from Local Energy Systems”[16]. India actively contributed to creating momentum and preparing the draft pitch for the Green Powered Future Mission.
  2. Off Grid Access to Electricity Challenge: Under the MI mandate India collaborated with following countries to support RD&D collaboration in Off-grid access to electricity: Australia: Solution for Pacific Island Countries; Canada: Canmet: Solar–Diesel –Storage Power plant; China: Technologies & Equipment Development: 5 Projects worth 1 Million US$ (2019); European Commission: Horizon 2020 WP- “Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy”- Island projects (36 M Euros) across Europe; Netherlands: Results-Based Financing (RBF)- Decentralized energy access in developing countries; Energizing Development; Dutch Coalition for Humanitarian Innovation Crowd Funding Skills development and capacity building within communities.
  3. Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage: Supported 22 RD&D projects addressing various research areas related to Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage. DST is also a joint multilateral call on Accelerating CCUS Technologies (ACT Call 3) launched along with the other 13 ACT member consortia countries.
  4. Sustainable Biofuels: Launched a MI Call on Sustainable Fuels to undertake joint R&D with a total cost of 8.74 Cr to develop ways to produce sustainable biofuels. India funded 14 projects under this initiative in the field of advanced biofuels, the production of enzymes for biofuels, and methods for improving biological feedstock and heterotrophic algal production. A network of 14 India, 21 International and 4 industries was established.

5.Converting Sunlight: Launched a MI Call on Converting Sunlight to Storable Fuels, Energy Rich Chemicals and Biochemicals (IC5) to undertake joint Research & Development (R&D) with member Mission Innovation (MI) countries in the field of Converting Sunlight, the next generation of technologies that can capture and bottle the energy of the sun. Supported 13 projects.

  1. Clean Energy Materials: supported a total of 81 projects with a total cost of Rs. 93 Cr to develop high performance low cost clean energy materials for energy harnessing, energy storage and energy efficiency for diverse sectors such as power, buildings, transportation, storage and construction.
  2. Heating and Cooling of Buildings: Created new benchmarks in energy efficient technologies through programmes like global cooling prize pushing the climate impact reduction by 5 times. Bilateral international programs as a part of the challenge helped in reducing energy demands. DST is taking an active role in furthering thermal comfort research and its dovetailing with building energy efficiency.  A research program on comfort driven HVAC system control is being conceived. Actively participating in shaping the MI 2.0 Cities mission and Innovation Communities on Affordable Heating and Cooling of Buildings. Targeting to initiate R&D on ultra-efficient low energy cooling technology during the next five years.
  3. Hydrogen: DBT has supported 3 national projects on Biohydrogen productions through fermentation route. Experts Working Group constituted by DBT to develop R&D roadmap on Biomass to Hydrogen. A focused mission programs will be developed by Department to take forward promising technologies for Hydrogen production using fermentation or MEC routes. DST has supported a total of 29 projects with a total cost of Rs. 30 Cr covering areas of Hydrogen production, storage, transportation and utilization. Hydrogen production by biomass gasification is taken as a major initiative.

Other Mission Innovation related activity in 2020/21

  • India has actively supported applications for MI Champions program and identified two National Energy Champions who are developing novel ways of making energy cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable and using it more efficiently. Prof. P Gon Chaudhuri and Dr Purnima Jalihal were funded with an initial grant from DBT to pursue technology development and demonstrate activity.
  • India is planning to launch a platform on “Hydrogen Valley” to combine several hydrogen applications into an integrated hydrogen eco-system covering the entire hydrogen value chain (production, storage, distribution and final use).
  • Initiatives and outcomes relating to IC1, IC7, global cooling prize and other Mission Innovation related activities of DST are exhibited at 6th Smart Smarty Cities Expo 2021, DST technology pavilion. DST is currently administering an international survey with MI member countries on thermal comfort research and development. The survey administered to leading researchers and funding agencies intends to capture research directions in thermal comfort and challenges are being addressed. Organised an international deep-dive workshop on low energy heating and cooling of buildings with specific focus on thermal comfort to prepare future roadmap on this priority area.
  • Outreach Activity: The Mission Innovation India Unit with support from Department of Biotechnology has launched a dedicated website for Mission Innovation and related activities.
  • Centers of Excellence: Five large bioenergy research centres are being supported by the Department of Biotechnology, Govt of India. These Centers of Excellence cover areas for research and international cooperation in Fermentation (2G-Ethanol), Enzyme Technology, Pre-treatment of Biomass, Biomethanation technologies, Systems and Synthetic Biology, Life Cycle Analysis, Algal Biotechnology etc.

Public sector RD&D investment

New Collaborations

See full list here.