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Research at IGCS is sponsored by industrial partners, Governmental Organisations and supported by IIT Madras and Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.






Research in Cooperation with Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen GmbH (MR), Germany

The Research Program on Sustainable Power Engineering is a joint initiative of IIT Madras, RWTH Aachen University and Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen GmbH as industrial partner. Primary aim of the program is the execution of research projects on equipments and systems for the improvement of energy grids in close cooperation with leading research institutions and universities. This programme marks the first cooperation of IGCS with the industry. The research programme Sustainable Power Engineering covers, for example, the efficient regulation and monitoring of transmission and distribution grids and the development of strategies for optimizing existing grid structures in the long term. Consideration of the dynamic behavior of transmission and distribution grids, e.g. in relation to the growing share of power coming from decentralized sources, is another focal point of the research work. MR’s involvement includes financing the scientific staff needed, project costs, lab equipment and other operational costs. Complex problems require a collaborative approach spanning all industries. IGCS Area Coordinator Energy, Prof. Krishna Vasudevan, Department of Electrical Engineering, coordinates research work at IIT Madras.

Approved and Sanctioned IGCS-DST Sub-Projects

Results taken by the application appraisal committee at IITM can be found below. For any other queries please contact Dr. BS Murty. Projects are completed. Information about the projects can be found in  Collaborative Pathways

(Picture: Prof B Ramamurthi, Director IITM | Prof Schmachtenberg, Rector RWTH Aachen University | Dr Akhilesh Gupta, Head, SPLICE Department, DST/Government of India)






1. Composition-Property-Performance Relationship of Biodiesel Fuels of Indian and German Origin for use in Combustion Engines and Burners.

Principal Investigator (PI): Prof. Pramod S. Mehta, Dept of Mech. Engg, IIT Madras, Co-Investigator: Dr. K. Anand, Dept of Mech. Engg, IIT Madras,  German Collaborator: Dr. Roy Hermanns, OWI-Institute affiliated with RWTH Aachen University, Germany

Duration: 19-11-2013 to 18-6-2016


2. Development of Sustainable Waste Management of Septage by composting and minimizing GHG Emissions.

Principal Investigator (PI): Prof. Ligy Philip, Dept of Civil. Engg., IIT Madras, Co-Investigator: Prof T. S. Chandra, Dept. of Biotechnogy, IIT Madras, German Collaborator: Prof. Dr. Martin Kranert,  University of Stuttgart, Dr. Christian Springer, Tobias Schnabel, MFPA Weimar, Germany

Duration: 19-11-2013 to 18-6-2016


3. Fast Sampling analyses for anthropogenic micro pollutants in wet environmental compartments.

Principal Investigator (PI): Prof. T.S. Chandra, Dept. of Biotechnogy, IIT Madras, Co-Investigator: Prof. Ligy Philip, Dept. of Civil. Engg., IIT Madras,

German Collaborators: Prof. Dr. Martin Kranert,  University of Stuttgart, Dr. Christian Springer, Tobias Schnabel, MFPA Weimar, Germany

Duration: 19-11-2013 to 18-6-2016


4. Design and Development of Solar Thermal Energy System for Domestic Sewage (Black Water) Treatment.

PI: Prof. K. Reddy, IIT Madras,Co-Investigator: Prof. Ligy Philip, Dept. of Civil. Engg., IIT Madras. German collaborator: Dr.-Ing. M. Scheer, Engineering Consultants Scheer, Germany.

Duration: 28-08-2014 to 27-3-2016


5. Modeling the effects of land use and climate change upon in-stream hydraulics in mountainous streams in rapidly urbanizing regions (close to Pune) of the Western-Ghats.

PI: Prof. B.S. Murty, Dept. of Civil. Engg., IIT Madras, Co-investigators: Dr. Balaji Narasimhan, Dr. Venu Chandra, IIT Madras. German collaborator: Prof. Dr. Peter Fiener, University of Augsburg, Prof. Karl Schneider, University of Köln, Germany.

Duration: 28-08-2014 to 27-3-2016


6. Sustainable water resources management of Chennai basin under changing climate and land use.

PI: Prof. K. P. Sudheer, IIT Madras, Co-investigators: Dr. Balaji Narasimhan, IIT Madras, Dr. Indumathi Nambi, IIT Madras, Prof. Franziska Steinbruch (IGCS Professor at IIT Madras). German collaborators: Prof. Dr. Nicola Fohrer, Kiel University, Dr. Georg Hoermann, Kiel University, Dr. Paul Wagner, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.

Duration: 28-08-2014 to 27-3-2016


7. Air quality management system to study the vulnerability and health risk due to air pollution and climate change in urban areas.

PI: S. M. Shiva Nagendra, Dept. of Civil Engg., Co investigators: Prof. Satyanarayana Gummadi, Dept. of Biotechnology, Dr. R. Ravi Krishna, Dept. of Chemical Engg., German collaborator: Prof. Dr. Uwe Schlink, UFZ Leipzig, Germany.

Duration: 28-10-2014 to 27-3-2016


8. Climate Change adaptation and resilience in peri-urban Chennai in the study area of Sriperumbudur: Sustainable resources management, livelihoods and governance

PI: Prof. Sudhir Chella Rajan, Co-investigators: Profs. BS Murty, Balaji Narasimhan, Ligy Philip, Solomon Benjamin, Krishna Vasudevan, IIT Madras, Prof. Franziska Steinbruch, Prof. Christoph Woiwode (IGCS Professors at IITM).


IGCS-DST Procedure of Application


Research Challenges

The premise of the following research areas is their expansion and adaptation of all partners and IITM whereever necessary. Particularly socio-cognitive factors are relevant for each of the larger fields of research considered and serve as possible areas of research for the Centre.






Regarding the sustainability of all methods relating to geo-resources it is the interdisciplinary or rather trans-disciplinary view that is vital. Technical, scientific and engineering expertise should be inextricably linked with expertise within the fields of the humanities and social sciences. Political and socio-cultural parameters and the formation and upholding of the public’s opinions and attitudes should be taken into consideration to ensure the sustainable and well-formed management of resources. All areas addressed by the Centre´s activities take global economic change and climate change into account. Further, the effects of urbanisation and those of agriculture and land use on natural resources are taken into consideration.

Each of the following topics can be attributed to the various main research areas:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions through agriculture / possibilities for emission reductions, i.e. through participation in certificate trading schemes
  • Organic farming/ compost industry
  • Water-saving land use, integration of recycled water in agriculture, water cycles in agriculture
  • Effects of climate and economic change, and their effects on water resources
  • Use of biomass energy (=waste) – effects on water, ecology etc.
  • Electrification of rural areas / possibilities for decentralised energy supplies
  • Plantation economy
  • Biodiversity and ecosystem services – biodiversity as a “service provider” for the economy



In the context of urbanisation processes, the hydrological and hydro-ecological structure of an area is lastingly impaired, particularly in developing and newly industrialising countries. Urban living and fast growing megacities can have a negative effect on both the availability of water and on the quality of water resources.

Rapid feedback effects of sewerage, surface water and ground water lead to contamination from sewerage. The need to resolve this problem is intensified by the migration of rural people into towns. The effects of agriculture and land use are as important.

Examples of relevant topics are:

  • Water management theories for urban and rural areas (water use, sewerage, pollution)
  • Water as a habitat / ecohydrology
  • Water pollutants
  • Water quality
  • Decentralised water cycles
  • Creation of infrastructures in slums
  • Virtual water cycles
  • Subterranean water storage and rehabilitation of aquifers
  • Water protection / vulnerability

The protection of water resources acts as a central research area for future collaborative projects. As well as modern water recycling processes, the topics of modern technology in the monitoring of ground and surface water are additional central issues.

Equally, modelling on vulnerability to pollution and the development of hydro information systems serve as suitable research areas in the field of water protection.

Social aspects

Taking socio-cognitive and cultural factors into consideration when looking at integrated water management theories can be vital for the sustainable effect of these theories. Sociological, psychological and cultural scientific approaches are necessary to disclose the culturally conditioned view of water, the acceptance of recycling technology and different usages of recycled water in different socio-cultural environments. Substantial cultural and religious differences exist in different regions of India. The mentioned approaches are therefore urgently needed for sustainable, effective concepts in the area of water management containing the following issues:

  • Cultural association with water resources
  • Acceptance of recycling technologies
  • Acceptance of recycled water
  • Flood control
  • Development of sensor networks
  • Development of early warning systems (flash flooding)


Land Use and Rural Development

The main challenge facing global and regional agricultural production and land use consists in meeting the needs for food, feed, fiber and bio-energy for a growing world population. This challenge will have to be met in the face of climate change, changing socio-economic contexts (such as urbanization), scarcity and deteriorating quality of agricultural land (due to salinization, erosion, desertification and losses to urban development and eventually sea level rise), erosion of the genetic diversity of crops, and growing limitations by natural resources such as water and phosphorus fertilizer.

Sustainable solutions for these challenges will require improvements in yields and resource efficiency at multiple scales, such as that of the individual crop in a field (multi-cropping, mono-cropping, choices of individual crop species and varieties), cropping systems (the sequence of crops grown in a field) and production systems. The latter may yield improvements in resource efficiency and productivity through integration of cropping and animal husbandry systems for food, feed and bio-energy. Potentially, some of the technological advances will be based on a rediscovery and re-integration of some features of traditional production systems. Others will require pioneering developments in the recycling of resources between urban and rural areas.


Waste Management

Main topics regarding waste management claiming sustainable prospectives are:

  • Material cycles
  • Pollutant transport
  • Landfill construction
  • Waste management concepts
  • Concepts for disposal of non-recyclable materials
  • Recycling
  • Logistics and recycling technology: development of secondary recycling chains/ processes
  • Concepts for local sewerage



Renewable energy is one main foci regarding climate polluting materials produced by fossil fuels. Additionally, research related to carbon capture and storage (CCS) is part of the research undertaken at the IGCS. The relevance of the cross-cutting areas of particularly environmentalism, environmental technology and resource efficiency. Similar to the other research areas, the field of energy is supposed to be interlinked with some sub-topics of the other four key areas. Examples are water resources in urban areas and land use, as well as to the sub-topic waste management and renewable energy.

The topics and sub-topics of research mentioned above are either covered by the individual research area of the cooperating university and are not restricted with regard to expansion and modification.

8 Key Sustainability Challenges – Strategic Knowledge Mission on Climate Change

Under this title there is a series of projects, which are funded by the Department of Science and Technology (http://www.dst.gov.in/) for collaborative research.

Sustaining urban water bodies: Projects under this programme will aim to identify questions of water supply, water quality, biodiversity and watershed management in the context of urban streams and lakes. A first project along these lines is already underway for the Adyar Basin in Chennai.

Ensuring local air quality: This programme will include techno-economic projects to analyse local air pollution, including emissions inventory development and dispersion modeling, cost-effectiveness analysis of alternative fuels and technology improvements, and policy design. In addition, there will be emphasis on understanding urban land-use and transport planning strategies and new technologies and tools to integrate transport and land-use in order to reduce the need for travel.

Improving access to energy services: This programme will include analysis of various grid and off-grid options to improve access to electricity and other energy services, particularly for the poor, in India. It will include issues relating to technology development and assessment, end-use efficiency improvements, economic analysis and governance.

Improving public sanitation: This programme deals with technology options for sustainable public sanitation, including research and assessment of alternative solid waste management programmes, eco-toilet design, techno-economic assessment and pilot implementation, energy recovery from waste, etc.

Setting a framework for sustainable land-use: Under this programme a broad set of projects relating to sustainable agricultural and forestry practices as well as best practices for urban land-use will be developed.

Developing integrated climate adaptation policy: Projects will investigate a variety of options for climate adaptation strategies in different eco-zones, e.g., drylands, coastal areas and mountains. This programme will primarily serve to develop cross-cutting projects across the four thematic areas: energy, land-use, water and waste.

Developing an agenda for sustainable buildings: Projects in this programme will focus on energy, water and waste issues connected with building systems, with a special emphasis on the Indian context. Architects, designers and engineers are expected to work together to develop new designs and also develop strategies for system integration. A major objective within this programme is to build climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies into greater focus.

Helping frame sustainable climate policy: Projects will focus on the prevailing policy setting, both nationally and internationally, and aim to propose improvements that are based on sound ethical principles and are relatively easy to implement.