Category: News

IGCS Organized Indo-German Workshop with IIT and CSIR-CLRI

The IGCS’ Indo-German workshop, in collaboration with CSIR-CLRI and Indian Institute of Technology, Madras was successfully organized on March 4-5, 2023 at IIT Madras.

Our Focus area Waste Management team comprising of Dirk Weichgrebe, PD Dr.-Ing. habil. , Prof. Vinu Ravikrishnan, @Dr. Dr. Mozhiarasi Velusamy have organized the Indo-German Workshop in collaboration with Dr. Srinivasan SV from CSIR-CLRI.

IGCS, IITM & CSIR-CLRI is proud to have Dr. J Radhakrishnan IAS, Chennai city commissioner as our chief guest. They were present for the inaugural session of the Indo-German Workshop.

We thank our chief guest for his remarkable words and interests for improving the city’s waste management. And, their interest motivated the entire group to work further forward to create detailed regional concepts towards sustainable waste treatment.

We are happy to have wide range of participants/speakers i.e. Scientists, Regulatory authorities, NGOs, Waste management companies etc.

Panel discussion 1 centred to understand the needs of the smart city in the aspect of waste management. This panel discussion was moderated by Dr. B. Chandrasekaran, Distinguished Scientist CSIR and Former Director, CSIR-CLRI.

Similarly, Our panel discussion 2 also provided an opportunity to build joint project concepts moderated by Dr. Dirk Weichgrebe, Leibniz University, Hannover. We as an IGCS team strongly believe that we will take it forward to the next level with the potential speakers to move forward towards achieving SDGs and National missions on waste utilization and cleaner technologies.

We greatly thank Dr. Khulud Alsouleman, Ms. Marissa Catherine, Ms. Nhyiraba Ato-burns, Ms. Anusree N, Ms. Madhumidha M, Ms. Nishanthi R, for helping the event organization. IGCS greatly thank our chief guest, speakers and participants once again for the success of the event.

About IGCS Cooperation

IGCS is a source of inspiration and skills for proactive sustainability transformation in both research and teaching activities. The sustainable use of resources in times of climate change and forthcoming societal challenges is a pressing task. With the center’s offers and valuable human capital and solutions for various global challenges, the centre equips talents from German and Indian universities and collaborates with companies and NGOs to accept this challenge. IGCS welcomes liaison with new partners to tackle the present global challenges together.

IGCS Land Use Focus Area awarded Peri-Cene Project

Dr. Christoph Woiwode, together with Prof. Sudhir Chella Rajan (IIT Madras) has been awarded a new research project entitled “Peri-Cene Tamil Nadu – Growth Management and Climate Change Adaptation in Peri-urban Madurai and Coimbatore”.

Having completed the previous Peri-Cene project with a focus on periurbanization in Chennai, the Government of Tamil Nadu had taken interest in developing a similar methodology for the smaller cities in the state. Consequently, the State Land Use Research Board, part of the State Planning Commission, funds this 14 months long study with approx. Rs 32 Lakhs (Euro 35,000).

This project will study the dynamics and processes of peri-urbanization in the tier-I cities of Madurai and Coimbatore. Its main objective is to develop a ‘blueprint’ methodological approach for the analysis of peri-urbanization on which tailor-designed recommendations for interventions can be proposed. Key thematic areas in focus are challenges of urban sprawl, labour migration, and issues of growth management in the context of climate change and sustainable development. Three main components comprise the overall research design. First, collecting data on peri-urbanization which will also assist in defining the peri-urban for each of the two selected cities in terms of its spatial extent and qualitative characteristics. Second, document the dynamics and features through the visualisation in maps and other scenario modelling tools (e.g. Gamification and Agent Based Modelling) that may also be used for decision making support and communicating findings. Third, a mapping of stakeholders in conjunction with an analysis of governance institutions to determine potential development scenarios and transformation pathways.

It is expected that the outcome will benefit several government authorities, such as Madurai & Coimbatore Urban Development Authorities; Dep. of Environment & Climate Change; Water Resources Dep.; Dep. of Agriculture; Dep. of Municipal Administration, Urban and Water Supply; Rural Development & Panchayat Raj Dep.

IGCS Summer School 2024, Announced

IGCS has announced its Summer School for the year of 2024 and it will be held at RWTH Aachen University, Germany. The school will follow the umbrella theme of Regenerative Urban Futures and focus on Circular Economies and Societies.

Regeneration, surpassing sustainability, emphasizes the capacity to recover and evolve beyond existing conditions. The concept extends to diverse urban contexts, encompassing not only cities but also rural areas experiencing rapid urbanization. Despite the growing promotion of circular practices, regionally adapted approaches are often overlooked, hindering outcomes. The IGCS Summer School aims to address these challenges, facilitating collective exploration of place-specific socio-economic conditions for achieving circularity in urban areas. Through lectures and workshops, students from India and Germany will engage in mutual learning on the economic and societal aspects of circularity, leveraging cities’ potential as hubs for sustainable practices.

IGCS Summer School 2024 Information Flyer
IGCS Summer School 2024, Information Flyer
  • Gain insights into the concept of regeneration and its significance in today’s urban landscapes.
  • Explore the diverse facets of urbanization, from bustling city centers to periurban areas, all under the lens of the Anthropocene.
  • Delve into the challenges and opportunities of circular economies, examining strategies like reduce, reuse, and recycle.
  • Engage in interactive workshops and lectures led by experts from around the globe.
  • Collaborate with like-minded individuals to brainstorm innovative solutions for more sustainable cities.
  • Theme: Regenerative Urban Futures – Circular Economies and Societies
  • Dates: 22.07.2024 – 02.08.2024
  • Application Deadline: Wednesday, 17th April 2024, 7:00 PM CET / 10:30 PM IST
  • More information about the school: here

If sustainable urbanization piques your interest, this school could be a perfect fit for you. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with fellow enthusiasts, build lasting relationships, and engage with experts from various countries. They’ll delve into the challenges, solutions, and pathways for urban agglomerations to enhance their sustainability. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to be part of the IGCS Summer School 2024!

Apply now and join us in shaping the future of urban sustainability.

Pictures from IGCS Summer School 2023 in Berlin
Pictures from IGCS Summer School 2023 in Berlin
Pictures from IGCS Summer School 2023 in Berlin

IGCS Team from Focus Area Water Management, Publishes Paper Linking Rainwater Harvesting and Catchment Water Balance in South India

The team consisting of IGCS Area Coordinator for the Focus Area Water Management, Prof. Dr. Nicola Fohrer, IGCS Alumni Dr. Nariman Mahmoodi and Dr. Chaogui Lei, and PD Dr. Paul D. Wagner from the Department of Hydrological and Water Resource Management at Kiel University, along with former IGCS Area Coordinator Prof. Dr. Balaji Narasimhan from the Department of Civil Engineering at IIT Madras, published a paper in Wiley‘s Hydrological Process, Volume 38, Issue 2, Feburary 2024. The team’s research is on the topic of “Enhancing hydrologic modelling through the representation of traditional rainwater harvesting systems: A case study of water tanks in South India.” (Read Here)

The study delves into the intricate dynamics of water management in South India, where strong wet and dry seasons prompted the development of water storage structures and diversions such as traditional water tanks alongside large dams. Despite their crucial role in irrigation, groundwater recharge, flood control, sediment reduction, and overall hydrological processes, these smaller water tanks have been overlooked in catchment modelling studies due to limited spatial information. Precise knowledge of such tanks and their spatial distribution can be recognized through remote sensing techniques. The team addresses the data scarcity, by using satellite imagery to quantify the hydrological properties of these water tanks. Leveraging the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT+) model, the research aims to enhance the representation of hydrological processes by integrating detailed information on water harvesting systems. By evaluating the impact of incorporating water tanks into the model, the study seeks to advance our understanding of hydrological processes in the region and improve streamflow simulations for informed water resource management.

Image by bearfotos on Freepik

Shivam Dwivedi IGCS Grantee Testimonial | First Multilingual Media Publication

Shivam Dwivedi, was an IGCS grantee from the Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Department at Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, Chennai, India. Shivam recently completed their research exchange program at RWTH Aachen University, and Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany under the mentorship of Prof. Olivier Guillon and Dr. Mariya E. Ivanova. Their research focuses on Proton Conducting Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cells, exploring innovative solutions for storing renewable energy.

Shivam gives their testimonial on their motivation to applying for the IGCS grants, tips and hints on what to focus on, and what to expect from your research exchange in Germany.

As a part of our mission here at IGCS, we want to advance science by fostering inclusivity, expanding accessibility, and promoting cross-cultural collaboration. In today’s world, characterized by linguistic and cultural diversity, it’s essential to bridge these differences and connect researchers, practitioners, and enthusiasts.

This is why we are launching our first multilingual media publication. Our goal is to reach a wider audience and transcend linguistic boundaries. Breaking down language barriers is crucial as it enables researchers from diverse linguistic backgrounds to actively contribute to and engage with the global scientific community. This fosters a more equitable and inclusive research landscape.

By embracing linguistic diversity in scientific communication, we not only enrich the research landscape but also contribute to the advancement of knowledge for the benefit of society as a whole.

Watch the full testimonial video below:

IIT Madras + RWTH Aachen, IGCS alumni event in Chennai, India

RWTH Aachen University’s alumni organization and IIT Madras cordially invite you to a one-day symposium showcasing the strategic partnership between these two esteemed institutions. The highlight of the program will be a thought-provoking panel discussion on “Regenerating Cities: Issues of Resilience,” organized by the Indo-German Center for Sustainability (IGCS). Join us for a full-day event, providing ample opportunities to network and engage with RWTH alumni, IGCS members, academics from both institutes, and representatives from Indo-German businesses.

For further details, please visit the dedicated event website:

Please find the event information below:

Details and Schedule

Date: February 21st, 2024. Time: 11:00 AM IST – 17:30 PM IST

Venue: Hall 3, IC & SR Building, IIT Madras Campus, Chennai

Event Schedule

11:00-12:00 PM: Inauguration of alumni event

  • Prof. Dr. Kamakoti Veezhinathan, Director IIT Madras
  • Prof. Dr. Ulrich Ruediger, Rector RWTH Aachen University
  • Prof. Dr. Mahesh Panchagnula, Dean – Alumni and Corporate Relations, IITM
  • Prof. Dr. Bernd Markert, Rector’s Delegate for Alumni Relations, RWTH

12:00–12:45 PM: Strategic Partnership of IITM and RWTH

  • Dr. Fabian Falter: RWTH’s India Activities
  • Dr. Malati Raghunath: IITM’s Germany Activities

12:45 -1:30 PM: Lunch

2:00 – 3:30 PM: Panel Discussion (organized by IGCS)

“Regenerating Cities: Issues of Resilience”

Moderation: Prof. Martina Fromhold-Eisebith (RWTH) & Prof. Ashwin Mahalingam (IITM)

Panelists: Prof. S.A. Sannasiraj (IITM), Prof. Nicola Fohrer (CAU Kiel), Prof. Frank Behrendt (TU Berlin), Prof. Dirk Weichgrebe (LU Hannover)

3:30-4:00pm: Snacks

4:00-5:30 PM: Networking & display of initiatives/companies

Registrations for RWTH Alumni: here

Registrations for IITM Alumni: here

We look forward to your participation in our anticipated event.

Shivam Kumar Dwivedi, India-Germany Research Collaboration makes Advances in Proton-Conducting Electrolysis Cells

IGCS Research Exchange Grantee, Shivam Dwivedi, from the Department of Metallurgical & Material Engineering at Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, Chennai, India, reported their research brief that addresses the challenges in the #fabrication of proton-conducting #electrolysis cells (#PCECs) for large-scale electricity storage by aiming to harness the potential of hydrogen gas for reliable electricity storage. Their research delves into the intricacies of fabricating air electrode cer-cer composites, addressing critical factors such as chemical compatibility, sintering behavior, and mechanical properties.

Through a meticulous process, the study identifies key compositions and optimal sintering temperatures, ultimately honing in on a 70:30 ratio as the most promising candidate. Notably, the inclusion of 3% ethyl cellulose in the binder solution further elevates the material’s potential as an air electrode. Symmetric cells, formed by screen-printing the optimized composite pastes onto sintered electrolyte pellets, undergo thorough examination via scanning electron microscopy.

The research’s significance lies in its electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, conducted between 400-700°C with wet air (3% H2O). Amidst a plethora of compositions and conditions, the 70:30 ratio, with its exceptional #electrocatalytic activity, emerges triumphant as the frontrunner for an air electrode material. This research not only sheds light on the intricacies of PCECs but also paves the way for #transformative advancements in energy storage technology.

Shivam acknowledges Prof. Ravi Kumar, Prof. Olivier Guillon, Prof. Menzler, Dr. Mariya E. Ivanova and Prof. Krishna Vasudevan for their guidance, Sivaguru Nathan for introducing them to the IGCS and IGCS Project Coordinator Lisa Van Aalst for their assistance through the whole application process to RWTH Aachen University and Forschungszentrum Jülich, in Aachen, Germany.

You can read the full report below:

Shivam Dwivedi, Unlocking Sustainable Energy Solutions at RWTH Aachen University

Shivam Dwivedi, was an IGCS grantee from the Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Department at IIT Madras, Chennai, India. Shivam recently completed their research exchange program at RWTH Aachen University, and Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany, under the mentorship of Prof. Olivier Guillon and Dr. Mariya Ivanova. His research focuses on Proton Conducting Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cells, exploring innovative solutions for storing renewable energy.

In their insightful report, Shivam shares their journey navigating challenges and adapting their research to present significant progress towards their M.S. thesis. From the meticulous planning required for visa arrangements to the vibrant cultural experiences in Germany, Shivam’s narrative provides valuable insights for future IGCS scholars. He emphasizes the importance of embracing extracurricular activities and fostering emotional resilience amidst academic rigour, highlighting the holistic growth fostered by IGCS exchange programs.

You can read their full experience report here:

Shiva Kumar Rajendra, IGCS Grantee in RWTH Aachen for Short-term Postdoctoral Research

IGCS Exchange Research Grantee Shiva Kumar Rajendra details their meticulous preparation, challenges with accommodation, and the enriching academic experience from their home institution at University of Mysore, supervised under Prof. Jayashree P. to their host institution at RWTH Aachen University under the guidance of Prof. Martina Fromhold-Eisebith.

Shiva explored the topic of “Spatial Dimensions of Urban Agriculture in India and Germany”, where they did a comparative study between Bengaluru and Aachen to understand agricultural dynamics over two decades (2003–2023). Revealing distinct patterns influenced by urbanization, culture, and climate, they highlighted the importance of preserving green spaces, adopting sustainable techniques, and smart land use planning amid urbanization. Urban agriculture emerges as a practical solution for nutritional challenges, community resilience, and additional income, despite limitations. The comparative study offers valuable insights, fostering international partnerships to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

You can read their full experience report here:

Nico Dabelstein, Managing Fluctuating Renewable Energy and Demand Using Microgrids

Nico Dabelstein was an IGCS research exchange grantee and a part of a research group led by IIT Madras, Chennai’s Prof. Dr. Krishna Vasudevan, where they’re pioneering the development of a cutting-edge microgrid on the campus area.

Nico’s focus on Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL) aims to optimize energy distribution within the grid, employing this powerful machine learning technique to enhance effectiveness, environmental sustainability, and economic performance. Through meticulous data collection and Python modeling of microgrid components using libraries like stablebaselines3 and pandas, Nico’s team has crafted a sophisticated reward function considering costs, CO2 emissions, and battery state of charge. By integrating a Pandapower Python model for accurate component modeling and optimal power flow calculations, alongside an artificial neural network (ANN) for swift OPF approximations crucial for DRL agent training, they’re paving the way for a robust control algorithm to manage fluctuating renewable energy and demand within the microgrid.

You can read their full research brief below: