Friday, January 8, 2010

International Symposium & Exhibition on Fuel Cell Technologies: FUCETECH 2009

Fuel cell technology has gained importance world over due to its high conversion efficiency from chemical to electrical energy and silent operation. This technology is considered helpful not only cater to the energy needs of mankind but also found to be capable of minimising global warming and climate change. An International symposium ‘FUCETECH 2009’ was inaugurated by Premier Space Scientist Dr K Kasturirangan, Member Planning Commission on 11th November, 2009 at Nehru Centre, Mumbai. Researchers and entrepreneurs of various countries will be sharing the platform to discuss the recent developments of fuel cell technology. The exciting symposium will be attended by 250 participants. The event also included an exhibition on materials and products of fuel cell technologies.

The International Symposium & Exhibition on Fuel Cell Technologies was inaugurated on 11th November 2009 at Nehru Centre, Mumbai, by Dr K. Kasturirangan, Member Planning Commission by lighting the traditional lamp after a brief welcome address by Dr J. Narayanadas, Director, NMRL and CC R&D (NS & HR). Dr Kasturirangan emphasised the importance of Hydrogen based power generation and encouraged to explore all alternate routes for cheap hydrogen generation. He stated that in the upcoming 12th Five year Plan significant fund allocation for Hydrogen based power generation research with focus on cost reduction of fuel cell components and associated R&D activities is envisaged.

The function was presided over by Dr V.K. Saraswat, Scientific advisor to Raksha Mantri (SA to RM), Secretary Dept. of Defence (R&D) and DG DRDO, Ministry of Defence. He stated that DRDO’s program on fuel cell is aimed at comprehensive development of indigenous technologies for major defence oriented projects. In his address SA to RM underlines the requirement of formation of a Fuel Cell society that will undertake focussed research on fuel cell development involving multiple agencies like academia, laboratories and industries.

Naval Materials Research Laboratory (NMRL), a hi-tech naval cluster laboratory of Defence R&D organization (DRDO),committed to develop materials and technologies of Navy’s interest has evolved as a nodal centre of the country involved in development of fuel cell based energy alternates. During last 10-12 years NMRL has optimised relevant component development and integration technologies for phosphoric acid fuel cell, hydrogen generation (methanol reformer & sodium boro-hydride cracking), power conditioners and associated electronics. Besides, NMRL has also evolved a strong laboratory-industry partnership base across the country in past 3-4 years. The pioneering efforts made by the lab will help India achieve clean power technologies. The technology is gaining importance due to the low impact on environment.

The International symposium extends the opportunity to assess global trends in fuel cell based electricity generation technologies for safe and effective exploration by Indian industries and masses.

The prominent dignitaries who graced the occasion include Prof. P. Ramachandra Rao (Chairman, Naval Research Board: NRB), Dr R. Krishnan (Former CC R&D DRDO), Vice Admiral D.S.P. Varma, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, DG Special Projects, DRDO and Vice Admiral Ganesh Mahadevan, AVSM, VSM, Chief of Materials (IHQ, MOD). Vice Admiral Mahadevan emphasised the potential of silent power for Navy application and confirmed total support on fuel cell R&D for marine application. A specific application for which the Vice Admiral pledged support to DRDO was the Fuel cell based ‘Air independent Propulsion’ for submarines. Two hundred fifty participants including about 20 foreign delegates will be participating in the Symposium and deliberating on issues related to fuel cell based electricity generation in keeping with concerns of global warming and climate change. A total of 170 scientific papers will be presented in 9 plenary lectures and 16 parallel sessions including poster sessions. It was interesting to note that many of the delegates were young scientists.

The inaugural ceremony concluded with a vote of thanks by Convenor Dr T.K. Chongdar. On this occasion an exhibition of various products and components was inaugurated by Prof. P. Ramachandra Rao. The poster session was declared open by Dr R. Krishnan.

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