Lawrence Berkeley National Lab heads to India

The national lab, run by the University of California for the Department of Energy [DOE], is launching a new research center in partnership with the Indian government, bankrolled in part by the DOE.

It’s UC Berkeley’s latest imperial adventure, which already includes partnerships in Saudi ArabiaChina, and Russia.

While the new India project includes agrofuels, that aspect of the venture isn’t headed by Cal, which already has a $50 million partnership with BP and a host of other ventures launched as spinoffs, three of them by the lab’s Jay Keasling, who also runs the Joint BioEnergy Institute.

From the lab’s Julie Chao:

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has been selected to lead a new joint U.S.-India research center focusing on energy efficiency technologies for buildings. It is one of three consortia that will make up the U.S.-India Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center (JCERDC). Together, these three groups will receive a total of $5 million this year from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop clean energy technologies.

Berkeley Lab’s U.S.-India Joint Center for Building Energy Research and Development (CBERD) will conduct research with Indian counterparts focused on the integration of information technology with building systems in commercial and high-rise residential buildings. This area offers enormous potential for reducing energy use in both countries and is of particular importance in India, which experiences critical shortages in its energy supply coupled with booming demand.

“The rate of urbanization in India is mind-boggling—they will essentially add a new Chicago every year,” said Ashok Gadgil, who is head of Berkeley Lab’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division and will be director of CBERD. “Here India has an opportunity to leapfrog other countries and build cities with a new generation of high-performance buildings. This collaboration between two of the world’s largest economies can not only spur technology breakthroughs but also create new market opportunities for U.S. companies.”

CBERD’s portion of the funding is $1.25 million in the first year, with the same amount in the next four years pending Congressional approval. Berkeley Lab will collaborate with a number of third-party partners—which include Biodiversity Conservation, California Energy Commission, Honeywell, Infosys, Ingersoll Rand/Trane, Philips, Schneider Electric, Synapsense, The Weidt Group, Autodesk, Bay Area Photovoltaic Consortium, City of San Jose, Delphi, enLighted, HOK Architects, Lighting Research Center, Lighting Science, Nexant and Natural Resources Defense Council—some of whom will provide matching funding and in-kind contributions.

Other academic members of the CBERD consortium are Oak Ridge National Laboratory, University of California at Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The lead Indian institution is Center for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT) University-Ahmedabad.

The JCERDC arises out of an agreement signed between President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2009 to accelerate the research and deployment of clean energy projects. The Indian government plans to allocate $25 million to JCERDC over five years. The other two consortia in JCERDC will focus on biofuels (led by the University of Florida) and solar energy (led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, with participation by Berkeley Lab).

Read the rest.


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