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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
Special PEER-PIRE Cycle (June 2012 Deadline)

NSF-PIRE collaboration: developing low-carbon cities in India: field research on water-energy-carbon baselines and low-carbon strategies in Indian cities

PI:  Bharani Emani Kumar, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, and Rakesh Yadav, Resource Optimization Initiative (ROI)
U.S. Partner: Anu Ramaswami, University of Minnesota
Project Dates: January 2013 - January 2016

Project Overview 

The overall goal of this project is to conduct innovative, interdisciplinary research that facilitates the development of low-carbon cities in India through mitigating greenhouse gas emissions while also offering local water efficiency benefits; reducing waste, pollution, and climate vulnerability; and promoting governance for sustainable development. In alignment with several key USAID priorities in the country, this project addresses climate change, renewable/ sustainable energy interventions, water sustainability, climate risks, and environmental engineering solutions in cities in India.

India PIRE Photo 1 
Students preparing a material flow diagram (Photo courtesy Dr. Yadav).

India PIRE Photo 2 
ROI and Yale students being trained at Mysore (Photo courtesy Dr. Yadav).

The project will apply an interdisciplinary framework to integrate urban infrastructure engineering, industrial symbiosis, urban planning, environmental/climate sciences, social sciences, and public policy. Research opportunities will be offered to about 50 students from the United States (with separate funding from the National Science Foundation) and 50 students from India drawn from diverse disciplines, which should contribute to training the next generation of leaders in the two nations. The hope is to build capacity among academic institutions in India for innovative interdisciplinary research and education on sustainable cities and build capacity among nongovernmental organizations to translate research insights to community-based action for sustainability.

Summary of Recent Activities
In the past quarter, co-PIs Dr. Rakesh and Dr. Ashish and their teams, along with the US partner team headed by Anu and Ajay, met with Coimbatore Commissioner and officials from Health Department and Pollution Control Board to discuss the project. The commissioner gave substantial support and shared considerable data relating to city and population health. In addition to this meeting, the teams, especially the ICLEI team, have been active in multiple workshops and meetings with the aim to improve methodologies and collect data on low water-energy-carbon baselines and low-carbon strategies in Indian cities. Of particular note was a 14‐15 February meeting between ICLEI, Dr. Ramaswami, and the UMN team the Municipal Commissioner of Rajkot, Town Planning Officer, officials from Health & Environment Dept. of RMC, and officers from PGVCL (Paschim Gujarat Vidyut Company Limited). The meeting resulted in Rajkot City Corporation and other stakeholders sharing critical program information as well as site visits in and around the city and industrial areas.

During the summer of 2014, Rakesh collaborated with Park College Prof. Shailendra Kumar and her students to hold several meetings with PCB, collect industrial profiles, contact industries, and complete the industrial surveys. The teams shared the collected data documents with the US team and have drafted a Coimbatore Industrial Symbiosis report to be reviewed by the US team for further analysis and final reporting. The details of the report and data are available on the project website.

The next focus for Dr. Rakesh and his team is on conducting workshops for students and industries. A student workshop is planned for December 2014 and another workshop for industries is awaiting confirmations from both the US and Indian teams before a date is finalized.

India PIRE Photo 3 U.S. & Indian researchers at the Triveni Engineering offices (Photo courtesy Dr. Yadav).

India PIRE Photo 4 U.S. & Indian researchers doing industry survey work (Photo courtesy Dr. Yadav).

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