Energy is needed for economic and social development of the world. Conventional ways of energy production exploit fossil carbon sources like coal, natural gas and oil. This is depleting the natural reserves of fossil carbon on one hand and causing environmental pollution on the other hand. Use of renewable energy could solve all these problems. Renewable energy is the energy coming from natural sources which are replenished naturally. Renewable Energy Laboratory aims at producing renewable energy in various ways.
a) Hydrogen production from renewable sources
Sun provides more energy in one hour to the earth than used by the whole world in one year. The effective use of solar energy is thus important for the achievement of sustainable society. Sunlight-induced photo-catalytic reactions to convert solar energy to chemical energy stored in a variety of chemical fuels (e.g. hydrogen fuel) present significant advantages over other nonchemical routes, for example, converting solar energy to heat or to electricity, which cannot be stored for a long time. The photoreactions of ethanol on transition metal supported on TiO2 catalysts with emphasis on hydrogen production with a view to explore the new ways to use inexhaustible solar energy will be the main focus of this laboratory.
b) Biogas production from organic waste
Global organic waste generation (both solid and liquid) is continuously rising day by day. Improper handling of this gigantic amount of waste seriously affects the environment and contributes to climate change by release of greenhouse gases (GHGs) especially CH4. Various methods are used to reduce the negative environmental impacts of organic waste with certain merits and demerits. Anaerobic digestion of organic waste (a resouce) is a method that has dual benefits, i.e., resource recovery in the form of biogas (a type of renewable energy) production and waste treatment. Thus the main focus of this laboratory will be to explore various types of locally available organic wastes for production of renewable energy (i.e. biogas) through anaerobic digestion process, which can reduce emissions to environment as well as produce digestate, a soil amendment.