ABB and IITM to build Indian microgrids

ABB and the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) are to co-operate on building microgrids and researching rural electrification.

A memorandum of understanding signed this week specifies technical collaboration on microgrid construction as well as joint R&D into renewable power sources, battery energy storage and grid connection.

IITM and ABB plan to jointly design, build and supply equipment for up to two microgrids in rural areas in India. Along with ABB equipment, these microgrids will enable homes to be fitted with energy efficient DC devices such as LED bulbs, TVs, cell phone chargers and brushless DC motor-based fans designed by IITM.

ABB said it will also support research at IITM’s Battery Engineering Center to improve the life and discharge cycles of lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries for the next five years.

The microgrid project is to be managed by IITM, with eventual transfer to the local distribution utility planned.

ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer said: ‘Microgrid technology is well poised to make the Indian government’s vision of power to all a reality by providing access to energy and ensuring economic empowerment to the people.’

Prof Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director of IITM, said: ‘IIT is committed to implementing an affordable solution for supplying electric power to Indian homes, whether they are off-grid, or homes with several hours of power cuts. The R&D cooperation with ABB will help them get to these goals faster.’

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