VTU to establish ‘Renewable Energy Park’ on its new campus at Muddenahalli near Bangalore

The Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU), under its Centre for Nanotechnology (CeNT), has proposed to establish a full-fledged ‘Renewable Energy Park’ on its new campus at Muddenahalli, the birth place of Sir M.Visvesvaraya near Bangalore. This will be done in partnership with the Solar Agriculture Institute of India (SAII).

The VTU also plans to set up an ‘Institute of Green Nanotechnology’ on its Jnana Sangama campus at Machhe in Belgaum. At present, the VTU is negotiating for MoUs with several national and internationally reputed R&D institutions, including CANEUS International, Canada; Solar Agriculture Institute, Bangalore; and Missouri University of Science and Technology, Columbia, U.S.

The energy park is being established on an area of over 10 acres at an estimated cost of Rs. 6.50 crore with the objective of harnessing alternative sources of energy not only to transform the campus into a self-sustaining establishment but also to supply electricity to the adjoining villages. The green nanotechnology park in Belgaum is being established to support ongoing research and development works aimed at exploiting the wealth of medicinal plants available in the adjoining Western Ghats and also for production of nano-medicines and other by-products. These parks would also facilitate training of students and teachers to take up further research works and develop newer nanotechnologies.

The CeNT, along with proposed energy parks, are stated to be dream projects of the Vice-Chancellor, H. Maheshappa. Dinesh Rangappa, PG Coordinator and Special Officer at the Centre for Post-Graduate Studies & Nanotechnology, Bangalore, who has also carried out research and worked as scientist in nano-technology in Japan for 10 years, is making concerted efforts to make the Muddenahalli unit functional by January 2014, even as a series of works are under various stages of progress.

Mr. Maheshappa and Mr. Dinesh told The Hindu EducationPlus on Friday that the Renewable Energy Park was one of its kind in the entire country. The VTU has also proposed to start ‘Skill Development Courses,’ that are analogous to the Industrial Training Institutes, to train students in various trades and provide job opportunities in renewable energy areas using solar power, wind energy and biomass with technological support from SAII, a non-profit establishment.

It has been proposed to start training courses in agro-business and solar energy for rural youth and develop solar-powered portable irrigation pumpsets with the cooperation of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). C.B. Jagannatha Rao, agriculture expert and one of the founding trustees of SAII, will be lending his expertise to the farmers and students.

The VTU has proposed to set up a vertical wind tower, solar-powered cold-storage demo unit and a dairy fodder centre; start various short-duration skill development and training courses in the broad field of renewable energy with emphasis on micro-electronics, mechanical engineering, energy efficiency, integrated chip designing, and power electronics; and various other speciality courses for the benefit of farmers and youth with agricultural background.