Campus, LBNL partner to address India’s energy, economic priorities

| 09 October 2008

The Berkeley campus is joining forces with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on a research-and-development program in which researchers will work with the government and private sector of India to develop paths toward reducing greenhouse-gas emissions while maintaining economic growth.

India, whose economy is growing about 8 to 9 percent per year, is the sixth-largest greenhouse-gas-emitting nation in the world.

The Berkeley-India Joint Leadership on Energy and the Environment (BIJLEE) will bring together researchers from LBNL and the Berkeley campus — as well as other U.S. and Indian universities, institutions, and corporations — to develop energy-efficient and renewable-energy technologies. BIJLEE will also address the policy innovations needed to transfer these technologies to the marketplace, with the goal of combating climate change and promoting economic growth with solutions that are appropriate to India. BIJLEE’s collaborative, outcome-oriented research will come from LBNL, Berkeley’s College of Engineering (COE), and a new center in India.

Purnendu Chatterjee, a COE alumnus and chairman of the global investment firm The Chatterjee Group, will contribute $2 million to endow two chairs in the college. His gift will establish a chair in energy technologies to support research in such areas as energy efficiency, renewable fuels and power, and sequestration of fossil-fuel emissions. Chatterjee’s gift also creates a chair in engineering biological systems.

“When leading experts from both India and Berkeley unite on cooperative ventures, new technology and long-term solutions are likely outcomes,” says Chatterjee.

“Berkeley Lab and the UC Berkeley campus have taken leadership in creating the BIJLEE program,” says Arun Majumdar, director of LBNL’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division (EETD) and a professor of mechanical engineering at Berkeley. “However, it will also be open to collaborations with any institution or corporation interested in contributing to its effort. No other national laboratory is adjacent to a major research university with such strengths in clean-energy development and South Asian studies, and with strong connections to India. Our proximity to Silicon Valley’s culture of investment and innovation and its large Indian expatriate community will also help advance this effort.”

BIJLEE scientists will conduct research on the three pillars of sustainability: basic science and engineering, new-technology development, and policies to promote market transformation to further energy efficiency, clean-energy sources, and smart growth. “Only a combination of these approaches will lead to measurable progress in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions,” says Ashok Gadgil, EETD’s deputy director and an adjunct professor in the Energy and Resources Group at Berkeley.

For more information on BIJLEE, visit