Visit to TERI

On our last day in India, we visited TERI(Tata Energy Research Institute) university, located in the south of New Delhi. TERI, is a research institute established in 1974, and its focus fields are energy, environment and sustainable development. The Institute’s Director General is Dr. R.K. Pachauri, who is also the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

Before we head to TERI University, we had chance to visit TERI RETREAT and take a walk around beautiful trail and garden. I really enjoyed relaxing time of being out of honking while being around green that I had not had during the trip. After 30 minutes of introduction of TERI and its green buildings, we explored different parts of the site in order to study how TERI facilities are designed to be self-sufficient in terms of power supply and also to study the technologies that the institution develops. The facilities in TERI RETREAT use process that is environmentally friendly and resource-efficient throughout the life-cycle of the facilities. TERI RETREAT consists of a residential training facility for executives and research laboratories of various fields regarding environment and sustainability.

Our tour started with the residential complex. The building uses bio mass gasifier as the power source. The building faces south to maximize sun light gain and has solar panels on the roof, the energy from which is used to heat up water. The building maintains its room temperature at 20 °C in winter, 28 °C in summer through circulating underground air from 4 meters below as the temperature of underground air is around 26 °C all year around. The facility can save around 40% of energy with this air conditioning system compared to conventional way. The waste water management system cleans waste water from toilets and kitchens by using reed plants. The way that the complex utilizes plants and air conditioning system to minimize energy consumption was very impressive, and I was surprised by that fact that India ranked second globally for green building in terms of square feet after U.S because my first impression of India was far from ‘green’ after seeing loads of trash and untreated sewage every corner and breathing in polluted air in Chennai and New Delhi.

(Check out the news from The Hindu Business Line if you are interested in.

Although it will be challenging to adopt the technologies used in the TERI complex in urban areas with limited space and dense population, I became more optimistic about environment in India after this tour.

After exploring residential complex, we moved to bio mass gasifier site as well as laboratories of oil zapper. Oil Zapper is basically bacterial strains that suck up oils and convert them into water and CO2. The product can be widely applied for oil refinery sites and oil splits caused by accidents. The product interested me because Korea had a massive oil spilt in Taean County in 2007. At that time, more than 1.8 million volunteer workers cleaned every stone in the beach by hands. Although effective microorganism products were used after much of work had been done by hands, it might have taken shorter time to revitalize the area if products like Oil Zapper had been applied in the earlier point.

TERI showed me whole different story of India, green technology. We traveled to TERI university campus and wrapped up our visit by attending lectures given by Dr. R.K. Pachauri, Dr. Srivastava of TERI and Professor Sundaram regarding climate change and business.

Categories: Delhi | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Visit to TERI

  1. mfriedman33

    Great post Sewon!

    I thought the most interesting part of the Teri visit was the student body itself. Teri filled a large classroom with students (50+ students) all pursuing their masters or a PhD in sustainability. They were all passionate and well informed on climate change and the impact of global warming and have decided to pursue a career tackling this very important issue. A noble cause indeed! In my travels across India since Teri I have noticed the remarkable amount of advertising spend by Indian companies regarding their green endeavors. While this does exist in the US, in India it is much more pronounced and is almost a sense of corporate pride. It is truly great to see.

    One particular interaction from Teri that stood out in my mind was during Professor Sundaram’s talk. A Teri student asked a very pointed question with an aggressive tone regarding the fact that the US is to blame for causing global warming through carbon consumption and their insistence of finding alternative sources of energy (which right now cost more than carbon) is a big impediment to India and other emerging economies. While the question is one that was asked before, I was very much surprised with the student’s pointed tone which definitely opened my eyes as to how other countries view the US.

    Furthermore, the professor’s response, while accurate, is a very hard to articulate and I am not sure he changed the student’s point of view. The professor responded that he was right, but that India must get over it and be the leader for change. That either pointing the finger at the US for their previous success or using it as an excuse to further pollute the climate only exacerbates the situation. That two wrongs don’t make a right. While I agree with the professor’s response, I wish there was a better answer or better way to articulate the message. I fear that simply asking for forgiveness and consenting behavior without change will only widen the divide between the US and the emerging world and not lead to cooperative globalization.

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