Category Archives: Environment

Innovative Ideas on Sustainable and Affordable Energy – from the Symposium

Innovative Ideas on Sustainable and Affordable Energy discussed at Symposium sponsored by IITBHF, IITBAA-GNY and Columbia University.

Recognizing IIT Bombay as one of the best engineering and technology universities in the world, award winning economist Professor Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University asked IIT Bombay alumni to use their engineering skills and knowledge to come up with the solutions to reduce world-wide carbon emissions to make the energy transition to Climate Safety.

Prof. Sachs gave the keynote address at the May 8th symposium on “Sustainable and Affordable Energy Challenge for the World” sponsored by Columbia University Sustainable Engineering Lab; IIT Bombay Heritage Foundation and IIT Bombay Alumni Association Greater New York Chapter. Nearly 100 persons attended the all day symposium on “Mother Earth Day”.

From left to right : Ruyintan Mehta, IITB HF President; Nathan Blair, World Bank; Audrey Zibelman, Chair NYS Public Service Commission; Silvia Romero, World Bank ; Prof. Deepak Divan, Georgia Tech; Dr. Pramod Khargonekar, Assistant Director, National Science Foundation; Prof. Vijay Modi, Columbia University; DC Agrawal, IITBAA-GNY Chapter President
From left to right : Ruyintan Mehta, IITB HF President; Nathan Blair, World Bank; Audrey Zibelman, Chair NYS Public Service Commission; Silvia Romero, World Bank ; Prof. Deepak Divan, Georgia Tech;
Dr. Pramod Khargonekar, Assistant Director, National Science Foundation; Prof. Vijay Modi, Columbia University; DC Agrawal, IITBAA-GNY Chapter President

In his remarks, Prof Sachs stated that now that world leaders have agreed on the lower carbon emission targets at the Paris COP 21 meeting, it is now up to the engineers to come up with the required solutions to meet the de-carbonization goals while meeting the energy needs of the poor as well as the rich in India and the world.

Dr. Vijay Modi of Columbia University’s Earth Institute & Director of Sustainable Engineering Lab with the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, a 1978 IIT Bombay graduate and an acknowledged expert in the field of sustainable and affordable energy presented his work on the new technologies now being developed to make renewable and affordable energy available to those who are off the energy grid in poor and emerging markets in Africa and India.

Dr. Pramod Khargonekar, Assistant Director of Engineering at US National Science Foundation and a 1977 IIT Bombay graduate gave his perspectives on the evolution of electric energy systems in both the developed and developing economies. Other speakers including Prof. Himadri Pakrasi of Washington University, Prof. Jacopo Buongiorno of MIT, and Prof. Deepak Divan of Georgia Tech talked about the latest developments in the fields of engineering bio-energy, nuclear energy, and integrating renewables into the power grid.

Ms. Audrey Zibelman, Chair of NY State Public Service Commission responsible for regulating the New York State electric utility industry talked about the potential regulatory changes required to better incorporate renewable energy in the commercial power systems.  Several speakers from the World Bank and Columbia University spoke about their ongoing work in this area.

From left to right : Dr Khargonekar, IITB ’77 Electrical Engg; Attendee at symposium;  Dr. Vijay Modi , IITB ’78 Mechanical Engg; Ron Mehta, IITB ’70 Chemical  Engg.
From left to right : Dr Khargonekar, IITB ’77 Electrical Engg; Attendee at symposium;
Dr. Vijay Modi , IITB ’78 Mechanical Engg;
Ron Mehta, IITB ’70 Chemical Engg.

In his remarks, Mr. Ruyintan Mehta, President IIT Bombay Heritage Foundation talked about this IITBHF initiative to highlight the work being done by IIT Bombay graduates and alumni in critical and important engineering, technology and policy areas.  Mr. D C Agrawal President IIT Bombay AA GNY Chapter thanked the speakers for enlightening us all on this important and potentially life changing subject and the many volunteers for making this symposium such a success.

A CARE Act in NJ to help care for our Senior Citizens

For our aging alumni population, as well as their parents, family care-giving of the elderly is increasingly becoming more important. Many people, especially with our cultural background, want to provide this care in their homes. And, often a family member wants to be the care-giver. But, often they are neither informed of the need in advance nor given the appropriate instructions.

Now a new law, called the CARE ACT (not the same as the ACA – the Affordable Care Act) has been enacted in New Jersey. The key points of this law are:

The CARE Act takes three commonsense actions that will make a world of a difference to family caregivers by requiring hospitals to:

  1. Identify a designated family caregiver when a patient is admitted.
  2. Notify the caregiver when the patient is to be moved or discharged.
  3. Provide that caregiver with adequate instruction for the care of the patient following the patient’s discharge from the hospital.

I learned about this at an AARP meeting today where Assemblywoman Pamela R. Lampitt spoke about it during a Tele-Town Hall meeting. I thought I would like to share this with you so that you are aware of this new law and can benefit from it should a need arise. The following links give you more information about it.

Support Seniors & Their Family Caregivers

Governor Christie Signs the CARE Act:  NJ is second state in the nation to enact law

Sanitation is a basic human right – Prof Francis de los Reyes

Bill Gates has been trying to revolutionize toilet design. Melinda Gates gave a talk about girls in India refusing to marry boys whose villages did not have proper sanitation. Prime Minister Modi launched a Swachh Bharat campaign. Yet a silent holocaust with 1.5 Million children dying from inadequate sanitation continues every year in our world.

This is a major problem impacting design of our future cities and water systems.  While discussing this topic with a group of IIT friends, Alum Girish Nair sent me this summary.

Check out this fantastic, must watch talk by Professor Francis de los Reyes.