The Indian Institute of Technology Madras now hosts world’s largest combustion research centre. It will address the twin challenges of alternative energy and environmental protection afflicting an emerging economy such as India by focusing on effective utilisation of combustion as a means of thermo-chemical energy conversion. The National Centre for Combustion Research and Development (NCCRD), inaugurated on October 13, is supported by the Science and Engineering Research Board, Department of Science and Technology. A similar centre has been established at the Indian Institute of Science Bangalore (IISc). With over 30 faculty members from six departments of IIT Madras working on this project, this is the largest grouping of academic combustion researchers, globally. The infrastructure facilities are also the largest for any combustion research centre in an academic setting, globally. The NCCRD has been set up at a cost of Rs 90 crore and will develop state-of-the-art capabilities in combustion research involving experts in the country.
Satyanarayanan Chakravarthy, professor in-charge, NCCRD, said, “The emphasis is to work on the industry-relevant problems of the future in collaboration with organisations in application sectors of automotive, aerospace, thermal power, process industry and fire protection.” The research interests are in three major application sectors: automotive, thermal power and aerospace propulsion, besides fire research and microgravity combustion to a minor extent. The NCCRD is located in a five-storey building at the IIT Madras campus, which also hosts separate smaller structures for propellant combustion, fire research and air storage. Many industrial and R&D organisations are working closely with the NCCRD.