Research and Sponsored Projects (to be updated !)

Climate Compatible Development in Asian and Pacific Cities

  • Duration: November 2014 – September 2016
  • Sponsor: Ministry of Environment Japan through Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Programme of the United Nations University – Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), the secretariat for the Promotion of Sustainability in Postgraduate Education and Research Network (ProSPER.Net)
  • Project Leader: Dr. Shobhakar Dhakal, Prof. S Kumar (AIT)
  • Collaborators:  Dr. Susie Moloney (RMIT University), Dr. Hartmut Fuenfgeld,Dr Shaleen Singhal (TERI University), Dr. Chanathip Pharino (Chulalongkorn University), Dr. Eko Haryono (Universitas Gadjah Mada), Dr. Rotchanatch Darnsawasdi (Prince of Songkla University, Hatyai)
  • Project Summary: Climate Compatible Development in Asian and Pacific cities, is the research project under the guidance of the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Programme of the United Nations University – Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), which is secretariat for the Promotion of Sustainability in Postgraduate Education and Research Network (ProSPER.Net). The project is funded by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan through UNU-IAS. Asian Institute of Technology is the core member of the consortium, and will undertake this project along with the partner institutions. In the current context, where thousands of cities are undertaking climate actions plans, both mitigation and adaptation have become the core elements of sustainable development. Urban decision makers in many cities are already pressed to mitigate GHGs emissions and climate risks simultaneously. In urban context, mitigation and adaptation are inter-connected through physical infrastructure planning, investment decisions and infrastructure costs, and phenomenon such as urban heat island, urban forests, passive heating and cooling in buildings and others. Therefore, the need for climate compatible development in cities are becoming more important than ever. In our project, we defined Climate Compatible Urban Development as the one which (a) emits less GHGs/mitigates more emissions (b) enhances carbon sinks (c) builds resilience and adapt to the impact of climate change, and (d) reduces mitigation burden outside of the city boundaries. We aim at understanding and illustrating their Driving force, State and Responses (under DSR Framework) in cities. Cities are often viewed in silos and a comprehensive understanding, including feedbacks between mitigation, adaptation and resilience are necessary. Additionally, a good question to ask is if cities are moving towards such climate compatible development pathways. Some kind of tools to track such development are essential as more and more thrusts are going into cities and there are little evidences of achievements from prevailing city actions. We propose that we look at different sectors in urban system, namely, energy, water, transport, food, shelter and other built infrastructures and explore climate compatible development path for these sectors. The overall objectives of our project are to:1. Foster the development of action plans and policies related to climate compatible urban development by initiating research to understand the state of climate compatible development of cities and their key challenges.
    2. Develop a framework for tracking progress of climate compatible development of cities.
    3. Explore ways of mitigating GHGs emissions and key climate impacts in the cities and incorporate them in the curriculum.

Understanding decentralised energy interventions and their success conditions in select countries of Asia – Pacific region

  • Duration: February 2015 – December 2015
  • Project Leader: Prof. Arun Kansal (TERI University)
  • Project Collaborators: Dr. Shobhakar Dhakal (AIT), Dr. Wang Xin (Tongi University, Shanghai)
  • Project Summary: This is a Propser.Net Project. The proposed study seeks to explore the possibility of cross learning and cross-engagement of country experiences in three different countries of Asia i.e. India, Indonesia and Thailand in the field of decentralised energy intervention.  The proposed activity aims at understanding the decentralized energy sector development within the specific country context and characteristics (such as resource endowment, state of technological development, presence of policy and regulatory framework, actor constellations and networks, and presence of market elements) and explores the possibilities of experience sharing and knowledge transfer in the area of decentralized energy intervention. To map the existing heterogeneity in the field of decentralized energy in the proposed study countries, we present here some indicative examples drawing from the country experiences. For instance, while Thailand enjoys 100% electrification (Vechasart, 2012), India and Indonesia are facing the challenge of providing basic electricity requirements to a large chunk of their population (more than 40 % population in Indonesia (Blum,2013) and 30 % population in India are still deprived of electricity (GoI, 2011). Therefore, in Thailand decentralised energy provisions are envisaged to serve as an additional source of energy, and in India and Indonesia, they are prioritized as an option to provide the basic minimum energy to a segment of population who are left out from the mainstream electrification processes. Similarly, on technical side, Thailand has gone ahead with its advanced technical systems like integration of small-scale decentralised energy systems with the main grid (Greacen, 2012). For instance, net metering has been introduced to facilitate grid connectivity of the small-scale decentralised energy systems.  On the other hand, India and Indonesia are experimenting with grid interconnection issues of small-scale renewable energy based energy systems. Experiences gained in Thailand could come here as a handy to support the similar developments in India and Indonesia. Similar cross learning’s could also be feasible between India and Indonesia. For example, India has been able to stride a long way in attracting private entrepreneurs in the decentralised energy arena by devising and introducing necessary legal, policy and regulatory incentive structures (Palit and Sarangi, 2014). However, private sector has a poor presence in Indonesia in the field of decentralised energy system. It is contended that lack of adequate private participation is resulting slow diffusion of village level mini-grids in Indonesia (Blum et al, 2013). Therefore, Indonesia should grab this opportunity of learning from the experiences of India. This offers scope for collaboration and cross learning for both the countries in several meaningful ways. Setting this as background and rationale for the study, the present research study seeks to explore following set of objectives. (a) to understand the variants of decentralized energy interventions/models (e.g. publicly supported models, public-private based models, completely private entrepreneur supported models etc.)  being operational in the study countries. (b) to map country specific policy and regulatory incentives and instruments promoting these interventions. (c) explore the possibilities of replication and transfer of successful model structures from one country to the other

Understanding and Quantifying the Water-Energy-Carbon Nexus for Low Carbon Development in Asian Cities. Project web-site:

  • Duration: June 2013 – December 2015
  • Sponsor: Asia Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN), Japan
  • Project Leader: Dr. Shobhakar Dhakal
  • Project Collaborators: Dr. Shobhakar Dhakal (PI), Dr. Sangam Shrestha (AIT), Prof. Shinji Kaneko (Hiroshima University, Japan), Prof. Arun Kansal (TERI University, India)
  • Project Summary– This is a regional research to be carried out in an interdisciplinary and comparative fashion in three Asian cities. The research activities will integrate three key dimensions- i.e. water, energy and carbon. It will be carried out in policy relevant manner for the benefit of a number of Asian cities in understanding and devising low-carbon urban development. The research activities are place-based in nature. We will carry out three research activities (a) comparative case-studies of Asian cities to characterize the nature of water-energy-carbon nexus and (b) quantification of the nexus in in order to show the extent of the direct and indirect importance and to illustrate the potentials of the nexus to the low carbon development in cities, and (c) based on these, we will gauze the extent and relevancy of addressing the barrier and opportunities for optimizing the water-energy-carbon nexus. It covers three big Asian cities in this research: Tokyo, Bangkok and Delhi.

Energy Efficiency Initiatives in Asia and Action Plan to Support Countries

  • Duration: September 2014 – April 2015
  • Sponsor: DTU Copenhagen  and SE4ALL
  • Project Leader: Prof. S. Kumar (AIT)
  • Project Collaborators: Dr. Shobhakar Dhakal (AIT), Dr. P. Abdul Slam (AIT)
  • Project Summary:

Technology adaptation and national capacity building for Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) in Thailand

  • Duration: Sept 2014 – March 2015
  • Sponsor: Ministry of Environment Japan and Institute for Global Environmental Strategies Japan
  • Project Leader: Dr. Shobhakar Dhakal
  • Collaborators: Prof. S Kumar (AIT), Dr. P Abdul Salam (AIT)
  • Project Summary: The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) undertook a project on technology adaptation and national capacity building for the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), a technology mechanism under the UNFCCC. The project is commissioned by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan, and covers eight countries in the Asia-Pacific. Under this assignment, AIT conducted research and organized workshops to identify elements for technological adaptation for selected Japanese low-carbon technologies, developed the capacity of national governments, notably National Designated Entities (NDEs) which act as national focal points for CTCN and contributed to the effective operation of CTCN through channeling lessons and insights from the Asia-Pacific.

Facilitating Climate Technology in Asia and capacity building through  Climate Technology Center and Networks (CTCN)

  • Duration: Nov 2013 – February 2014
  • Sponsor: United National Environment Program, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
  • Project Leader: Dr. Shobhakar Dhakal
  • Summary: This project studies climate technology barriers and provides capacity building for National Designated Entities  (NDEs)  of the Climate Technology Centers and Networks (CTCN). CTCN is an UNFCCC program operated by UNEP of which AIT is one of the consortium partners.