Postgraduate student Vareesh Pratap has secured a Royce@Cambridge scholarship on the impulse programme for tech innovators, with his business idea for the decarbonisation of road transport through the energy profiling of intact in-use vehicles.
I am developing a technology that may enable us to not only acquire quantitative emissions for road load conditions but may also inform us of the increased energy losses in a vehicle for its entire energy flow line.Vareesh Pratap
The aim is to minimise carbon emissions of customer-owned and -operated vehicles during their after-sales lifecycle in a financially self-sustainable way.
Vareesh, a Lucy Cavendish College student who is currently studying for an MPhil in Energy Technologies, will undertake three modules at the Maxwell Centre as part of the impulse programme1 to help equip him with the skill set needed to bring his innovation from lab to market, with follow-up support continuing until February 2024.
Vareesh envisions a testing methodology that can generate a real-world energy emissions profile of a vehicle while mimicking actual road load conditions – a need that is largely unmet across the geographies. He says the idea significantly touches upon at least three of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).2 These are numbers 7 (affordable and clean energy), 12 (responsible consumption and production) and 13 (climate action).
“I am developing a technology that may enable us to not only acquire quantitative emissions for road load conditions but may also inform us of the increased energy losses in a vehicle for its entire energy flow line,” he said.
The Royce@Cambridge scholarship will complement Vareesh’s learning on the MPhil in Energy Technologies. In his MPhil thesis, Vareesh is exploring whether current state-of-the-art thermal propulsion systems can be improved upon. Vareesh says he was motivated to study for the MPhil in order to learn more about cleaner energy solutions and energy security in a world with ever-increasing demand.
“Hailing from a remote village in India, I witnessed the transition of a bullock cart driven rural economy into a tractor-trailer one, and this sparked my interest in the importance of self-propelled mechanisation, as well as energy sustainability.
“Moreover, Nikola Tesla, one of the greatest inventors of all time, once said: ‘If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration’. This statement has been echoing in my head since my school days. However, developing a broader perspective has also made me realise that if you want to understand the universe (including geopolitics, international relations and quality of life), think (not only) in terms of energy, frequency and vibrations, (but also in terms of availability, distribution and accessibility to energy resources).
“These were the two main reasons that made me choose the MPhil in Energy Technologies at Cambridge, which is, indeed, a great course to learn about cleaner energy solutions and energy security in a world with ever-increasing demand.”
He added: “The impulse programme that I am undertaking at the Maxwell Centre is very promising in enabling innovators to refine their ideas from a technological perspective, before coming up with a strategy to ensure that innovations gain traction sooner rather than later.”
In the coming months, Vareesh will become the Postgraduate President of the Cambridge Student Union for the upcoming academic year. He is passionate about sustainability and an all-inclusive future and hopes to champion this cause while in post.
1 The impulse programme supports the Maxwell Centre’s two strategic visions: supporting the delivery of a zero carbon future and SCI-TECH-MED initiatives – the translation of science and technology to medicine and health.
2 These SDGs sit at the heart of a shared blueprint adopted in 2015 by all United Nations Member States and are an urgent call for action by all developed and developing countries as part of a global partnership.