Dr. Purnima Jalihal
Dr. Purnima Jalihal is a senior scientist who heads the Energy and Fresh Water group at the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), India. She has coordinated many first-ever projects in ocean energy and desalination. Her tremendous contribution in setting up the first-ever ocean thermal gradient-based desalination plant at Kavaratti island in the Lakshadweep group in the Arabian Sea has helped transform the lives of the small island community which had a severe lack of drinking water. For this work, she was awarded the Vishwakarma Medal in 2006 by the Indian National Science Academy.
This success led to more desalination plants on islands and offshore. Dr Jalihal is now attempting to scale up this technology and develop the ability to power desalination plants using ocean renewable energies. Having obtained a PhD in Civil Engineering from Duke University (USA), Dr Jalihal is a member of numerous committees within the Government of India related to water and renewable energy. She has more than 60 peer-reviewed papers, authored six book chapters and has two granted patents. She has been instrumental in making India a member of the International Energy Agency’s Ocean Energy Systems (IEA-OES) Technology Collaboration Program (TCP) with the NIOT as the participating agency. Dr Jalihal has recently been elected as the Vice Chair of the Ex Committee of the OES TCP.