Individuals may form communities, but it is institutions alone that can create a nation.
- Benjamin Disraeli
On July 25, 1948, Karaikudi, a hitherto bleak and desolate village in Tamil Nadu, wore a festive look. A mammoth crowd of more than a lakh people gathered to witness the ushering in of a new era in Indian science. It was the day the CSIR-Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CSIR-CECRI) was founded at Karaikudi. The institute took roots in the patriotic fervour of RM. Alagappa Chettiar, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Dr. Shanthi Swarup Bhatnagar. Fast forward five years, on January 14, 1953, the institution became a reality when Dr. S. Radhakrishnan dedicated CSIR-CECRI, the 12th national laboratory under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), to the nation.
Laying the foundation stone of the institute, Pandit Nehru said, "... I believe that by such undertakings and by yoking science to public good we can advance the lot of the people of India enormously." Today, CSIR-CECRI, a proud family of 700 members (120 of whom are scientists), is the largest research establishment for electrochemistry in South Asia. It serves as a launching pad for a multitude of technologies for the Indian electrochemical industry. The 750 patents, 250 processes, 600 sponsored and grant-in-aid projects, 450 licensee and 5,500 research and review papers that the institute boasts of are ample testimony to its leadership in nation building. Naturally, reflecting on the fact that the inimitable Alagappa Chettiar donated 300 acres of land and Rs.15 lakhs in cash in 1948 to establish a national laboratory devoted solely to electrochemistry at a time when this branch of study was relegated to the flipside of the physical chemistry syllabi in universities, one cannot miss the rare philanthropy and foresightedness of this great visionary.
Headquartered at Karaikudi, CSIR-CECRI has extension centres in Chennai, Mandapam and Tuticorin. Focusing on Fuel cells, Marine Corrosion and offshore corrosion testing. In living up to its raison d'etre, the institute works on a gamut of problems covering all facets of Electrochemical Science and Technology: Corrosion Science and Engineering, Electrochemical Materials Science, Electrochemical Power Sources, Electrochemical Pollution Control, Fundamental Electro Chemistry, Electro metallurgy, Industrial Metal Finishing, and Nanoscale Electrochemistry.
CSIR-CECRI's activities are directed towards the development of new and improved products and processes as well as novel innovations in electrochemical technology. A number of investigations are run in collaboration with laboratories from within and outside India. Agencies that tap CSIR-CECRI's expertise include small and big private industrial houses as well as government agencies such as atomic energy, defence, environment, space, surface transport, and ocean development. Apart from engaging in basic and applied research, CSIR-CECRI assists the industry by conducting surveys and undertaking consultancy projects. The institute also conducts short-term refresher courses for the benefit of industrial houses and educational institutions.
As part of its human resource development programme, CSIR-CECRI runs a unique B.Tech. course in Chemical and Electrochemical Engineering supported by the Anna University with the help of independent . Researchers and doctoral students from this part of the country make good use of the excellent library as well as the analytical and characterisation facilities at the institute. CSIR-CECRI also organizes national and international conferences for the dissemination of scientific knowledge with the help of an independent professional organization of Society for Advancement of Electrochemical Science and Technology (SAEST) . It is also alive to societal obligations and participates in activities such as entrepreneur development and CSIR's youth development programme. CSIR-CECRI is a recipient of several technology awards for its telling service to both Indian and Global industries.
To say that the CSIR-Central Electrochemical Research Institute is the mainstay of electrochemical industry in India is to state the obvious.