Dr. Malini Balakrishnan

Director, Center for Water Security

Area of Expertise

Wastewater, Resource efficiency

Research Interests

  • Wastewater treatment
  • Membrane technologies
  • Resource recovery
  • Translating technology solutions for MSMEs
  • Circular economy


  • PhD, Department of Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology, IIT Delhi

Past Associations

  • Senior Fellow, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), New Delhi
  • Adjunct Faculty, TERI School of Advanced Studies, New Delhi


Dr Malini Balakrishnan is the Director-Center for Water Security. Prior to joining Plaksha, she was a Senior Fellow at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), New Delhi where she spent over 25 years being closely involved with different industry sectors, targeting resource use/recovery and waste utilization. The work on enhancing resource efficiency in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) (covering multiple sectors such as metal fabrication/finishing, chemicals and intermediates manufacture etc.) in India and select south Asian countries achieved significant savings in energy, water and raw materials. Her research efforts have been primarily targeted at evolving affordable solutions to specific local problems. Dr Balakrishnan has experience in execution and coordination of pilot demonstrations of technologies such as membrane filtration (for upgrading the juice clarification process in the Indian sugar industry), diffusion dialysis, acid retardation and nanofiltration based recovery systems (for waste acid/rinse water in Indian metal finishing SMEs). She initiated and led TERIs efforts in field testing of membrane bioreactors (MBRs) for wastewater treatment using indigenously prepared membranes from industrial waste. These demonstrations have provided a deeper understanding of challenges in technology adaptation and possible approaches that would encourage the uptake of such technologies. 

Dr. Balakrishnan has worked extensively in partnership with various international and national research groups, leading many multi-institutional international projects. Several of these projects were funded by the European Commission with TERI as the lead partner. She has successfully integrated applied R&D with academic research. As an adjunct faculty at the TERI School of Advanced Studies, Dr. Balakrishnan has supervised PhD candidates and published over 100 research papers. She has served as a nominated expert in select programmes of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, in the Chemical Division Council of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), reviewer for various funding agencies and peer-reviewed international journals.

Dr Balakrishnan has a B.E. (Hons) in Chemical Engineering and M.Sc. (Hons) in Chemistry, both from Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani, India, M.A.Sc in Chemical Engineering from University of Waterloo, Canada, and PhD in Biochemical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, India.