Science, technology and innovations in India

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Novel technique could help detect tropical cyclones for Bay of Bengal Basin earlier than satellites


Posted On: 09 JUN 2021 8:42AM by PIB Delhi



Indian Scientists have found a promising technique for early detection of development or strengthening of tropical cyclones in the atmospheric column prior to satellite detection over ocean surface in North Indian Ocean region.


Early detection of Tropical cyclones has wide socio-economic implications. So far, remote sensing techniques have detected them the earliest. However, this detection was possible only after system developed as a well-marked low-pressure system over the warm ocean surface. A larger time gap between the detection and the impact of the cyclone could help preparation activities.


Prior to the formation of cyclonic system over the warm oceanic environment, the initial atmospheric instability mechanism, as well as the vortex development, is triggered at higher atmospheric levels. These cyclonic eddies are prominent features in the vertical atmospheric column encompassing the disturbance environment with a potential to induce and develop into a well-marked cyclonic depression over the warm ocean surface. They could be used for detection of prediction of cyclones


A team of Scientists including Jiya Albert, Bishnupriya Sahoo, and Prasad K. Bhaskaran from IIT Kharagpur, with support from the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India under the Climate Change Programme (CCP), devised a novel method using Eddy detection technique to investigate the formative stages and advance detection time of tropical cyclogenesis in the North Indian Ocean region. The research was published in the journal ‘Atmospheric Research’ recently.


The method developed by the scientists’ aims to identify initial traces of pre-cyclonic eddy vortices in the atmospheric column and track its Spatio-temporal evolution. They used coarser grid resolution of 27 km for identification and finer resolution of 9 km to evaluate the characteristics of eddy vortices. The study was conducted with cases of four post-monsoon severe cyclones –Phailin (2013), Vardah (2013), Gaja (2018), Madi (2013), and two pre-monsoon cyclones Mora (2017) and Aila (2009) that developed over North Indian Ocean.


The team observed that the method could bring about genesis of prediction with a minimum of four days (~ 90 h) lead time for cyclones developed during the pre-and post-monsoon seasons. Initiation mechanisms of genesis of tropical cyclones occurs at upper atmospheric levels and are also detected at higher lead time for pre-monsoon cases, unlike the post-monsoon cases. The study made a comprehensive investigation on the behavior of eddies in an atmospheric column for non-developing cases and compared these findings with developing cases.


The technique was found to have potential for early detection of tropical cyclogenesis in the atmospheric column prior to satellite detection over ocean surface.


https://static.pib.gov.in/WriteReadData/userfiles/image/image001QM2I.jpg



Figure: Hovmöller diagram representing the shear and vorticity components of Okubo-Weiss Zeta Parameter (OWZP) for cyclones (a) Phailin, (b) Vardah, (c) Gaja, and (d) Madi corresponding to inner domain (9 km resolution). Blue marker represents atmospheric pre-cyclonic eddies detection using OWZP technique, and the red marker represents satellite detection of low-pressure over warm ocean surface.
 

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Scientists identify genes to improve fertilizer nitrogen use efficiency in rice--India Science Wire
By India Science Wire

5-6 minutes



A farmer using fertilizer (Photo: Pixahive)

In a major boost to the scientific efforts for crop improvement to save nitrogenous pollution and fertilizers worth billions, Indian biotechnologists identified candidate genes for nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) in rice. This was accomplished by Prof. Nandula Raghuram, Dr. Supriya Kumari and Dr. Narendra Sharma from the School of Biotechnology, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi.

Their findings have just been published in the premier international journal, Frontiers in Plant Science . The article is titled “Meta-Analysis of Yield-Related and N-Responsive Genes Reveals Chromosomal Hotspots, Key Processes, and Candidate Genes for Nitrogen-Use Efficiency in Rice “. Analysing over 16,600 genes compiled from their own research and dozens of others, they systematically shortlisted “62 candidate genes”; they further narrowed them down to “06 high priority target genes” for their potential to improve NUE in rice.

“Every year, urea worth Rs. 50,000 crores (5 billion) is lost from Indian farms, with rice and wheat accounting for about two-thirds of it”, says Raghuram, who led the research. “This loss roughly equals the annual government subsidy on urea. We can neither afford such waste of money, nor the pollution it causes” he says. As the co-editor of the Indian Nitrogen Assessment (2017), he is concerned that India is emerging as one of the global hotspots of nitrogen pollution of water and air, adversely affecting our health and climate change. As the Chair of the International Nitrogen Initiative (INI), he helped Indian government pilot the first ever UN resolution on sustainable nitrogen management in 2019.

“Half of the solution lies in biological crop improvement, while the other half can come from improving fertilizer formulations and cropping practices. Rice is an ideal target crop for this, but the main challenge was the lack of identified or predicted gene targets for crop improvement. We now offer them to the scientific community to collectively fast forward crop improvement”, says Raghuram.

In a major boost to the scientific efforts for crop improvement to save nitrogenous pollution and fertilizers worth billions, Indian biotechnologists identified candidate genes for nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) in rice. This was accomplished by Prof. Nandula Raghuram, Dr. Supriya Kumari and Dr. Narendra Sharma from the School of Biotechnology, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi.
Supriya Kumari and Narendra Sharma compiled a list of 14,791 rice genes involved in nitrogen response and 1,842 genes involved in yield, totaling 16,633 to begin with. They identified 1064 genes common to both for further shortlisting, as NUE involves both N input and grain yield output. “Using a series of genetic and bioinformatic tools, we hierarchically shortlisted them to 62 genes, most of which were located on chromosome 1 and 3” says Kumari. Further, “using machine learning tools, we narrowed them down to 6 high priority target genes” says Sharma. Both Kumari and Sharma are Research Associates in Raghuram’s project on ‘South Asian Nitrogen Hub’ funded by the UK Research and Innovation under the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF-SANH), through the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Edinburgh.

“NUE is controlled by too many genes and shortlisting them is very important for crop improvement towards NUE”, says Dr. Subramanyam Desiraju, co-principal investigator of the SANH project from the Indian Institute of Rice Research, Hyderabad. He collaborated earlier with Raghuram’s group in the discovery of the ‘phenotype’ for visually differentiating low and high NUE cultivars of rice, published in January this year.

According to Indian Nitrogen Assessment, rice is important for NUE, as it consumes 37% of all N-fertilizers in India, the highest among all crops on account of its lowest NUE. Fertilizers like urea emit ammonia, which can deposit on particulate matter and impact human health. Urea also accounts for 77% of all agricultural nitrous oxide emission to the Indian environment. Nitrous oxide is 296 times more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide in causing climate change. N-fertilizers also cause water pollution and algal blooms, killing fish and affecting livelihoods.

The current publication on target genes for NUE is a part of a special collection of 22 articles under the theme “Nitrogen Use Efficiency and Sustainable Nitrogen Management in Crop Plants”. The publication of this collection put together by the International Nitrogen Initiative coincided with its 8th triennial international nitrogen conference (INI2021) held virtually between 30th May and 3rd June.
 

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Home-grown Maritime Traffic Management software to be ready in 2022, says IIT Madras.
 

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IIT Delhi developed a new technology and built “Hydrogen fuelled Spark-Ignition Engine Generator"

The new engine developed hydrogen in internal combustion engines for zero-emission with higher thermal efficiency
Excellent news, it's a much needed technology that needs to be streamlined in the market. GOI should give tax breaks to people who buy it. Proud of IIT.
 

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IISc facility can detect water pollutants at low concentration

BENGALURU: A facility setup at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) can be a key in identifying the sources of water pollution and even assessing the efficiency of remediation methods.


The multi-instrument facility includes Quadrupole Inductively Couple Plasma Mass Spectrometer fitted with collision reaction cell (QQQ-ICP-MS), and an Inductively Couple Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometer with dual detection capability (ICP-OES).


 

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IIT Roorkee academic awarded for the design and development of Blast-Resistant Helmet
By India Education Diary Bureau Admin

3-4 minutes



Roorkee : Prof. Shailesh Ganpule from Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department (MIED), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee has been conferred with the ‘NSG Counter-IED & Counter-Terrorism Innovator Award 2021′ for his outstanding contribution and innovation in the design and development of Blast-Resistant Helmet.

The award was conferred in a ceremony held at NSG Campus, Manesar, Haryana. Blast-induced traumatic brain injury has been identified as a signature wound in recent asymmetric conflicts. Military helmets are classically designed for protection against ballistic impact, with little to no attention for protection against blast. The Blast-Resistant Helmet is an advanced version of conventional helmets to protect military personnel from IED-induced blast waves with a technology readiness of 4.

 

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IIT Ropar develops nation's first power-free CPAP device 'Jivan Vayu'

Aimed at saving lives in low resource areas and during transit


Posted On: 14 JUN 2021 12:40PM by PIB Chandigarh



Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar has developed a device ‘Jivan Vayu’ which can be used as a substitute of CPAP machine. However, this is Nation’s first such device which functions even without electricity and is adapted to both kinds of oxygen generation units like O2 cylinders and oxygen pipelines in hospitals. These provisions are not available in otherwise existing CPAP machines.





Figure 1: Jivan Vayu breathing circuit for CPAP therapy delivering a positive pressure of up to 20cm H2O and accelerated flow rate of up to 60 LPM


Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is a treatment method for patients having breathing problems during sleep called sleep apnea. The machine uses mild air pressure to keep the airways open for easy breathing. It is also used to treat infants whose lungs have not fully developed. The machine blows air into the baby's nose to help inflate his or her lungs. The treatment is all the more necessary during early stages of the Covid-19 infection. It reduces lung damage and allow patients to recover from the inflammatory effects.





Figure 2: Computer Aided Design of ‘Jivan Vayu’, optimized using flow parameters


Fulfilling all the medically required parameters, this leak-proof, low-cost CPAP delivery system, “Jivan Vayu’ is designed for a 22mm CPAP closed circuit tube. It can even be customized as per the size of the tube. Since it can run during power failures, this can be used to safely transport a patient.





Figure 3: 3D printed prototype of ‘Jivan Vayu’ a CPAP therapy device designed for accelerated oxygen delivery


“This was the need of the hour during the present Covid pandemic when power supply is the key concern for saving lives of those on medical equipments such as ventilators and oxygen concentrators”, said Dr. Khushboo Rakha, Assistant Professor, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, who has developed the device at the Advanced Materials and Design Lab of IIT Ropar.


“It has an inbuilt viral filter at the air entrainment end which has a viral efficacy of 99.99%”, assures Dr Rakha. The viral filter ensures that the air does not bring in any pathogens from the environment. The device has been manufactured using 3D printing and has also been tested mechanically.


‘Jivan Vayu’ can deliver high flow oxygen (20–60 LPM) while maintaining a continuous positive pressure of up to 20 cm H2O. The device is designed to maintain an FiO2 of above 40% with a PEEP (positive end-expiratory pressure) of 5-20 cm H2O.


Dr. Khushboo Rakha and her team have collaborated with Mr. Suresh Chand, Faculty Incharge, Rapid Prototyping Lab, Siemens Centre of Excellence at Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh for 3D printing of the device.


The device is ready for medical testing and mass manufacturing.
 

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Researchers find an improved method of imaging objects through fog


Posted On: 15 JUN 2021 1:10PM by PIB Delhi



Imaging of objects in foggy weather conditions may now be clearer. Researchers have found a method that can improve the images captured on such days. The technique involves modulating the light source and demodulating them at the observer’s end.


Scientists have long attempted to use the physics of scattering and computer algorithms to process the resulting data and improve the quality of images. Whereas the improvements are not stark in some cases, computer algorithms require processing large volumes of data, involving ample storage and significant processing time.


Research by a team has offered a solution for improving the image quality without heavy computations. The team from the Raman Research Institute (RRI), Bengaluru, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology; Space Applications Centre, Indian Space Research Organisation, Ahmedabad; Shiv Nadar University, Gautam Buddha Nagar; and Université Rennes and Université Paris-Saclay, CNRS, France, modulated the light source and demodulated them at the observer’s end to achieve sharper images. The research was published in the journal ‘OSA Continuum’.


The researchers have demonstrated the technique by conducting extensive experiments on foggy winter mornings at Shiv Nadar University, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Uttar Pradesh. They chose ten red LED lights as the source of light. Then, they modulated this source of light by varying the current flowing through the LEDs at a rate of about 15 cycles per second.


The researchers kept a camera at a distance of 150 metres from the LEDs. The camera captured the image and transmitted it to a desktop computer. Then, computer algorithms used the knowledge of the modulation frequency to extract the characteristics of the source. This process is called ‘demodulation’. The demodulation of the image had to be done at a rate that was equal to the rate of modulation of the source of light to get a clear image.


The team saw a marked improvement in the image quality using the modulation-demodulation technique. The time the computer takes to execute the process depends on the image’s size. “For a 2160 × 2160 image, the computational time is about 20 milliseconds,” shares Bapan Debnath, PhD scholar at RRI and a co-author of the study. That is roughly the size of the image containing the LEDs. His colleagues had estimated the rate in 2016.


The team repeated the experiment a few times and observed the improvement each time. Once, when the fog varied in intensity during the observation, they did not record a marked improvement in the image quality. In this case, there was a strong wind, and they observed fog trails across the scene. The density of the water droplets in the air changed as time passed, which rendered the modulation-demodulation technique less effective.


Next, the researchers changed the experimental setup. They made an external material, a piece of cardboard kept at a distance of 20 centimetres from the LEDs, to reflect the light to the camera. The distance between the cardboard and the camera was 75 metres. The modulated light reflected from the cardboard travelled through the fog and was then captured by the camera. They demonstrated how their technique still significantly improved the quality of the resulting image.


Repeating the experiment under sunny conditions, they found that after performing the demodulation of the source, the image quality was high enough to distinguish the LEDs from the strongly reflected sunlight.


The study was partially funded by the Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India.


The cost of the technique is low, requiring only a few LEDs and an ordinary desktop computer, which can execute the technique within a second. The method can improve the landing techniques of aeroplanes by providing the pilot with a good view of beacons on the runway, significantly better than relying only on reflected radio waves as is presently the case. The technique can help reveal obstacles in the path that would otherwise be hidden by fog in rail, sea, and road transportation and would also help spotting lighthouse beacons. More research can demonstrate the effectiveness in such real-life conditions. The team is investigating whether the technique can apply to moving sources.


Publication link:https://doi.org/10.1364/OSAC.425499
 

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New precision Iodine Value Analyzer gets recognition by FSSAI--India Science Wire
By India Science Wire

3 minutes




In one of its initiatives to encourage the manufacturing industry in India, CSIR-Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) had developed and transferred the technology of “Precision Iodine Value Analyzer (PIVA)”, an instrument for the measurement of the degree of unsaturation (Iodine Value) in vegetable oils. This indigenous food testing equipment – PIVA was recognized by FSSAI during World Food Safety Day.

Conventionally, Iodine value is determined using manual titration, and few analytical instruments based on automated titration are also available in the market. However, these methods take longer analysis time, are costly, and use toxic chemicals. Researchers, at CSIR-CSIO, developed a rapid analysis technique, which takes just three minutes for analysis of Iodine Value. Also, the cost of analysis per sample was reduced drastically, the CSIR-CSIO statement said.

In one of its initiatives to encourage the manufacturing industry in India, CSIR-Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) had developed and transferred the technology of “Precision Iodine Value Analyzer (PIVA)”, an instrument for the measurement of the degree of unsaturation (Iodine Value) in vegetable oils. This indigenous food testing equipment – PIVA was recognized by FSSAI during World Food Safety Day.
The technology had been transferred to M/s Comfax Systems, a Chandigarh-based start-up. The technology has applications in Oil extraction units, quality control and assurance labs, food regulatory authorities, soaps and cosmetics, bakeries, meat industry, paint industry, biodiesel analysis, and charcoal industry. The technology is also useful in determining adulteration in edible oils and fats.

Currently, PIVA has been calibrated and tested for Coconut, Sunflower, Mustard, Palm, Rice Bran, Soyabean, Groundnut, Olive Oil, and Ghee. This new development is a part of the ongoing effort to strengthen the food testing capabilities by introducing quick and advanced Food Testing Kits. This is the newest addition to the approved kits/ equipment approved by FSSAI for rapid food testing.
 

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Researchers reveal how excess sugar causes fatty liver--India Science Wire
By India Science Wire

5-6 minutes



Dr. Prosenjit Mondal and P. Vineeth Daniel (L to R)

In a new study conducted by the researchers at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mandi has conclusively shown that excessive sugar intake leads to a fatty liver. This could offer an incentive for reducing sugar intake to stop non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in its early stages. The unravelling of the molecular link between sugar and fat accumulation in liver is key to developing therapeutics for the disease, researchers said.

A team of researchers from IIT Mandi, led by Dr Prosenjit Mondal, Associate Professor, School of Basic Sciences, has used complementary experimental approaches to establish the underlying biochemical relationship between the consumption of excessive sugar and the development of ‘fatty liver’, medically known as Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). This research comes at a time in which the Government of India has included NAFLD in the National Programme for Prevention & Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS).

NAFLD is a medical condition in which excess fat deposits in the liver. The disease starts silently, with no overt symptoms for as much as two decades. If left untreated, the excess fat can irritate the liver cells, resulting in scarring of the liver (cirrhosis), and in advanced cases, can even lead to liver cancer. The treatment of advanced stages of NAFLD is difficult.

Dr Prosenjit Mondal said, “The molecular mechanisms that increase hepatic DNL due to overconsumption of sugar have not been clear.” “Our goal was to unravel this mechanistic pathway between excessive sugar consumption and onset and development of fatty liver Through DNL”, he further added.

India is the first country in the world to identify the need for action on NAFLD and with good reason. The prevalence of NAFLD in India is about 9% to 32% of the population, with the state of Kerala alone having a prevalence of 49% and a staggering 60% prevalence among obese school-going children.

In a new study conducted by the researchers at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mandi has conclusively shown that excessive sugar intake leads to a fatty liver. This could offer an incentive for reducing sugar intake to stop non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in its early stages. The unravelling of the molecular link between sugar and fat accumulation in liver is key to developing therapeutics for the disease, researchers said.
One of the causes for NAFLD is the over-consumption of sugar – both table sugar (sucrose) and other forms of carbohydrates. The consumption of excess sugar and carbohydrates causes the liver to convert them into fat in a process called hepatic De Novo Lipogenesis or DNL, which leads to fat accumulation in the liver.

Through a complementary experimental approach involving mice models, the IIT Mandi team has shown the hitherto unknown link between the carbohydrate-induced activation of a protein complex called NF-κB and increased DNL.

“Our data indicates that the sugar-mediated shuttling of hepatic NF-κB p65 reduces the levels of another protein, sorcin, which in turn activates liver DNL through a cascading biochemical pathway,” explained the lead scientist.

The research team has shown that drugs that can inhibit NF-κB can prevent sugar-induced hepatic fat accumulation. They have also shown that the knockdown of sorcin reduces the lipid-lowering ability of the NF-κB inhibitor.

This study shows that NAFLD can now be added to the repertoire of diseases that can be treated with drugs that block NF-κB. NF-κB also plays a role in other diseases that involve inflammation, such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, IBS, stroke, muscle wasting and infections, and scientists around the world are developing therapeutics that can block NF-κB, IIT Mandi Statement said.

This study has been published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The research paper has been co-authored by Dr Prosenjit Mondal along with his research scholars, Mr. Vineeth Daniel, Ms. Surbhi Dogra, Ms. Priya Rawat, Mr. Abhinav Choubey from IIT Mandi, in collaboration with Dr Mohan Kamthan and Ms. Aiysha Siddiq Khan from Jamia Hamdard Institute, New Delhi, along with Mr. Sangam Rajak from SGPGI, Lucknow.
 

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Cabinet approves Deep Ocean Mission


Posted On: 16 JUN 2021 3:33PM by PIB Delhi



The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the proposal of Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) on "Deep Ocean Mission", with a view to explore deep ocean for resources and develop deep sea technologies for sustainable use of ocean resources.


The estimated cost of the Missionwill be Rs. 4077 crore for a period of 5 years to be implemented in a phase-wise manner. The estimated cost for the first phase for the 3 years (2021-2024) would be Rs.2823.4 crore. Deep Ocean Mission with be a mission mode project to support the Blue Economy Initiatives of the Government of India. Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) will be the nodal Ministry implementing this multi-institutional ambitious mission.


The Deep Ocean Mission consists of the following six major components:


  1. Development of Technologies for Deep Sea Mining, and Manned Submersible: A manned submersible will be developed to carry three people to a depth of 6000 metres in the ocean with suite of scientific sensors and tools. Only a very few countries have acquired this capability. An Integrated Mining System will be also developed for mining Polymetallic Nodules from 6000 m depth in the central Indian Ocean. The exploration studies of minerals will pave way for the commercial exploitation in the near future, as and when commercial exploitation code is evolved by the International Seabed Authority, an UN organization. This component will help the Blue Economy priority area of exploring and harnessing of deep sea minerals and energy.




  1. Development of Ocean Climate Change Advisory Services: A suite of observations and models will be developed to understand and provide future projections of important climate variables on seasonal to decadal time scales under this proof of concept component. This component will support the Blue Economy priority area of coastal tourism.




  1. Technological innovations for exploration and conservation of deep-sea biodiversity: Bio-prospecting of deep sea flora and fauna including microbes and studies on sustainable utilization of deep sea bio-resources will be the main focus. This component will support the Blue Economy priority area of Marine Fisheries and allied services.




  1. Deep Ocean Survey and Exploration: The primary objective of this component is to explore and identify potential sites of multi-metal Hydrothermal Sulphides mineralization along the Indian Ocean mid-oceanic ridges. This component will additionally support the Blue Economy priority area of deep sea exploration of ocean resources.




  1. Energy and freshwater from the Ocean: Studies and detailed engineering design for offshore Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) powered desalination plant are envisaged in this proof of concept proposal. This component will support the Blue Economy priority area of off-shore energy development.




  1. Advanced Marine Station for Ocean Biology. This component is aimed as development of human capacity and enterprise in ocean biology and engineering. This component will translate research into industrial application and product development through on-site business incubator facilities. This component will support the Blue Economy priority area of Marine Biology, Blue trade and Blue manufacturing.

The technologies required for deep sea mining have strategic implications and are not commercially available. Hence, attempts will be made to indigenise technologies by collaborating with leading institutes and private industries. A research vessel for deep ocean exploration would be built in an Indian shipyard which would create employment opportunities. This mission is also directed towards capacity development in Marine Biology, which will provide job opportunities in Indian industries. In addition, design, development and fabrication of specialised equipment, ships and setting up of required infrastructure are expected to spur the growth of the Indian industry, especially the MSME and Start-ups.


Oceans, which cover 70 per cent of the globe, remain a key part of our life. About 95 percent of Deep Ocean remains unexplored. For India, with its three sides surrounded by the oceans and around 30 per cent of the country's population living in coastal areas, ocean is a major economic factor supporting fisheries and aquaculture, tourism, livelihoods and blue trade. Oceans are also storehouse of food, energy, minerals, medicines, modulator of weather and climate and underpin life on Earth. Considering importance of the oceans on sustainability, the United Nations (UN) has declared the decade, 2021-2030 as the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. India has a unique maritime position. Its 7517 km long coastline is home to nine coastal states and 1382 islands. The Government of India's Vision of New India by 2030 enunciated in February 2019 highlighted the Blue Economy as one of the ten core dimensions of growth.
 

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A novel technology for coating carbon on lithium metal oxide electrode, can double battery life


Posted On: 19 JUN 2021 3:33PM by PIB Delhi



Researchers have developed a non-expensive way to coat carbon on lithium metal oxide electrodes for lithium-ion batteries. The life of the lithium-ion cells prepared using these electrode materials is expected to be doubled due to protective carbon coating.


Lithium-ion batteries are the most commonly used power source for electric vehicles. However, its penetration to the daily usage against gasoline-based vehicles require drastic improvement in the lifetime and cost as well as mileage per charge. The active components of lithium-ion batteries are cathode, anode, and electrolyte. While commercial graphite is used as anode, lithium metal oxides or lithium metal phosphates are used as a cathode in Li ion battery. The electrolyte is a lithium salt dissolved in organic solvents. The capacity of the lithium-ion battery determines the mileage of the electric vehicle. Before the capacity reduces to 80%, the number of charging cycles determines the life of the battery.


Carbon being inert to most chemicals and stable under the operating window is the best choice of coating material to improve the cyclic stability of the active materials. Carbon coating on the active materials can double the lifetime of the lithium-ion cells. However, coating carbon on lithium metal oxide is very challenging, because of the difficulty involved in coating carbon during the synthesis of lithium metal oxide material in a single step.


To address this issue, researchers at the International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy & New Materials (ARCI), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India, have developed a technique to coat carbon in situ on lithium transition metal oxides in single step while synthesizing the oxide itself. Generally, carbon is coated on oxide materials using a second step, which is not uniform and is expensive as well. In ARCI method, a carbon precursor is trapped in between the transition metal hydroxide layers to minimize the reaction with oxygen even when heat-treated in the air during solid-state synthesis. Uniform carbon coating on the lithium transition metal oxides --LiNi0.33Mn0.33Co0.33O2 (NMC111) was achieved through this technique.


The electrochemical performance of the lithium-ion cells constructed using carbon-coated NMC111 is at par with that of the commercial lithium-layered oxide cathodes. Superior cyclic stability of the carbon coated product with capacity retention of more than 80% after 1000 cycles of charging/discharging is demonstrated with an optimum carbon thickness matching commercial samples. The researchers at ARCI expect the electrochemical performance to improve further once the lab-scale batch process is replaced by the continuous process to enable the process to be commercially viable.




Fig.1 (left): A high resolution of transmission electron microscopy of one of the particles showing uniform carbon coating (right): Electrochemical characteristic of ARCI developed C-NMC111 in par with commercial material.
 

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Sea water desalination through solar thermal forward osmosis brings relief to drought prone Tamil Nadu village


Posted On: 19 JUN 2021 3:30PM by PIB Delhi



Narippaiyur, a village in Ramanathapuram District, a drought prone area situated in the South-East corner of Tamil Nadu will benefit from 20,000 litres per day of fresh water produced from sea water – thanks to the solar thermal Forward Osmosis (FO) sea water desalination system installed in the place.


The customized demand driven convergent water solution through FO will supply two litres of good quality drinking water per person per day for 10,000 people in the village, successfully overcoming a major drinking water shortage in the village. The FO system facilitates high recovery, low energy consumption, potential for resource recovery, especially in solutions of high osmotic pressure, less fouling of the membrane because of low pressure operation, easier and more effective cleaning of the membrane, longer membrane life and lower operating costs.


Tamil Nadu IIT Madras in collaboration with Empereal – KGDS Renewable Energy have successfully established and demonstrated this system to address prevalent and emerging water challenges in Mission Mode in the village.


Ramanathapuram District, situated in the South-East corner of Tamil Nadu, is severely affected by scarcity of potable water due to salinity, brackishness and also poor sources of ground water. The district of 423000 hectares has a long coastal line measuring about 265 kilometres accounting for nearly 1/4th of the total length of the coastal line of the state.


The Water Technology Initiative, Department of Science & Technology (DST) has supported this field based effort in the district through the consortium members led by Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM), KGiSL Institute of Technology (KITE), Empereal– KGDS Renewable Energy (P) and ICT Mumbai.





Forward Osmosis system installed at Narippaiyur Village, Ramanathapuram District, Tamil Nadu





LFR based Solar Thermal System Solar hot water system installed at Narippaiyur Village, Ramanathapuram District, Tamil Nadu


The sea water FO technology operates at near 2 bar pressure unlike sea water RO that operates at 50 bar pressure. It is versatile, has high energy efficiency and low operation and maintenance costs compared to other technologies.


The produced water will be supplied to the local people with the support of villagers and panchayat. This initiative of DST can pave way for scaling up the emerging technology in various coastal rural areas of the country to address drinking water shortage.
 

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- Times of India
John Sarkar / TNN / Jun 21, 2021, 21:29 IST

3 minutes


NEW DELHI: ToneTag, a proximity communication company and sound network has worked closely with eminent scientists from Indian Institute of Sciences to develop acoustic tags which are nanotech enabled stickers with audio representations of data. It can be put on plastic, paper or any material and works as a tracking technology for products.
These tags emit a sound with product details that can be easily captured by any reader or even mobile phones, hence eliminating the need for expensive reader infrastructure which comes with RFID or magnetic tags.

 

sorcerer

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Aloe vera chemical may be used in memory chips, states IIT Indore study


IIT Indore has recently conducted a study that found that the popular succulent plant aloe vera known for its properties to soothe sunburns and other skin issues and even for improving digestive and oral health, surprisingly has a chemical that can be used to make memory chips and data storage devices.

An IIT Indore official said that they have found aloe vera to contain an "electronic memory effect chemical”. He said the study was carried out by the Materials and Device (MAD) laboratory of the institution's physics department.

 

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ARCI develops cost-effective catalysts for metal-air battery


Posted On: 24 JUN 2021 4:15PM by PIB Delhi



A new non-precious metal-based bi-functional electrocatalyst (capable of catalyzing two different types of reactions) can decrease cost and increase the efficiency of metal air batteries.


With the rise in demand for different energy sources, worldwide efforts are being made to develop different kinds of energy devices, such as lithium-ion batteries, lead-acid batteries, redox flow batteries, lithium-air batteries, zinc-air batteries, etc. sodium-ion batteries, fuel cells, and super capacitors.


Among them, Zn-air batteries have drawn significant attention due to their low cost and high energy density. They are compact power sources for portable electronics and electric vehicles and energy storage devices to manage energy flow among renewable energy generators, such as wind turbines, photovoltaic panels, electric grids, and end-users. However, a major challenge for such batteries is catalyst development. A bi-functional catalyst works for oxygen reduction while discharging the battery and the same catalyst helps in oxygen evolution reaction during the charging cycle. Most of the conventional catalysts available consist of noble metals in their composition, making the batteries costly.


International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI), an autonomous R&D Centre of Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India, has developed the cost-effective electrocatalyst by anchoring transition metal ions into the sulfur-doped carbon framework via carbonization of a polymer called sPEEK (sulphonated polyether ether ketone). This catalyst synthesis method can also be used to recycle used ionomers (polymer composed of both neutral repeating units and ionized units).


The scientists have used an ion-exchange strategy that positions the metal ions in the carbon framework homogeneously, limits the particle size and offers control on composition and size at a very low loading of transition metal. Cost-effectiveness is thus achieved by low loading of transition metal, high activity, and high cycling stability compared to many of the catalysts earlier reported in the literature.


The catalyst also leads to reduced voltage polarization, enabling higher energy efficiency and a stable charge-discharge characteristic. The results obtained were comparable to that of conventionally used noble metal-based catalysts with metal loading of 20% or higher. The research has been published in ACS Applied Energy Materials.











Fig. a) TEM image of Mn-S-C catalyst b) electrochemical property and c) charge-discharge characteristics of the developed catalysts.
 

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Cost-effective, bio-compatible nanogenerators can harvest electricity from vibrations for optoelectronics, self-powered devices


Posted On: 26 JUN 2021 9:04AM by PIB Delhi



Scientists have fabricated a simple, cost-effective, bio-compatible, transparent nanogenerator that can generate electricity from vibrations all around for use in optoelectronics, self-powered devices, and other biomedical applications.


Searching for renewable energy resources with reduced carbon emissions is one of the most urgent challenges due to the increasing threat of global warming and energy crisis. Some of the unconventional methods to generate electricity include piezoelectric, thermoelectric, and electrostatic techniques used in devices like touch screens, electronic displays, and so forth.


The triboelectric nanogenerators (TENG) make use of mechanical energy in the form of vibrations present everywhere in different forms to generate electricity. The energy harvesting TENG works on the principle of creation of electrostatic charges via instantaneous physical contact of two dissimilar materials followed by generation of potential difference when a mismatch is introduced between the two contacted surfaces through a mechanical force. This mechanism drives the electrons to move back and forth between the conducting films coated on the back of the tribo layers. The method employed till date to design TENG use expensive fabrication methods like photolithography or reactive ion etching, and additional process like electrode preparation and so on.


Dr. Shankar Rao and his team from the Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences, Bengaluru, an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, have designed a transparent TENG, using thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU) either in the form of electrospun nanofibers or as a flat film using the simpler Doctor’s blade technique, along with Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) as tribo layers. TPU nanofibers are obtained from the electrospinning (ES) technique. The Doctor’s blade technique, a routine procedure adapted in a variety of situations, squeezes the material through a blade and the substrate yielding a uniform thin layer. The easy availability of the active material and the simplicity of the fabrication process make it cost-effective over currently available fabrication techniques. The resulting device is also highly efficient, robust, and gives reproducible output over long hours of operation. The results were published in ‘Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology’.


The fabricated device could light up eleven LEDs by gentle hand tapping and could be a potential candidate for use in optoelectronics, self-powered devices, and other biomedical applications.


https://static.pib.gov.in/WriteReadData/userfiles/image/image0015JIT.png



Image of the flexible and transparent TENG device with PET as one and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) as the complementing tribolayer. With the application of a small force of 0.33N, the device provided 21.4 V and 23 µA as open-circuit voltage and short-circuit current, respectively, indicating the high efficiency of the device. In addition, the gentle hand tapping on the TENG device can power up to 11 light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
 

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Indian researcher’s team in Canada develops ‘smartphone test’ that diagnoses infections in minutes | India News - Times of India

NEW DELHI: An Indian researcher and her team in Canada have developed a new ‘smartphone test’ that can end the agonising wait for lab results by diagnosing bacterial infections, such as a urinary tract infection, in less than an hour. The team is also adapting the technology for detection of viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, by testing it on samples from Covid-19 patients.

“We used specific DNAzymes — a synthetic DNA molecule — that can interact with the components of bacterial cells. This is embedded in our highly sensitive device that can translate this interaction of bacteria and DNAzyme into an electrical signal in less than an hour, without the need for any bacterial growth and enrichment,” said Pandey. The results can then be read on a smartphone.


 

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