Brazil Current Affairs - 2020

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CBERS-4A: New China-Brazil earth resource satellite launched into space

The China-Brazil Earth Resource Satellite-4A (CBERS-4A), a new satellite jointly developed by China and Brazil as part of a bilateral programme, was recently sent into space, thus further pushes forward the aerospace cooperation between two countries. It was launched on a Long March-4B carrier from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Shanxi Province of China. The same rocket also put into orbits another 8 satellites, including a wide-range multispectral remote-sensing microsatellite donated to Ethiopia (which is also Ethiopia’s first satellite).

About China-Brazil Earth Resource Satellite-4A (CBERS-4A)

CBERS-4A is equipped with 3 optical payloads:- a wide-range panchromatic multispectral camera developed by China, and a wide-field imager and a multispectral camera developed by Brazil. It will obtain global optical remote-sensing data and will also support Brazilian government’s to monitor Amazon rainforest and changes in country’s environment.

It will also be used in fields such as earth resource monitoring, agriculture, environmental protection, meteorology, surveying and mapping, and serve Brazil and more developing countries. It can also provide services for African, Latin American and Asian countries.

The satellite was jointly developed by China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) and National Institute for Space Research (NISR) of Brazil, while the carrier rocket was developed by Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology.

Background: CBERS-4A will replace CBERS-4 (which was launched in 2014), to improve the resolution of remote-sensing data. The satellite is 6th satellite under earth resource satellite cooperation program between two countries that began in 1988. The satellites designed under program are for Earth observation from orbit for non-military use and first such earth research satellite was launched from China in 1999.

NOTE: The China and Brazil bilateral programme is also seen as a template for broader cooperation among both countries as well as Russia, India and South Africa (i.e. BRICS nation overall). Currently, only South Africa in BRICS bloc does not have satellites of its own.

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Indian Oil to set up new 2G Ethanol Plant in Panipat

The Indian Oil Corporation recently received environment clearance from Ministry of EFoCC (Environment, Forest and Climate Change), to set up a new 2G Ethanol plant at Panipat. Indian Oil will invest Rs 766 crore in setting up the plant.


  • The Ethanol produced in the plant will be exclusively used to blend transportation fuels
  • The project also aims at doubling farmers income


The Government is trying in every way to reduce the dependence on petroleum products like petrol and diesel. The GoI recently notified that no Environmental Clearance is required for sugar mills to produce more ethanol from sugarcane juice.

Ethanol as Fuel

Ethanol is most often used as motor fuel. It is predominantly used as a biofuel additive for gasoline. Brazil was the first country to produce Ethanol run car (the first ethanol run vehicle in the world) in 1978.

Ethanol in India

India initiated the use of Ethanol as a fuel in 2003. India began its journey with E5 fuel which uses 5% Ethanol and 95% diesel. In 2006, India began its second phase of E10 biofuel which consists of 10% Ethanol and 90% Diesel.

India is yet to launch E15 officially. However, the E15 outlets have grown from 180 in the year 2016 to 394.

Indian Government has set a target of 22.5%. In November, 2019, IOCL, HPCL and BPCL announced that they are investing 586 million USD to achieve the target. Around 7 ethanol producing units will be launched according to the plan.

While other countries have entered E100, India is just putting its baby steps towards biofuel. However, the potential is huge. According to IEA (International Energy Agency), around 25% of world energy demand will come via India in 2040.

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