Carbon sink Current Affairs - 2019

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European Investment Bank to stop Fossil Fuel Funding by 2021

The European Investment Bank is to stop funding oil and coal projects at the end of 2021. Since 2013, the European Union through the bank has funded 13.4 billion Euros for fossil fuel projects. In 2018, it was around 2 billion Euros. The Union has been reducing its funding to fossil fuel projects and is stopping by 2021.

Highlights

  • The EIB’s new policy demands that the energy projects applying for funding must prove that they can produce 1 Kilo watt hour of energy emitting less than 250 grams of carbon dioxide.
  • The new rules being adopted are not applicable to gas-based energy projects. However, gas projects should be based on the norms set by the bank for “new technologies”. The “new technologies” include carbon capture, combining heat and power generation, mixing in renewable gases with fossil fuels, etc.
  • The exemptions are made on gas projects as they are common in the EU member states. For the next 5 years, EU has over 200 billion USD worth projects planned.

EU aims to become first carbon-neutral continent by 2050.

Bio Bricks from Agri waste

The researchers from IIT Hyderabad and School of Architecture, Bhubaneswar have developed bio-bricks from agricultural waste. The product serves dual purposes of development of eco-friendly sustainable material and also waste management.

The Process

  • The Bagasse from agricultural waste is chopped to desired size.
  • A lime-based slurry is prepared.
  • The chopped agro-waste is added to the slurry and mixed thoroughly using a mixer to form a homogenous mixture.
  • The mixture is then poured into the molds.
  • The molds are then rammed with wooden blocks to create compact bricks.
  • The bricks attain strength after a month of air drying.

Significance

  • The bricks are made from agro-waste like wheat straw, paddy straw, sugarcane bagasse and cotton plant.
  • Bio-bricks are more sustainable than clay bricks.
  • They also act as carbon sinks as they fix more carbon dioxide than they produce during their lifecycle.
  • The bricks also provide good insulation to heat and sound
  • They help in maintaining humidity of buildings and make the house more suitable for hot-humid climates.

The bricks will help in building climate change resilient homes. In India as 84 to 141 million tons of agricultural wastes are burnt causing severe air pollution, these steps help in reducing these incidents.