Chemistry Current Affairs - 2019

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PM Narendra Modi lays foundation stone of City Gas Distribution Projects

Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid foundation stone of City Gas Distribution (CGD) Projects of Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in 65 Geographical Areas (GAs) in 129 districts under 9th CGD bidding round. He also launched 10th CGD Bidding Round in 50 GAs spread over 124 districts in 14 states.

Natural gas is superior fuel as compared with coal and other liquid fuels, as it is environment friendly, safer and cheaper fuel. It can be supplied through pipelines and hence, there is no need to store cylinders in kitchen and thus saves space. It is environment friendly fuel and its usage as domestic kitchen fuel, as fuel for transport sector as well as fuel for industries and commercial units can play a significant role in reducing carbon emission. It is 60% cheaper compared with petrol and around 45% cheaper when compared with Diesel.

Implementation Process

Around 96 cities and districts in different parts of the country were covered for development of CGD networks till September 2018. As per commitment made by various entities in 9th bidding round, around 2 crore PNG (Domestic) connections and 4600 CNG stations are expected to be installed across the country in next 8 years. Various pre-project activities for these GAs already have commenced and efforts are being made to commence the physical works at the site. To further boost expansion of PNG/CNG network in India, Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) has launched 9th CGD bidding round in April, 2018 for 86 GAs covering 174 districts in 22 States/UTs.

Significance

The development of CGD networks across India is focused to increase availability of cleaner cooking fuel such as PNG and transportation fuel (CNG) to all the citizens of the country. Its expansion will benefit industrial and commercial units by ensuring the uninterrupted supply of natural gas. It will also expand the potential coverage of CGDs to about 50% of country’s population, spreading over 35% of the area.

Background

Currently, share of natural gas in India’s energy mix is just over 6% and aim is to reach 15% figure for mowing towards gas based economy, while world average is 24%. India aims to bring down its carbon emission level and number of initiatives have been taken in this direction such as BS VI fuel, bio-energy, LED bulbs, International Solar Alliance (ISA), Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojana and providing clean piped gas supply to more cities.

India is also be enhancing LNG terminal capacity, renegotiating Indo-Qatar Gas deal and encouraging positive Indo-US engagement in this direction. It is not only focussing on increasing use and supply of gas, but also on producing gas through agro-wastes and other products and including same into CGD network. It has also increased its focus on promoting the usage of environment-friendly clean fuel, natural gas as fuel and feedstock across country to move towards gas based economy.

Jean-Pierre Sauvage, J Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L Feringa win 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Trio of Jean-Pierre Sauvage, J Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L Feringa have won the prestigious 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has chosen them for this award for their individual efforts in developing molecular machines. These three laureates will share the 8 million Swedish kronor (around $933,000) prize equally.

What are molecular machines?

  • Molecular machines or nanomachines are the world’s smallest machines.
  • Their working is inspired by proteins that naturally act as biological machines within cells.
  • Molecular machines are discrete number of synthetic molecular components fused together. They produce quasi-mechanical movements in response to specific external stimuli such as light or temperature change.
  • Molecular machines can be put to work as tiny motors, pistons ratchets or wheels to produce mechanical motion and can move objects many time their size.
  • Future Potential Applications: Molecular machines can be developed to function as artificial muscles to power tiny robots or even prosthetic limbs in case of Bionics.
  • They may lead to developments like new sensors, materials and energy storage systems.
  • They can be used to deliver drugs within the human body directly to target a specific area of tissue to medicate or cancerous cells.
  • They can be used to design of a molecular computer which could be placed inside the body to detect disease even before any symptoms are exhibited.

Contributions of

  • Jean-Pierre Sauvage (France): He had taken first step towards a molecular machine in 1983, after he successfully linkied together two ring-shaped molecules to form a chain.
  • J Fraser Stoddart (Britain): In 1991, he threaded a molecular ring onto a thin molecular axle and successfully demonstrated that the ring was able to move along the axle.
  • Bernard L Feringa (Netherlands): He is the first person to develop a molecular motor. In 1999 successfully designed molecular rotor blade to spin continually in the same direction. He also had designed nanocar using molecular motors.