hydrocarbons Current Affairs - 2019

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A new Catalyst: To Convert Carbon Dioxide into Natural Gas

The Engineers at the Stanford University have developed a new catalyst that helps to turn carbon dioxide from cars into fuels like propane or natural gas.

About the Research

Catalysts induce chemical reactions without being used up in the reaction. In this new research scientists have combined ruthenium and iron oxide nano particles to form the new catalyst. The ruthenium nuggets sit in the core of the catalyst surrounded by an outer sheath of iron. This arrangement activates the hydrocarbon formation from Carbon-Dioxide.

Earlier methods

The earlier methods invented so far have only produced the simplest hydrocarbon methane from effluents of vehicles. This method produces propane and other higher hydro carbons including natural gas. Also, earlier methods involve two steps of processes. They first reduce carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide and then the second step involves combining carbon monoxide and hydrogen to form hydrocarbons


It is a transition element belonging to platinum group of elements. It is gaining importance in the recent years after scientists discovered its electrical applications in contacts and thin film resistors. Since then the annual production of ruthenium from the platinum ores have increased from 19 tons in 2009 to 35.5 tons in 2017.

Scientists Discover Oil-Eating Bacteria at the Bottom of the Ocean

Scientists from Ocean University in Qingdao, China and the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England have discovered a bacteria that eats oil.

Oil-Eating Bacteria

  • The oil eating bacteria was discovered in the western Pacific Ocean’s 10,994-meter-deep Mariana Trench.
  • The team from collected samples from the trench. In the samples, they found microorganisms that eat compounds similar to those in oil.

The expedition was organised by marine explorer and film director James Cameron.

Significance of the Discovery

Hydrocarbons are organic compounds that are made of only hydrogen and carbon atoms. They are found in many places, including crude oil and natural gas. These types of microorganisms which essentially eat compounds similar to those in oil and then use it for fuel can play a significant role in degrading oil spills in natural disasters such as BP’s 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.