IISC Current Affairs

IISc scientists develop first super critical carbon dioxide (S-CO2) Brayton Test Loop facility

Scientists from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru have indigenously developed country’s first super critical carbon dioxide (S-CO2) Brayton Test Loop facility. The facility was inaugurated at the IISc campus. It is first test loop technology coupled with solar heat source in world that will generate clean energy from power plants, including solar thermal.

Key Facts

The facility is part of Indo-US consortium- Solar Energy Research Institute for India and United States (SERIIUS). It was developed by research group at inter-disciplinary centre for energy research of IISc as part of consortium. Funding was provided by Department of Science and Technology (DS&T) under Indo-US Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Centre programme.

This facility uses supercritical CO2 (SCO2) instead of steam to generate more power. Supercritical refers to state of CO2 above its critical temperature of 31 C and critical pressure of 73 atmospheres, which makes it twice as dense as steam. S-CO2 operated in closed loop Brayton cycle increases efficiency of energy conversion by as much as 50% or more.


This next generation, efficient, compact, waterless super critical CO2 Brayton cycle test loop for power generation will be useful for meeting energy needs of the country. It has potential to replace steam based nuclear and thermal power plants, thus reducing the carbon foot print significantly. Besides, increasing power generation and making process more efficient, the new technology will make power plants cheaper with lower operating costs.

It will be indigenous initiative for setting up next generation of solar thermal power plants. This gives India opportunity to become world leader in this technology, and fulfil major objective of National Solar Mission which emphasizes indigenous manufacturing.


Drought, heatwaves increasing in frequency, area in India: IISc Study

Researchers from Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have found that frequency of heatwaves accompanied by drought has increased in magnitude and in area over past three decades in India.

The increases in cocktail of drought and heatwaves were seen particularly in Maharashtra and Southern Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Central India.

Key Facts

Heatwaves (a prolonged period when temperatures approach record extremes) and droughts are destructive even when occurring in separate events, but their concurrence is far more serious. Both phenomena have a serious bearing on water resources, affecting agriculture and human settlements.

The conclusion was based on analysis of rainfall and temperature data of 50 years. Researchers had compared Heatwave Magnitude Index daily (HWMId) — which combines duration and magnitude of heatwaves — and Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI), which defines meteorological drought from 1951 to 1981.

In all combinations of heatwaves (3.5 and 10-day events) and drought (moderate or severe) were analysed during this period. It was found that, percentage increase in frequency was most significant in parts of Maharashtra and Southern Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The increase may be due to intricate relationship of land surface processes, soil moisture, evapo-transpiration and local climate.

The area affected b extreme of extreme incident has gone from almost nothing in 1951, to nearly 4% by 2010. Nearly 18% of country’s area on average has been facing at least three days of temperatures above 85th percentile.