Indian Institute of Technology-Madras Current Affairs - 2019
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The Union Minister for Science and Technology inaugurated the three Department of Science and Technology (DST) mission centres at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) at the collective cost of Rs 50 crore.
DST Mission Centres
The three DST mission centres inaugurated were:
- DST -IITM Solar Energy Harnessing Centre: This will focus on a wide range of research and technology development activities such as silicon solar cells that promise high efficiency and are suited for Indian conditions.
- DST- IITM Centre for Sustainable Treatment, Reuse and Management for Efficient, Affordable and Synergistic Solutions for Water (Water-IC for SUTRAM of EASY WATER): It focuses on synchronized research and training programs on various issues related to wastewater management, water treatment, sensor development, stormwater management and distribution and collection systems.
- DST-IITM-KGDS Test-bed on Solar Thermal Desalination Solutions in Narippaiyur: It has been established with an aim to deliver customised technology solutions to address prevalent water challenges in the arid coastal village located on the shores of the Bay of Bengal.
These centres are focused on critical technologies for sustainability like harnessing of solar energy in myriad ways, and scientific recycling and conservation of water.
The researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) have recreated space fuel by simulating interstellar conditions in the laboratory. It is a big breakthrough for India in the exploration of cleaner and sustainable alternatives to fossil fuel.
The discovery has the potential to convert atmospheric carbon dioxide into a next-generation energy source to curb greenhouse gases and global warming.
The research of the IIT-M in this regard has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Study of Space Fuels
The team from IIT-M was able to create methane-containing clathrate hydrates in ultra-high vacuum (1000 billion times below the atmospheric pressure) and at a temperature close to -263oC. i.e. the conditions at deep space.
This discovery of hydrates at extremely low pressures and ultra-cold temperatures is highly unexpected. The team predicts that molecules like methane and ammonia in space could exist in a completely different form than what is known to us.
Tackling Climate Change
Clathrate hydrates are crystalline solids containing gases like methane and carbon dioxide trapped in well-defined cages of water molecules. These hydrates, especially of methane, are considered to be the fuel of the future.
The researchers then repeated the experiments with carbon-di-oxide and similar hydrates were produced. This can be a breakthrough in dealing with global warming. Now carbon dioxide can be trapped from the atmosphere and carbon dioxide gas can be sequestered as solid hydrates under the sea bed.