Methane Current Affairs - 2019

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IIT-KGP develops Hydro Thermal Carbonization technology for Waste Management

IIT-KGP (Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur) researchers develop new technology- Hydro Thermal Carbonization (HTC) for solid waste management. This Hydro Thermal Carbonization Technology can convert municipal solid waste to biofuel, soil amendment and absorbents.

About Hydro Thermal Carbonization (HTC)

Need: At present India has adopted waste incineration processes from developed nations which are primarily focused on treating drier waste content. These processes require high energy input to combust municipal solid waste generated in India which has high moisture content due to tropical weather, open collection systems and mixed waste thus by using existing processes, only 20-30% of organic fraction of municipal solid waste is being recycled to biofuel. This lack of India suited technology led to develop a technology which can address the challenge indigenously.

Process: Moisture in waste is used to the advantage of process which uses water for reaction. The biofuel generated as recovered output can help curb air pollution.


Technology can be used by civic bodies to effectively manage solid waste.

Once organic waste is entered into process, the outputs generated are all usable.

All outputs can be used for one purpose or the other, including the water which can be converted to biogas or methane.

IIT-M recreates Space Fuel

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.