MIT Current Affairs - 2020

India’s first Super Fab Lab inaugurated in Kerala

On January 25, 2020, India’s first Super Fab Lab was inaugurated in Kerala. The laboratory is to function in collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA. It is the only laboratory that is being installed outside US.

Highlights

The Super Fab Lab is being installed in collaboration with KSUM (Kerala Startup Mission). The laboratory will break down barriers between physical world and digital world.

What is a Fab Lab?

A Fab Lab is a laboratory that offers digital fabrication. It is colloquially defined as, “How to make almost anything”. It is an array of computers that covers almost all materials. It is used in businesses to develop prototypes and also in education. It includes CNC cutting, plasma metal cutting, laser cutting, electronics and microprocessors and 3D printing and scanning.

Vigyan Ashram

Vigyan Ashram was the first Fab Lab to be opened in India. It was established in 2002. Also, it was the first fab lab to be opened outside USA (MIT).

Fab Fi

Fab Fi is the wireless network that is currently being operated in Afghanistan, US and Kenya. It provides high speed internet from a central provider.

KSUM

The Kerala Start up Mission is an entrepreneurship development programme that creates environment and infrastructure to support high-technologies.

MIT researchers develop new technology to remove CO2 from air

Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), United States (US) have developed a new technology to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from a stream of air, virtually at any concentration level. This is a new advance that may pave the way for new strategies to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) levels. The study by researchers was published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science.

About the New Technology

While in most of the prevalent methods, removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from a stream of gas required higher concentrations like those found in flue emissions from fossil fuel-based power plants, but the new method could take out gas even when it was present in very low concentrations.

Method: Researchers described the device as a large, specialized battery with a stack of electrodes that absorbs CO2 from air passing over its surface as it was being charged up, and then released gas as it was being discharged. A chemical reaction then takes place at surface of each of a stack of electrodes as battery charges.

The electrodes are coated with a compound called polyanthraquinone compounded with carbon nanotubes.  The study noted that electrodes have a natural affinity for CO2 and readily reacted with its molecules in airstream/feed gas.  This new technology device operates at room temperature and normal air pressure.

The biggest advantage of this technology over most other carbon absorbing/carbon capture technologies is- ‘binary nature of the adsorbent’s affinity to carbon dioxide’. Moreover, the new system is energy efficient compared to existing methods- consistently using about one gigajoule (GJ) of energy per ton of CO2 captured.