Scientific Research Current Affairs - 2020

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.

President Pranab Mukherjee conferred Infosys Prize 2015

President Pranab Mukherjee has conferred the Infosys Prizes to six winners for their outstanding contribution in the research fields in New Delhi for the year 2015.

These six winners in six different categories are

  • Jonardon Ganeri: He was awarded in Humanities category for his outstanding work in interpreting and scrutinizing analytical Indian Philosophy.
  • Umesh Waghmare: He was awarded in Engineering and Computer Science category for his innovative use of first-principles theories and modeling of certain materials such as topological insulators, multiferroics, ferroelectrics and graphene.
  • Mahan Maharaj: He was awarded in Mathematical Sciences category for his contributions to low-dimensional topology, geometric group theory and complex geometry.
  • Amit Sharma: He was awarded in Life Sciences category for his contributions in deciphering the molecular structure at the atomic level of key proteins involved in the biology of pathogenesis of the deadly malarial parasite.
  • Ravindra Kumar: He was awarded in Physical Sciences category for his pioneering experimental contributions to the physics of high intensity laser matter interactions.
  • Srinath Raghavan: He was awarded in Social Sciences category for outstanding research that synthesizes military history, strategic analysis and international politics into powerful and imaginative perspectives on India in global context.

About Infosys Prize

  • Infosys Prize is an annual award bestowed upon researchers, scientists, social scientists and engineers in India by the Infosys Science Foundation (ISF).
  • The Prize is given to six categories Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Engineering and Computer Science, Social Sciences, Physical Sciences and Humanities.
  • Each category prize carries a 22-carat gold medallion, a citation certificate and prize money of 65 Lakh rupees. It is one of the highest monetary awards in India that recognize the scientific research.