Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 13 September 2023

Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize

GS Paper - 3 (Science)

An Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) professor Rajnish Kumar has received the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize. Professor Kumar has been awarded for his contributions to fundamental understanding of the nucleation and growth of clathrate hydratesCO2 sequestration in solid hydrates and methane recovery from marine gas hydrates.

More about the Prize

  • The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology (SSB) is a science award in India presented annually by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for notable and outstanding researchapplied or fundamental, in biologychemistryenvironmental scienceengineeringmathematics, medicine and physics.
  • Started in the year 1985, the award is named after the founder director of CSIR Dr Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar.
  • Professor Kumar is a faculty in the department of chemical engineering. In 2018, he was recognised as ‘highly cited researcher’ in engineering.
  • He has also received the NASI-SCOPUS Young Scientist Award for the year 2016. The professor, as per an IIT Madras statement, has over 10 years of experience in research and teaching with ‘H-index=49 and i10-index=100’ with total citations (>9000) on Google Scholar.
  • His research interests are in unconventional energy resources including natural gas hydrates.
  • Kumar’s research group has published close to 140 research articles, book chapters and patents and has delivered multiple invited talks at international and national conferences and institutes.
  • During 2020, he received the Dr YBG Varma Award for Teaching Excellence in Chemical Engineering. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry [FRSC] in London UK.
  • The role of additives in gas hydrate inhibition and growth and their application in methane recovery from marine gas hydrates, flow assurance, hydrate-based gas separation process, and methane storage and transportation are some of the projects in which the group is actively working.

Global Biofuel Alliance launched

GS Paper - 2 (International Relations)

India announced the launch of the Global Biofuel Alliance and urged G20 nations to join the initiative with a plea to take ethanol blending with petrol globally to 20 per cent. Speaking at the G20 Summit session on 'One Earth', Prime Minister Narendra Modi also proposed launching the 'G20 Satellite Mission for Environment and Climate Observation' and urged leaders to commence work on the 'Green Credit Initiative'.

What is Global Biofuels Alliance

  • The Global Biofuels Alliance, which the world's third biggest oil consumer wants to push during its G20 presidencymirrors the International Solar Alliance (ISA) piloted by New Delhi and Paris in 2015 to bring clean and affordable solar energy within the reach of all.
  • Such alliances are aimed at creating options for developing countries to advance their energy transitions.
  • Biofuels are also important from the perspective of a circular economyMarketstradetechnology, and policy all aspects of international cooperation are crucial in creating such opportunities.
  • Biofuel is a renewable source of energy which is derived from biomass. India, which imports over 85 per cent of its crude oil needs, is gradually building capacity to produce fuel from such items as crop stubbleplant waste, and municipal solid waste.
  • While India is on schedule to double the mixing of ethanol extracted from sugarcane and agriculture waste to 20 per cent with petrol by 2025, it is also setting up dozens of compressed biogas (CBG) plants.
  • Along with India, all the countries of the Global South are pleased that developed countries have taken a positive initiative this year, in 2023.
  • Developed countries have expressed their willingness to fulfil their commitment of USD 100 billion for climate finance for the first time.
  • At the Copenhagen UN climate talks in 2009, developed countries had committed to providing USD 100 billion per year by 2020 to support developing countries in combating climate change. However, the wealthier nations failed repeatedly to fulfil this commitment.

Why the Global Biofuels Alliance

  • The Global Biofuels Alliance is aimed at facilitating cooperation and intensifying the use of sustainable biofuels across sectors, including transportation.
  • Its focus is primarily on strengthening marketsfacilitating global biofuel trade, developing concrete policy lesson-sharing and providing technical support for national biofuel programmes worldwide.
  • Such an initiative is also aimed at helping India's transition to alternative fuels and cutting its import bill, as it seeks to achieve its net zero carbon emissions goal by 2070.
  • On the other hand, the ISA aims to mobilise more than USD 1,000 billion of investment needed by 2030 for the massive deployment of solar energy.
  • The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that global sustainable biofuel production would need to triple by 2030 to put the world's energy system on track towards net zero emissions by 2050.
  • Liquid biofuels provided more than 4 per cent of the total transport energy supply in 2022.

India, Saudi Arabia inked 8 agreements

GS Paper - 2 (International Relations)

India and Saudi Arabia have signed as many as eight agreements during the State visit of Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, said the Ministry of External Affairs.

More about agreement

  • The agreements signed are in the field of energy, in the field of digitalization and electronic manufacturing, and cooperation between India's Central Vigilance Commission and Saudi Anti-corruption.
  • There was an agreement between the two investment entities, India and Saudi counterparts Exim banksSmall and Medium Enterprises Banks and an agreement on desalination. An agreement was also signed on renewable energy.
  • One is the field of energy which was signed by the Saudi Minister of Energy and our Minister of New and Renewable Energy.
  • Then there was an agreement between the agreement in the field of digitalisation and electronic manufacturing between the IT ministries of both sides.
  • Another agreement was between Central Vigilance Commission of India and its counterpart the Saudi Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority.

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