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Science Monitor: (24 October 2020)

Science Monitor: (24 October 2020)

1. 6th India International Science Festival to be held in virtual format


While keeping up with new normal it has been decided to organize the 6thedition of the India International Science Festival in virtual format. The decision was taken by the Union Minister Dr. Harshvardhan at a recently held review meeting in New Delhi. This year, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research has been given the key responsibility to organize the festival which will run from the 22nd to the 25th of December. It is expected that a large number of scientists students and Institutions from India and abroad will participate in the 2020 edition.

About the Festival

  • The India International Science Festival was launched in 2015 to encourage one and all and especially the young minds towards science by bringing science outside the classroom and labs. Since then, every year this great fair of science and technology is being organised jointly by various department related to science and technology and Vijnana Bharati (Vibha).India International Science Festival | Kolkata - India International  Science Festival
  • In view of the pandemic this year, the festival will be held in virtual format. This time the CSIR will spearhead the festival with support from all the other patrons and concern departments.
  • IISF is a culmination of activities and events to celebrate the achievements of science and technology by involving all the stakeholders of science ranging from students to technocrats this festival has been organised in different cities of the country.
  • Previous two editions were organised in New Delhi followed by Chennai and Lucknow and the last one was organised in Kolkata in 2019. 28 events covering various aspects of science and technology were organised in which about 20,000 scientists, researchers and students took part.
  • Several events are expected to be line up on various themes before and during IISF 2020. This year besides promoting passion for science, IISF will also reflect on the role of Indian scientists and their capability to address global challenges like covid-19. This program will also be a major platform to showcase science and technology innovation developed in India with the aim of global welfare.

2. CSIR-IHBT introduces Asafoetida cultivation in India


Asafoetida or hing is used as spice throughout the country but it is not cultivated in India and imported entirelyHing Spice: Meet the hing kings, who brought the spice to India over a  century ago from countries like Iran and Afghanistan. CSIR’s Palampur based Institute of Himalayan bio resource technology has recently started the cultivation of Asafoetida in LahaulValley of Himachal Pradesh.

About the Asafoetida:

  • Asafoetida is not produced in India. Every year about 1200 tons of raw Asafoetida is imported from Iran, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan which cost around 100 million rupees. Now, with the exceptional efforts of CSIR’s Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology situated in Palampur, the cultivation of Asafoetida has been introduced in the country on October 15th. The Institute started its cultivation by planting Asafoetida sapling in the in Lahaul Valley of Himachal Pradesh in association with the Department of Agriculture of the state.
  • Worldwide, there are around 130 species of Genus Ferula and a few of them are also found in Himachal’s Chamba, Kashmir valley and Ladakh but the species of Ferula Asafoetida which is used for the cultivation of Hing was not present in India.
  • In 2017, IHBT scientists approached ICAR National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources and Asafoetida seeds were imported from Iran in 2018. After conducting initial research and development, the plants were grown in Lahaul valley on an experimental basis on the supervision of both the organisations. These plants thrive best in cold and dry desert region and as of now Lahaul valley thought to be best place for its cultivation in India.
  • Asafoetida is actually a gum resin derived from the tap roots of Ferula Asafoetida. It takes about 5 years to develop the Olio gum in the rhizomes. Therefore, IHBT scientists and official of the agriculture department have trained farmers of Lahaul village to cultivate the crop effectively.
  • Now, the cultivation has also started in the demonstration plots prepared in Madgara, Biling and kilong villages and there is an also plan to expand its cultivation further.

3. Indigenous synthesis of 2D-Tungsten Disulfide Nanosheets


Hyderabad based International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI) is engaged in developing advanced material based technologies fulfilling the need of various Industries. Now, the scientists working here have developed an improved and commercially viable method of synthesizing two-dimensional Tungsten Disulfide Nanosheets which is of great significance to the petrochemical industry. Besides, this material is also potential candidate for various other applications.

About the development:

  • ARCI is one among the premier research and development organisations that are working in Industrial sector. This autonomous centre of department of science and technology is engaged in preparing indigenous advance materials required by various industries. In this series, ARCI’s Centre Synthesize Tungsten Disulfide Nanosheets (E) - YouTubefor Nanomaterials has developed a superior and low-cost method of synthesizing 2-D Tungsten Disulfide Nanosheets. Thismaterial is used as a catalyst in petrochemical industries.
  • ARCI scientists developed the innovative method based on control temperature and fresher approach. The method showed excellent capability in the bulk synthesis of 2-D transitional metal sulfides. The team observed the microstructure of the synthesized materials under a scanning electron microscope and found that the materials had a very surface area.
  • 2-D Tungesten Disulfide has extremely low coefficient of friction and this makes it a solid lubricant under high shear load in forging. This material is used in hydrogen evolution reaction and also as a petrochemical catalyst. 2-D transitional metal sulfides are also potential candidate for applications and field emission tunnelling transistors Li-ion battery electrodes and lubricants.
  • Remarkable properties and potential applications of these Graphene like materials has triggered worldwide efforts to develop new synthesizing techniques. The unique and indigenous method developed by ARCI is not only cost effective but also capable of producing reproducible quality materials in bulk quantities. The centre has also developed a pilot scaled reactor indigenously and the availability of indigenous material and technology will surely benefit the Indian industries.

4. SustainableProcessing of Municipal Solid Waste


In order to provide an effective solution to the solid waste problem, a municipal solid waste processing facility was started by CSIR Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute, Durgapur and overtime it has incorporated various techniques to manage different kinds of waste. This sustainable facility has helped not only in achieving decentralized decimation of solid waste but also in creating value added end products.

About the facility:Integrated Waste management for Municipal Solid waste | Central Mechanical  Engineering Research Institute

  • According to the Central Pollution Control Board, more than 1,35,000 tons of garbage is generated daily in the country and out of this only 20 percent is treated effectively, the rest remains in landfilling sites and is called the dead waste. Untreated waste contaminates air, soil and water and directly affects the health of the people.
  • To tackle this problem, CSIR’s Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI), Durgapur worked towards developing a sustainable facility to process municipal solid waste. Now, the technology developed by the Institute envisions a zero land fill, zero waste city by processing the waste in an environment friendly way and by creating job opportunities.
  • The system developed by CMERI uses state of the art segregation technology which is equipped to deal with a wide range of waste for proper disposal the Institute converts solid waste in to plasma using plasma arc technology which obtains residues with better carbon content. These residues can be used as a fertilizer or they can be used in the construction sector by converting them in to bricks.
  • The Institute has also developed a biomethanation plant for making biogas from the organic waste targeting a zero landfill. The facility also has a pyrolysis unit which converts plastic into gas and liquid fuel. These fuels are used to run the plant so the process is sustainable.
  • Apart from this, technology has also been developed to achieve eco-friendly disposal of solid waste without forming toxic substances. In view of the corona infection, the facility has also added UVC light and hot air convection method to kill all the pathogens which is a very good idea to break the covid-19 chain and to minimise other infections.
  • Decentralised waste management technology developed by CMERI will reduce waste transportation cost in cities while biofuels obtained by waste disposal will reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Proper execution will reduce the need for landfill and create an environment without waste. This technology will also boost green energy in India.


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