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6th June Current Affairs

Ethanol

(GS-II: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors)

In News:

Indian Prime Minister briefed, that India has achieved 10% ethanol blending ahead of the deadline.

What is Ethanol Blending Programme?

Ethanol is an agro-based product, mainly produced from a by-product of the sugar industry, namely molasses.

Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme was launched in January, 2003.

The programme sought to promote the use of alternative and environment-friendly fuels and to reduce import dependency for energy requirements.

Need for Ethanol blending in India:

Ethanol has become one of the major priorities of 21st Century India.

Mixing 20 percent ethanol in petrol holds multiple attractions for India.

First, it can potentially reduce the auto fuel import bill by a yearly $4 billion, or Rs30,000 crore.

Second, it also provides for farmers to earn extra income if they grow produce that helps in ethanol production.

Third, is the fact that ethanol is less polluting than other fuels and, per the NITI Aayog paper, “offers equivalent efficiency at a lower cost than petrol”.

Use of ethanol-blended petrol decreases emissions such as carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC), and nitrogen oxides (NOx), the expert committee noted. Higher reductions in CO emissions were observed with E20 fuel — 50 per cent lower in two-wheelers and 30 percent lower in four-wheelers.

Recent related developments:

The procedure of procurement of ethanol under the EBP has been simplified to streamline the entire ethanol supply chain and remunerative ex-depot price of ethanol has been fixed.

To facilitate achieving of new blending targets, a “grid” which networks distilleries to OMC depots and details quantities to be supplied has been worked out.

State-wise demand profile has also been projected, keeping in view distances, capacities, and other sectoral demands

Further, The Government of India has advanced the target for 20% ethanol blending in petrol (also called E20) to 2025 from 2030.

Never again will there be a coal shortage

(GS-III: Change in industrial policy and their effects, Infrastructure, energy, etc.)

In News:

The Union Coal Minister said that there was a shortage of coal due to an extraordinary situation.

Details:

The demand for power went up due to improved economic activity, but at the same time power plants operating on imported gas and coal stopped producing power because of high gas and coal prices.

Coal prices increased from$40 a tonne to $210 a tonne. Also, power plants operating with blended coal (partly imported) stopped importing and began demanding domestic coal.

Coal:

It originates from organic matter wood, when large tracts of forests are buried under sediments, wood is burnt and decomposed due to heat from below and pressure from above.

This phenomenon makes coal but takes centuries to complete.

Classification of Coal(on the basis of carbon content and time period):

Anthracite:

It is the best quality of coal with the highest calorific value and carries 80 to 95% carbon content.

It ignites slowly with a blue flame and is found in small quantities in Jammu and Kashmir.

Bituminous:

It has a low level of moisture content with 60 to 80% of carbon content and has a high calorific value.

Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh have deposits of Bituminous.

Lignite:

It carries 40 to 55% carbon content and is often brown in colour with high moisture content thus, gives smoke when burnt.

Rajasthan, Lakhimpur (Assam), and Tamil Nadu have deposits of Lignite.

Peat:

It is the first stage of transformation from wood to coal with low calorific value and less than 40% carbon content.

The top 5 States in terms of total coal reserves in India are: Jharkhand > Odisha > Chhattisgarh > West Bengal > Madhya Pradesh.

The leading coal producers of the world include China, US, Australia, Indonesia, India.

Coal Blending:

Coal blending is a practice that has been undertaken by many power stations to provide a consistent feedstock of fuel for power generation or to meet different requirements such as solving transportation problems, fuel cost, reducing slagging, and SOx emission.

Low-grade (high ash) coal can be mixed with higher-grade (imported) coal without deterioration in thermal performance of the boiler, thus reducing the cost of generation.

Coal Gasification:

Coal gasification is a process in which coal is partially oxidized with air, oxygen, steam, or carbon dioxide to form a fuel gas.

This gas is then used instead of piped natural gas, methane, and others for deriving energy.

In-situ gasification of coal – or Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) – is the technique of converting coal into gas while it is still in the seam and then extracting it through wells.

It produces Syngas which is a mixture consisting primarily of methane (CH4), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen (H2), carbon dioxide (CO2), and water vapour (H2O).

Syngas can be used to produce a wide range of fertilizers, fuels, solvent, and synthetic materials.

India’s Dependence on coal:

The installed capacity for coal-based power generation across the country was 2.04 lakh megawatt (MW). This accounts for about 5% of power from all sources.

Coal-based power stations are retired periodically which happens all the time. But is not fast enough nor are new additions being halted.

Coal is still most inexpensive compared with other present sources of energy.

According to the IEA’s Coal Report 2021, India’s coal consumption will increase at an average annual rate of 9% to 1.18billon tonnes in 2024.

Impact of coal on the environment:

The threat of global warming is looming over the planet, bringing unprecedented natural calamities. An effective way to keep the danger at bay is to cut the use of fossil fuels coal, natural gas, and oil. About 80% of the world’s energy requirements are met by these three fuels.

Coal emits nearly twice as much carbon dioxide as natural gas and about 60% more than oil, on a kilogram comparison having a greater role in global warming.

Combusting coal also leaves behind partially burnt carbon particles that feed pollution and trigger respiratory disorders.

The power sector in India, which uses the majority of the coal, accounts for 49% of total carbon dioxide emissions, compared with the global average of 41%.

Interpol

(GS-II: Important International Institutions, agencies, and fora – their Structure, Mandate)

In News:

Preparations are afoot for the 90th Interpol General Assembly, to be held in Delhi.

What is Interpol?

The International Criminal Police Organization, commonly known as Interpol is an international organization that facilitates worldwide police cooperation and crime control.

Headquartered in Lyon, France, it is the world’s largest international police organization, with seven regional bureaus worldwide and a National Central Bureau in all 195 member states.

Interpol was conceived during the first International Criminal Police Congress in 1914, which brought officials from 24 countries to discuss cooperation in law enforcement.

Interpol provides investigative support, expertise, and training to law enforcement worldwide, focusing on three major areas of transnational crime: terrorism, cybercrime, and organized crime.

Its broad mandate covers virtually every kind of crime, including crimes against humanity, child pornography, drug trafficking and production, political corruption, intellectual property infringement, and white-collar crime.

The agency also facilitates cooperation among national law enforcement institutions through criminal databases and communications networks.

However, Interpol is itself not a law enforcement agency.

What is the Interpol General Assembly?

It is Interpol’s supreme governing body, and comprises representatives from all its member countries.

It meets annually for a session lasting approximately four days, to vote on activities and policy.

Each country is represented by one or more delegates at the Assembly, who are typically chiefs of law enforcement agencies.

The Assembly also elects the members of the Interpol Executive Committee, the governing body which “provides guidance and direction in between sessions of the Assembly”.

Interpol and India:

The CBI is the designated nodal body for the Interpol in India. It works in close coordination with the Interpol and other member countries for the sharing of inputs related to trans-national crimes and persons wanted by enforcement agencies across the world.

India has been a member since 1956.

Like any member nation, India maintains a National Central Bureau, which serves as the national platform for cooperation between domestic law enforcement units and the international police community.

The NCB is the designated contact point for the Interpol.

India has collaborated with the Interpol, in tackling a myriad of organised crimes such as poaching, wildlife trafficking, spurious drugs, and fake medicine rackets, among others.