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IIT – Kharagpur Researchers develop Technology to make Biofuel manufacturing cheaper, quicker and free of Pollution

The 'soil-to-soil' manufacturing technology developed at the P.K. Sinha Centre for Bioenergy at IIT - Kharagpur is in the process of being patented

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  • The ‘National Policy on bio-fuel’ targeted 20 per cent blending of biofuel with petrol by 2017
  • This project is funded by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Department of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Human Resource Development
  • Bioethanol can be produced from various naturally available ligno-cellulosic components

Kolkata, May 31, 2017:  Researchers at IIT – Kharagpur have developed a technology that has the potential to make biofuel manufacturing cheaper, quicker and free of pollution.

The ‘soil-to-soil’ manufacturing technology developed at the P.K. Sinha Centre for Bioenergy at IIT – Kharagpur is in the process of being patented.

Researchers say bioethanol can be produced from various naturally available ligno-cellulosic components, but to do so the biomass needs to be treated chemically and in some cases physico-chemically. Because of chemical treatment, the process contributes to polluting the environment.

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“We have replaced this chemical treatment with enzymes which degrade the lignin specifically, thereby making the manufacturing process pollution-free,” said Rintu Banerjee, Professor of Department of Agricultural and Food Engineering at the P.K. Sinha Centre for Bioenergy.

“Also unlike the chemical treatment, here the waste product is pollution-free and hence utilising the residual biomass to make organic fertiliser is possible,” Banerjee said.

The ‘National Policy on bio-fuel’ targeted 20 per cent blending of biofuel with petrol by 2017.

With the government expecting the bio-fuel business in India to touch Rs 50,000 crore by 2022, this new green technology with lesser manufacturing cost and time could become a game changer, the researchers said.

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“The technique that we are suggesting will ensure relatively quicker production of bio-fuel and ensuring that the process is completely green, not creating any secondary pollution. This, we feel can change the future of bio-fuel manufacturing in India and make it more cost effective,” said Banerjee.

This project is funded by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Department of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Human Resource Development. (IANS)

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A New Tool May Aid Patients To Detect Urine Blockage

Surgeons are developing a new smartphone-based tool that can detect urethral or urine blockage, potentially making it easier for patients to test themselves for the condition from the comfort of their own homes.

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Surgeons are developing a new smartphone-based tool that can detect urethral or urine blockage, potentially making it easier for patients to test themselves for the condition from the comfort of their own homes.

The novel technique could take high-speed photography which could capture subtle differences between a normal steady stream of liquid and a stream of liquid with an obstruction.

Urethral strictures are a slowing or blocking of the natural flow of urine due to an injury or infection. It is normally diagnosed by uroflowmetry, a test administered at a physician’s office.

“The problem is that patient follow-up after we treat this condition is very poor,” said Matthew Gretzer, Associate Professor at the University of Arizona in the US.

“But we need patients to come back to our clinic for a uroflow test to determine if the obstruction is still present,” he added.

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In order to test Gretzer’s hypothesis on high-speed photography, the team created a model of a urethral structure using tubing hooked to a saline bag that could drain through.

Saline fluid was passed through the tubing with and without blockages, created using 3D printed strictures, placed within the tubing. High-speed photography captured both the regular and blocked stream of liquid exiting the tube.

Gretzer contended that photos can be a medium to diagnose blockages and he hopes that patients could send him these images to analyse and make the diagnosis. He plans to create a mobile app which can be downloaded by the patients.

“All patients would need to do is take high-speed images of their urine flow using a strobe light,” Gretzer said.

“Strobe light apps are readily available right now for people to use on their phones”.

Also Read: Astronauts from Clemson University in US Believe Human Urine Can Help Safer Space Travel

According to the researchers, as fluid exits an opening, a natural breakpoint occurs where the liquid stream forms droplets, but with obstructions in place, it changes.

The results showed that by analysing photos, they could measure the length to this point of droplet formation. This length then directly related to the presence of an obstruction in the tube. (IANS)