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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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Robots May Be Able to Perform C-Sections Soon

These big, set-piece operations will become less common as we are able to intervene earlier and use more moderate interventions

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C-section, Robots
A newborn, one of 12 babies born by C-section, cries inside an incubator at the Bunda Hospital in Jakarta, Indonesia, Dec. 12, 2012. VOA

Robotics are expected to become so sophisticated, hospitals may not need surgeons. Controlled by healthcare assistants, the machines will soon be delivering babies by carrying out C-sections as well as other surgeries, say experts.

The predictions are based on the report by the “Commission on the Future of Surgery” set up by the Royal College of Surgeons in 2017, the Daily Mail reported.

According to the report, the robots controlled by healthcare assistants such as technicians are expected to conduct vaginal surgeries and operations on the bowel, heart and lungs.

This will help advance diagnoses of illnesses like cancer before they destroy organs and, as a result, operations will be smaller in scale and less traumatic.

Robot, Reading Companion
FILE – A visitor shakes hands with a humanoid robot at 2018 China International Robot Show in Shanghai (VOA)

Even healthcare assistants — who do not need any formal qualifications to get a job — could one day be trained to perform C-sections with the robots, The Telegraph reported.

Specialists and surgeons will remain in charge of operations but may not always need to be in the room.

“This is always going to be under the watchful eye and careful supervision of a surgeon,” Richard Kerr, neurosurgeon at the Oxford University and Chair of the commission, was quoted as saying.

“These are highly qualified healthcare professionals and they will be trained in a specific aspect of that procedure.

“The changes are expected to affect every type of operation. This will be a watershed moment in surgery,” Kerr said.

While some applications of robots and DNA-based medicines are expected to happen sooner than others, those with healthcare assistant-led C-sections is possible within five years, the report said.

C-section, Robots
These are highly qualified healthcare professionals and they will be trained in a specific aspect of that procedure. Flickr

However, the experts warn that the use of robots in surgery could be controversial. This is in light of an investigation which revealed that a 69-year-old man in Newcastle died when a robot was used to carry out his heart surgery in 2015.

The commission’s report also claims that major cancer operations could become a thing of past because screening DNA will pick up diseases earlier, before they ravage the body.

Also Read: AI  to Help the Students of Japan in Enhancing English Speaking Skills

Similarly, people with severe forms of arthritis could be identified early on and faster treatment might reduce the need for major hip and knee replacement ops.

“These big, set-piece operations will become less common as we are able to intervene earlier and use more moderate interventions,” said Professor Dion Mortonm, a member of the commission. (IANS)