Archive for March 2010
31 March 2010
PUNE: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh is likely to attend the anniversary celebrations of the National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) commemorating its 60th anniversary this year.
The Prime Minister is scheduled to attend the event on April 1, NCL director Dr S Sivaram said.
Late PM Indira Gandhi attended the Silver Jubilee function and A B Vajpayee attended the Golden Jubilee event in 2000, he said.
“It is only appropriate for the Prime Minister to grace the occasion as we complete 60 years,’’ said Sivaram .
The programme will commence at 12 pm and conclude at 1 pm.
The Prime Minister will unveil a plaque and lay down the foundation stone of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER).
He is also expected to inaugurate a new building for research at the NCL.
The research building will be named Polymers and Advanced Material building and is the first building to come up on the campus after nearly 25 years.
From the Indian Express: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/PM-to-attend-annual-NCL-function-on-Thursday/598053
General Motors Company on March 30 announced a five-year partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to help develop the potential of the jatropha plant as a sustainable biofuel energy crop. Traditionally considered a weed, jatropha plants produce an oil that can be refined into biodiesel.
The goal of the project is to demonstrate that jatropha can produce significant quantities of oil for conversion to biodiesel and to develop new varieties of the plant that have high yields, can withstand frost, and grow in temperate climates such as the United States. The drought-resistant, non-edible plant can be grown commercially with minimal care on marginal land.
“Discovering new sources for biodiesel production is an important part of DOE research and development efforts,” said Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. “The expertise of this team can help speed the pace for the development of jatropha as a biofuel crop.”
Two jatropha farms will be established in India: a 16-hectare (39.5-acre) plot in Bhavngar and a 38-hectare (93.9-acre) plot in Kalol, near GM’s India Car Manufacturing plant. An existing 30-hectare (74.1-acre) jatropha farm in Bhavnagar also will be managed under this project.
Lab-optimized strains of jatropha, produced through selective and marker-assisted breeding, will be cultivated at these farms. The joint DOE-GM funding will enable the Central Salt & Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSMCRI) – an India-based research facility falling under Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India – to manage all of the 84 hectares (840,000 square meters). A complete lifecycle analysis will be conducted to evaluate the environmental impacts, starting with fertilizer production from raw materials and ending with the harvesting of jatropha fruits…….Read complete news item…..
30 March 2010
New York General Motors Co. and the U.S. Department of Energy unveiled a five-year partnership to help develop the potential of the jatropha plant as a sustainable biofuel energy crop at GM’s India unit.
This is GM’s latest foray into the biofuels business. The company invested in two startup bioethanol refineries in 2007 and 2008, taking undisclosed equity stakes in both firms.
The goal of the new five-year project is to demonstrate that jatropha, a weed that produces an oil that can be refined into biodiesel, will produce significant quantities of fuel and to develop new varieties of the plant that have higher yields, can withstand frost and grow in temperate climates like parts of the United States.
…..The joint Energy Department-GM funding will enable the Central Salt & Marine Chemicals Research Institute, an India-based research facility falling under India’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Ministry of Science & Technology, to manage the property.
GM spokeswoman Sharon Basel said GM is contributing some minimal funding to the project, but declined to disclose the amount…….Read complete news item……
30 March 2010
In a major discovery, the Bhavnagar-based Central Salt and Marine Chemical Research Institute or CSMCRI, has found microbe organism from Indian waters to manufacture bio-degradable plastic, using a by-product of jatropha plant, reports say.
Director Pushpito K. Ghosh reportedly said CSMCRI made bio-degradable plastic from a side-stream product of jatropha called “glycerol” found during extracting bio-diesel from the plant fruit, adding that the institute would scale up its commercial production now.
As part of the Budapest Treaty on international recognition of deposit of micro-organisms for patent procedure, the identified microbe has been deposited by the institute with a repository…….Read complete news item……
29 March 2010
PUNE: The National Chemical Laboratory will extend its mentoring programme for children as part of its National Science and Technology fair (called IRIS), till August. Scientists at the NCL, who are associated with the programme which started in February, said the programme is receiving good participation.
“I have been a judge at the Intel/DST/CII-funded IRIS for the last few years, and I have been dismayed at the dismal number of projects submitted by students in Pune. I have also noticed that the projects that win awards are often by students who have had the advantage of excellent mentors. Therefore, we have initiated a programme to help students from Pune put together exciting projects for IRIS,” said scientist Guruswamy Kumaraswamy, at the NCL.
His colleagues Dr Chetan Gadgil and Dr B L V Prasad, a chemical engineer and a chemist by training, have volunteered to talk to students and help them develop project ideas…..Read complete news item…….
30 March 2010
A new publishing index from Nature group journals says the number of Indian papers published in their group has gone up from two in 1998 to 18 in 2009. In the Asia-Pacific region overall, Japan, China and Australia are miles ahead.
They are the top three in the index whereas India is at the sixth spot. A report accompanying the Nature Asia-Pacific index notes that though somewhat overshadowed by China’s spectacular rise, emergence of India as a scientific and technological power has not gone unnoticed either in the region or globally, and the next decade may well belong to Indian scientists. While the contribution of scientists from the subcontinent to Nature journals is modest in terms of the absolute number of papers, the trend is upward.
Since 1998, the number of articles published in Nature journals by Indian scientists has representations from 24 Indian institutions in 2009, the report says. The index analyses the ranking of individual institutes also. National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore tops the list from India with a rank of 53 followed by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad at 76.
Because NCBS has one paper in Nature Nanotechnology fully authored by its own scientists, it ranks higher than the coveted Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore which has four papers though all authors are not from IISc. The east figured prominently with two research institutes from Kolkata, Bose Institute and Indian Association for Cultivation of Science, standing at 77 and 80th spots respectively…..Read complete news item……
29 March 2010
AHMEDABAD: In a breakthrough, Bhavnagar-based Central Salt and Marine Chemical Research Institute (CSMCRI) has discovered microbe from Indian waters to manufacture bio-degradable plastic using a by product of Jatropha plant.
“We have sucessfully made bio-degradable plastic from a side stream product of Jatropha called glycerol found during the process of bio-diesel extraction from the plant fruit,” Director CSMCRI Dr Pushpito K Ghosh told PTI.
“We will be looking towards scaling up its commercial production now,” he said.
“We discovered the microbial organism from Indian waters that facilitates the conversion of crude glycerol into bio-degradable plastic,” Ghosh said.
As part of the Budapest Treaty on international recognition of deposit of micro organisms for the purpose of patent procedure, the identified microbe has been deposited by the institute at a repository.
Since bio-degradable polymers have to come in a big way to arrest the hazards posed by non-degradable plastics, research was undertaken to find cheaper renewable sources to produce it, he added………Read complete news item…….