The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati

By the Editor

Chemical engineers and researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati, have been successful in generating green energy by treating waste water through a bio-electrochemical device named Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC). So waste materials like waste water which are harmful to environment by means of waste management have however been converted into beneficial bio-electricity generation which is eco-friendly and greatly beneficial for electrification purposes. Several stages have to be passed through and improved before this end product is obtained and these different stages culminate in synthesising and evolving of cation exchange membranes (CEMs). Scientists at IIT, Guwahati are also investigating into the possibility of applying same method in converting waste sugarcane bagasse and other agricultural wastes into friendly energy which will be much useful for multi-purposes. Successful attempts by dedicated engineering scientists and researchers are highly applauded to meet the evergrowing demand of energy which is renewable and sustainable.

Petroleum or crude oil which has been given names like black gold and liquid sunlight has been beneficial in many aspects, especially after the Industrial Revolution which, however, has its polluting consequences and destroys environment. Petroleum is also called fossil fuel since scientists were able to prove that it had been formed from decays of ancient living things. After many years, people began to worry that black gold might soon run out. So committees comprising experts were constituted to study in-depth the situation then and to submit reports. One such fact-finding committee submitted its report to US President Calvin Coolidge in 1926 saying that the United States would run out of oil by 1932. But after nearly a century crude oil is still  available more than enough in spite of the fact that population has increased at a rapid rate and demand for it is growing alarmingly very fast though reserves are quite enough to meet the growing demand and the search for crude oil deposit is still continuing. Moreover, vehicle manufacturers with the help of scientists were able and continue to produce cars of different designs and sizes without consuming much oil. But a matter of great concern, however, is high pollution of fossil fuel due to poisonous carbon emission which endangers human lives.

Benefits derived from fossil fuel are innumerable no doubt but these cannot compensate enough for heath and well –being of human beings and other living plants and creatures as well. This has made  leaders and scientists to find alternate fuel for running of vehicles and industries which are  great pollutants globally. After analysing carefully the advantages and disadvantages of fossil fuel, scientists and researchers have arrived at the conclusion that fossil fuel should be reduced gradually and in the meantime study and  research have been shown that the result is encouraging. This challenge has been accepted by India as well and the government is encouraging research and development with sufficient financial assistance which has been successful and continues to improve further.