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Daily Current Affairs – 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

BLACK CARBON

6ThAug 2020

Why in news?

Black carbon concentrations near the Gangotri glacier rose 400 times in summer due to forest fires and stubble burning from agricultural waste, and triggered glacial melt, according to study by scientists at the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG).

 

What is black carbon?

  • Black carbon (BC) consists of pure carbonin several linked forms. It is formed through the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuel and biomass and is emitted in both anthropogenic causes and naturally occurring soot.
  • It is a short-livedclimate pollutant with a lifetime of only a few days to weeks after release in the atmosphere. The fine particles absorb light and about a million times more energy than carbon dioxide. It is said to be the second largest contributor to climate change after CO2.
  • India is the second largest emitter of black carbon in the world, with the Indo Gangetic plains said to be the largest contributor.
  • Black carbon absorbs solar energy and warms the atmosphere. When it falls to earth with precipitation, it darkens the surface of snow and ice, reducing their albedo (the reflecting power of a surface), warming the snow, and hastening melting.

Effects:

  • It aggravates breathing disorders.
  • If deposited on snow, it could accelerate the heating of snow and quicken the melting of glaciers.
  • It can upset the monsoon system.
  • As pregnant women are exposed to airborne pollutants in their daily life, inhalation of these particles by the mother gets trans-locate to the placenta, resulting in life-long changes to the development of the baby along with permanently damaging the lung tissues.

A link has been established between exposure to dirty air and increased cases of miscarriages, premature births, and low birth weights.

ADAPTATION FUND

The Adaptation Fund (AF) was established in 2001 to finance concrete adaptation projects and programmes in developing country Parties to the Kyoto Protocol that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

How the Fund is financed?

  • The Fund is financed in part by government and private donors, and also from a two percent share of proceeds of Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) credits issued under the Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism projects.
  • These credits can be traded and sold by industrialized countries to meet a part of their
  • Emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol.
  • Financing for the Adaptation Fund comes mainly from sales of certified emission reductions. The share of proceeds amounts to 2 percent of the value of CERs issued each year for CDM projects.

Who manages it?

  • The Adaptation Fund is supervised and managed by the Adaptation

Adaptation Fund Board (AFB):

  • The AFB is composed of 16 members and 16 alternates and meets at least twice a year.
  • The Adaptation Fund Board Secretariat provides research, advisory, administrative, and an array of other services to the Board.
  • The World Bank serves as trustee of the Adaptation Fund on an interim basis.
 

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM):

It is defined in Article 12 of the Protocol, allows a country with an emission-reduction or emission-limitation commitment under the Kyoto Protocol (Annex B Party) to implement an emission-reduction project in developing countries.

 

Emission Reduction Credits.

An emission reduction credit can be created when Company A stops polluting or reduces air pollution. Emission reduction credit offsets, or trades, occur when Company B, which will pollute too much, pays Company A for an emission reduction credit to more than make up for Company B’s pollution

TORREFACTION

Why in news?

  • It is the thermal degradation of organic biomass in an inert or nitrogen atmosphere, one atmosphere pressure and temperature in the range of 200–300°C, for several hours depending on the biomass.
  • It is an upgrading process of biomass for other energy generation processes like direct combustion on an industrial scale.
  • Torrefaction is essentially a biomass cracking technique.
  • After torrefaction the biomass has become brittle, due to the disintegration of hemicelluloses and to a lesser extent lignin and cellulose, which are responsible for the tough fibre structure.
  • In other words, the fibrous structure of the biomass is partially broken down. The weakened fibre structure improves the milling properties of the biomass and enables the biomass to be processed together with coal at the power plant.
  • During the torrefaction process, the water contained in the biomass as well as superfluous volatiles are released, and the biopolymers (cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin) partly decompose, giving off various types of volatiles.
  • The final product is the remaining solid, dry, blackened material that is referred to as torrefied biomassor bio-coal.

 

What are the advantages of Torrefaction?

  • Torrefaction enhances the properties of feedstock in a number of ways to enable its use as a direct fuel: reduction in moisture, increase in energy density, increase in heating value, and improved ignitability and reactivity of the processed fuel
  • The features of torrefied biomass enable co-firing rates of more than 50% of generating output, while keeping the investments needed to a minimum.
  • Torrefaction of biomass leads to improved grind ability of biomass. This leads to more efficient co-firing in existing coal-fired power stations or entrained-flow gasification for the production of chemicals and transportation fuels.

 

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