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26 Oct, 2022

26 Min Read

Advantages of Biogas

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Renewable Energy

Advantages of Biogas

To increase their energy security, nations all over the world are turning to biogas and biomethane.

About biogas.

  • The main components of biogas, (a renewable fuel) created by the anaerobic digestion of organic feedstock, are methane (50–65%), carbon dioxide (30–40%), hydrogen sulphide (1-2.5%), and a negligibly small amount of moisture.
  • It supports all 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations and can be transformed into a variety of sustainable transportation fuels.


Compressed Bio Gas (CBG):

  • High-purity or upgraded biogas is compressed at 250 bar pressure to produce a fuel. Unwanted components such as carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide, and moisture are removed (CBG). This can directly power CNG engines and shares many of the same characteristics as compressed natural gas (CNG).
  • The fact that it is gaseous makes transportation more difficult and expensive. Therefore, even though heavy engines have been used for short-distance driving, it is thought to be more appropriate to power small-sized vehicles.

Liquified Biogas (LBG):

  • Methane derived from biogas can be liquefied by cooling it to -162 degrees Celsius, and the resulting fuel is known as liquefied biogas (LBG) . Because of its greater energy density, less storage space is needed.
  • At atmospheric pressure, liquid methane has an energy density that is roughly 2.5 times greater than that of methane at 250 bar and 600 times greater than that of gaseous methane.


Its Eco-Friendly Biogas is definitely a greener option than natural gas.

  • Most of the natural gas is extracted through fracking. Fracking is a process where chemicals, water, and sand are forced into the ground to break the rock formations beyond which the natural gas lies. This process causes massive damage to the landscape and ecosystems.
  • Production of biogas utilizes already available materials. The process requires no energy and produces no exhaust.

Production of Biogas Reduces

  • Organic waste like animal manure, food scraps, and field biomass is produced as a byproduct of agriculture, sludge from wastewater treatment plants, and other types of biodegradable waste that various facilities like slaughterhouses produce.
  • The production of biogas brings all of this waste into excellent use and reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and ocean beds.
  • Not only the soil pollution is reduced, but there’s also a positive impact on water quality.The degradation of food waste and animal manure produces nitrogen that runs off into the water, pollutes it, and poses serious harm to marine life.

The Generation of Biogas Produces Organic Fertilizer

  • The process produces a byproduct that is rich in organic digestate. This byproduct can be used as a supplement or even a substitute for chemical fertilizer.

Cheaper Alternative to Natural Gas

  • Although natural gas occurs naturally, the process of extraction, purification, and transportation is quite costly.
  • However, the generation of biogas is quite cheap. The setup itself is extremely low cost.
  • Even farmers can set up small-scale biodigesters at their farms and use animal manure as a raw material. They can then utilize the biogas to generate electricity to power farm equipment.

Healthy Alternative for Cooking in Rural Areas

  • Most people in rural areas use firewood for cooking and heating purposes. Not only is collecting firewood a daunting task, but burning firewood exposes people to harmful dense smoke.
  • Biogas, being cheaper and more accessible than natural gas in rural areas, can serve as a healthier alternative in these areas.

Alternate fuel

  • Because it has a relatively high energy density, it has the potential to be a practical alternative fuel for heavy-duty road transportation.
  • Besides being used in heavy-duty vehicles, it is starting to appeal to the shipping industry.

Creates Circular Economy

  • Biogas generation creates a circular economy. The waste that humans and animals produce, including animal manure, wastewater, food waste, and crop residue, is harmful to the environment.
  • Biogas generation brings all of this organic waste into use to produce biogas that can be used to generate electricity, for heating and cooking purposes, and also to produce organic fertilizer

Disadvantages of Biogas:

Although the generation of biogas reduces the waste and adverse impact on the environment drastically, burning gas still has some impact on the environment.

Limited Technology to Support Large-Scale Biogas Production:

  • There’s very limited technological advancement to facilitate large-scale biogas production. The systems that are used today aren’t the most efficient.
  • When you use biogas as a fuel for automobiles, the chances that the engine will corrode sooner than later are quite high, thus increasing the maintenance cost.
  • The use of biogas is more suitable for cooking, lighting up lamps, and powering water boilers.

Not Economically Attractive:

  • Large-scale production of biogas isn't the most economically viable option. It's quite a challenge to boost the efficiency of biogas plants which makes it difficult to produce this biofuel on a large scale.

Biogas Production is Temperature-Sensitive

  • Biogas is produced through fermentation. This means that bacteria are at play here. Bacteria function best at an optimum temperature of 37 degrees Celsius.
  • If the temperature drops below that, the bacteria will stop working as efficiently as they should, and this will lower the biogas output.
  • Therefore, when the temperature drops low in the winter, biogas plants need aid from external heat sources to maintain the optimal temperature to ensure the output of biogas isn’t affected.

Biogas Production Produces Foul Odour

  • Biogas production produces a strong foul odor that's hard to bear, which is why biogas production plants are usually set up farther away from residential and commercial areas.

Biogas isn’t Suitable for Metropolitan Areas

  • The energy consumption of metropolitan areas is far more than in rural areas.
  • The amount of waste produced by all of the metropolitan areas may not be sufficient to produce enough biogas.
  • Therefore, biogas is suitable for rural areas only where the energy requirements aren't too high.

Application of Biogas:

  • A variety of environmentally friendly transportation fuels can be made from biogas.
  • Biomethane can be converted into other fuels like hydrogen and methanol in addition to being used directly as fuel. The main method of hydrogen production promotes the reforming of light hydrocarbons, especially methane, which accounts for a sizable portion of biogas.
  • Gasification involves raising the bio-methane to high temperatures (typically over 600°C) while limiting the amount of oxygen and steam present in the reaction.
  • As a result of this procedure, syngas, a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, is produced. After carbon monoxide is removed, hydrogen is created, and it can be used in fuel cells to produce electricity.
  • Syngas can also be used to produce methanol. Methanol is a good fuel because it produces less nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter than gasoline. Additionally, it can be used as a transportation fuel in place of or in combination with gasoline. It is less expensive than LNG.

The biogas and methanol scenario in India:

  • The only biogas-derived transportation fuel for which commercialization efforts have been made is CBG.
  • LBG, hydrogen, and methanol cannot currently be produced in India from biogas. The primary causes are:
    • a lack of bulk biogas for such derivatives;
    • Lack of infrastructure for producing and selling these fuels,
    • Lack of efficient as well as the absence of modified car engines. Process economics are being improved through research and development.

Government Initiatives:

  • As part of the Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) programme, which was introduced in 2018, the Indian government has been encouraging private businesses to build CBG plants and supply CBG to oil marketing firms for sale as automotive and industrial fuels.
  • In addition, the Indian government and Niti Aayog have provided roadmaps for promoting LNG, hydrogen, and methanol in order to speed up the transition to green fuels.

Source: IEA

Human Rights vs. Animal Welfare

GS-IV : Ethics Ethical issues

Human Rights vs. Animal Welfare

  • In light of the increasing number of stray dog incidents, the Supreme Court of India stated that a balance must be struck between human safety and animal rights.
  • The court also suggested that people who feed stray dogs be held responsible for vaccinating them and bearing costs if the animal attacks someone.

What is the Importance of Maintaining a Balance Between Human Rights and Animal Welfare?

To Address the Core Problem:

  • This issue raises an even more fundamental issue concerning the rights of wild animals in a society dominated by humans in general, and within the framework of the Indian Constitution in particular.

Recognition in Hindu Scriptures:

  • Every living thing is considered to have descended from the same divine power as humans in ancient Hindu texts, which recognize their rights and view all living things as deserving of respect, love, and affection.
  • India has a culture that values acceptance of all people and respect for all living things. Cows are revered as sacred animals by Hindus.

Animal Punishment Is Wrong:

  • Some ancient civilizations used to punish animals for wrongs they had committed. But as the debate over moral agency developed, it became clear that punishing animals was wrong because they lacked the mental capacity to distinguish between right and wrong and that doing so would be ineffective.
  • As a result, laws developed, and it was decided that animals (along with children and people who are mentally ill) were the bearers of interests that needed to be protected by the law without any associated duties.
  • The current legal system punishes pet owners for any damage brought on by the careless treatment of their animals.

Other Judgements

Nagaraja v. Animal Welfare Board of India (2014):

  • The Supreme Court of India ruled in this case that animals also have the right to dignity and fair treatment, which is guaranteed by and stems from Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, while outlawing the practises of bullfighting and bullock cart racing in the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, respectively.

Other rulings:

  • In June 2019, Judge Rajiv Sharma of the Punjab and Haryana High Court declared all citizens to be persons in loco parentis as the human face for the welfare and protection of animals. The Uttarakhand High Court had previously declared in July 2018 that animals have a distinct legal persona with corresponding rights, duties, and liabilities of a living person.
  • All residents of Uttarakhand and Haryana have been declared to have legal obligations and duties for the welfare and protection of animals within their respective States, which are comparable to those of a parent toward minor children.

What does the Constitution say about the rights of animals?

  • Everybody has a duty to protect and preserve the nation's natural resources, including its forests, lakes, rivers, and animals, according to the Indian Constitution.
  • However, many of these provisions are found in the Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP), which cannot be enforced without statutory support.
  • According to Article 48 A, the State must work to preserve the nation's forests and wildlife as well as the environment.
  • Every Indian citizen has a responsibility to "protect and improve the natural environment, including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures," according to Article 51A(g).
  • The State and Concurrent List has also been given the following animal rights items.
  • State List Item 14 states that the States have the power to "preserve, maintain, and improve stock, prevent animal diseases, and enforce veterinary training and practise."
  • The Concurrent List includes legislation that both the Center and the States may enact, including the item 17 referenced above, "Prevention of animal cruelty."
  • Item 17B is titled "Protection of Wild Animals and Birds."

What Significant Animal Protection Laws Exist in India?

IPC (Indian Penal Code)

  • The official criminal code of India is the Indian Penal Code (IPC) 1860, which addresses all substantive aspects of criminal law.
  • The IPC's Sections 428 and 429 make it illegal to kill, poison, maim, or render useless animals, among other cruel acts.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960:

  • The Act's goals are to prevent the needless suffering or pain of animals and to amend the laws pertaining to the prevention of animal cruelty.
  • According to the Act, an "animal" is any living thing that is not a human.

The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972

  • It aims to protect all plant and animal species in the nation to guarantee ecological and environmental security.
  • The Act allows for the creation of zoos, national parks, and wildlife sanctuaries while forbidding the hunting of endangered species.

Way Forward

  • Animal rights are effectively supported by our judicial rulings and legislative provisions, but no rights are absolute. Animal rights must be regulated, just like human rights.
  • The urgent need is to strike a balance between protecting humans' safety and wellbeing without sacrificing the interests of animals. Animal cruelty must end.
  • Humans need to stop treating other species with patronising condescension.
  • It is unacceptable to allow humankind's pure intellectual superiority to trump the living rights of other species. The coexistence of all life forms is absolutely necessary to keep our eco-system from becoming out of balance.

Read Also: Wildlife Protection Amendment Bill 2021

Source: The Indian express

Launch Vehicle Mark 3

GS-III : S&T Space

Launch Vehicle Mark 3

  • OneWeb's 36 satellites were recently orbited successfully by the Launch Vehicle Mark 3 (LVM3 or GSLV Mark 3) rocket, the heaviest rocket ever built by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
  • Powered by a constellation of 648 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, OneWeb is a global communications network.

LMV 3: What is it?

  • The LVM3-M2 mission is a dedicated commercial mission for the company OneWeb, carried out by the Central Public Sector Enterprise(CPSE), NewSpace India Limited (NSIL).
  • With 36 OneWeb Satellites to the LEO as the heaviest Payload Mass of LVM3 to date, it is the first multi-satellite mission.
  • This most recent rocket can carry 8,000 kg of payloads into low-Earth orbit and 4,000 kg of satellites into geosynchronous transfer orbit.
  • It is a three-stage launch vehicle with two solid propellant S200 strap-ons on each side and a core stage with an L110 liquid stage and a C25 cryogenic stage.


  • LVM3's first commercial mission LVM3's first launch to LEO India's first rocket with a six-ton payload
  • First NSIL Mission with LVM3 First NSIL/Department of Space OneWeb Mission

Technical accomplishments:

  • Multiple satellite separation events must be handled.
  • Nominal mission duration has been increased.
  • Increasing the safe separation distance via C25 (cryo) stage re-orientation and velocity addition
  • Ensuring data availability for the duration of the mission
  • Development of a new payload adaptor and interface ring for satellite dispensers

What exactly is OneWeb Constellation?

  • OneWeb Constellation operates in an LEO Polar Orbit, with satellites arranged in 12 rings (orbital planes), each with 49 satellites.
  • The orbital planes are angled toward the poles (87.9 Deg.)
  • The orbital planes are 1200 kilometres above Earth. Every 109 minutes, each satellite completes a full orbit around the Earth.
  • Because the earth rotates beneath satellites, they are constantly flying over new ground locations.

What other launch vehicles has ISRO developed?

Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV):

  • ISRO's first rocket was simply known as the SLV, or Satellite Launch Vehicle.

???????Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV)

  • ASLV, came next after SLV
  • Both the SLV and the ASLV are capable of transporting small satellites weighing up to 150 kg to lower earth orbits.
  • Before PSLV arrived on the scene, ASLV operated until the early 1990s.

Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV):

  • PSLV launched for the first time in 1994 and has been ISRO's primary rocket ever since. Today's PSLV, on the other hand, is vastly improved and several orders of magnitude more powerful than those used in the 1990s.
  • It is the first Indian launch vehicle to have liquid stages.
  • PSLV is ISRO's most dependable rocket to date, with 52 of 54 flights successful.
  • It successfully launched two spacecraft, Chandrayaan-1 in 2008 and Mars Orbiter Spacecraft in 2013, both of which travelled to the Moon and Mars.

GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle):

  • The GSLV is a much more powerful rocket designed to transport heavier satellites much further into space. GSLV rockets have completed 18 missions to date, four of which were unsuccessful.
  • Lowering the Earth's orbits can require 10,000 kg of satellites.
  • The third stage of the GSLV Mk II is the indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS).
  • ISRO is now completely self-sufficient in satellite launch thanks to Mk-III versions.
  • Previously, it relied on the European Arianne launch vehicle to deliver its heavier satellites into orbit.
  • The GSLV Mark-III rocket launched the Chandrayaan-2 mission to the moon in 2019, marking the rocket's first operational flight.
  • The GSLV Mark-III has been renamed Launch Vehicle Mark-III by ISRO.
  • A GSLV, which stands for Geostationary Orbit (GEO), will continue to be used. The LVM3 will travel everywhere—GEO, MEO, LEO, and missions to the moon and sun.

Source: The Hindu

Blue Flag Certification

GS-III : Economic Issues Tourism

Blue Flag Certification

Lakshadweep's Minicoy Thundi and Kadmat beaches recently earned the Blue Flag international environmental certification.

Major Points

  • One of the Lakshadweep archipelago's most beautiful and unspoiled beaches is The Thundi Beach.
  • The lagoon's turquoise water is bordered by white sand.
  • Both swimmers and tourists will find it to be a paradise.
  • Popular among cruise visitors who come to the island for water sports is the Kadmat Beach.
  • With its pearl white sand, blue lagoon waters, comfortable climate, and welcoming locals, it is a paradise for nature lovers.
  • Both beaches have personnel assigned to beach upkeep and cleanliness as well as to swimmer security.
  • Both beaches meet all 33 requirements set forth by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).

About Blue Flag Certification Programme

  • Started in France in 1985 and in areas outside of Europe in 2001.
  • Globally recognised eco-label accorded on the basis of 33 stringent criteria in four major heads which are:-
    • Environmental education and information,
    • Bathing water quality,
    • Environmental management and
    • Conservation and safety and services in the beaches.
  • The certification is awarded to the cleanest beaches in the world by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).

It is accorded by the international jury composed of eminent members -

  • United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP),
  • United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO),
  • Denmark-based NGO Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Indian beaches in the Blue List:

  • Shivrajpur-Gujarat,
  • Ghoghla-Diu,
  • Kasarkod and Padubidri-Karnataka,
  • Kappad-Kerala,
  • Rushikonda- Andhra Pradesh,
  • Golden-Odisha,
  • Radhanagar- Andaman and Nicobar,
  • Kovalam in Tamil Nadu and
  • Eden in Pondicherry.

With the new additions, the number of beaches certified under the Blue Flag Certification is twelve (12).

Read Also: Lakshadweep and environment

Source: The Indian Express

National Credit Framework

GS-II : Governance Education

National Credit Framework

A document "National Credit Framework" (NCrF) has recently been made public by the Ministry of Education with the intention of integrating the entire educational system—from elementary schools to universities—under the "credit" system.

About The National Credit Framework (NCrF) :

  • The framework states that the quantity of hours a student works will be used to determine how long an academic year is. They will receive credits in accordance at the conclusion of each academic year.
  • The University Grants Commission (Establishment and Operation of Academic Bank of Credits in Higher Education) Regulations, which were notified in July 2021, served as the basis for the development of the framework
  • Credit System: According to the report of the high-level committee on the NCrF, which was made public, credit levels will start at level 1 in class 5 and increase to levels 7 and 8 with post-graduate and doctoral degrees, respectively.
  • Credit levels will rise by 0.5 for each additional year of education.

Earning Credit:

  • For the purpose of assigning credits, a total of 1200 "Notional Learning Hours in a Year" will be used. 20 credits can be earned per semester, or 1200 hours of instruction, for a minimum of 40 credits per year. There will be 30 hours of learning required for each credit.
  • In the context of NCrF, "notion learning hours" refers to time spent participating in a variety of co-curricular and extracurricular activities in addition to formal classroom instruction.
  • Sports, yoga, performing arts, music, social work, NCC, vocational education, as well as on-the-job training, internships, and apprenticeships, are just a few examples of these activities.
  • A student or learner will be able to enter and exit the educational ecosystem, both general and vocational, at any time thanks to the credit transfer mechanism. In these situations, the learner's work experience or any other training they may have completed is given the appropriate weight.
  • Due Attention to Co-Curricular Activities: The new credit framework will not have a clear distinction between curricular and co-curricular activities or different disciplines. Performance on activities such as class projects, sports, and games will also count toward credit.
  • Registration of students using Aadhaar: There will be an Aadhaar-enabled student registration. An Academic Bank of Credit (ABC) account will be created following student registration. Credits and degrees will be deposited into those accounts. A knowledge locker similar to DigiLocker will exist.

Academic Bank of Credit:

  • It is planned to expand the recently introduced Academic Bank of Credit (ABC) for higher education to allow for the end-to-end management of credits earned from school education onwards as well as to include vocational education and trainings.


  • It would serve as "an umbrella framework for skilling, re-skilling, up-skilling, accreditation & evaluation" for the workforce as well as educational and skilling institutions.
  • In the next two to three years, achieving 100% literacy and growing India's economy to $5 trillion will depend heavily on the credits for learning new things, receiving practical training, and having positive social effects.

Source: The Hindu

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