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Prelims Specific

  • Singapore India Hackathon 2019: The aim of this joint international hackathon is to promote engagement and collaboration of student community in India with the rest of the world and to develop innovative and out- of -the- box solutions for some of the daunting problems faced by our societies
    • This year the hackathon is focused on three themes, ‘Good Health and well-being’, ‘Quality Education’ and ‘Affordable and Clean Energy’
  • Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC): is an international organization founded in 1969, consisting of 57 member states, with 53 countries being Muslim-majority countries.
    • The organisation states that it is “the collective voice of the Muslim world” and works to “safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony”.
    • India has had cordial International relations with most of the member countries of OIC
    • Recently, OIC criticized India’s actions on Kashmir, and called for reverting the status of Kashmir as before the revocation of  Art 370.


Fuel Cell

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Why in News?

Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in partnership with Indian industries under India’s flagship program named “New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI)” developed India’s first Indigenous High Temperature Fuel Cell System.

What is Fuel cell technology?

  • A fuel cell is an electrochemical cell that converts the chemical energy of a fuel (often hydrogen) and an oxidizing agent (often oxygen) into electricity through a pair of redox reactions
  • Fuel cells are different from most batteries in requiring a continuous source of fuel and oxygen (usually from air) to sustain the chemical reaction, whereas in a battery the chemical energy usually comes from metals and their ions or oxides that are commonly already present in the battery, except in flow batteries.
  • Fuel cells can produce electricity continuously as long as fuel and oxygen are supplied.


Benefits of Fuel cells

  • Fuel cells have a higher efficiency than diesel or gas engines.
  • Most fuel cells operate silently, compared to internal combustion engines. They are therefore ideally suited for use within buildings such as hospitals.
  • Fuel cells can eliminate pollution caused by burning fossil fuels; for hydrogen fuelled fuel cells, the only by-product at point of use is water.
  • If the hydrogen comes from the electrolysis of water driven by renewable energy, then using fuel cells eliminates greenhouse gases over the whole cycle.
  • Fuel cells do not need conventional fuels such as oil or gas and can therefore reduce economic dependence on oil producing countries, creating greater energy security for the user nation.
  • Since hydrogen can be produced anywhere where there is water and a source of power, generation of fuel can be distributed and does not have to be grid-dependent.
  • The use of stationary fuel cells to generate power at the point of use allows for a decentralised power grid that is potentially more stable.
  • Low temperature fuel cells (PEMFC, DMFC) have low heat transmission which makes them ideal for military applications.
  • Higher temperature fuel cells produce high-grade process heat along with electricity and are well suited to cogeneration applications (such as combined heat and power for residential use).
  • Operating times are much longer than with batteries, since doubling the operating time needs only doubling the amount of fuel and not the doubling of the capacity of the unit itself.
  • Unlike batteries, fuel cells have no “memory effect” when they are getting refuelled.
  • The maintenance of fuel cells is simple since there are few moving parts in the system.


  • Higher cost because of low economies of scale
  • Most fuel cells are based on hydrogen, have safety issues because hydrogen is extremely flammable
  • Infrastructural constraints

India’s High Temperature Fuel cell:

  • The 5.0 kW fuel cell system generates power in a green manner using methanol / bio-methane, with heat and water as bi-products for further use; amounting to greater than 70% efficiency, which otherwise may not be possible by other energy sources
  • The Fuel Cells developed are based on High Temperature Proton Exchange Membrane (HTPEM) Technology
  • The development is most suitable for distributed stationary power applications like; for small offices, commercial units, data centers etc.; where highly reliable power is essential with simultaneous requirement for air-conditioning
  • This development would replace Diesel Generating (DG) sets and help reduce India’s dependence on crude oil
  • The developed technology is world class and the development has placed India in the league of developed nations which are in possession of such a knowledge base
  • The Fuel Cells fit well in India’s mission of replacing diesel with green and alternate fuels. The development of fuel cell technology is indigenous and carries immense national importance in terms of non-grid energy security


National Water Mission

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Why in News?

National water mission awards were distributed recently by the President of India

Major features of the Mission:

  • The National Water Mission (NWM), under the aegis of the Ministry of Water Resources, is one of the eight missions being constituted under the National Action Plan for Climate Change (NAPCC)
  • The overall objective of the NWM, as stated in the mission document is “conservation of water, minimizing wastage and ensuring its more equitable distribution both across and within States through integrated water resources development and management”
  • It five identified goals of the mission are:
    • Comprehensive water data base in public domain and assessment of the impact of climate change on water resources,
    • Promotion of citizen and state actions for water conservation, augmentation and preservation,
    • Focused attention to vulnerable areas including over-exploited areas,
    • Increasing water use efficiency by 20%, and
    • Promotion of basin level integrated water resources management.