Renewable Energy, Air Pollution - Current Affairs Questions and Answers

1)   Which emissions are turned to fuel using a membrane made of calcium, iron oxide and lanthium?

a. Carbon
b. Sulphur
c. Oxygen
d. Hydrogen
e. Only a and b
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Only a and b

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) scientists have developed a new system that can convert carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into useful fuel for cars and aircraft.

The researchers used a membrane - made of lanthanum, calcium, and iron oxide. It allows the oxygen from carbon dioxide to migrate through the membrane to the other side, leaving carbon monoxide behind.

Carbon monoxide produced during this process can be used as a fuel by itself or combined with hydrogen and/or water to make many other liquid hydrocarbon fuels.

It can also be used to produce methanol (used as an automotive fuel), syngas, and so on.

This new process could become part of the carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) technologies which, if applied to electricity production, could reduce the impact of fossil fuel use on global warming.

The membrane is "100 percent selective for oxygen," allowing only those atoms to pass.

The researchers used a stream of fuel such as hydrogen or methane which get readily oxidised and draw the oxygen atoms through the membrane.

The membrane also prevents the oxygen from migrating back and recombining with the carbon monoxide, to form carbon dioxide all over again.

The method may not only cut greenhouse emissions; it could also produce another potential revenue stream to help defray its costs, researchers indicated.

2)   Scurrying for solutions to fight the toxic air pollution, the government has said it plans to transport coal differently. How?

a. via aircrafts
b. via covered rail wagons and trucks
c. via covered rail wagaons and open jeeps
d. via bullock-carts
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: via covered rail wagons and trucks

Government to transport coal in trucks, rail wagons

Scurrying for solutions to fight the toxic air pollution, the government has said it plans to transport coal in covered rail wagons and trucks across the country.

Ferrying of coal in uncovered vehicles and rail wagons is said to be one of the key reasons behind high pollution levels along the transportation route from coal mine or importing sea port to user plants like power generation houses.

3)   Which of the following heavy metals has the SC banned in the use of fire crackers, as they lead to air pollution?

a. Lithium
b. Mercury
c. Lead
d. Only b and c
e. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above

The Supreme Court has imposed ban on use of five harmful heavy metals like lithium, antimony, mercury, arsenic and lead in the manufacturing of firecrackers as they cause air pollution.

The SC order came on a 2015 petition filed by three Delhi children who had requested the apex court to intervene to regulate the use of crackers and fireworks during festivals like Diwali.

The apex court held that it is the responsibility of the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) to ensure compliance of ban order particularly in Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu where there are large number of firecracker manufacturers.

It also asked CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) and PESO to make collaborative efforts for setting up of standards with regard to air pollution caused by the bursting of fire-crackers.

Heavy metals in firecrackers Lithium is a metal used to impart red colour to fireworks. Antimony is used to create glitter effects.

Lead oxide provides a special crackling effect which, if inhaled, in high concentration can cause damage to the nervous system.

PESO: Know More

  • PESO is the apex department to control and administer manufacture, storage, transport and handling of explosives, petroleum, compressed gases and other hazardous substances in India.
  • It functions under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • It is headed by Chief Controller of Explosives and is headquartered at Nagpur, Maharashtra.

4)   What is meaning of a Carbon Positive Area?

a. Area with carbon emissions more than carbon sequestration
b. Area with carbon emissions balanced with carbon sequestration
c. Area with carbon emissions are zero
d. Area with more renewable energy generation than needed to sustain the area
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Area with more renewable energy generation than needed to sustain the area


  • The terms ‘carbon zero’, ‘carbon neutral’, ‘zero energy’ or ‘zero emission’ apply to buildings that use renewable energy sources on site to generate energy for their operation, so that over a year the net amount of energy generated on site equals the net amount of energy required by the building.
  • Carbon positive moves beyond carbon zero by making additional ‘positive’ or ‘net export’ contributions by producing more energy on site than the building requires and feeding it back to the grid.
  • Carbon positive projects can make significant contributions by helping to address the carbon intensity and damaging impacts of past building practices and lifestyles, and by offsetting situations where carbon zero homes are not possible.
  • Also in such areas carbon sequestration is more than carbon emissions and not just zero emissions.

5)   Which of the following are parts of government’s urban development strategy for the next 20 years?

1) Reducing water use by 50 per cent
2) Reducing electricity use by 40 per cent
3) Generating half of power from renewable sources

a. 2, 3
b. 1, 2
c. 1, 3
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 1, 3


  • The outcomes of new urban agenda based on sustainable urban planning would include reducing water and electricity use by 50 per cent from that of normal use, enabling over 60 per cent of urban travel by public transport, generating half of power from renewable sources, and promoting walking and cycling for last mile connectivity.
  • Promoting natural drainage patterns, reducing waste generation of all kind and promoting greenery are some of the government agenda for sustainable urban development.
  • Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister released the India Habitat III-National Report on World Habitat Day today, ahead of the UN Habitat III Conference in Quito, Ecuador later this month where a global new urban agenda for the next 20 years is going to be adopted.
  • India’s strategy for urban development intends to give a big push to use growing urbanisation for rapid economic development while at the same time committing itself to address issues of sustainable development and climate change.

6)   The first Pilot-cum- demonstration project of Small Wind Solar Hybrid System of 25 KW capacity will be installed at

a. Tamil Nadu
b. Gujarat
c. Rajasthan
d. Maharashtra
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Tamil Nadu


  • Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is implementing a programme to promote the installation of Small Wind Energy and Hybrid Systems (SWES) with the objective to provide electricity in un-electrified areas or areas with intermittent electric supply.
  • The first- such Pilot-cum- demonstration project of 25 KW capacity will be installed at the wind turbine test station of National Institute of Wind Energy at Kayathar, Tootikudi District, Tamil Nadu.
  • The success of programme would lead towards launching of National Programme on Grid connected small wind and solar hybrid system in future.
  • The SWES projects have been highly successful in USA and European countries.
  • Under the programme, MNRE provides Central Financial Assistance (CFA) to community users for installation of such systems. The total installed capacity as on 31st March 2016 is 2.69 MW.

7)   Which of the following are common causes of air pollution?

1) Diesel generators
2) Heavy construction activities
3) Temperature control in large buildings

a. 1, 2
b. 1, 3
c. 2, 3
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above


  • Common causes of air pollution include diesel-fuelled vehicles, heavy construction activities, temperature control in large buildings and use of coal or diesel generators.
  • PM 2.5 refers to atmospheric particulates with a diameter less than 2.5 micrometres. Exposure to fine particulates is linked to premature death from heart and lung disease. They trigger or worsen asthma, heart attack, bronchitis and other respiratory problems.
  • The WHO states that as urban air quality declines, the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma increases.

8)   Which of the following is/are correct?

1) Ten out of the top 20 globally air polluted cities are from India.
2) Gwalior ranks second for fine particulate matter (PM 2.5).

a. Only 1
b. Only 2
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both 1 and 2


  • The ‘Global Urban Ambient Air Pollution Database (update 2016)’ released by WHO used data from government and research organisations to prepare the database. It is based on ground measurements of annual mean concentrations of particulate matter (PM 10 and PM 2.5).
  • Gwalior and Allahabad, meanwhile, come a close second and third in terms of PM 2.5, while Patna and Raipur are ranked 6th and 7th.
  • Delhi now stands 11th among 3,000 cities in 103 countries in terms of fine particulate matter or PM 2.5. Delhi is 25th based on bigger particulate or PM 10 levels.
  • Particulate matter affects everyone but causes harm faster to children and senior citizens.

9)   Mass emission standards for BS-VI for numerous category vehicles including those with gross vehicle weight not exceeding 3500 kg manufactured on or after April 1, 2020 for all models is specified. What does BS VI stand for ?

a. Bharat Stage VI
b. Bharat Series VI
c. Bharatiya Stage VI
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Bharat Stage VI

Moving directly to Euro VI emission norms for petrol and diesel from April 1, 2020, government has come up with draft rules on emission standards for varying categories of vehicles. Specifying mass emission standards for BS-VI for numerous category vehicles including those with gross weight value not exceeding 3500 kg manufactured on or after April 1, 2020 for all models, government has sought suggestion within a month and the rules have been called the Central Motor Vehicles Amendment Rules 2016. Draft of certain rules aims at amending the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989 which the central government proposed to make in exercise with powers conferred under the Motor Vehicles Act 1988. Government decided to jump from Euro IV to Euro VI emission norms and oil plus will invest INR 28,750 crore for the transition.

10)   The theme of Ministry of New & Renewable Energy in the republic day parade will be

a. Mega Watt To Giga Watt – Sustainable Power
b. Mega Watt To Giga Watt – Land of Thousand Suns
c. Mega Watt - Thousand Suns in India
d. Mega Watt To Giga Watt – Making The Sun Brighter, Even At Night
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Mega Watt To Giga Watt – Making The Sun Brighter, Even At Night

Ministry of New & Renewable Energy will be showcasing its various activities and initiatives for the first time in Republic Day Parade. The Theme of display is “Mega Watt To Giga Watt – Making The Sun Brighter, Even At Night”. The tableau highlights its ambitious project of renewable energy capacity target of 175 GW to be achieved by the year 2022. All systems on the tableau are being run by the energy produced through the solar panels and energy stored in a device called Eco grid. The new and renewable energy sources have been accepted universally as the foremost choice for being clean, non-polluting and inexhaustible sources of energy. Being environment-friendly, they preserve nature, promote greenery, health, happiness and prosperity for the mankind. India has announced a very ambitious renewable energy capacity target of 175 GW by 2022. We already have an impressing cumulative existing installed capacity of approximately 38 GW of solar, wind, small hydro and bio-energy. The vision 2022 of achieving the installed capacity of 175 GW, aims to transform India through rapid strides in the renewable energy sector, job creation and skill development. To meet these targets, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is spearheading research and technology development in new areas such as ocean, tidal energy, hydrogen, etc.

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