Published: Tuesday 31 August 1999

pollution control fabrics: Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (bhel), in collaboration with a German firm, is manufacturing state-of-the-art pollution control equipment called Fabric Filters. The filters help reduce environmental pollution from industries and power stations. They have a simple design, low space requirement and high separation efficiency over the entire particle size range. The filters will be manufactured at BHEL's Boiler Auxiliaries Plant in Ranipet, Tamil Nadu. These filters are also used in cement, fertiliser industries and offer a viable alternative in achieving the new stringent pollution control norms.

fuel cell power plant: Germany's Siemens AG said it would develop an emission-free fuel cell power plant in collaboration with a unit of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group. In a statement, Siemens said: "Shell Hydrogen and Siemens Westinghouse announced an agreement creating a framework for the parties to develop and market a unique power generation technology, fuelled on natural gas that would essentially eliminate emissions to the atmosphere." The project combines the high-temperature solid oxide fuel cell developed by Siemens with the carbon dioxide removal technology being developed by Shell.

biotech merger: As part of its effort to broaden its drug development portfolio, Biotech, a British biotechnology firm, has said it will consider a merger. "We are looking at all avenues," said Christopher Hampson, chairperson, Biotech. He also said the company could be acquiring products from big pharmaceutical groups or through merger opportunities. Biotech has been working towards restructuring the company to put a difficult year behind.

multipurpose bike: Mike Norman, a mechanic from the uk has developed a multipurpose vehicle, Ranger, for use in the rural environment to move sick people and light goods. A prototype of the bike is being tested by the uk Charity Riders for Health in Zimbabwe. The sidecar is made of steel and wood materials and its 125cc or 200cc engine is capable of loads up to 50 kg. Electricity can be generated from the motorcycle's drive wheel to power a water pump and produce floodlights for work at night.

new oil expeller: A new expeller to extract oil from mustard seeds has been developed by scientists at the Ludhiana-based scientists of the Mechanical Engineering Research and Development Organisation (MERADO). According to the scientists involved in the project, the extracted oil is comparable to that produced by using traditional expellers. The equipment crushes 42 kg of mustard seeds per hour and leaves lesser residual oil content in the mustard seed cakes. The moisture content in mustard seeds and the temperature range in which they are crushed are critical parameters for maintaining pungency in oil, says R Nigam, merado 's scientist-in-charge.

heat-resistant varnish: An improved heat-resistant shellac-based varnish has been developed by scientists at the Indian Lac Research Institute in Ranchi, Bihar. A combination of shellac, a small quantity of synthetic resin and commonly used solvents, the varnish can be used for coating coils for armatures of electric motors and transformers. The use of shellac-based varnish was earlier limited to wood coating because of its low thermal resistance and poor flexibility of the material. The new varnish can resist temperatures up to 200-220C.

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