Published: Wednesday 31 March 1999

fuel treatment: Japanese scientists have developed a new fuel treatment that could reduce emissions from truck diesel engines. The technology could allow vehicle manufacturers to meet new emission standards. The process called Soltron will be marketed and manufactured by US-based firm Solpower. Soltron is a fuel enhancing fluid that works using enzymes. The makers claim the treatment affects molecules within liquid fuels, including diesel and gasoline, and increases the fuel absorption of oxygen. The enzymes destroy the damaging contaminants that degrade normal fuels. Only three ounces of Soltron is needed to be mixed with every 100 gallons of fuel to be effective.

portable irradiator: The Centre for Advanced Technology (CAT) in Indore has designed a prototype of a portable microtron-based irradiator that can irradiate onions, potatoes and a range of other agricultural products. The microtron is an electron beam accelerator, which has many applications in medicine and research studies. The irradiator is expected to be ready for commercial use in the next three years. It will have a capacity to screen 3.5 tonnes/hour of onions or potatoes. Instead of the conventional concrete structure, steel drums have been used to bring flexibility for moving it from location to location.

new drugs: The US-based company Glaxo, plans to introduce Limuvidine, the only drug for hepatitis-B, its patented drug, along with Ventoride, a drug for asthma. The company is considering a special subsidised price for the Indian market. The price will be according to the purchasing power of the Indian public. Glaxo's AIDS drug, Combivir, may also be targeted at India. Clinical tests of the drug have revealed that AIDS patients on being administered Combivir show a declining HIV count.

malaria vaccine: US researchers at the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta and their collaborators at the National Institute of Immunology in Delhi have developed a malaria vaccine. It is based on a synthetic gene which they believe could protect people from the deadliest type of malaria caused by P Falciparum parasite. The vaccine has been successfully tested in rabbits and the results seem promising for people living in regions where malaria is prevalent, said Seyed Hasnain of NII.

ambassador on cng: Hindustan Motors (HM), manufacturers of the once-popular Ambassador car, announced the sale of it's 100th Ambassador 1800 ISZ model that uses compressed natural gas (CNG) as fuel. HM is confident that more people will go for the CNG option while buying a vehicle. "We are delighted at the positive customer feedback for the Ambassador CNG model. HM is the first car manufacturer in India to introduce vehicles that will run on CNG. The Ambassador is best suited for conversion because of its large boot space," said executive director of HM R Santhanam.

flyash utilisation: The government has decided to use flyash in all its construction activities. The decision was taken at a meeting of ministers of urban affairs, power and environment and forests. The meeting was called to promote use of flyash generated by thermal power plants to reduce air pollution. To promote greater utilisation of flyash, Union minister of power P R Kumaramangalam said the National Thermal Power Corporation would shortly set up two brick manufacturing plants at Dadri and Badarpur in Haryana.

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