quick reads

The big news: Viacom18 defers Padmavati’s release as protests continue, and nine other top stories

Other headlines: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was ousted from the ruling party, and Congress said it has settled differences with Hardik Patel’s group.

A look at the headlines right now:

  1. Padmavati maker Viacom18 defers film’s release: A Haryana BJP leader announced a Rs 10-crore reward for beheading Deepika Padukone and Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
  2. Zimbabwe’s ruling party ousts Robert Mugabe from leadership: Former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa replaced the 93-year-old, who has till noon on Monday to resign as president or face impeachment.
  3. Congress says it has settled differences with Hardik Patel’s Patidar outfit: The Gujarat Election Commission has ordered an investigation into an alleged communal video released ahead of the polls.
  4. Indian Army says it has killed 190 militants in Jammu and Kashmir this year, 110 of them foreigners: The state police are investigating the Islamic State’s claim that it carried out the attack in Srinagar, in which an officer was killed.
  5. Top United States general says he will resist any unlawful nuclear strike order from Donald Trump: General John Hyten, who heads the US Strategic Command, said those who implement an illegal order could face life in prison.
  6. Over 200 government websites publicly displayed details of Aadhaar users, says UIDAI: The data was removed from those websites after the breach was noticed, the authority said in a reply to an RTI.
  7. Uttar Pradesh CM Adityanath warns criminals, says they will either be jailed or killed in encounters: The BJP leader claimed that the law-and-order situation in the state has improved since his government took charge in March.
  8. Signals from missing Argentine Navy vessel raise hope that 44 on board are alive: Defence Ministry: Several failed ‘satellite calls’ were detected from the ARA San Juan submarine, the government said.
  9. Bihar medical college fines 54 students Rs 25,000 each for ragging: The Darbhanga college fined the second-year students for hazing their juniors and first-year students for not naming the guilty.
  10. Manmohan Singh to receive Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace: As the prime minister for 10 years, he led India to an era of ‘rapid economic and social change’, the trust that gives the award said.
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Making two-wheelers less polluting to combat air pollution in India

Innovations focusing on two-wheelers can make a difference in facing the challenges brought about by climate change.

Two-wheelers are the lifeline of urban Asia, where they account for more than half of the vehicles owned in some countries. This trend is amply evident in India, where sales in the sub-category of mopeds alone rose 23% in 2016-17. In fact, one survey estimates that today one in every three Indian households owns a two-wheeler.

What explains the enduring popularity of two-wheelers? In one of the fastest growing economies in the world, two-wheeler ownership is a practical aspiration in small towns and rural areas, and a tactic to deal with choked roads in the bigger cities. Two-wheelers have also allowed more women to commute independently with the advent of gearless scooters and mopeds. Together, these factors have led to phenomenal growth in overall two-wheeler sales, which rose by 27.5% in the past five years, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). Indeed, the ICE 2016 360 survey says that two-wheelers are used by 37% of metropolitan commuters to reach work, and are owned by half the households in India’s bigger cities and developed rural areas.

Amid this exponential growth, experts have cautioned about two-wheelers’ role in compounding the impact of pollution. Largely ignored in measures to control vehicular pollution, experts say two-wheelers too need to be brought in the ambit of pollution control as they contribute across most factors determining vehicular pollution - engine technology, total number of vehicles, structure and age of vehicles and fuel quality. In fact, in major Indian cities, two-thirds of pollution load is due to two-wheelers. They give out 30% of the particulate matter load, 10 percentage points more than the contribution from cars. Additionally, 75% - 80% of the two-wheelers on the roads in some of the Asian cities have two-stroke engines which are more polluting.

The Bharat Stage (BS) emissions standards are set by the Indian government to regulate pollutants emitted by vehicles fitted with combustion engines. In April 2017, India’s ban of BS III certified vehicles in favour of the higher BS IV emission standards came into effect. By April 2020, India aims to leapfrog to the BS VI standards, being a signatory to Conference of Parties protocol on combating climate change. Over and above the BS VI norms target, the energy department has shown a clear commitment to move to an electric-only future for automobiles by 2030 with the announcement of the FAME scheme (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles in India).

The struggles of on-ground execution, though, remain herculean for automakers who are scrambling to upgrade engine technology in time to meet the deadlines for the next BS norms update. As compliance with BS VI would require changes in the engine system itself, it is being seen as one of the most mammoth R&D projects undertaken by the Indian automotive industry in recent times. Relative to BS IV, BS VI norms mandate a reduction of particulate matter by 82% and of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) by 68%.

Emission control in fuel based two-wheelers can be tackled on several fronts. Amongst post-emission solutions, catalytic converters are highly effective. Catalytic converters transform exhaust emissions into less harmful compounds. They can be especially effective in removing hydrocarbons, nitrous oxides and carbon monoxide from the exhaust.

At the engine level itself, engine oil additives are helpful in reducing emissions. Anti-wear additives, friction modifiers, high performance fuel additives and more lead to better performance, improved combustion and a longer engine life. The improvement in the engine’s efficiency as a result directly correlates to lesser emissions over time. Fuel economy of a vehicle is yet another factor that helps determine emissions. It can be optimised by light weighting, which lessens fuel consumption itself. Light weighting a vehicle by 10 pounds can result in a 10-15-pound reduction of carbon dioxide emissions each year. Polymer systems that can bear a lot of stress have emerged as reliable replacements for metals in automotive construction.

BASF, the pioneer of the first catalytic converter for automobiles, has been at the forefront of developing technology to help automakers comply with advancing emission norms while retaining vehicle performance and cost-efficiency. Its new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at Mahindra World City near Chennai is equipped to develop a range of catalysts for diverse requirements, from high performance and recreational bikes to economy-oriented basic transportation. BASF also leverages its additives expertise to provide compounded lubricant solutions, such as antioxidants, anti-wear additives and corrosion inhibitors and more. At the manufacturing level, BASF’s R&D in engineered material systems has led to the development of innovative materials that are much lighter than metals, yet just as durable and strong. These can be used to manufacture mirror brackets, intake pipes, step holders, clutch covers, etc.

With innovative solutions on all fronts of automobile production, BASF has been successfully collaborating with various companies in making their vehicles emission compliant in the most cost-effective way. You can read more about BASF’s innovations in two-wheeler emission control here, lubricant solutions here and light weighting solutions here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of BASF and not by the Scroll editorial team.