Finding sustainable fuel sources a top priority, says Murmu

Publish on November 18, 2023     Source: The Hindu

Finding non-fossil sustainable resources which could replace traditional fuels should be a priority objective because “we are approaching a climate tipping point,” President Droupadi Murmu said on Saturday while addressing a conference organised by the Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI) to commemorate its 75th Anniversary. The President added that to reduce the carbon footprint, “we need to rapidly adopt new propulsion technologies at a large scale” including electric, hydrogen and hybrid.

“The development of sustainable jet fuels is one of the much-needed steps to decarbonise the economy but it is hardest to achieve because traditional fuels are of very high density,” the President said. “Decarbonisation of aero-propulsion is an onerous task we will have to undertake because climate change and global warming are threatening the very existence of humans,” she stated.

“Aviation is a remarkable feat of human ingenuity that brings the imaginative power to reality with seamless fusion of technology,” Ms. Murmu noted. “Aerospace and aviation are simultaneously humbling and almost superhuman activities that afford us the vast global connection of the planet we inhabit and exploration of space and beyond,” she said.

In this regard, the President said, “Whether it is the feat of successful completion of the Mars mission or showcasing the end-to-end capability in safe landing and roving near the Moon’s South Pole - a place considered beyond human endeavour, India has proved that it has the willpower, potential, and capacity to accomplish what it sets out to achieve.” She added that the highest standards of quality, cost-effectiveness and punctuality have been the hallmarks of all of India’s projects.

Dr. G. Satheesh Reddy, former Secretary, Department of Defence R&D, former Chairman, and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), and presently the President of AeSI, spoke of the AeSI’s role in synergising the efforts of all R&D organisations, academia, and industry towards the realisation of advanced capabilities for making the country self-reliant. The two-day conference plans to deliberate on the vision for aerospace and aviation in 2047, and lay the road map for realisation of this vision, he stated.

“Air Travel in India is no longer a luxury of the elite,” said Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology, and MoS in the Prime Minister’s Office. “This has been possible not only due to affordable air fare, but also the number of airports has more than doubled in the last over 9 years from 75 in 2014 to over 150 today,” he said while addressing the event.

Dr. Singh said that India’s totally indigenous maiden manned mission Gaganyaan will be launched in 2025, an Indian will land on Moon in 2030, and India will have its own space station by 2035. In this regard, he said after the unlocking of the space sector in 2020, there are now around 150 deep tech start-ups working in this sector from a mere four or five in 2014.

Dr. Singh pointed out that the Indian aerospace sector has evolved significantly. “We find ourselves at the cusp of unprecedented achievements,” he said, referring to the successful Chandrayaan-3, Mars Orbiter Mission, and Aditya L1. He also directed attention towards ISRO’s Gaganyaan project, the indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, and state-of-the-art missile systems by DRDO as well as other related technologies by public sectors/private industries and start-ups. “Our scientists and engineers have showcased India’s prowess on the global stage,” the Minister added.

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