Weekly Current Affairs

Man with a huge ‘negative’ carbon footprint [Prelims, Environment]

  • Known as the “man with the largest negative carbon footprint in the world,” Indianborn American electrical engineer Jayant Baliga is the inventor of the insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT), a device that enabled the electronics in the now ubiquitous CFL lamp.
  • While he has many inventions to his credit, but IGBT is above the rest, which functions as a kind of electronic switch.
  • A CFL lamp needs such a switch as opposed to a tungsten - based lamp. In the latter, energy is lost due to the heating required by the tungsten filament.
  • A CFL lamp works through a gas discharge. IGBTs are used to generate the gas discharge, which lights up the bulb.
  • The IGBT’s other advantage was to allow for electronics to fit into the small volume of the base below the gas tube.
  • The use of electronics helped bring down size, as well as the cost, of CFL lamps. Compared to incandescent bulbs, CFL bulbs improved lighting efficiency by 75%.
  • Use of CFL lamps instead of traditional lighting, in the last 25 years, has saved the world 73,000 Terawatt-hours of energy and almost 5.7 trillion litres of gas, and has helped decrease carbon dioxide emissions by 49.5 billion metric tonnes.