Nandini Consultancy Centre has released an investigative and updated publication on “Overview of Global Algae Technology efforts”.

Importance of algae

Microalgae, a large and diverse group of unicellular photo and heterotrophic organisms, have attracted much global attention in recent years for the valuable natural products they produce, their ability to remediate effluents and for their potential as energy crops.

The modest agricultural and resource requirements of microalgae make it an attractive low-cost alternative feedstock.

Algae can be used as source for biofuel, bioethanol and biobutanol. Apart from this, algae can also be used for the production of hydrogen (for use in fuel cells) and for the production of methane gas, which can be used as biogas for use as fuel and feedstock. In addition, algae is carbon neutral and co products can be obtained from it including high protein biomass for use as animal feed.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap, envisages an important role for algae in the energy management in the coming years all over the world.

Research efforts

More than one hundred firms across the world are working on cultivation and harvesting of algae biomass and production of algae biofuel and other derivative products such as ethanol.

Researchers are trying to figure out how to grow enough of the right strains of algae and how to extract the oil most efficiently.

Large scale production for algae based biofuel and derivative products are expected to start between now and 2020 in several countries.

Highlights of contents of the book

  • Technology development efforts of 62 research and development organisations
  • Broad details of pilot plants, semi commercial plants, commercial plants being operated or under implementation by 20 organisations
  • Broad details of technologies offered by 15 organisations
  • 33 patent details relating to various aspects of algae processing in recent years
  • Activities of important 8 promotional bodies and funding agencies
  • Address details of the above organizations


Methodology of study

This book has been prepared on the basis of extensive desk research and quick survey, traces the significant research and development efforts now taking place across the world on algae relating to cultivation practices, harvesting, extraction of oil, production of methane gas, ethanol, butanol, hydrogen, transesterification process for algae biofuel from algae bio oil etc.

Why should you study this book?

This book gives a bird’s eye view of the overall algae technology development efforts across the world.

This book would be of great asset to organizations and individuals desiring to have broad understanding of the developments relating to algae technology, that would enable them to work out their preliminary strategies to exploit the opportunities.


The book has been edited by a  team of chemical engineers and technologists, with decades of hands on experience in process management functions and chemical business related activities.


The price of the book  is US$ 200  (US Dollars Two Hundred Only)

The payment can be made via wire transfer or credit card.


The book would be sent to you by email in pdf format on receipt of order along with the payment.


Biobased fuels and chemicals are today produced largely using sugar from corn in the U.S. or sugarcane in Brazil.

Worthwhile efforts have been made in the field of production of bio fuel from agricultural waste.

The important organizations involved in the field are given below:


Beta Renewables, Italy

Gruppo Mossi & Ghisolfi subsidiary Chemtex,USA

BP , USA / Brazil

Shell, Canada

DuPont, USA

Ineos, USA

Ceres, USA

Enerkem Inc.,Canada

Edeniq, USA

Gevo / Beta Renewables, Malaysia


Danisco and DuPont,USA

GCB Bioenergy journal

HPCL, India


Internationally, research efforts are now underway with frantic speed to develop  bio technology routes for the products, which have until recently been produced from petrochemical feedstock.

Such bio technology oriented R&D efforts have been necessitated, not only to make the process more eco friendly and avoid environmental issues,  but also due to the need to tackle the problem of increasing petrochemical feedstock prices. Many of  such efforts have already borne fruit with the setting up of semi commercial / commercial stage operations.

Some of the products for which the bio technology routes have been developed successfully in recent time include the following.


*        Bio 1,3 propanediol

*        Bio 1,4 butanediol

*        Bio acetic acid

*        Bio acrylic acid

*        Bio adipic acid

*        Bio butadiene

*        Bio caprolactum

*        Bio dicarboxylic acid

*        Bio epichlorohydrin

*        Bio ethylene

*        Bio formic acid

*        Bio glycolic acid

*        Bio metha methyacrylate

*        Bio methanol

*        Bio monoethylene glycol & Bio polyethylene terephthalate

*        Bio n butanol

*        Bio n propanol

*        Bio p xylene

*        Bio PHA

*        Bio polybutylene terephthalate (PBT)

*        Bio polylactic acid

*        Bio propylene

*        Bio propylene glycol

*        Bio succinic acid

*        Bio syngas

*        Bio thermoplastics

Nandini Consultancy Centre has now brought out a publication describing global technology development efforts for the above bio chemicals.

What strategies for Indian chemical industries in 2014 ?

It is necessary that the Indian chemical industry should not copy the pattern of growth in China or middle east countries and other developed countries, for working out its future growth strategies. It has to evolve ideas and vision that would be in tune with India’s strength and resources as well as the issues and its needs.

The constraints in the availability  of petro based  feedstock and petro based energy source is a grim reality facing Indian chemical industries that has to be duly recognised and strategies should be worked out accordingly.

Obviously, appropriate  project opportunities for Indian chemical industries  exist in the areas of agro and mineral based chemicals as well as  biotech and specialty chemicals. One or two projects can be mentioned as  immediate examples. India has emerged as one of the large importers of acetic acid and methanol in recent years and the import demand for these vital basic chemicals are bound to increase in the coming years. It appears that it  would be extremely difficult for India to set up large sized projects for petro based methanol and acetic acid that would be globally competitive and that would make such Indian projects face the competitive threat from imported product.

Nevertheless, it is important that India has to create capacities for such important building blocks like methanol and acetic acid . In these compelling conditions, India has to look for bio based routes for the production of bio methanol and bio acetic acid.  Globally, important technologies have been developed for the production of bio  acetic acid from cellulosic raw material such as bagasse  and bio based route for  methanol have also been developed. Semi commercial plants have been set up in developed countries  already. Indian chemical industries should immediately look for and seize such project opportunities by initiating R&D efforts and acquiring technology from abroad. Similarly, there are many other opportunities  in appropriate areas for India such as setting up large algae farms and production of ethanol, butanol etc. from algae biomass by process of fermentation, apart from producing algae bio fuel and methane gas for use as fuel in power projects.

The strategies for Indian chemical industries in 2014 should revolve around such appropriate projects for investment in India, which would sustain the growth and enable India to win a unique slot for itself in the global market. The capability of Indian project promoters to rise up to the challenge remain to be seen.


Importance of microalgae, a large and diverse group of unicellular photo and heterotrophic organisms and energy crop, have attracted much global attention in recent years for the valuable natural products such as biofuel, methane, hydrogen, ethanol, protein they produce and their ability to remediate effluents.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap, envisages an important role for algae in the energy management in the coming years all over the world.

More than one hundred firms across the world are working on research, cultivation and harvesting of algae biomass and production of algae biofuel and other derivative products such as ethanol. Large scale production for algae  biofuel and derivative products are expected to start between now and 2020 in several countries.

Nandini Consultancy Centre  ( has now brought out a comprehensive and updated book on technology development efforts for algae around the world.


By Dr. D.M.Mohunta

The Mideast, notably the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, have for decades enjoyed a massive competitive advantage in petrochemicals. Cheap raw materials, especially associated gas from oil production and a favorable geographical location—midway between Asia and Europe—helped the region to become a major producer and exporter of basic petrochemicals and plastics. But recent constraints on feedstock supplies in the Mideast coupled with the shale gas revolution in the United States and an upsurge in coal-to-chemicals investments in China are presenting challenges. As a result, diversification—already well under way in some GCC states—investments in new resource-rich countries and regional and overseas acquisitions are the way forward, analysts say.

Mideast producers, after several decades of rapid growth, are facing new realities. These include shortages of gas feedstock and the advent of cheap shale gas in the United States, which has led many companies to announce steam cracker and downstream projects there, intensifying global competition.

The last allocation of ethane gas for a grassroots petrochemicals project in Saudi Arabia was in the middle of the last decade. The $20-billion Sadara joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Dow Chemical will use liquid feedstocks as well as gas to feed its cracker at Al Jubail. Liquid feedstocks do not offer the same cost advantages. The situation is similar in other GCC states. The Borouge 3 project took up the last of the gas availability in the United Arab Emirates, as did Equate II in Kuwait. Increasing power demand is one of the reasons for the squeeze.

Demand for gas continues to increase strongly in the Middle East, driven by power generation, water desalination, and petrochemical projects, as well as own use in liquefied natural gas and gas-to-liquids production. In some cases, low regulated gas prices have resulted in physical shortages of gas, as demand has outstripped local supply capacity, says the International Energy Agency (Paris) in its most recent annual report.

Petrochemical projects in the Mideast, as a result, will almost certainly become fewer and farther between.


In November 2011, BP signed a memorandum of understating (MoU) with Indian Oil Corporation to set up one million metric tonnes per annum acetic acid manufacturing plant in Gujarat State. It was proposed that the plant would also have gasification facilities for production of synthesis gas (Syn Gas). The proposed acetic acid plant would employ BP’s latest Cativa XL technology, while the gasification facilities would utilize petroleum coke feedstock from Indian Oil. BP is one of the few companies in the world with the technology to manufacture acetic acid from methanol. Other major players with a similar technology are Dallas-based Celanese, Salt Lake-based Huntsman International and Chiyoda of Japan.

The proposed plant is expected to be the biggest in the world and would bring in investments worth over Rs.1,00,00 million.

Presently, GNFC in the only producer of acetic acid in India by methanol route.  The project was set up in technical collaboration with BP. For the last 15 years, the GNFC used BP Chemicals’ patented methanol route technology for manufacture acetic acid in India. BP Chemicals is the chemical arm of BP.  Since its agreement with BP was signed 15 years ago, GNFC does not have any clause to prevent BP from associating with any other player.

All other acetic acid plants in India originally producing from ethyl alcohol now remain closed.

The present import of acetic acid in India is around 650,000 metric tonnes per annum.


The KG-D6 fields, which began gas production in April 2009, hit a peak of  69.43 mmscmd in March 2010 before water and sand ingress led to shutting down of more than one-third of the wells.

The oil ministry of Government of India will take back 80% of KG-D6 block, allotted to Reliance Industries including five discoveries, because  Reliance Industries did not abide by deadlines.

The part of the block Reliance Industries  will retain contains all the fields and discoveries that, it hopes, will ramp up output to 40-60 mmscmd in about four years from less than 10 mmscmd.

Significantly, the loss of 80% of the block to Reliance will not interfere with the development plans of the R-series and satellite fields. The fields in the area to be relinquished have so far not been declared commercially viable and would have taken many years, as the government takes time to declare the fields viable, then the company submits a development plan, after which the field is developed and connected to the pipeline network.

Reliance Industries , during an analysts meeting after announcing its Q2 results, stated that production from the block KG-D6 will rise to 17 million metric standard cubic metres a day (mmscmd) by the end of this financial year from the current  14 mmscmd.

According to the company, the growth in natural gas production will be led by incremental production from the MA fields (MA-8 & MA-6 wells) in the KG-D6 block. The company also expects a further production increase from its largest discoveries in the block, Dhirubhai-1 and 3, following the workover programme scheduled to commence in January,2014.

A recent Management Committee resolution note points out that production from the block will run out by 2021-22.


Indian space scientists have given enormous pride and satisfaction to the country men by successfully launching the mangalyaan  mission to Mars.

A section of the people appear to be having an uninformed  and negative  view as to whether such investment of around Rs. 400 crores is justified in launching this mission , particularly when around 30% of the countrymen are reported to be living below poverty line.

There are number of direct and indirect benefits which will do enormous good for the country both in the short and long run  due to this misgivings. The most significant benefit is the confidence that the country will gain about the capability and commitment of the Indian scientists and technologists, which will go a long way in boosting the morale of the scientific community and create greater enthusiasm to show excellence in the future endeavours.  Certainly, this will also  create great respectability for India amongst the comity of nations , which will provide many obvious  benefits.

The Mars mission is very sophisticated and complicated one involving intricate technology practices and equipment. Apart from the ISRO scientists , there are many external organisations in the small , medium and large sector who  have contributed  to the completion of the design, fabrication  and installation of the facilities  and this gives enormous scope for skill development amongst cross section of ancillary  and services sector in variety of fields such as electronics, instrumentation, chemical , metallurgical, computer software etc.  Such skill development opportunities will contribute to the building up of  greater design capability  in multiple fields, that will result in building up of all round  scientific, technological and engineering excellence.

The country spends several thousands of crores in installing statues   and monuments , hundreds of crores of rupees are being spent by the central and state governments for advertising their achievements and in celebrating the birth and death anniversaries of leaders of political parties etc. Under the circumstances, no one should have any misgivings about the money invested in this mars mission.

All of us should pray and hope for the success of this  mission, which would certainly lift the spirit of India to new high.



India is presently facing an impending energy crisis due to the necessity to import around 110 million tonnes of coal, around 185 million tonnes of crude oil and around 16 billion cubic metre  of natural gas every year.  Considering the fact that India has to maintain a GDP growth  of 8% per annum in the coming years, the demand for energy has to necessarily go up at 9 to 10% every year. Considering the fact that Indian production of crude oil, natural  gas and coal have nearly become stagnant with no likelihood of substantial increase in the immediate future , the country’s import of coal, crude oil and natural gas will almost double in the next 7 to 8 years , which would be an alarming situation. Already, the current account deficit is considerably contributed  due to the need for import of energy source like crude oil and natural gas. In this scenario, one can imagine the intensity of current account deficit problem that can happen in the future   due to the  increased  import of such energy source.

Under the circumstances, India has to urgently look for appropriate  indigenous energy sources .  Obviously, off shore wind power is an appropriate  energy source opportunity  that  the country  has ignored so far and cannot afford to ignore any longer.

While  India has installed capacity of around 18000 MW of on shore wind power, the capacity utilisation is only around 40% on an average every year due to lack of wind speed during several months. Even if India would increase the on shore wind power capacity substantially, still the low capacity  utilisation problem will continue.

On the other hand, off shore wind  is  available throughout the year and the speed of off shore wind is  much higher than on shore wind.  India has around 7000 kilometres of coastal line,  which provide enormous opportunity for the country to set up several off shore wind power projects. States of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat have  particularly  big opportunities for setting up off shore wind power projects.

While the cost of installation of off shore wind power project would be around 1.6 times more than that of the on shore wind power project of same capacity, the higher wind speed and the fact that high speed wind would be available throughout the year on the sea side would enable high capacity utilisation for off shore power  projects , thus providing good economics.

Europe is presently focussing in a big way on the off shore wind power projects with capacity of around 6000 MW already built during the last few years and operating successfully. Europe is reported to have set up a target of one lakh MW of off shore wind power in the next ten years and is taking active steps to achieve the target.   China  and USA  are also following the European model now.  The technology parameters have been reasonably well established.

India should immediately seize this off shore wind power opportunity and take steps to build  atleast one lakh  MW of off shore wind power projects in the next fifteen years. This elegant,  eco friendly and renewable off shore wind power project would go a long way in finding a solution for the impending energy crisis in India.