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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Apr 2011

Formic Acid|Chlorinated Paraffin Wax|Fluorine Chemicals|EPDM

Highlights of Some of the Articles
NEED TO PROMOTE RESEARCH CENTRIC UNIVERSITIES IN A BIG WAY Inspite of the “army of technical manpower” in India , the country does not have much to show by way of achievements in the research and development front. While Indian scientists have certainly made breakthroughs in sophisticated areas such as space research and atomic energy , there is a view that no proper cost benefit analysis have been made , as to whether the results have been commensurate with the efforts and investments putforth. It is not to belittle some of the spectacular achievements in the R&D field. Nevertheless, the fact remains that India today still largely depends on import of technology to sustain its industrial development. Obviously, India still has a long way to go in fine tuning its research and development strategies to achieve appropriate growth in tune with the country’s strength and opportunities. No doubt , the Government of India has been pumping several hundred crores of rupees to maintain many research laboratories under the fold of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and is also extending liberal subsidy support and tax incentives to several R&D initiatives by public and private sector companies and universities. Certainly, Government of India cannot be found fault of wanting in its enthusiasm to encourage the R&D activities in the country. It, therefore, implies that it is only the Indian industries , R&D institutions and Universities who have to pull their socks and forge ahead. At this stage, it is necessary to examine as to why these agencies have not been able to meet the needs and expectations of the country in the R&D field in adequate measure. One thing that is very clear is that the investments by the Indian industries in the R&D activities are very low compared to their turn over and profits. On the other hand, most of the industries in India appear to be relying on purchased or acquired technology by technical collaboration instead of developing such technologies on their own. This is a defeatist attitude and the industries have to overcome this psychological obsession in resorting to the purchase of technologies lock stock and barrel rather than developing them on their own. When anyone would depend on purchasing technologies , then he would only get what is offered in the market and not what he needs. Excessive dependence on overseas technology would surely put India always a step behind the countries which put huge efforts in technology developments on their own. Of course, one cannot expect Indian industries, even the very large ones by Indian standard , to make the type of R & D investments that multi national giant companies like BASF., DOW, DU Pont and others do. However, what one should recognize is the fact that there is an attitudinal problem towards R&D pursuits in Indian industries , which is conspicuous and should not be overlooked. Indian R&D efforts in different fields are now largely sustained by the government owned CSIR laboratories . While CSIR labs like National Chemical Laboratory , Pune, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad have a few feathers on their cap, overall the CSIR labs have not been able to create confidence amongst the industries about their capabilities and dependability. The CSIR laboratories have not been able to get rid of the government and bureaucratic culture to a large extent and that explain their inadequacies to some extent. In recent years, huge investments have gone in quantitative expansion of technological and management education in the country, with private sector playing a very active role. While this is satisfying development, most of such colleges and universities have focused themselves largely on turning out graduates and post graduates by imparting readymade lessons to them with little innovation and research culture . Indian Institutes of Technology , no doubt , remain as centres of excellence and role model for other institutions in the country. But, even these institutions focus more on turning out graduates and post graduates with exam oriented approach rather than aggressive research pursuits. Many educationists wonder as to why Indian Institutes of Technology should pre occupy themselves with graduate programmes instead of focusing their entire attention on research pursuits alone. Such Indian scenario point to the need to promote and encourage exclusive research centric Indian universities , which would be able to interact with the industries in an elegant manner for carrying out purposive and appropriate research and development programmes. Industries have to involve themselves in research pursuits with much more intensity and since many of them do not have the investment capability in R&D , and appropriate R&D team in strength , industry university cooperation is the obvious way to provide a big R&D push in India. In this way, the universities would pursue research in cooperation with the industries with much greater enthusiasm and focus, particularly since such research activities have great prospects for commercial exploitation by the research sponsoring industries. There is really no need to further explain the worthiness of this concept , as the experience and results of industry university cooperation in USA remain as an elegant example.
There is no doubt that chemical industries in China have grown by leaps and bounds in the last ten years by steady capacity expansion and optimizing technology practices. Obviously, the chemical industry growth rate in China is far higher than the growth in other regions. At the same time, it has to be recognized that in most cases, the capacity created in China for production of variety of chemicals have been far higher than the present requirement in China. In other words, the capacity creation has exceeded the demand growth in China, even considering the highly impressive GDP growth in the country. China appears to be facing a risk of over capacity situation with regard to many chemicals and consequent issues such as Chinese chemical industries becoming vulnerable to international price pressure and at the mercy of global buyers. The over capacity have happened in the case of many chemicals such as citric acid, titanium dioxide, calcium carbide etc. Just to give one example, the output of butanol and octanol in China increased from 1,26,700 metric tonnes and 2,56,000 metric tonnes in 2000 respectively to 4,00,000 metric tonnes and 5,85,000 metric tonnes in 2008 when China’s self sufficiency was around 62% for butanol and 68% for octanol. In China, many butanol/octanol units are presently under planning or construction . By 2011 / 2012, it is expected that additional capacity of over one million metric tonnes per annum would be created. This figure would not include the expansion of existing butanol/octanol plants . When these projects would be implemented, the growth in demand would lag behind the supply and dependence on export market would increase substantially. This would create a piquant situation for the Chinese chemical industries , when they have to depend excessively on the export market and have to maintain an extremely aggressive export efforts to achieve high capacity utilization . When and if China have to flood the global market with its products, the profit margins of the existing and new units in China will shrink substantially and may be a few units will be forced to close down operations due to low capacity utilization and price and consequent loss. The capacity creation have taken place at such a rapid pace in different provinces in China that many observers outside China often wonder, as to whether adequate and careful global market research have been carried out by chemical industries in China before implementing such new projects and going for relentless capacity creation. Many find it difficult to accept the logic for this massive capacity creation in China and wonder as to whether such capacity build up have been due to huge confidence in their capability to penetrate the export market all over the world, out beating other existing players across the world. This should particularly be seen in the context of the huge capacity for petrochemicals being built in the middle east region , which have little local market for its products and depend almost entirely on global market. Well meaning critics of Chinese chemical industry may, perhaps, think that an element of caution is needed , as rapid capacity creation without reference to global demand supply scenario, could create a difficult situation leading to loss of investment by way of plant closures and non utilization of capacity created. This situation would be like taking two steps forward that result in one step backward. Has the time now come for China to have a re look at its capacity creation strategies ? In this context, there is a view that in the immediate future, Chinese chemical industries should consolidate and go only for selective capacity expansion with great care and caution. It should also strengthen and consolidate its domestic base by improving their competitiveness in terms of quality and specification and process parameters and production costs. With the increasing share of installed capacity of China in the global supply scenario there is great urgency that Chinese chemical industries should work out an integrated and pragmatic export marketing strategy atleast for the next ten years. There is no evidence that such strategy exists right now and there appears to be a sense of panic and anxiety already developing amongst chemical industry. E mail boxes of several chemical companies, trading houses and consultants around the world now receive huge number of unsolicited emails from China suggesting about the availability of the products and enticing the buyers to entertain them. For example, Nandini Consultancy Centre based in India and Singapore receive on an average 120 e mails every day for marketing their products from cross section of Chinese chemical industries. This figure should be viewed from the point of view of the fact that not even 5% of similar mails are sent from chemical industries of other countries for product marketing. The influx of huge investments in capacity creation from multi national companies in China need not be considered as a big advantage by itself, since several multi national companies invest their resources hoping that Chinese market would absorb such capacity and are also encouraged by the over enthusiastic invitation from co promoters in China. Chemical industries in China have moved forward admirably so far , but the time has come to be more circumspect and pay greater attention to market research projections, giving up the view that capacity creation by itself is a sign of progress.
The earthquake and consequent safety threat to the nuclear power plants in Japan have confirmed the worst fears of the critics of the nuclear power projects around the world. Japan is a country with enormous technology strength and high level of disciplined approach to issues and even this great nation finds it extremely difficult to face the present adverse conditions. A number of developing countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa are now committing themselves to nuclear power projects. The Government of India has announced that it would create nuclear power capacity of as much as around 15,000 MW. In the next few years involving investment of several million US dollars. There have been considerable opposition to nuclear power plans of Government of India by well meaning critics in India, due to several issues such as the high cost of nuclear power that would be generated, lack of disposal facility for nuclear waste and safety issues such as radiation. In a densely populated country like India, one would shudder to think about the consequences, if similar disasters were to take place in India near the nuclear power plants. God forbid. The destruction in Japan is a grave global humanitarian issue and threat to the nuclear plants in Japan should alert United Nations Organisations and the scientific community across the world. They should take a fresh look at the advisability of setting up nuclear power projects, particularly in developing countries which may not be able to adopt the best of safety procedures due to several reasons. It would be appropriate if UNO would set up a committee of experts who would look into the issues and provide an advisory to all the countries. The article discusses the Indian nuclear power scenario.
  • Indian nuclear power scenario
  • Operating units under NPCIL
  • Units under construction
  • Nuclear power reactors planned or firmly proposed until 2020
  • Performance of nuclear power plants in India
  • Indian uranium deposits
  • Indian uranium sites
  • Thorium fuel cycle development in India
  • Concerns about nuclear power projects
    • Cost concern
    • Environmental issues
    • Global caution
India is “disorganized” and “unprepared” for handling nuclear emergencies like that of Japan, says Dr A Gopalakrishnan, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB). “The AERB’s disaster preparedness oversight is mostly on paper and thedrills they conduct once in a while are half hearted efforts, which amount more to a sham.” he claimed. He called for a total re organization of the AERB. “It should be made completely independent of the Department of Atomic Energy Secretary and made technically much stronger with the recruitment of reputed senior specialists into that organization, “ he suggested. Dr Gopalakrishnan said it was unlikely that the kind of earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan could strike any of the Indian nuclear plants. “But, the earthquake resistant designs and tsunami abatement measures need a high level in depth review by an independent experts group, predominantly consisting of non DAE, non-NPCIL (Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited) experts, he added. Pointing out the helplessness Indian engineers face over imported reactors, the former AERB chief said. “The government is getting imported reactors like the French evolutionary pressurized ones in Jaitapur, of which neither the Indians nor the French know much. If in a pressurized heavy water reactor a major accident occurs, we have Indian engineers and scientists who are totally familiar with the details, who can jump in and rapidly bring the situation under control.” He added, a similar timely and effective reaction from Indian engineering teams on an accident in one of the imported reactors will be “next to impossible for at least a few decades to come”. He explained that the objections to building evolutionary pressurized reactors (EPRs) at Jiatapur, which have not been commissioned anywhere else in the world are that it is non existent and its potential problems are unknown even to its developer. Areva, let alone India’s Nuclear Power Corporation. A reactor has to be physically built and then only can it be tested and the EPR is, therefore, a totally untested reactor, even if Areva claims they have combined various best design features on paper in conceiving the EPR. Courtesy: New Indian Express
Contributed by Dr. D.M.Mohunta, Consultant Technologist E-mail : The recent earth quake in Japan and consequent safety issues relating to the nuclear power plants have once again brought to focus as to whether more nuclear power plants should be set up in the world. Several countries like India are now committing themselves to put up large capacity of nuclear power plants in the coming years. The details about the nuclear power accidents in the past should cause concern . The yearwise accidents are provided in this article.
  • December 12, 1952
  • October 1957
  • January 3, 1961
  • July 4, 1961
  • October 5, 1966
  • January 21, 1969
  • December 7, 1975
  • March 28, 1979
  • February 11, 1981
  • April 25, 1981
  • April 26, 1986
  • March 24, 1992
  • November 1992
  • November 1995
  • March 1997
  • September 30, 1999
Nuclear Power Corporation (NPCIL) is likely to focus on the reliability of back-up power systems at some of the operational nuclear stations as it looks to reinforce safety measures in the wake of the Japanese nuclear accident. Nuclear stations generally have several back-up diesel generators and battery powered systems that supply power to motor-driven cooling systems, which will continue the supply of water or coolant to dissipate heat in the event of a forced shutdown. While during an earth-quake, the reactor would be expected to automatically shut down (called a reactor scram), the reactor continues to produce heat equivalent to about 3 to 5 per cent of its full power level even after that. This drops off gradually and is why there needs to be layers of redundant cooling with back-up power. Especially in the event of a major earth-quake, when power from outside the plant would not be expected to be available. The crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan, which withstood the magnitude 9 earthquake, suffered severe damages to its diesel generators and back-up power systems in the tsunami that followed the quake. NPCIL currently operates 20 nuclear power reactors with an installed capacity of 4,780 MW. Of these reactors, two are Boiling Water Reactors of 160 MWe each at Tarapur while all others are Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs). The safety of these BWR units, which are of the same type as the six units of the Fukushima Dai-ichi station, were reanalyzed few years ago and reviewed by Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), NPCIL officials said. Following this, the two BWRs at Tarapur have been renovated, upgraded and additional safety features back fitted to latest safety standards, an officials said. The PHWRs are of different design than that of BWRs and have multiple, redundant and diverse shutdown systems as well as cooling water systems, they said.
India has 19 operating Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) that use natural uranium as fuel. It is building more PHWRs of 700 MWe capacity each. Huge deposits of natural uranium, which promise to be one of the top 20 of the world's reserves, have been found in the Tummalapalle belt in the southern part of the Kadapa basin in Andhra Pradesh. This article discusses the above subject in detailed manner.
Many different grades of carbon fibre are available, with differing properties, which can be used for specific applications. The different composites include
  • Carbon fibres reinforced Plastics / Carbon fibres reinforced thermo plastics
  • Composite of Carbon fibre in a carbon matrix
  • Carbon fibre reinforced ceramic
This article focus on application and end use markets, process outline, Indian trade data, Indian manufacturers, global demand and supply scenario, prognosis.
BASF has increased its R&D budget for 2011 from last year’s €1.5 billion ($2.04 billion) and is working on about 3,000 projects to tackle . BASF’s R&D pipeline involve in developing technologies based on carbon dioxide (CO2) as a raw material. BASF is in the pre-launch phase for organic compounds that can be used instead of “costly silicon” in conventional solar cells to generate electricity. In health and nutrition BASF’s plant biotechnology is contributing to the production of more food on limited agricultural land and “tapping into new potentials for bioenergy and renewable resources. BASF aims to generate sales of €6 billion to €8 billion per year through innovation by 2015. This article discusses the following details:
  • Energy efficiency and climate protection
  • Electromobility
  • Proceess development
CBM is unconventional natural gas contained in coal, primarily in the form of methane. India has the third largest proven coal reserves and the 4th largest coal producer in the world. The prognosticated CBM resources are about 50 tcf, out of which only 8.39 tcf has been established. The oil ministry of Government of India has so far awarded 30 CBM blocks under four bidding rounds and three on nomination basis. According to the DGH website, CBM production is expected at around 7.4 mmscmd by 2013-14. This article discusses the following details :
  • Great Eastern
  • Essar
  • Reliance Industries Ltd
  • Price
SEAWEED FERTILIZER - A NEW TYPE OF ORGANIC FERTILISER Seaweed fertilizer, made from natural seaweed is a new type of organic fertilizer. Sometimes, a certain amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and other trace elements can also be added in seaweed fertilizer, which is called the fourth generation fertilizer after organic fertilizer, chemical fertilizer and bio-fertilizer. This article discusses the following details
  • Uses
  • Process
  • Projects in China
    • China Ocean University Organism
    • Leili Agrochemistry Co.Ltd.
    • Zhejiang Dongyang Lianfeng Biological Technology Co., Ltd
    • Yanti Swide Biological Technology Co., Ltd
BIO SUCCINIC ACID – INDUSTRY STATUS Succinic acid can be used as a feedstock for making high-volume chemicals such as 1,4-butanediol (BDO). The high cost of producing it from petroleum-based feedstocks has kept the market for succinic acid relatively small at about 50,000 tonnes per year. The demand is likely to triple in the next five years, as the scale-up of lower-cost, biobased routes opens up new applications. Succinic acid has potential market total of about 8 billion lbs per year. Both BioAmber (Minneapolis) and Myriant Technologies (Quincy, MA) will move forward with their respective commercial-scale biosuccinic acid projects in North America This article discusses initiatives taken by the following organizations
  • BioAmber
  • Myriant
  • BASF / Purac
  • DuPont
VITAMIN C – INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY Alternate name L-Ascorbic acid, L-3-Ketothreohexuronic, acid lactone CAS No 50-81-7 Molecular formula C6H8O6 Appearance White mono clinic crystalline solid Odour Odourless Application sectors
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Soft drinks
  • Health care products
  • Animal feed additive
This article discusses the following details
  • Application details
  • Indian manufacturers
  • Indian production
  • Indian demand for Vitamin C
  • Growth rate in demand
  • Sample of consumers
  • Import Export details of vitamin C and its derivatives
  • Indian price
  • Global scenario
    • Global demand
    • Global sales value in US$
    • Growth rate in demand
    • International producers of Vitamin C
    • Scenario in China
      • Demand in China
      • Export of vitamin C from China
  • Process outline
    • Reichstein process
    • Two-stage fermentation process
    • Process flow for production of vitamin C
  • o Indian producers – process adopted
  • Import of 2-Keto-L-Gulonic acid
  • Sample of individual imports of 2-Keto-L-Gulonic acid
  • Prognosis
2-ETHYL HEXANOL (OCTANOL) - INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY Appearance Transparent liquid CAS No. 104-76-7 Molecular Formula C8H18O Application sectors
  • Plasticizer
  • 2-Ethyl Hexyl Acrylate
  • Octanoic acid
  • Defoamer
  • Plasticiser
  • Miscellaneous sectors
This article discusses the following details
  • Nature of application
  • CIF Price trend of imported product in India
  • Indian manufacturer
  • Indian producer of oxo alcohol and their production level for the last three years
  • Expansion plan
  • Indian annual import details
  • Demand supply scenario
  • Indian demand
  • Global scenario
    • Global producers
    • New Projects
    • Projected global installed capacity by 2013
    • Global demand
    • Pattern of demand
    • Growth rate in demand through 2015
  • Process outline
  • Prognosis
NEOPENTYL GLYCOL - PRODUCT PROFILE Appearance White, crystalline solid Odour Mint-like odour Formula C5H12O2 CAS Registry Number 126-30-7 Applications Neopentyl glycol is used in the manufacture of resins for coatings, especially gel coats and powder coatings. It is also converted to alkyd, polyester and polyurethane resins for water- and solvent-based coatings, including high-solid systems in automotive coatings and in coil coatings. The quaternary structure of neopentyl glycol allows it to provide superior hydrolytic stability, weatherability and a good balance between hardness and flexibility in the following applications:
  • Polyester/alkyd resin coatings
  • Polyesterols
  • Polyester plasticizers
  • Reinforced resins
  • Synthetic lubricants
  • Flame retarding compounds
  • Binders and adhesives
  • Gel coats
This article discusses the following details:
  • Storage and Handling
  • Indian scenario
  • Indian producer
  • Sample of consumers in India
  • Indian annual imports
  • Sample of individual imports
  • Important global producers
  • Profile of major producers
  • Global demand
  • Global use pattern
  • Demand driver
  • Global demand growth
  • Process technology
INVESTMENT OF MULTI NATIONAL COMPANIES IN R&D IN CHINA R&D scenario in China There is strong Western R&D capacity in China.In Shanghai alone, the companies which have set up R&D centers include Bayer, BASF, Dow, DSM, DuPont, Lanxess, Solvay, Ticona and Wacker. On the other hand, there is a strong interest of Chinese institutions and chemical producers in cooperating with Western companies. A few informations of R&D cooperation between multi national companies and chemical industries in China are provided in this article. This article discusses the above subject in detailed manner. ANTI DUMPING PAGE The antidumping measures introduced in the various countries in the last few weeks on the following products are discussed:
  • Aniline
  • Caprolactam
SAFETY AND ACCIDENT PAGE Following safety and accident details are discussed:
  • Blast In Bayer’s Wv Plant In 2008 Why & How?
  • Fire at Tata Global Beverages unit
  • Acid leak fumes in Shasun Chemicals
  • Gas leakage at Vadilal ice-cream unit
  • Fire at pharma company
  • Explosion in Natural gas liquid storage facility
  • Fire in Dr Reddy’s lab claims 2 lives
PLANT CLOSURES The article discusses the plans for closure of selected unit by the following player
  • Eastman to sell shuttered methanol and ammonia Plant at Beaumont, TX,USA
  • Huntsman Suffers Outage
  • Schulman shuts sites
  • Dow will close VCM units
  • Fatty acid unit of Croda closed
  • Yara and BASF halt production in Libya
NEWS ROUND UP The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed: INTERNATIONAL
  • Fatty acid
  • Fibers
  • Carboxylic acid
  • Acrylonitrile
  • Synthetic methanol
  • LED materials
  • Butanol Plant / Isobutyraldehyde
  • Tri-calcium phosphate
  • PLA
  • Base oil plant
  • Carbon black
  • Master batch
  • Acrlyonitrile / Melamine
  • Polyetheramine
  • Polysilicon facility in Malaysia
  • Metathesis catalyst
  • Polysilicon JV, in Korea
  • Biobutanediol
  • Calcium carbonate
  • Vertellus Enters Indian Market Through JV
  • Indian firms overtake Chinese companies in overseas mineral asset buys
  • K-G D6 output decline
  • Atul Forms Dyestuffs JV with Swiss Company
CHINA NEWS The recent developments on the following products/events are updated :
  • Phenol Complex
  • PTA
TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed:
  • Giga Methanol Technology
  • New Glyphosate Technology
  • Olefins patent
  • Process to recycle rare earths
  • Ultrafiltration technology for water treatment plants
  • Bio-decontamination system to remove `superbugs' - Bioquell Q-10
  • Organic contaminant removal
  • Energy recovery devices for desalination plant
AGRO CHEMICAL PAGE The recent developments on the following products/events are highlighted:
  • Indian palm oil scenario
  • Technology to boost rice output
  • Turmeric can detect explosives
PHARMA PAGE The recent developments on the following products/events are highlighted:
  • Patent woes threaten global pharma companies
  • Vaccine for rotavirus launched
  • Dengue vaccine
  • Clinical trials for TB drugs
  • Herbal cure for Parkinson's?
  • Orphan drug status for anti cancer drug
ENERGY PAGE The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed:
  • Mixed news in the power front
  • Nuclear power
  • Hydel power
  • Thermal power
  • Hits and misses
  • Fresh norms for renewable energy tariff in Haryana
  • Tidal power project in Gujarat
  • Shale gas blocks auctions put off by a year
  • NPCIL develops first nuclear reactor for thorium utilisation
PRICE DETAILS Global price trends on the following products are provided :
  • Unsaturated polyester resins
  • Feedstock Prices
  • Caustic soda / Methylene chloride /PVC
  • Palm oil
  • Mentha oil
  • Major ayurvedic brands likely to be brought under price control regime
  • Glycidyl ester / Hydroxyl acrylate monomer
  • Ethylene
  • Drop In Gas Production In KG Basin Fields
  • Cracker Project Plans In Qatar
  • Herbicide-Tolerant GM Crop
  • Banned Pesticides Being Used In India
  • Technology To Grow Seed Potatoes Without Soil
  • LNG Prices May Rise By $5
  • Tender
  • Chemicals Imported At The Chennai Port During The Month Of January 2011
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