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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Dec 2007


Highlights of Some of the Articles
CHAOTIC FERTILISER POLICIES During the last five decades, the fertiliser industries in India have received a lot of attention from the Government and the Planning Commission. Perhaps, fertiliser is the most discussed industry in India. Inspite of this, fertiliser industries continue to remain uncertain and confused, not knowing the direction in which it should move in future. On the one hand, number of fertiliser units remain closed largely due to quixotic pricing policy of the government, unremunerative profit realisation and high feedstock cost. At the same time, instead of reviving the closed units,the government is taking steps to set up more number of fertiliser projects in India to reduce the level of imports. With regard to subsidy policies, there are some fertilisers like urea and single super phosphate which have received considerable attention and support from the government but there are other fertilisers like ammonium sulphate which are equally important but have not been given necessary subsidy support by the government. As a result, Indian fertiliser industry is largely oriented towards urea, which is a nitrogeneous fertiliser, though sulphur depletion in the soil is now reaching alarming proportion. There is no indication that government is taking active steps to promote different nutrients in balanced manner for soil application. Meanwhile, the import of urea is going up steadily, with India considerably depending on the international producers for meeting its requirements of fertilisers. Self-sufficiency in fertiliser production still remains a distant dream. While this is the scenario with regard to demand supply condition, feedstock for fertilisers is also becoming the subject of uncertainty. Government of India took a decision earlier to convert all the fertiliser plants in India to operate based on natural gas by 2010. This decision was taken, inspite of the fact that one would not know from where the natural gas would come from. Plans for ensuring availability of natural gas and setting up of LNG  terminals at different locations in India have not been implemented with the urgency that it deserves. Now, the shortage of natural gas in India is forcing fertiliser companies to partially switch to naphtha, setting back Government efforts to convert all the fertiliser plants to use natural gas as feedstock by 2010. Despite Government’s plans to phase out naphtha as feedstock for fertiliser units, the fertiliser industry may end up using 10 to 15 percent more naphtha this fiscal year, which in turn would mean that less of the naphtha will be available for export. Naphtha consumption for fertiliser may cross 3.2 million tonnes in the year ending March 31, 2008 compared with less than 2.7 million tonnes in the last fiscal year. Naphtha usage was going down in the first half of the year, but now, it is increasing as the power sector is consuming more natural gas, which has created shortage of natural gas for the fertiliser sector.The Ratnagiri power plant (formerly Dabhol) has increased its use of natural gas,  as it boosted generation capacity.Since the start of Ratnagiri project, spot natural gas has been unavailable for several fertiliser units Several fertiliser units are now substituting almost 20 percent of natural gas needs with naphtha. The government is also not paying adequate attention to the utilisation of urea adequately.The annual consumption of urea is of the order of 24 million tonnes. Only 50 percent of this is effectively utilised by plants, which means 12 million tonnes is wasted. The wastage can be reduced considerably by promoting the use of neem coated urea. The subsidy on urea is Rs 360000 million. During the current year, India have imported 4 million tonnes of urea. Supplementing even 10 per cent of this will result in huge savings. The NEEM foundation has recently pointed out with concern that the Government, while accepting neem coated urea, is providing subsidy for urea but not for neem.
Titania Slag is the beneficiated form of Ilmenite. Titania Slag is produced from Ilmenite by electrosmelting reduction,when pig iron would be produced as co product. Based on the composition of ilmenite, the production of co product pig iron would vary. It would be in the region of 0.6 tonne of pig iron for every tonne of titania slag produced. This article also discusses the following details:
  • Composition of Titania Slag
  • Product applications
  • Sulphate process for Titanium Dioxide production
  • Chlorine process for Titanium Dioxide production
  • International manufacturers and capacity level
  • World production of Titania slag
  • Pattern of regionwise titania slag production
  • Price Trend
  • Manufacturing process and technology developments
  • Process flow
  • Process Description
  • Driving factors for demand
  • Global Titanium Dioxide Industry Scenario
  • Global demand
  • Use pattern of Titania Slag amongst TiO2 producers
  • Likely future global demand supply scenario
  • World Ilmenite reserve scenario
  • Pattern of countrywise reserves
  • Indian ilmenite scenario
  • Significant Ilmenite Deposits
  • Export level of Ilmenite from India
  • Opportunity for Titania slag project in India
Nandini Chemical Journal is publishing series of articles on global scenario for building blocks, which are the starting material for the production of a large number of derivative products. The series commenced with article on benzene in October 2007 issue. Toluene was discussed in November 2007 issue. The details on Propylene would be published in the next issue.
 Xylene is one of the important basic chemical raw materials. The term xylenes refers to a group of 3 benzene derivatives which encompasses ortho, meta and para isomers of dimethyl benzene. It can be divided by aromatics it contains into solvent grade varieties and isomerization-grade varieties.

Process adopted

Reformate extraction is the primary source of xylenes. In toluene disproportionation, toluene is converted to benzene and xylenes stream. Subsequent extraction is used to separate the para, meta-, and ortho-xylene isomers. o-xylene o-xylene is extracted from mixed xylene streams via distillation. m-xylene m-xylene is extracted from o-xylene streams. p-xylene The most common p-xylene route is extraction from a mixture of ortho- and p-xylene isomers. This article also contains the following details:
  • Production application
  • Global installed capacity
  • Global regionwise capacity
  • Major global producers and their installed capacity
  • Global production
  • New Projects and capacity expansion proposal under planning/implementation
  • Plant closures
  • Future Installed capacity
  • World application pattern of demand
  • World regionwise pattern of demand
  • Broad outline of manufacturing process
  • Pattern of production of xylenes by process route in different regions
  • Factors influencing the decision of capacity creation
Epoxy resins are characterized by epoxy equivalent/epoxy value, hydrolysable chlorine content, total chlorine content, viscosity/softening point, volatile content, colour, clarity, hydroxyl value, sodium and chlorine contents.
Applications Epoxy resin finds application in number of sectors such as the following.
  • Protective Coatings.
  • Structural Composites
  • Electrical Laminates
  • Casting and Encapsulation
  • Adhesives
Epoxy based solution coatings are used in maintenance and product finishes, marine finishes, masonry finishes, structure steel coatings and tank coatings, aircraft finishes, appliance primers, automotive primers, car and drum linings, furniture finishes and collapsible tube coatings. Epoxy Resins are also used in decorative floor applications, as chemically resistant mortars and floor topping compound; for light weight chemically resistant foams etc. The epoxy resins are used as additives for a variety of other plastic materials, such as vinyl and acrylic resins and natural and synthetic rubbers. This article contains the following details
  • Indian imports
  • Indian exports
  • Indian producers
  • Indian production
  • Demand driver
  • Demand
  • Indian demand
  • Pattern of demand for epoxy resin in India
  • Growth rate in demand through 2015
  • Global scenario
  • Important producers
  • Global capacity
  • Capacity of selected players
  • Global production
  • Pattern of regionwise supply
  • Pattern of regionwise demand
  • Recent development
Ethanol, the centrepiece of US Government’s plan to wean the US from oil, is now seen as 2007’s worst energy investment. The corn based fuel dropped 57 percent from last year’s record of $4.33 a gallon and drove crop prices to a 10-year high. Production in the US tripled after Morgan Stanley, hedge fund firm D.E.Shaw & Co and venture capitalist Mr Vinod Khosla helped finance a building boom.
 Using more energy: Even worse for investors and the US Government, energy experts contend that ethanol is not reducing oil demand. Scientists at Cornell University say that making the fuel uses more energy than it creates, while the National Research Council warns that ethanol production threatens scarce water supplies. As oil nears $100 a barrel, ethanol markets are so depressed that distilleries are closing operating from Iowa to Germany.An investor who put $10 million into ethanol on December 31 now has $7.5 million, a loss of 25 percent. Florida and Georgia have banned sales during the summer, when the fuel may evaporate and create smog. The biggest producer, Archer Daniels Midland Co, may resort to exporting ethanol. Pacific Ethanol Inc, backed by Microsoft Corp co-founder Mr Bill Gates, dropped 63 percent in New York trading this year as profits collapsed. Record oil prices, which make blending of ethanol with gasoline more profitable for refiners, have not stemmed the decline. This article also contains the following details:
  • Bad recipe
  • Benefits challenged
  • Fuel rules
Because the production of nuclear energy generates virtually no carbon dioxide, around the world the industry is trying to ride a wave of enthusiasm for this green source of power as demand for energy is surging. But a huge obstacle remains: more than a half century after the opening of the first commercial reactor, there is still no permanent disposal site anywhere for highly radioactive waste.
The industry and many governments are seeking to entomb the nuclear waste and the long delayed Yucca Mountain project in Nevada is the most prominent example, but aversion to nuclear facilities remain strong, making it hard to find suitable sites and dumping the industry’s hopes for a nuclear renaissance. The failure to properly address waste disposal in the first decades of nuclear energy development has left a legacy of doubt in the minds of the public over its overall safety. Around the world, waste and spent fuel are stored on an interim basis in pools of water or in casks, many near ground level.That leads to concerns about the vulnerability of the materials to disasters like terrorist attacks and it raises persistent questions about whether the materials can be effectively monitored for periods that exceed recorded human history many times over. Firing neutrons at waste in a process called transmutation can speed up radioactive decay, reducing the amount of time the waste remains dangerous. Reprocessing spent fuel reduces its volume and toxicity. But neither procedure eliminates waste. So,the permanent disposals may be achieved in a combination of clay and rock. Perhaps, salt domes is the best long term option for isolating waste like spent fuel, which contains materials that can take up to a million years to degrade to the extent that the toxicity is negligible. This article also contains the following details:
  • Plans in Finland
  • Efforts in USA
  • Proposals in Japan
  • Steps taken in France
  • Redesigning trees as energy source
  • Subsidy policy on single super phosphate
  • Sites to Dump Nuclear Waste-Global efforts
  • Marine Energy for meeting power needs
  • Anti Dumping Page
  • Update on Nano Technology
  • Update on Biofuel
  • Development strategies of SHELL
  • Development of Glycerin based products-Global efforts
  • Polyols from Vegetable oils
  • China News
  • News Round Up-International/India
  • Oil Exploration activity in India
  • Technology Development
  • Pharma page
  • Agrochemical Page
  • Pesticide Page
  • Environmental page
  • Energy page
  • Business Opportunities
  • Tender
  • New Projects-International
  • Price Details-International
  • Information on Chemical of your choice-Ask for Chemical Facts Free
  • Directory of Chemical Industries in China-Manufacturers, Trading Houses and Promotional Organisations - Part XLVI
  • Chemicals Imported at Chennai Port during the month of September 2007
  • Book Review
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