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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Aug 2004

Calcium Hypochlorite|Jatropha based biodiesel|RFA Technique|Desalination

Highlights of Some of the Articles
DESALINATION PROJECT – FUND ALLOTMENT WITHOUT PROJECT REPORT Many knowledgeable persons were surprised to hear the announcement in the recent national budget about the allotment of Rs.1000 crores for setting up desalination project in Chennai. The fact is that while the Finance Minister has provided the allotment, even the Detailed Project Report for the proposed desalination project in Chennai has not yet been prepared. One is not clear, at this stage as to whether the source of technology and size of the project has been finalised. The determination of economic capacity for such project, based on technology factors, level of investment and realizable price figures, is the basic input for decision taking, which is normally discussed in the Detailed Project Report. Such reports are prepared based on extensive study of the various factors such as the capacity for technological viability, source and choice of technology, the planned investment level, affordable price for the consumer and the extent of subsidy provision that the government would be willing to commit itself. When such Detailed Project Report has not been prepared, one tends to suspect that the data have not been collected and analysed to the required level. Under the circumstances, one cannot be criticized if he would argue that the allotment of funds for the project is premature and unprofessional. It is said that the proposed desalination project for sea water would use Reverse Osmosis Technology. Though it is known that Reverse Osmosis Technology would have lower energy consumption, it is also a fact that the operating costs of the Reverse Osmosis Technology based project would be comparatively high. It is not clear as to whether other comparative technologies have been evaluated and if so who have done it. The Detailed Project Report can provide answers for such questions with regard to choice of technology. Internationally, around 70% of the desalination plants are said to use membrane technology, while around 25% of the plants use thermal process while other processes are used by the remaining producers. Without proper study of alternate technology particularly based on Indian conditions, it is not correct to jump on to the bandwagon of any particular technology. Since the proposed project in Chennai would be the first one of its kind in India and would be trend setter, extreme level of caution is necessary with regard to basic decisions. Though there is some Indian experience with regard to setting up and operating desalination plants, they are not adequate to set up large capacity projects. The Indian experience in large scale desalination plants is limited. But, scaling up the technology from a small level of operating plant to massive project size would involve high level of risk. Therefore, it may become necessary to source technology and engineering support for the project from abroad. While the concept of setting up desalination projects to overcome the water shortage in the country is well recognized and has caught the imagination of the countrymen, it is necessary that the project should make economic sense at large production level. It is also essential to define at this stage as to whether the desalinated water would be used for industrial or drinking purposes. If it is for drinking purposes, it is possible that the large sections of the countrymen who are poor may not afford to pay for it, which would call for introduction of heavy subsidy element for the project from the Government. In any case, it appears that the desalination project can be adequately judged only after the preparation of the Detailed Project Report, which is yet to be made available.
The Jatropha based biodiesel has caught the imagination of the country, as there are several obvious advantages and benefits provided by biodiesel. The TamilNadu Government has taken significant initiatives in encouraging Jatropha project. At the same time, one gets the impression that there are a few basic shortcomings of japtropha based biodiesel project, which have not been adequately highlighted and which need to be attended to urgently. In this article following details described
  • Laudable National Initiative
  • Merits of the Project
  • Global Development 
India 's Opportunity
  • Use of Raw Jatropha Oil
  • Use of Jatropha Oil as Biodiesel
  • By product problem
  • The problem of toxicity
  • The economics of cultivation
  • Carbon Trading
  • Import possibility and need for global competitiveness
  • Need for forward planning
Calcium hypochlorite is Stable Bleaching Powder of available chlorine of around 60% to 70%. Calcium hypochlorite is a stable material and it does not lose chlorine on standing. Calcium hypochlorite is a widely used chlorine compound that is highly effective against bacteria, algae, slime, fungi and other harmful and objectionable micro organisms. It is used to treat wastewater effluent under controlled conditions by textile mills, paper mills, tanneries, food processing plants etc. This article further discusses the following aspects:
  • Product characteristics
  • Specification
  • Application sector
  • Broad outline of manufacturing process
  • Indian scenario
  • Import/Export details
  • Overall Indian demand
  • Global scenario
  • Recommendations
For the first time in India , a new technique, Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA), is claimed to have been used successfully to treat a 17-year old school boy, suffering from painful bone tumour in one of his legs. Though RFA is used world over for the past five years for thermal ablation in the liver, kidney, heart, prostate, breast and brain, this is the first time that this minimally invasive technique has been used on the bone at Apollo Speciality Hospital , Chennai , India RFA is a modern alternative form of treating painful bone tumours, benign and small in size like osteoid osteoma and metastases. RFA is cost effective, requiring less hospitalisation and offers 100% cure for tumours that are not more than three to five centimeters in size. Using CT imaging guidance and special co-axial bone needles, the radio frequency needle electrode was percutaneously and non-operatively placed in accurate position into the lesion located in the bone to remove the tumour. A strong radio frequency of 150 W is applied through the needle electrode into the bone lesion, until the local tissue temperature would reach 90 to 100 C. This is maintained steadily for five to six minutes till the lesion underwent cell death, which will subsequently disappear. Only countries like Italy , UK and the US use RFA world over.
SARPGANDHA Botanical Details Family Apocynaceae Botanical name Rauvolfia Serpentina Benth. Ex Kurz Botanical trait Sarpagandha is a tropical evergreen climbing shrub. Sarpagandha is an important medicinal plant distributed in the foot-hills of Himalayan range, up to the elevation of 1300-1400 m. and almost throughout all over the country. It is an erect evergreen, perennial under-shrub, 75 cm to 1 m. in height. Root is prominent, tuberous, usually branched, 0.5 to 2.5 cm in diameter. Up to 40 to 60 cm deep into soil. The root possess high alkaloid concentration. Chemical Constituents The thick dry roots yield alkaloids like Reserpine. Parts used : Root Application Sector In the treatment of Insomnia, insanity, high blood pressure It's root is used for medical purpose like curing insanity, sexual aggression and intestinal disorder. This article further describes the following details:
  • Regions cultivated in India
  • Cultivation practices
  • Selected Indian Players
  • Import/Export details
  • Observations 
PEPPER PROCESSING PLANT STCL, a subsidiary of State Trading Corporation (STC), will be setting up a pepper processing plant with warehousing facility at Kushalnagar in Kodagu District of Karnataka, India. STCL will also be setting up a de-seeding plant with cold storage facility at Byadagi in the State. The plants are expected to come up by the end of the year 2004. The pepper processing plant would help farmers gain better price as it would have facilities to improve the quality of the pepper. A similar advantage would accrue to the chilly growers, who have to send their produce to Kochi for deseeding after which it is used for blending with the Guntur chilly for making curry powder. STCL itself has been marketing curry powder using the chillies procured from farmers from these two states. Karnataka alone accounts for 30 percent of the country's total pepper production of about 70,000 tonnes. Investment on the plants could cost about Rs.8 crore to Rs.9 crore. FUNGI RESISTANT PLANT Taking a lead in the agri biotech sector, the Andhra Pradesh Netherlands Biotechnology Programme (APNLBP)is working towards market assisted breeding programmes to solve the problem of drought and grey rot diseases in paddy and castor. The market selection and assisted breeding programme helps to identify those genes which can combat drought in the semi arid tropics. The plants, having the identified drought resistant genes, are cross bred with other varieties in order to become drought resistant. Although it is not a transgenic variety, it contains the gene to tolerate drought and improves the productivity levels. The market identification project is being initiated in association with the Rice Research Station, Maruteru, in West Godavari district, the Acharya Ranga Agricultural University (ANGRAU) and the Directorate of Rice Research . Further, the APNLBP programme also focuses in developing grey rot resistance varieties in castor in association with the Regional Research Station, Palem in Mehboobnagar district. This fungal disease in castor is seasonal in nature and arises depending on the climatic conditions. The expected crop loss due to the attack of the fungus is over 60 percent.Both these projects were initiated recently and the farm trials are expected to be completed in the next two to three years. The technologies that are developed through the APNLBP are being tested in the farmer's fields. Once the products are proved to be sustainable under field conditions, the programme aims to move ahead through a network of NGOs and other institutions. With a view to assist the third world countries, the Dutch government is supporting developmental and long term programmes in four countries Columbia, Kenya, Zimbabwe and India. The Indian programme focuses on agri biotech programmes in Andhra Pradesh and is being implemented by the biotechnology unit of the Institute of Public Enterprise , Hyderabad . As of now, about 20,000 farmers are benefited by this programme. The programme has received a grant of Rs.280 million for its second phase of development for the year 2002-07. In the first phase, the programme was given about Rs.160 million by the Dutch government for enhancing quality of life of small farmers through biotechnologies. Going forward, APNLBP has proposed to develop transgenic tolerants to biotic stress in sorghum, pigeopea, groundnut and castor. The new project would be ready for limited open trials in the next two to three years. SPOTLIGHT ON SPECIALITY CHEMICAL - ISONONANOIC ACID This article discussed the following aspects:
  • Product characteristics
  • Producer's specification
  • Application
  • Price
  • Esters of Isononanoic acid – High stability esters
  • Important Global players
  • Driving factors for demand
  • Capacity Expansion
CUMENE – PRODUCT PROFILE This article contains the following details:
  • Product characteristics
  • Producer's specification
  • Product application
  • Indian Scenario
  • Process outline
  • Technology development
  • Global scenario
  • Global Demand
  • World market for Cumene
  • Global price trends
  • European scenario
  • Asian Scenario
  • US Scenario
  • US Percentage operating rates
  • International producers
INDIAN SOFTWARE TO HELP CANCER RESEARCH An indigenously developed laboratory information management software is helping the global research community in drug discovery and development. The software has been adopted by biotechnology companies and research and development (R&D) institutes in developed countries like US and Canada and is helping them in the discovery and development of novel cancer therapies. The software biotracker has been developed by Ocimum Biosolutions. The software has recently been licensed to Arius Research Inc. of Canada , to enhance the later's cancer research facilities in Toronto. Ocimum Biosolutions is a life sciences contract R&D company that provides contract research services and bioinformatics tools and services in the area of genomics, proteomics and laboratory information management system (LIMS). COAL BASED CHEMICAL PLANTS IN INDIA With technology now available to convert coal into gas, it is only a matter of time before countries like India and China would turn to technology to convert their coal reserves into gas. As many as eight such plants are under implementation in China for production of fertilisers and chemicals based on coal . The project involves an air separation unit (ASU), coal milling and drying (CMD), gasification Island , gas treatment, sulphur recovery and waste water treatment units. A plant, the size of 2000 tonnes per day, can produce around 3.5 mmscmd of Syngas and improvement in economies can come up with higher capacities. Benchmarking of the costs in India have been done against a similar ongoing project in China. COAL GASIFICATION PROJECTS WITH UCG TECHNOLOGY As part of its strategy to find out alternative sources of gas, ONGC Ltd is actively considering exploitation of coal gas from virgin coal deposits by introducing "underground coal gasification (UCG)" technology. If it turns out to be commercially viable, ONGC's move is sure to give a major boost to a number of natural gas based industries in the country. A senior executive of ONGC recently met the Chairman of Coal India Ltd (CIL) with a proposal for setting up underground coal gasification projects jointly with it. ONGC is understood to have handed over a draft of MoU for CIL's consideration. ONGC is learnt to have identified NMRC-Skochinsky Institute of Mining, Russia , as a consultant for the UCG application. The UCG process is a new method for exploitation of coal deposits by "in situ" coal conversion to a fuel. Under the process in question, there is no need to develop a virgin mine. CBM BLOCK EXPLORATION Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has identified three to four CBM blocks situated in West Bengal and Jharkhand for exploration. The blocks would be given to the contractors only for drilling purposes. Unlike oil and gas fields, a large number of wells have to be drilled in the CBM blocks to obtain the fuel. Atleast 300 to 400 wells have to be drilled on each of the blocks. Instead of engaging the company's rigs, ONGC would give the exploration job to the contractors .The produce as well as the wells would be with the company. There would be no sharing of the products. Earlier, ONGC had given its marginal oil and gas fields for exploration on contracts basis. The company feels that it is not economical to go for exploration of the oil and gas fields and CBM blocks, since the company is focussing on deep water exploration and this is where huge reserves of fuel are trapped. DESALINATION PLANT TO COME UP IN '05 IN LAKSHWADEEP The first indigenously designed and developed desalination plant will be operational in Lakshwadeep by April 2005 The technology for this low temperature thermal desalination plant has been developed by National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Chennai, a unit of the Department of Ocean Development (DOD). The plant will have a capacity to produce 100,000 litres of water per day. NIOT has installed a laboratory scale desalination plant of 5000 litre per day capacity. EXPERTISE OF BARC FOR DESALINATION TECHNOLOGY The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has worked on desalination technologies and has experience in erecting large scale desalination plants. It will be happy to participate with BARC technology in any desalination plant. BARC's desalination division, Trombay, had already put up a desalination plant, using the reverse osmosis (RO) technology, at Kalpakkam, 50 km near Chennai. This plant had produced 18 lakh litres of water a day in the last few years. Another desalination plant at Kalpakkam, using the multi stage flash (MSF) technology, would go on stream in seven months. It would produce 45 lakh litres of water a day. The two plants would, together produce 63 lakh litres of water a day. The Kalpakkam plant is hybrid that use both the RO and the MSF technologies. Based on the RO technology,BARC had set up several desalination plants including those at BARC Trombay at Sheelgan village, Barmer district in Rajasthan; and at Jodhpur ,in cooperation with the Defence Ministry.
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