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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Jun 2003

Ethanol Mixed Petrol | Ultra Violet Stabilizers | Isabgol | Psyllium
Highlights of Some of the Articles

TALK OF THE MONTH
ETHANOL MIXED PETROL – STUDY REPORT
FOCUS ON LNG
ULTRA VIOLET STABILIZERS
HERBAL PAGE - ISABGOL (PSYLLIUM)
OTHER FEATURES
OTHER ARTICLES

TALK OF THE MONTH: NEED FOR AGGRESSIVE GLOBAL PENETRATION

A careful review of the over all chemical industrial scenario in India would only reveal the fact that little additional capacity creations are being made or seriously planned in the country at present.

On the other hand, number of existing projects are facing closure due to one reason or the other. The closure of several Naphtha based fertiliser projects is one glaring instance, though there are several other closures in recent past such as Petrochemical Division of NOCIL, SIV Industries in Tamil Nadu, Viscose unit belonging to Birla Group at Mavoor in Kerala, Sea Water Magnesia plant of Birla Periclase in Andhra Pradesh.

Before it would become too late, it is necessary to quickly assess the present scenario and take some corrective action. Otherwise, there is possibility of India losing whatever it has gained and built over the several decades in the field of chemical industry in the country.

With Natural Gas remaining scarce and the cost economics of LNG terminals and import of LNG still not very clear, there is a crisis of feed stock for the petrochemical industry. When such feed stock crisis would intensify, the basic foundation on which the Indian chemical industry have been built would get uprooted, causing serious strain in the system.

Realising the fact that Natural gas would continue to be scarce, we have to quickly understand that several petrochemical projects would become uneconomical and uncompetitive in the country in the long run.

While the growth in consumption would certainly take place on the expected level for petro products, the fact is that such increased requirements would be more competitively met by multinational companies abroad than by the Indian outfits. When the consumption in the country would go up, but the manufacturing capacity would not come up proportionately, it would have adverse impact on the overall industrial scenario, which would throttle the industry itself. Such scenario is possible for the Indian chemical industry, unless quick corrective steps would be initiated.

Though the country has population of around 1000 million, the fact is that 400 million live below poverty line who could not buy anything worthwhile. Of the balance 600 million population, atleast 50% are just meeting their requirements, without making any surplus income thus leaving a population of only 300 million who have the capacity to buy.

In such conditions, it is futile to expect that the overall purchasing capacity in the country would go up significantly, contributing to expand the market base in India. When such market base expansion would not take place, the manufacturing sectors that depend on such market base can not expand and prosper.

Given the small demand base and scarcity in the petrochemical feed stock, what is the way out for the Indian chemical industry?

The only option is to identify the areas of strength and focus on such areas with determination and clarity. Focussing on such appropriate areas, the country can specialise and develop competency in specific fields.

This would certainly help the nation to forge ahead in a competitive way.

In today's free economy world, the compulsive factor for success is the capability to penetrate and operate in the global market.

As economy of the world has become borderless, the exclusive focus on domestic industry alone become would counter productive. To become a globally competitive industry, the essential requirement is the choice of the projects very carefully and development of capability to have high level of technology absorption and understanding of the market behaviour.

In other words, globally competitive technology in appropriate areas of strength and adequate market perception are the vital inputs urgently needed for the Indian chemical industry.

In such circumstances, the planning of the projects and maintenance of data base have become vitally important factors, without which any industry would be forced to operate in isolation and vacuum.

Industries Association and Government of India should put their heads together and carefully identify such sectors of growth, where India has the potential to emerge as a global player. Based on such study, firm recommendations, guidelines and incentive programmes have to be laid down. This would give a sense of direction and focus to the chemical project entrepreneurs in India.

The missing link in the country today is the ability to identify, focus and concentrate on specific and appropriate areas, and there is need to give up the tendency to look elsewhere for guidance and multinational companies for support.

ETHANOL MIXED PETROL - STUDY REPORT

Taking the “mix-ethanol-with-petrol-and drive-away-with-low-carbon-dioxide-emissions” campaign to its logical conclusion would necessitate infrastructure investments upto an estimated Rs.4000 crore.

According to prognostications by Dr.Kochu Baby Manjooran, Senior Quality Control Officer with Kochi Refineries, most States lack the infrastructure to produce anhydrous ethanol. “Getting the required infrastructure in place for this would alone require investments upto Rs.6000 million.  This apart, petrol pumps all over the country would need to create separate storage tanks for the ethanol mixed petrol, which would entail investments of roughly Rs.35000 million. We are talking about total commitment of Rs.40000 million for the ethanol-petrol regime to truly settle” Dr.Manjooran told.

FOCUS ON LNG

LNG project is of vital importance to India at present.

Natural Gas is the most competitive feed stock for the production of fertiliser. As a very large consumer of fertiliser in the world and with the compulsive need to offer the fertiliser to the Indian agricultural sector at lowest possible price, additional capacity for fertiliser production in the country have to be built up as early as possible. This is particularly so, since several Naphtha based fertiliser projects have been closed down in the country due to uneconomic operations in recent time. More Naphtha based fertiliser projects are facing such closure threat.

Natural Gas is also of great importance, considering the fact that it is the most competitive fuel for power generation. The large increase in power generation is the basic necessity now to sustain the growth of Indian industry and economy.

One can say that large availability of Natural gas is the pre condition to achieve the required and targeted level of Indian industrial and economic growth.

However, in recent time, the production level of Natural gas have almost been stagnating in India. In the past, several expectations of Natural Gas production from regions such as Krishna Godavari Basin have not been met, as the production level have been much below the original estimations.

Though Reliance Group have achieved some sort of breakthrough in Natural Gas exploration in Andhra Pradesh and have made big estimates of Natural Gas availability in the explored area, there also exists an informed opinion that it could be too early for Reliance Group to make such large claims of Natural Gas production from the region. The view is that the sampling have been too small to make generalised estimates.

In such conditions, it causes concern that several of the proposed LNG projects have not made much headway in the country.

LNG projects have been a subject of national debate for several years now. Many projects have been announced . Variety of options for sourcing Natural Gas for the LNG project have been discussed.

Inspite of several such measures, what the country has achieved is little and are nowhere near the original targets.

Finally, it appears that only Dahej LNG terminal will take off immediately and several other announced LNG projects remain uncertain at present.

Nandini Chemical Journal has pleasure in focussing on LNG in this issue.

ULTRA VIOLET STABILIZERS

Electromagnetic radiations of wave length between 150 to 400 nm are termed as Ultraviolet rays.

Approximately 10% of sun’s energy is in the form of ultraviolet radiations. Atmosphere absorbs most of the noxious radiations emitted by the sun, so that only about 5% of the harmful radiations reach the surface of the earth.

Ultraviolet radiations accelerate the physical and chemical deterioration processes of the polymeric substances such as fading of colourants, yellowing of cellulosics, photo-oxidation of polyolefins, embrittlement of coatings etc. It also creates excited states and free radicals which are capable of initiating a large number of reactions, such as crosslinking, oxidation and polymerization. Apart from these detrimental effect, UV rays can also lead to synthesis of new polymers via cross-linking polymerization.

Photo-degradation is observed in almost every plastic material upon prolonged exposure to sunlight, thereby restricting their application for outdoor application.

The degradation can be minimized by using UV stabilizer, which dissipate the energy acquired from these ultraviolet radiations in the harmless manner thus protecting the material.

HERBAL PAGE - ISABGOL (PSYLLIM)

Isabgol, a rabi irrigated cash crop, is mainly grown in Gujarat and Rajasthan in India. Isabgol is sourced from pure psyllium husk, separated  by the process of milling. India is, perhaps the only producer of Isabgol in the world, which is a bush crop.

Application
Husks are a natural form of fibre used to produce over the counter  laxatives.

It is popular as a dietary fibre in India. Food containing psyllium reduces risk of heart disease by decreasing serum cholesterol. It is considered to be a natural remedy for constipation and regulates bowel functions.

Major producing states

Gujarat and Rajasthan states are reported to have an area of around 60,000 hectares under the crop.

Isabgol processing is concentrated in Sindhpur (Gujarat) where there are some 40 units, with capacity ranging between 3 and 15 tonnes a day.

Indian production level

Around 35000 tonnes per annum

Exports

Present export level of Isabgol- Around 26000 tonnes per annum

Export demand

There are reported to be around 70 organisations all over the country undertaking export of Isabgol husk and seed. Handful of these organisations are found to have lion’s share of the total export from India. Most of the leading exporters are based in Sindhpur in Mehsana District in Gujarat and in Palan pur in Banaskantha District in Rajasthan. About 90% of the gross production of Isabgol in India is exported, with nearly 93% of the export being of husk. The largest buyer of Isabgol from India is the United States, accounting for around 75% of the total husk exports from India. Germany is the largest single importer of seed.

OTHER STORIES

HYDROXY ETHYL CELLULOSE-INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY

Hydroxyethylcellulose (HEC) is a nonionic, water soluble polymer that can thicken, suspend, bind, emulsify, form films, stabilise, disperse, retain water and provide protective colloid action. It is used to prepare solutions with a wide range to viscosities. Also, it has outstanding tolerance for dissolved electrolytes.

Because HEC is nonionic, it can be dissolved in many slat solutions that do not dissolve other water soluble polymers.

However, as with most water soluble thickeners, the particles have a tendency to agglomerate, or lump, when first wetted with water. This is especially evident when the HEC is added to water with poor agitation.

Manufacturers have eliminated the problem of lumping and slow dissolving by surface treating the particles, most commonly with glyoxal. When added to water, the particles completely disperse. After an initial induction period, commonly termed the delayed hydration time, the dispersed particles begin to dissolve producing smooth, lump free solutions.

Most manufacturers supply dispersible grades.

This article discusses the manufacturing process, technology developments, Indian demand supply scenario and Indian import/export level for Hydroxyethylcellulose.

INDIA READY FOR MONITORING MEDICINES

In two months, 30 centres will be set up in India to monitor side-effects of prescription drugs.

Many drugs are monitored abroad, but differing climatic and physical conditions mean that such data is not completely applicable to Indians.

DEHYDRATION OF ALCOHOLS

Alcohols such as Ethanol, Isopropanol, Butanol, etc. form Azeotropes with water and are difficult to obtain in anhydrous condition.

The usual method is to add a third component such as Benzene or Cyclohexane to obtain a Ternary Azeotrope, which is then processed to recover the anhydrous product and the third component is recycled.

Extractive distillation is another method that has been tried in the past. Extractive distillation is done using a high boiling solvent that has the ability to alter the relative volatility in favour of the product i.e. improves the separation between the alcohol and water. There are other requirements also.

A process has been developed based on theoretical study that uses the technique of extractive distillation. The theory has been validated by laboratory scale experiments. The solvent is an imported proprietary solvent. It is a safe solvent with high flash point and low toxicity.

The process indicates significant savings over the currently practiced processes. For a given capacity for anhydrous ethanol, the physical size of the plant is smaller, which translates to lower capital cost. In other words, revamping of an older plant will give a higher capacity of 25 to 50%.

The energy consumption is lower. For example for ethanol, the steam consumption mentioned in the literature is 1400 kg per 1000 liter of rectified spirit. In the present process it would be about 700 kg.

Expertise has been developed to predict separation of more complex mixtures involving three components that form one or more binary azeotropes and also a ternary azeotrope. The components could be alcohols, aromatic or aliphatic hydrocarbons, water, ketones, esters, etc.

SPOTLIGHT OF SPECIALITY CHEMICAL- METHANE SULPHONIC ACID

Methane Sulphonic Acid (MSA) is well known for its useful properties as a catalyst for esterification. It is used industrially to produce acetates, acrylates, phthalates, adipates, fatty acid esters and thioglycolates but it can also be used for rosin polymerisation or other specialised ester synthesis.

This article discusses the application aspects and process technology as well as Indian import/export trends for Methane Sulphonic acid.

OTHER ARTICLES
  • PROCESS FLOW – PENTAERYTHRITOL
  • SAFETY DATA – ACETIC ANHYDRIDE
  • ANTI DUMPING PAGE
  • UPDATE ON e-CHEMICAL BUSINESS
  • UPDATE ON NANOTECHNOLOGY
  • CERTIFICATION ISSUES
  • NEW ROUND UP
  • ASK FOR THE CHEMICAL FACTS FREE
  • TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT
  • AGRO CHEMICAL PAGE
  • PRICE DETAILS
  • PESTICIDE NEWS
  • PHARMA PAGE
  • ENERGY PAGE
  • ENVIRONMENTAL PAGE
  • DIRECTORY OF CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES IN CHINA-MANUFACTURERS, TRADING HOUSES AND PROMOTIONAL ORGANISATIONS – PART V
  • FIGURES AT A GLANCE
  • TENDER, BOOK REVIEW
  • INTERNATIONAL MARITIME DANGEROUS GOODS CODE PART VIII
  • NANDINI INTERNET INDEX
  • LIST OF FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT/COLLABORATION PROPOSALS APPROVED BY GOVERNMENT OF INDIA DURING THE MONTH OF DECEMBER 2002
  • IMPORT OF CHEMICALS AT CHENNAI PORT FROM 1.2.2003 TO 28.2.2003
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