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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Mar 2004

Acrylic Acid|Refrigeration Lubricants|Food Additives|NOCIL
Highlights of Some of the Articles

TALK OF THE MONTH
THE NEXT GENERATION OF REFRIGERATION LUBRICANTS FOR IMPROVED SYSTEM PERFORMANCE
ACRYLIC ACID – INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
FOOD ADDITIVES AND THEIR USE PATTERN – PART IV
PAGE ON HERBAL INDUSTRY
OTHER STORIES
OTHER ARTICLES

TALK OF THE MONTH

TAKE OVER OF NOCIL

Industrial Units can become sick due to variety of reasons, some of which can be beyond the control of the management.

We come across several cases, where one unit producing particular product turns out excellent performance, where as another unit producing the same product becomes sick.

There are also cases where companies have products with excellent demand potential and future prospects but become sick like that of Birla Periclase, which was set up by Aditya Birla Group to produce sea water magensia.

We also come across interesting cases of units becoming viable after remaining sick for sometime, such as that of Kerala minerals and Metals Ltd., Quilon producing rutile grade titanium dioxide by chloride process.

Whereas in the case of small scale units, one can say that inadequacies of the management of the individual units can be the reason for sickness, large units which have advantages of receiving management inputs and technical capabilities in good measures from various specialists also become sick.

The case of sick units always make interesting study.

Ofcourse, there can not be more interesting case than that of NOCIL, which was once hailed as a role model for the Indian Petrochemical sector.

Currently, Mafatlal hold 42 percent equity of NOCIL and financial institutions 26 percent. The balance is held by the public.

The plant of NOCIL was shut down after Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL), refused to supply naphtha to NOCIL as it had not received payments to the tune of Rs.1300 million for the naphtha supplied. BPCL was the sole supplier of naphtha to NOCIL.

The plant was earlier shutdown from November 28,2001, to March 4, 2002, due to financial problems. The plant has the capability to produce 80000 tonne of ethylene annually and several other very important petro chemical derivative products.

Under the restructuring scheme worked out in 1998, NOCIL was supposed to be split into three companies confined to separate business-rubber chemicals, plastic products and petrochemicals. The Shell group had agreed to pick up the stake in the petrochemicals company.

However, the scheme has come to naught.

Basell Polyolefins, the new entity formed after the merger of Shell group company Montell and BASF, informed that it would not participate NOCIL's petrochem project.

As a desperate move to reactivate atleast some part of the company and making it attractive to the buyers, the NOCIL management has applied for demerger of the petrochemical division under Section 351 and 354 of the Companies Act,

It appears that Reliance Industries (RIL) is interested in taking over the petrochemical division of NOCIL without the staff. It appears that RIL would not be interested in paying any consideration for taking over the division, as RIL would be taking over the liabilities of the company which runs into around Rs.4500 million.

The Reliance Industries could be interested in taking over the management of the petrochemical division as a separate company once the demerger process would be completed.

Earlier, the Commissioner of Labour had ruled in the management's favour for closure of the petrochemical division in March 2003. However, the labour union filed a review petition and the case was transferred to the industrial Tribunal.

Now, the employees of NOCIL have received a shot in the arm with the Industrial Tribunal rejecting the management's application for closure of the petrochemical division of the company. It remains to be seen as to how Reliance Industries would view such development.

NOCIL, inspite of its present difficulties and poor track record in the recent past has excellent potentials in view of product range, its location, etc. Building such institution takes enormous efforts and future of such projects have to be viewed with responsibility and caution.

While it is gratifying that Reliance Industries is showing interest in taking over petrochemical division of NOCIL, its apparent unwillingness to take over the employees makes one suspicious.

For any organisation, employees are as much strength as the facilities, since employees represent knowledge base. They should be treated with care and respect.

When Reliance Industries decide that it would only take over facilities and not the employees, it means that either it has contempt for the employees of NOCIL or it has no faith in the Indian scientists and technologists.

Possibly, Reliance would invite the overseas consultants or organisations to modify the equipment and introduce the appropriate technology changes and product mix.

It would be more praise worthy, if Reliance would initiate such tasks largely retaining the existing employees of NOCIL and respecting and utilising their long years of expertise and knowledge.

A sick unit need not mean that all its employees are sick.

THE NEXT GENERATION OF REFRIGERATION LUBRICANTS FOR IMPROVED SYSTEM PERFORMANCE

Correct selection of the compressor lubricant can have a significant impact on the energy efficiency performance of a system. Lubricant selection can impact compressor energy efficiency in a number of ways. This paper discusses about the energy losses arising from frictional losses in lubricated contacts and heat transfer processes.

However, it is important to recognise that lubricant properties can also impact energy efficiency in other ways . For example, use of a lubricant with too low viscosity, or too high refrigerant gas solubility, can reduce volumetric efficiency in some compressor types.

Frictional energy losses due to viscous drag between the lubricant and bearing surfaces in an appliance compressor can contribute significantly to the overall efficiency of a refrigeration system.

Lubricants can now be specifically designed to deliver targeted performance advantages in the areas of improved energy efficiency and noise reduction.

Delivering these effects via the lubricant, rather than the more expensive system design route, can result in significant cost savings. However, a detailed knowledge of the structure property relationships of the lubricant is required to achieve the optimum balance of properties.

ACRYLIC ACID – INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY

Acrylic acid (CH 2 = CHCO2H), less commonly referred to as Propenoic acid, is a colourless, slightly water soluble carboxylic acid with an acid odour.

The acid may be transported by stabilising with inhibitors (such as hydroquinone derivatives) to prevent polymerisation.

Functionally, acrylic acid may be regarded as a derivative of ethylene in which one hydrogen atom has been replaced with a carboxyl group (through this is not the basis of its synthesis).

Acrylic acid is an essential building block in the production of some of the most commonly used industrial and consumer products.

Globally, two thirds of the acrylic acid manufactured is used to produce acrylic esters such as methyl acrylate, butyl acrylate, ethyl acrylate and 2-ethylhexyl acrylate, which, when polymerised, are ingredients in paints, coatings, textiles, adhesives, plastics and many other applications.

The remaining one third of the acrylic acid is used to produce polyacrylic acid or crosslinked polyacrylic acid compounds, which have been successfully used in the manufacture of hygienic products, detergents and waste water treatment chemicals.

This article also discusses the following aspects :

  • Safety and Hazard
  • Storage and transport
  • Applications
  • Acrylic acid process
  • Technology Development by LG Chem
  • Indian scenario
  • Global scenario 
FOOD ADDITIVES AND THEIR USE PATTERN – PART IV

In recent times, the specification and standards for food additives have been made stringent all over the world, particularly in developed countries. With the increasing safety and ecological consciousness amongst the people, the food and pharmaceutical industries have come for intense scrutiny.

Several of the food additives, which were used in the past have now been banned or kept in the watch list. The environmentalists are voicing concern about the continued use of several food additives such as Mono sodium glutamate.

The important food additives used and their use pattern and efficacy level are broadly indicated. I, II & III part was published in December 2003 January 2004 and February 2004 issues respectively.

PAGE ON HERBAL INDUSTRY

GYMNEMA SYLVASTRE

In this article the following aspects are discussed

  • Origin and Botanical Traits
  • Chemical Constituent
  • Application
  • Cultivation Practices
  • Imports
  • Exports
  • Extraction Process
  • Technology Development, Patent and Related Issues
  • Driving Factors for Demand
  • Indian Industry status

TRIBAL DRUG – JEEVANI

A Kerala based research institution plans to challenge an American company that has obtained the trademark for the herbal drug `Jeevani' developed by it based on traditional tribal medical knowledge.

The drug, developed by the Tropical Botanical Garden and Research Institute (TBGRI) with the traditional knowledge supplied by the kani tribals, was patented in Indian in 1996.

Subsequently, it sold the manufacturing and marketing rights to the Coimbatore based Arya Vaidya Pharmacy for a period of seven years. As per the agreement, a portion of the proceeds from its marketing was to go directly to the tribals.

However, taking advantage of the loopholes in India's mechanism to protect the rights of its rich biodiversity, the New York based NutriScience Innovation LLC has registered the `Jeevani' as a fatigue busting drug, under the US Trademark rules without TBGRI's knowledge.

TBGRI Director says that “Besides the US company taking trademark without our knowledge, it has come to our notice that at least six more companies are misusing the `jeevani' name.

The reports about the patent violation has come at a time when the TBGRI is preparing to float an international tender for the sale and manufacturing of the drug after the expiry of its existing agreement with the Coimbatore based company within the next six months.

A recent study conducted by the United Nations on two medicines, including Jeevani, found out that Jeevani products were being sold outside India, with at least one company in the US falling outside the licensing and benefit sharing agreement.

It pointed out that the scope of benefits to be shared would have been wider, if international patent application had been filed under the Patent Cooperating Treat (PCT) administered by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) to protect the formulations in countries other than India.

OTHER STORIES

CANCER DRUG – AVASTIN

The US food and drug administration has approved Avastin the first drug, to battle cancers by blocking their blood supply, vindicating a 40 year old medical theory once ridiculed as absurd.

Doctors said that the drug is not a cure for colon cancer, the disease it has been approved to treat, but they welcomed it as progress towards their long range goal of turning cancer into a manageable illness. Avastin blocks the action of a protein that growing tumours send out, that orders the body to sprout new blood vessels to supply the malignant cells with nutrients.

Without a blood supply, solid tumours do not grow. This research effort is a milestone and it may be a turning point for cancer because of the lowered side effects seen with Avastin and similar drugs under development, said Judah Folkman a Harvard Medical School researcher.

CHLORINE AND CAUSTIC SODA

This article discusses the following aspects:

  • Electrolytic process
  • Price movement
  • Alternative Production Processes
  • Technical Comparison of Caustic Substitutes

ALTERNATIVES TO CHLORINE IN THE PULP AND PAPER INDUSTRY

Almost all of the elemental chlorine used in the pulp and paper industry has traditionally been used to bleach or brighten chemical pulp. Some elemental chlorine is used in de-inking operations.

This article reviews elemental chlorine used and alternatives to chlorine within the pulp and paper industry.

ALTERNATIVES TO CHLORINE IN WATER AND WASTEWATER TREATMENT

This article describes the use of elemental chlorine, and alternatives, in municipal water and wastewater treatment. The two alternatives assessed are ozonation for water supply and ultraviolet radiation for waste water treatment.

OTHER ARTICLES

  • China-Look Before you leap
  • CHEM VISION 2004 – Proceedings of the Conference 23 rd and 24 th February 2004
  • Update on Nanotechnology
  • Anti Dumping Page – India/International
  • Patent Page – India
  • Focus on Electronic Chemicals
  • Safety and Accident Page
  • EU Law on Agriculture products
  • Process Flow – Bisphenol A
  • Safety Data – Potassium Perchlorate
  • Pesticide News
  • News Round Up – International/India
  • Technology Development - International
  • Agro Chemical Page – India
  • Energy Page
  • Pharma Page - International/India
  • Environmental Page – International/India
  • Job Seeker's Page
  • Energy Page – India
  • Price Details – International
  • Tender
  • List of Foreign Investment/Collaboration Proposals Approved by Government of India During the Month of September 2003 & October 2003
  • International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code – Part XVII
  • Nandini Internet Index
  • Directory of Chemical Industries in China-Manufacturers, Trading Houses and Promotional Organisations – Part XIV
  • Chemicals Imported at Chennai Port During the Month of August 2003
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