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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Jan 2006

Propionic acid|Ceramic membranes|Anhydrous aluminium chloride|LNG
Highlights of Some of the Articles

TALK OF THE MONTH
THE LNG OPTION
ANHYDROUS ALUMINIUM CHLORIDE- INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
PROPIONIC ACID - TECHNOLOGY OPPORTUNITY
CERAMIC MEMBRANES: A ROBUST FILTRATION ALTERNATIVE
OTHER STORIES
OTHER ARTICLES

TALK OF THE MONTH

SERVICE TAX BURDEN ON TECHNICAL CONSULTANCY ORGANISATIONS

The recent decision of the Government of India to impose service tax on the consultancy organizations including technical consultants give rise to suspicion as to whether the Government of India have failed to understand the problems of the technical consultancy organizations and the importance of strengthening them , that would enable them to contribute to the improved performance of the Indian industries and perform competitively in the global market.

Unfortunately, the technical consultancy organizations in India still have not grown to the extent of their potentials and many of them remain as very small outfits and quite a number of them as single man’s organization, mostly formed by those who have superannuated after long years of service. Many of them lack adequate facilities and manpower and do not have the muscle power to compete with the international players even in India..

The one obvious reason for the lacklustre growth of such organizations is that they suffer from the vicious cycle of inadequate income, which prevent them from equipping themselves adequately and consequently results in low performance . It takes long years of experience to build expertise by the technical consultancy organizations. Unfortunately, many organizations facing financial problems do not survive for long. . More such consultancy organizations have wound up than that have survived in the last several years in India.

The culture of utilizing the services of technical consultants as a matter of priority and paying them reasonably well have still not been well entrenched in the Indian industrial management psyche. Even several large organizations demand ridiculously low service charges, obviously not giving the type of importance and respect that the consultants deserve and not appreciating the type of facilities and expertise that the consultants have to build to provide quality service. As a result, many consultancy organizations have found it extremely difficult to make both ends meet and therefore, have been often forced to take up non consultancy functions also such as trading and liasion services for their survival. When such diversified functions are undertaken, the quality of the consultancy services inevitably suffers.

To excel in the profession, the technical consultancy organizations have to specialize in fields such as market research , technology appraisal, product development etc. and they need strong data base and supporting laboratory and pilot plant facilities to operate at globally competitive level. . Unless they would earn adequately well, it would not be possible to have such supporting facilities.

The Government of India imposing service tax on technical consultancy organizations have further added to their problems by taking away as much as one tenth of their income by way of service tax. This has resulted in a situation that most of the organizations are left with no surplus at all. Further, the financing institutions are very reluctant to extend financial assistance and loan to the consultancy organizations, as they are essentially a brain trust and do not have fixed assets to give security. All such problems have made the technical consultancy profession unattractive as business enterprise for technocrats and investors.

Unless the focus of the technical consultancy organizations become global and they develop the knowledge and expertise level to operate internationally, the Indian technical consultancy organizations will not be able to serve adequately the Indian and global industrial establishments . Therefore, this implies that the technical consultancy organizations in India should become large sized and develop the expertise to operate in specialized functions at different level which would be possible, only if they would have large investments and substantial order levels.

There are , of course, a number of Design and Detailed engineering organizations operating in India , who are multinational companies or Indian organizations largely in collaboration with international players. But such organizations only provide engineering services and are not involved in providing consultancy services , in the form of advice in project selection, market research , technology appraisal. techno management functions etc

There are immense possibilities for Indian technical consultancy organizations to provide services abroad particularly in developing countries as they have greater expertise with regard to small and medium level projects in comparison to their counterparts in developed countries. But, such opportunities largely remain untapped, as the Indian technical consultancy organizations remain financially weak and they have no resources to spread their wings internationally.

As the consultancy organizations are knowledge based resource centers , they have a very crucial role to play in enabling the Indian industrial establishments to grow at a faster pace For the Indian industries to grow in the competitive global environment and penetrate the international market effectively, they need the services of technical consultancy organizations to provide them data and suggest appropriate strategies based on adequate understanding of the emerging technology and market scenario. Therefore, strengthening the technical consultancy organizations is in the interest of everyone.

The Government of India should immediately conduct a detailed study and analysis of the constraints and problems faced by the Indian technical consultancy profession and work out a strategy to facilitate their improved performance and enable them to operate in a wider sphere. This calls for special incentives to encourage greater investment in the consultancy field.

Before imposing such measures as service tax on technical consultancy organizations, the Government of India should have been more careful and should have taken a deeper look into the conditions in which the technical consultancy organizations function.

THE LNG OPTION

Contributed by : Dr.S.Madhavan,
Director, Plant Services, Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), Inc., Houston, TX, USA


Natural Gas business is the hottest area at the moment because of the impetus of the higher prices and because of the fact that it is a very clean fuel.

The LNG business is now booming because of the attractive natural gas prices.As many countries rapidly increase the domestic and industrial consumption of natural gas there is going to be an increasing thirst for LNG especially from India and China among other countries globally.

Dr Madhavan, talked about the status of the LNG industry at the moment, the technology involved, various plants and facilities that need to be developed to make the LNG "chain" possible, the economics of LNG business and the projections for gas and LNG consumption globally.

The presentation was given at the invitation of the Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers to speak in their meeting of the Chennai chapter on 12 December 2005.

Dr.S.Madhavan has done his B.E.(Hons) in Chemical Engineering from Annamalai University and his M.Tech. in Engineering from IIT, Bombay and his Ph.D (With Honors) in Chemical Engineering from Kansas University,USA. He has been with the Engineering & Construction company Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) for 33 years based in Houston, Texas,USA. His current function is Director of Plant services with global responsibility for commissioning, startup, operations and maintenance of plants and projects contracted by KBR globally

Dr.Madhavan explained how the hydrogen to carbon ratio of the energy fuels was steadily increasing and the different options available for the effective utilisation of gas.These included distribution by pipe lines; liquefaction and re-gasification; compressed gas (CNG); conversion to liquid hydrocarbons; conversion to methanol; conversion to fertilisers; conversion to electric power.

Looking at the economies of different situations, Dr.Madhavan explained that for gas utilisation within a distance of 2,000 km or about, pipeline could prove beneficial; while beyond this distance, transportation either as LNG or in some other converted liquid form or chemicals, could be considered. According to Dr.Madhavan, if flexibility of end-use is also taken into consideration, in addition to other factors, LNG will prove to be the best option.

The `LNG chain,' he noted, refers to the processing of natural gas near the well-head; piping to the liquefaction plant; the liquefaction plant itself; the shipping of LNG; and the receiving and re-gasification terminals in the consuming countries.

Comparative cost of LNG transport vis-a-vis transport through pipelines
[Costs in US$]

Distance in miles

1,000

2,500

3,000

5,000

8,000

Offshore pipe

1.30

4.00

---

---

----

Onshore pipe

1.00

2.25

2.70

4.45

---

LNG

2.00

2.25

2.40

2.95

3.60

Dr.Madhavan opined that the process technology is not a major differentiator, as there is very little difference in efficiencies and the overall project costs.However according to him equipment selection - for example between the gas turbine and/or motor drives; spiral wound vs plate-fin exchangers; fit between selected equipment and desired capacity - can make major difference to the project.

According to him, LNG technology is all about executing complex projects in difficult locations.

Dr.Madhavan also explained with illustrations about the difference in the design concepts of 'double containment tanks' and 'full containment tanks' for storage of LNG.He said that taking advantage of the economy of size, LNG train capacities have been steadily increasing over the years.

Presently, investment on an LNG chain of an economic size of around 3.0 -mmtpa could be in the region of $3.0 to 4.0 bn, split approximately as: treatment & liquefaction plant (2 trains) -$1.3 to 1.8 bn; LNG carriers (a battery of six ships of 127,000-cu.m.each) -$1.3 to 1.5 bn; storage and re-gasification facility -$0.4 to 0.6 bn.

Dr Madhavan also threw some light on the LNG consumption pattern world over and some projections about possible future scenario.According to him, global NG consumption, which was in the region of 42-tcf in 1980, is slated to touch a figure of 150-tcf by 2025.

He pointed out that in the USA alone there are nearly 40 LNG receiving terminals operating and proposed to be set up.He pointed out that in the Atlantic Basin, LNG demand could be in the region of 178-million tonnes per annum by 2015, distributed as Continental Europe , North America and UK .

In the Asia-Pacific region, countries like Japan (70-mmtpa), Korea (40), Taiwan (20), China (20) and India (18) are slated to emerge as the large LNG consuming nations by the year 2015.Even as early as 1985.Japan was consuming around 30-million tonnes per annum.As against this, India is now in the process of constructing just two terminals.

This article discusses the following details:

  • Gas utilisation
  • The LNG Chain
  • LNG Process Technology-Key facts
  • Typical natural Gas Composition
  • Typical LNG Product specification
  • LNG Terminal Flow Diagram
  • LNG Train Capacities
  • Change in LNG Plant Nameplate Capacity
  • Main Cost Items for LNG Plant-Distance comparison
  • Results of Economic Model
  • LNG Contractors for Liquefactino Plants
  • Industry LNG Liquefaction Grassroots EPC Awards 1976-2003
  • NG/LNG Market Information
  • Global Natural Gas Consumption : 1980-2005
  • Regional Increases in Natural Gas Consumption – 2002-2025
  • World LNG Production to 2015
  • LNG Demand
  • Significant Demand growth for emerging LNG Markets
  • LNG Plants in Qatar
  • Natural Gas Production in Qatar
  • LNG Output at Bintulu site, Malaysia
ANHYDROUS ALUMINIUM CHLORIDE- INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY

Appearance: Ordinarily grey or yellow crystals or powder 
White when pure.

Form: Globally, Anhydrous Aluminium chloride is marketed as granules or powder.

Grades: Aluminium chloride, anhydrous, ground 
Aluminium chloride, anhydrous, screened

Molecular formula: AlCl3

CAS No. 7446-70-0

Properties

Reacts with moisture in the air or water to form hydrogen chloride, which has a pungent odour.

Dissolves in alcohols, ethers, esters and many other polar, organic solvents. In some cases, adducts are formed.

Particle Size

Grade I 2mm
Grade II 2mm to 9 mm
Grade III 9 mm and above

The grain size of Aluminium chloride will be big, small or normal size, which is due to inherent factors in process operations.

Product applications

Anhydrous aluminium chloride is largely used as catalyst, especially in Friedel-Crafts reaction in the chemical, petrochemical and pharmaceutical industries.

The important sector of applications include LAB, Ethyl benzene/Styrene, Titanium di Oxide, Cumene, Butyl rubber, Hydrocarbon resins, Meta phenoxy benzaldehyde Copper phthalocyanine green, Anthraquinone dyes and others

This article further discusses the following details:

  • Application as a catalyst
  • Countrywise Import/Export details
  • Indian Manufacturers
  • Demand Trends in India
  • Broad Outline of Manufacturing Process
  • Process Flowchart
  • Global Scenario
  • Global demand
  • Pattern of consumption
  • Global Growth rate in Demand
  • Global Producers
  • Recommendation
  • Future Scenario
PROPIONIC ACID - TECHNOLOGY OPPORTUNITY

Propionic acid is widely used as preservative in foods and animal fees.

Propionic acid at present is largely produced by petrochemical route in recent times, substantial research and development work have been initiated to develop fermentation process for propionic acid based on naturally occurring biomass material. This article discusesses the recent developments.

Appearance

Clear oily liquid

Synonyms

Methylacetic acid; ethylformic acid; propanoic Acid; carboxyethane

CAS No

79-09-4

Chemical Formula

CH3CH2COOH

Odour

Slightly pungent irritating odour

Solubility

Miscible in water.

Density

0.99

Stability

Stable under ordinary conditions of use and storage

Specifications

Purity (% by wt) 99.0 min
Water (%) 0.2 max.
Non-volatiles (% by wt.) 0.05 max.

Packing

Polyethylene drum of 200 litres. Net wt"190 kg Tank lorry

Applications

Very small volumes of propionate esters are used as flavors and fragrances.

Propionic acid and its salts are widely used as preservatives in foods and animal feeds including hay, silage, and grains, and in human foods, mainly in baked goods and cheeses due to its antimicrobial activity.

Propionic acid has numerous applications as a specialty chemical in production of herbicides, artificial fruit flavors, fine chemicals, and pharmaceuticals.

This article discusses the following:

  • Application development
  • Demand drivers
  • Global Use Pattern
  • Growth
  • Global Manufacturers
  • Process
  • Developments Relating to Fermentation Process
  • United States Patent 6878534
  • Countrywise Import
CERAMIC MEMBRANES: A ROBUST FILTRATION ALTERNATIVE

Ceramic cross flow membranes are durable and long lasting micro filters for aggressive processing environments.

To better understand the benefits of ceramic membranes, it is helpful to know how they are made and how they differ from other kinds of micro filters. Ceramic membranes are porous ceramics, which are formed from ceramic granules-held together with binders until the incredibly high temperatures of sintering bind the ceramic granules and leave predictable porous openings in a uniform array. the temperature at which Mempro and other companies sinter ceramic membranes is so high that all possible oxidation occurs and renders the filter inert.

Ceramic membranes are tubular, open-ended, cross flow devices.

In this article, following details are discussed:

  • A filter unit
  • Suppliers of ceramic membranes
  • Setting up a ceramic membrane system
  • A selection of applications for ceramic membranes
  • The food and beverage industry
  • The biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry
  • Chemical and industrial applications
  • Recovery and recycling
  • Conclusions
OTHER STORIES

COAL GASIFICATION PROJECTS - FEASIBILITY STUDY

Interest in coal gasification for chemical, fertilizer, and power projects has surged following the spike in oil and natural gas costs. Coal gasification projects could enable chemical and fertilizer production to regain competitiveness in the U.S, according to a presentation on federal loan guarantees available for coal gasification projects given by William G. Rosenberg, senior fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard (Cambridge, MA), at the CW/Nexant Chem Systems Energy Outlook conference, held in Houston during December 2005.

RECENT INDIAN VENTURES IN CHINA

In recent times, number of Indian companies have set up ventures in China. More number of companies are planning to enter China either by setting up manufacturing base or representative office.

A few of the major Indian Ventures in China are described.

SPOTLIGHT ON SPECIALITY CHEMICAL: ISOPROPANOLAMINE

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

BIO MEDICAL POTENTIAL OF OCEAN

Although the oceans cover 70% of the planet's surface, much of their biomedical potential has gone largely unexplored, particularly in the Indian Ocean.

The rich marine source, comprising of over 500,000 species found all along the 7500 km-long coast line offer an enormous untapped potential for India to develop new medicines and rare biochemicals. International agencies realised the untapped potential of ocean's wealth way back in late 1960s, while such efforts was launched in India only in the last decade.

Indian scientists have begun collecting various flora and fauna species from the surrounding ocean for developing new life saving medicines and rare bio-chemicals.Already, eight samples have been identified for new drug development.

This article discusses the various initiatives and details of potential applications.

OTHER ARTICLES

Cubring Metals industry in China

  • Rubber Project of Bridgestone in China
  • Radiochemistry Lab in West Bengal
  • Anti Dumping Page-India
  • Certification Issue
  • Ammonia Injection Technology
  • Update on Nanotechnology
  • Synthetic Biology: A new trend to cure genetic diseases
  • Degussa’s Project for Nanomaterials
  • Updated on Coal Bed Methane Project
  • GAIL, CIL in pact for gasification projects
  • Place of Coal in the Emerging Scenario
  • Coal Scenario in China
  • Update on Biodiesel
  • Coal India Joint Venture with Hindalco, Neyveli Lignite
  • Update on Carbon Trading
  • Process Flow – L-Lysine
  • Ask for Chemical Facts Free
  • Agro Chemical Page-India
  • Pesticide Page
  • Scope for Bioenergy
  • Biotechnology Page
  • Herbal Page
  • Vanilla Scenario
  • Liquid Hellium Plant
  • Energy Page-Fuel Cell Energy Conversion Devices-Recent Development
  • Coal Based Fuel Cells-Consultant’s Report
  • Environmental Page-International
  • Price Revision for Bulk Drgus
  • New Round Up-International
  • Report Accuses Chemical Firms of Iraqi Kickbacks
  • Crude Oil Production trends
  • New Round Up-India
  • Technology Development – International/India
  • Pharma Page-International
  • Drug Discovery-Magnetism based interaction capture-
  • Pharma Page-India
  • Safety & Accident Page
  • International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code-Part XXXVIII
  • Directory of Chemical Industries in China-Manufacturers, Trading Houses and Promotional Organisations-Part XXXV
  • Price Details-International
  • New Projects
  • Tender
  • Chemicals Imported at Chennai Port During the Month of September 2005
  • Chemicals Imported at Visakhapatnam Port During the Month of September 2005 
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