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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Jul 2007

Sucralose|chloromethanes|Chloroform|Sucralose|n-methyl pyrrolidone
Highlights of Some of the Articles

TALK OF THE MONTH
SUCRALOSE - PRODUCT PROFILE
CHLOROMETHANES: INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
SPOTLIGHT ON SPECIALITY CHEMICAL- N-METHYL PYRROLIDONE
MISSED OPPORTUNITIES FOR KERALA STATE
OTHER STORIES
OTHER ARTICLES

TALK OF THE MONTH

SKILLS SHORTAGE - A MATTER OF GRAVE CONCERN

The steadily improving national economy and industrial performance is also bringing to fore the several constraints facing the Indian chemical industries in forging ahead in the growth curve.

One of the serious problems faced by the Indian chemical industries is in finding adequately skilled and talented people to take up employment at different levels.

The problem is not really at the top executive level but at the medium and lower level of employment. Companies are increasingly finding it difficult to get reasonably talented and knowledgeable engineers and technicians for investigative and highly skill oriented functions like research and development, design and estimations and knowledge driven consultancy functions. There is certainly a manpower crisis in Indian chemical industries and this fact has to be recognized and tackled with great sense of urgency.

As the chemical technologies are becoming more intricate demanding high level of expertise for designing and operating the projects, it is becoming evident that without adequate number of trained and knowledgeable employees, several technology related industrial functions cannot be carried out at adequate standards at all. The problems appear to be now centred at the level of education and training provided to the engineers and technicians in India.

There have been explosive growth of engineering colleges and technical institutions and polytechnics in recent years all over India. Several thousands of engineers and technicians are coming out of the educational institutions every year and the number is much more than what is required in India. Still, we find situation where the industries are finding it extremely difficult to get people for employment meeting the requirements of the job and having the requisite standards and expertise. If one would look only at the quantitative level, India has adequate number of technologists , engineers and technicians coming out of the educational institutions every year.

While quantitative availability of manpower is certainly adequate, the problem is at quality level. India boasts of army of engineers and technologists but what can this army do if it does not have adequate numbers to tackle the intricate engineering and technology issues ?

One of the reasons for the manpower problems of the chemical industries is that , while the chemical and allied industries urgently need talented and well trained people to remain competitive in the global market, many of the well qualified and top ranking engineers and technologists opt for functions in software and other related areas. Obviously, the software companies pay more (which have now reached ridiculous level), which the industries cannot match due to several constraints.

In the process, many talented engineers and technologists who go to the software companies ultimately burn their bridge with engineering subjects and lose their credentials to be called as engineers and technologists in the course of time. Both these engineers and technologists and the Indian chemical industries are the ultimate losers.

Unfortunately, the industries are not taking any initiatives to provide the requisite training to the employees at entry level. The industries are excessively depending on educational institutions and technical institutes for providing highly skilled engineers and technicians. This is unrealistic expectation, as the engineering colleges and institutions are not equipped to provide the type of training to the students to make them fit for working in the industries immediately after completion of studies.

The industries are not willing to spend resources and time in providing training to the employees, as a result of which many engineers look unemployable. While the top ranking engineers may go to software companies due to the lure of pay, there are still many engineers available who can meet the requirements of the industries, if only they would be provided adequate training and opportunities to equip themselves.

Without sorting out this basic and fundamental issue of ensuring availability of skilled manpower (not merely qualified manpower), one tends to get an impression that chemical industries in India are planning for the future in vacuum.

SUCRALOSE - PRODUCT PROFILE

Sucralose was discovered in 1976 and it is 600 times sweeter than sugar. It has a good sweetness profile and is stable in aqueous food systems.

Sucralose finds application in tabletop sweeteners, processed fruit, carbonated and non-carbonated beverages,chewing gum, baked goods, dry mix products, fruit spreads, milk products, frozen desserts and salad dressings.

Sucralose is derived from sucrose.

Sucralose is synthesized by adding chlorine to sucrose molecules and it contains bulking agents such as maltodextrin and dextrose for dilution

The product process selectively replaces three hydrogen-oxygen groups on the sugar molecule with three chlorine atoms.

This article further discusses the following details:

  • Approval
  • Global producer : Tate & Lyle
  • Indian Producers
  • Patent Dispute
  • Global demand
CHLOROMETHANES: INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY

Chloromethanes are technically exceptional products possessing qualities that are normally incompatible in organic solvents : volatility (and hence rapid drying) and non-inflammability. In contrast to aqueous solutions, they have the advantage of concentrating the dissolved products in a small volume. They are easy to recycle by distillation with a small energy input.

However, in order to protect the environment, consumption of these solvents have been considerably brought down around the world during last 15 years, by reducing the volume used and employing closed circuits and recycling.

Replacement methods for chlorinated solvents like chloromethanes are currently available. However, for some uses, chlorinated solvents remain indispensable such as for dry cleaning, delicate metal degreasing (in electronics, for example), extraction of natural products for food and agriculture, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals and so on.

IMPORTANT CHLOROMETHANES

  • Methyl chloride
  • Methylene chloride
  • Chloroform

SPECIFICATION OF METHYL CHLORIDE

Molecular formula

CH 3 Cl

CAS No

74-87-3

Alternate Names

Methyl chloride, Monochloromethane;

Gas refrigerant

R-40 HCC –40

Appearance

Colourless gas with a faint, sweet odour

Nature

Heavier than air and is extremely flammable

Solubility

Soluble in water, benzene, carbon tetrachloride, glacial acetic acid, and absolute alcohol.

Stability

Slowly decomposes in the presence of water to become corrosive to metals.

Methyl chloride, wt%

99.95%

Dimethyl ether, ppm

20 max

Lower boiling compounds, ppm

250 max

Higher boiling compounds, ppm

100 max

Water, ppm

80 max

Acidity, ppm as HCl

10 max

Nonvolatile residue

100 max

Boiling point

-23.7 deg.C

Melting point

-97.6 deg.C

Flash point Below

32 deg.F

Specific gravity at 20 deg.C

0.92

SPECIFICATION OF METHYLENE CHLORIDE

Alternate name

Dichloro methane

Appearance

Clear

Chemical formula

CH 2 Cl 2

Molecular weight

84.94

Colour

Colourless

Odour

Ether like

Minimum purity

99.9%

Maximum water content

50. ppm

Maximum acidity, as HCL

5. ppm

Maximum non-volatile residue

10 ppm

Colour

10 max Hazen

Vapour

Pressure at 20 deg C 350 mmHg

Boiling point at atmospheric pressure

39.8 deg C

Specific Gravity at 20 deg C

1.326

SPECIFICATION OF CHLOROFORM

Appearance

Clear liquid

Alternate name

Trichloro Methane

Chemical formula

CHCl 3

Molecular weight

119.39

Odour

Ether like

Boiling point at atmospheric pressure

61.2°C

Freezing point

-63.5°C

Minimum purity

99.9%

Maximum water content

50.0 ppm

Maximum acidity, as HCl

5.0 ppm

Maximum non-volatile residue

10 ppm

Colour

10 max Hazen

Specific Gravity at 20°C

1.489

Vapour Pressure at 20°C

159 mmHg

This article further discusses the following details:

  • ApplicationEnvironmental issues
  • Process for chloromethanes
  • Indian Scenario
  1. Indian producers
  2. New project
  3. Indian production of Chloromethanes
  4. Indian demand for chloromethanes
  5. Imports
  6. Exports
  • Global scenario
  1. Important global producers and their installed capacity
  2. Global demand
  3. Prognosis
  • Anti dumping measures on Methylene chloride in India
  • Anti dumping measures on Chloroform in China
SPOTLIGHT ON SPECIALITY CHEMICAL- N-METHYL PYRROLIDONE

This article discusses the application aspects and process technology as well as Indian and global scenario for n-Methyl pyrrolidone.

GENERAL DETAILS

Chemical Name

1-Methyl-2-pyrrolidone

CAS No

872-50-4

Chemical formula

C 5 H 9 NO

Appearance

Colourless liquid with solid amino odour

Purity, Min. (Wt %) by GC

Above 99%

Boiling point

204.3 deg C

Vapour pressure

0.29 Hg at 20 deg.C

Specific gravity

1.026

Solubility Soluble in water @ 30 deg.C

Soluble in acetone ether

pH

7.7 to 8.0 @ 10% solution

FIRE AND EXPLOSION HAZARD DATA

Autoignition temperature - 270 deg.C

Hazardous combustion products - Toxic oxides of carbon and nitrogen

Hazardous polymerization

Combustible liquid

Yes

Explosive material

Yes

Corrosive material

No

Flammable material

Yes

Oxidiser

No

Pyrophoric material

No

Organic peroxide

No

REACTIVITY DATA

Chemical stability

Polymerisation has been reported to occur under normal temperature.

Incompatibility with other material

Strong oxidizers, acids

Hazardous reaction

Toxic oxides of carbon and nitrogen products

HEALTH AND HAZARD DATA

Routes of entry - Inhalation, ingestion, skin and eye

Effects of exposure:

Inhalation

Chronic exposure to high vapour concentration may cause headache, giddiness, mental confusion and nausea. Inhalation of high concentration may cause mucous membrane irritation, headache, giddiness, mental confusion and nausea.

Ingestion

Acute exposure may cause gastro intestinal disturbances

Skin contact

Prolong contact is reported to cause severe dermatitis with redness, cracking, swelling, blistering, edema.

Eye contact

Exposure to vapour may cause irritation. Contact with liquid may cause painful burning.

APPLICATION

N-Methyl Pyrrolidone is environmentally benign with a low evaporation point and good recycling qualities.

NMP is associated with high solvent activity, especially at elevated temperatures. Many oils become soluble in NMP only when the solvent is above 63 deg.C. The oils can be separated from the solvent after the cleaning step by lowering the NMP temperature. The solvent can then be reused and the oil can be recycled

This article discusses the following details:

  • Application sectors
  • Oil refinery/petroleum sector
  • Pharmaceutical sector
  • Polymer industry
  • Electronics industry
  • Cleaning agent
  • Miscellaneous application
  • Global producers
  • Profile of major producers
  • Process
  • Demand
  • Price Trend
  • Flowchart of Butanediol value chain
MISSED OPPORTUNITIES FOR KERALA STATE

Kerala stands to lose a mega project proposed by Gas Authority of India (GAIL), while another ambitious project by Petronet LNG (PIL) could be delayed.

Kochi LNG project has been under discussion for several years. Many promises have been made and several deadlines have been fixed but still the project is not seeing the light of the day. Several of the other similar projects in western India were announced at the same time and the projects have been completed and commissioned. Unfortunately, Kerala is not as fortunate as Gujarat and Maharashtra with regard to LNG project.

Now once again, another schedule has been fixed for the LNG project and the latest one is that the project would be delayed till 2011. The funny aspect is that in the announced statement, it has been said that there would be no cost escalation inspite of re-fixing schedule and extending date of commissioning upto 2011.

Not only LNG project which has been postponed but Rs.70000 million of gas cracker project in Kerala has been completely shelved.

Obviously, there has been no seriousness at the highest level with regard to these projects in Kerala.

Though the Prime Minister announced two years ago with much fan fare about the gas cracker project of GAIL in Kerala, nobody is now being asked to explain or take responsibility for such missed schedules and scraping of the project.

One gets a feeling that even such project proposals are discussed and announced not in professional manner but with other motives.

The history of these ill fated projects are highlighted in this article.

  • Gas cracker project
  • LNG project
OTHER STORIES

REACH LEGISLATION AND IT’S IMPACT ON INDIAN INDUSTRIES

Reach stands for Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals.

Reach is a radical approach to chemicals control and will cover 30,000-plus substances. Ultimately, it would replace more than 40 separate pieces of legislation in Europe and is intended to protect the environment from harmful chemicals.

Reach applies to manufacturers, importers or distributors in the European Union of chemicals in quantities of one metric tonne per year or more.

European Parliament approved the final Reach draft on 13 December 2006 and the EU’s Council of Ministers - representatives of the then 25 member states - gave it the nod on 18 December 2006. It became a regulation on 1 June 2007 to which all sellers of chemicals in the EU market must comply .

This article further discusses the following details:

  • Time line for reach implementation
  • Requirements to comply with reach
  • Requirements for manufacturers
  • Cost factors
  • The global implications
  • The issues for Indian units
  • Advantage for companies from China, India
  • Advisory services
OTHER ARTICLES
  • Issues facing rice bran oil industry
  • e-Waste issues in Bangalore
  • New emission standards for Indian Pesticide Industry
  • Sodium Bicarbonate project of Tata Chemicals
  • Gas pipeline projects of Gail
  • Safety and Accident Page
  • Hydrogen – Green fuel for the future
  • Hydro Thermal Cooling-Novel Power Project in Toronto
  • Will There Be Global Naphtha Shortage?
  • Update on Nanotechnology
  • Impediments for Jatropha biodiesel project
  • Update on Biofuel
  • Anti dumping page
  • Increasing imports of Urea
  • Information on Chemical of your choice-Ask for the chemical facts free page
  • Technology Development – International/India
  • Herbal page
  • China news
  • DuPont’s new renewable polymers
  • Use pattern of Paraformaldehyde in China
  • News round up – International/India
  • Update on Biotechnology
  • Pharma Page
  • Environmental page
  • Energy page-India
  • Agrochemical page
  • Pesticide page
  • Price Details
  • Business Opportunities
  • New projects – International
  • Directory of Chemical Industries in China – Manufacturers, Trading Houses and Promotional Organisations- Part XLX
  • Chemicals Imported at Chennai Port during the month of April 2007
  • Chemicals Exported at Visakhapatnam Port During the month of April 2007
  • Chemicals Imported at Visakhapatnam Port During the month of April 2007 
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