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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Nov 2007

Resorcinol|Coal to oil|Reverse osmosis|Desalination|2-aminoethoxyethanol
Highlights of Some of the Articles

TALK OF THE MONTH
PROPOSED REGULATIONS ON AMMONIUM NITRATE
FOCUS ON GLOBAL SCENARIO FOR BUILDING BLOCKS : TOLUENE
RESORCINOL – PRODUCT PROFILE
FOCUS ON COAL TO OIL PROJECTS AROUND THE WORLD
REVERSE OSMOSIS TECHNOLOGY FOR SEAWATER DESALINATION : RECENT PROJECTS
OTHER ARTICLES

TALK OF THE MONTH

FERTILISER POLICY NEEDS CLARITY

In the light of Government of India’s move to prepare a new investment strategy for capacity creation for urea in India, Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilisers (RCF) has announced proposal to set up Rs.24000 million urea project along with Gas Authority of India (GAIL) in Orissa. Apart from this RCF-GAIL venture, in all ten proposals for new plants and expansions are reported to be pending with the Government of India for approval.

Planning commission wants an increase of 30 million tonne per annum in the domestic capacity for urea by the end of the eleventh plan period from the existing 20 million tonne annual capacity.

At the same time, a number of urea plants have been closed down in India in the last few years and a few more units are facing closure now.

The large urea project of SPIC in Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu is not operating for all practical purposes for the last few months but the Government of India or the state government do not appear to be showing any urgency to help the unit to find its feet. It seems that it has been left to the bankers to decide about the fate of SPIC!

The other two units in South India namely Madras Fertilisers Ltd. in Chennai and FACT in Kerala are in doldrums and face the threat of closure before long if appropriate revival and rehabilitation programmes for these units were not to be worked out by the Government of India immediately.
 
A careful study of the technical parameters of performance of these three units clearly indicate that these units are by and large competitive from the point of view of the technology practices adopted and plant operating efficiency standards. Obviously, they are incurring losses due to lack of feedstock advantage which other units in northern and western India have with the availability of natural gas for them. Therefore, it can be seen that the problems faced by these units in South India involve basic issues, as they have to depend on naphtha as feed stock due to the non availability of natural gas for them.. The cumulative losses incurred by these units over a period of time have been largely due to the Government’s fertilizer pricing and subsidy policies. Their problems can be  sorted out only by Government of India extending firm subsidy support for them

As these urea fertilizer units and quite a few others which are now facing problems are technically reasonably well placed , the Government of India should enable them to write off their losses once for all , so that they would be put back on sound footing. The investment that the government will have to make to enable the units to write off the losses and in extending appropriate subsidy support to them to ensure their steady operations would be far less than the investment required for building new urea projects of similar capacities. Further, building new urea projects would take long period whereas revival of the existing units can be done in quick time, that would save considerable foreign exchange which would otherwise be required for importing urea in the immediate future.

Instead of enabling the existing units to perform profitably, the Government is planning to spend million of rupees in building new urea fertilizer projects, which defies logic and which can be a counter productive move.

Though the Government has been talking about reviving some of the sick and closed urea projects for quite some time, nothing much has happened. It appears that the issues relating to sick urea projects is not being tackled with any sense of urgency, which indicates a lackadaisical approach to this crucial issue of far reaching importance. There have been enormous loss of capacity due to the closure of such units for long period , which is causing the nation dearly.

India is spending several million  of rupees every year in import of urea and the price of urea has been fluctuating in the global market from year to year.

This year, India will import around six million tonne of urea and this would cost around Rs.48000 million in one year alone.

The money actually required for the revival of the closed units and the loss making existing units would be found to be more productive expenditure both in the short and long run, if compared with the money spent by the government in importing urea often at high international prices.

There are many other glaring anomalies in fertilizer policies. For example, while the Government is extending subsidy support to urea and single superphosphate fertilizer, it does not extend similar support to fertilisers like ammonium sulphate. The agricultural soil all over India is becoming sulphur efficient at an alarming rate due to the non application of sulphate based fertilizers in adequate level.

Ammonium sulphate combines ideally nitrogen and sulphur content and its use should be promoted by extending subsidy support to it , so that the price of ammonium sulphate would fall within the purchasing capacity of the farming community.

A large number of single super phosphate fertilizer units remain closed in India today due to the lack of imaginative subsidy policy of the government towards single super phosphate fertilizer. While several single super phosphate fertilizer units remain closed , India is spending million of rupees in importing Di ammonium phosphate fertilizer, which can be substituted by single super phosphate to some extent.

It is amazing that even such obvious issues which  even the lay farmers readily understand, are not adequately tackled at the policy making level by the Government and the Planning Commission.

PROPOSED REGULATIONS ON AMMONIUM NITRATE

So alarming is the problem of stolen explosives from across India and so inadequate is the current system of monitoring that the Indian Government has been forced to begin wiping the dust off its list of amendments to the 1983 Explosives Act and looking at finalising the changes : It proposes to conduct ammonium nitrate inspections every three months.

A close look at the draft amendments shows that the Government’s move is to introduce several new provisions to bring Indian regulations in line with international/United Nations standards and factor in the technological advancement in manufacturing, while dealing with ammonium nitrate.

Home Ministry officials claim that the new law will strengthen the hands of the Nagpur-based Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO), the primary regulator in the sector by beefing up security and licensing systems.

One of the most significant amendments proposed is to bring in ammonium nitrate, the terrorists’ most recent explosive of choice, under the ambit of the law, despite the fact that the chemical is not an explosive per se.

In its list of recommendations, the Home Ministry has admitted that production of ammonium nitrate cannot come under the 1884 Explosives Act and the 1983 Explosives Rules. However, since the chemical is increasingly a raw material in explosives, all manufacturers should maintain daily computerized records of purchase and install (a) foolproof mechanism to cross-check the authenticity of raw material received, consumed and explosives produced and to submit monthly returns of ammonium nitrate procured and used.

Some of the other key changes proposed:

All explosives consignments should be accompanied by two armed guards at the cost of the licensee. If the consignment is likely to pass through “sensitive areas”, armed guards provided by the District Police should accompany it.

Police officers/executive magistrates should inspect all explosive stores in their jurisdiction every three months and inspection reports should be sent to PESO and the district police.
Onus for any theft/loss of munitions would fall on the licensee or “shot-firer” employed by him in a mine or quarry.

Scientific marking and packaging of all explosives with manufacturers would be required to store explosives in the licensed premises only.

Licensee would be required to submit his photograph and have a verification check while applying to the PESO.

District authorities who issue the No Objection Certificate (NOC) to manufacturers will have authority to cancel it.

FOCUS ON GLOBAL SCENARIO FOR BUILDING BLOCKS : TOLUENE

Nandini Chemical Journal is publishing series of articles on global scenario for building blocks, which are the starting material for the production of a large number of derivative products. The series commenced with article on benzene in October 2007 issue

An article on Xylene would be published in the next issue.

Product Characteristics

CAS number

08-88-3

Molecular formula

C7H8

Appearance

Clear, colourless liquid

Density

0.8669 grams per cubic meter

Grades

There are three grades of toluene

  • TDI-grade with a purity of 99.9%
  • Nitrate grade at 98.5%, for solvent use and as a feedstock for hydrodealkylation (HAD) and disproportionation (TDP) plants.
  • In the US, there is a commercial grade of 95% purity for gasoline blending and hydrodealkylation (HAD) feedstock.

Applications

Toluene is used in large quantities as an octane booster in gasoline but most of that portion is never removed from refinery streams.

Its major chemical use is to make xylenes and benzene via disproportionation (TDP) or benzene via hydrodealkylation (HDA) processes and derivative products process, which removes the methyl group from one toluene molecule and attaches it to another, resulting in one benzene and one xylene molecule.

This article also contains the following details:

  • Gradewise application
  • Important application sector
  • Important derivative products
  • Present global capacity
  • Regionwise capacity
  • Global production level
  • Important global manufacturers and their installed capacity
  • New projects and capacity expansion proposals under planning/implementation
  • Future installed capacity
  • Growth in capacity between 2009 and 2012
  • Global demand
  • Application sectorwise demand
  • Regionwise demand
  • Projected sectorwise demand
  • Process
  • Prognosis
RESORCINOL – PRODUCT PROFILE

Chemical formula

C6H6O2

Specific gravity

1.272g/cm3

Resorcinol is white, needle like crystals. The product becomes pink on exposure to light and air or by contact with iron.

Resorcinol crystallises in the orthorhombic hemimorphic system and its crystals are colourless and piezoelectric.

Water

83.3

Ethanol

73.0

Acetone

75.1

Benzene

14.1

Chloroform

1.2

Carbon tetra chloride

0.3

Grades

  • Technical
  • Chemically pure
  • Extra pure

Specifications

Property

Technical

USP

Physical state

Flakes

Crystal powder

Colour

White or slightly white

White or nearly white

Purity, wt %, min.

99

99

Phenol content,wt %

1.0max

Not perceptible

Pyrocatechol content,wt,

0.1% max

No turbidity with Pb(II)

Ash content, wt %

0.005 max

0.05 max

PRODUCT APPLICATIONS

Resorcinol is used as Resorcinol formaldehyde resin (RF).

This article also contains the following details

  • Sectorwise applications
  • Derivative products
  • Annual Imports & Countrywise Imports
  • Annual Exports & Countrywise Exports
  • Indian Manufacturers
  • Demand Supply Trends
  • Manufacturing process
  • R & D Efforts of HOC
  • World Major Producers
  • Global production
  • Global demand
  • Global consumption pattern
  • Prognosis
FOCUS ON COAL TO OIL PROJECTS AROUND THE WORLD

Limited resources, soaring oil prices and ever increasing concern for energy security have renewed a worldwide interest in CTL (coal to liquids) technology.

Historical development

Coal-to-liquid technology dates back to the 1920s, when two German chemists, Franz Fischer and Hans Tropsch, developed a process (Fischer Tropsch Synthesis) to convert coal into a gas and then use it to make synthetic fuels. Coal to oil technology helped fuel the Nazi war machine, which lacked access to sufficient crude oil.

At the start of the Second World War, both Germany and the UK had coal liquefaction plants in operation. By the end of the war, Germany had 9 indirect and 18 direct liquefaction plants that were producing almost 4 million tonnes a year of gasoline, which was 90% of German consumption.

American interest in CTL technology was sparked when German scientists and technical documents were captured after World War II and they already had massive quantities of coal. So, USA began investigating possible coal based synthetic alternatives in case America’s natural oil supplies would deplete.

Following the war, liquefaction plants in Germany and elsewhere were closed down. Although there was some development in the USA in the early and mid- 1950s, the price of oil was falling relative to coal, making the economics of liquefaction increasingly unattractive.

After the war, the vast oil fields of Gulf countries made it un economic for most nations to pursue CTL technology.

The US experimented with CTL in 1979 by creating the SFC (Synthetic Fuels Corporation), assuming that oil prices would rise in the 1980s. Although the SFC invested in six CTL projects, its products became unviable due to a sustained drop in oil prices in the 1980s. The SFC was terminated in 1985.

This article further discusses the following details

  • Sasol’s Project in South Africa
  • Projects in USA
  • Projects in China
  • Malaysia
  • Indonesia
  • Germany
  • Scenario in India
  1. Coal availability
  2. Report of task force
  3. Study committee
  4. Coal liquefaction project offer from Sasol to India
  5. Coal liquefaction technology – Indo China Cooperation
  6. Initiative of Indian Units
  7. Diesel from Coal
  8. Coal Based Synthetic Oil catalyst Project
  9. Liquid coal as fuel of choice for planes 
  • Proposal of Oil Inida
  • IOC’s Project
  • Proposals of Jindal and Essar
  • Project cost
  • Cost of production
  • Environmental issues
  • Issues in India
  • Diesel from Coal
  • Coal Based Synthetic Oil catalyst Project
  • Liquid coal as fuel of choice for planes
REVERSE OSMOSIS TECHNOLOGY FOR SEAWATER DESALINATION : RECENT PROJECTS

The role of Reverse Osmosis technology is evolving, offering a greater diversity of applications and larger capacity systems that are being made possible by innovative business models .

Reverse Osmosis (RO) technology, once used only for relatively small, specialised pure water applications, is now becoming a mainstream water treatment solution in large scale water plants .Increases in RO membrane efficiency, both in energy demand and permeability, are spurring the adoption of RO technology for large scale applications, as is the declining cost to produce desalinated water, which has fallen by more than 80 percent over the last 20 years.

Each RO solution presents a unique set of circumstances that require careful planning, engineering and structured financing to ensure maximum benefits.

RO membrane technology is not limited to simply solving potable water challenges and desalinating seawater. This versatile process is also helping industry to recover the salt from seawater as a raw material source for manufacturing processes.

This article also discusses the following details:

  • Project of Straits Chemical Company
  • Waste water reclamation plant in Kuwait
  • Safety Guidance for DesalinationTechnology
OTHER ARTICLES
  • Why oil prices are at a record high?
  • Anti Dumping Page
  • Ethanol Programme in Cross Roads
  • Ethanol from Sorghum – Efforts of ICRISAT
  • Counterfeit Drugs – A Matter of Global Concern
  • Atmospheric Carbon dioxide increasing faster than expected
  • Plastic for stripping of carbon dioxide from natural gas
  • Oceans may be losing ability to absorb carbon dioxide
  • Update on Biofuel
  • Safety & Accident Page
  • China News
  • News Round Up-International/India
  • Trends in Global Petrochemical Industry
  • Styrene – Global Trends
  • World oil output-Findings of study
  • Technology Development-International/India
  • Pharma page – International/India
  • Agrochemical Page- International/India
  • Hydrogen cyanide content in Sago
  • New Rules for Pesticides in Europe
  • New Exotic pests – Bio security issues
  • Environmental page
  • Energy page
  • Earn While You Learn Scheme for University Students from Lower Income Group
  • Business Opportunities
  • Tender
  • Information on Chemical of your choice-Ask for Chemical Facts Free
  • New Projects-International
  • Price Details-International
  • Directory of Chemical Industries in China-Manufacturers, Trading Houses and Promotional Organisations - Part XLV
  • Chemicals Imported at Chennai Port during the month of June 2007
  • Chemicals Imported at Chennai Port during the month of September 2007
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