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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Sep 2007

POLYCRYSTALLINE SILICON|TRIMETHYLOLPROPANE|INSTANT COFFEE
Highlights of Some of the Articles

TALK OF THE MONTH
FOCUS ON POLYCRYSTALLINE SILICON
TRIMETHYLOLPROPANE - PRODUCT PROFILE
SPOTLIGHT ON SPECIALITY CHEMICAL
URANIUM AVAILABILITY AND EXPLORATION EFFORTS
INSTANT COFFEE PROJECTS IN INDIA
OTHER ARTICLES

TALK OF THE MONTH

THIS NUCLEAR DEAL WILL DRIVE INDIA BACKWARD

The nuclear deal of Manmohan Singh government is being discussed as if it is only about Indo American relationship or dependability of USA as a long term partner. The more important issue is as to whether it is necessary to bind India to international controls, in spite of India’s resources and technological strength. If India can do without such long term nuclear deal, then India should opt out of it. What we need to examine is as to whether India can do without this nuclear deal, without suffering loss of growth opportunities.

We also need to keep in mind at this stage as to what would be the level of investment required for buying several fuel re processing reactors and other equipment from abroad, the cost of acquiring technology, the recurring cost of inputs and the cost of spare parts. Having signed a binding agreement, India may not have much room for negotiating the price.

The cost of nuclear power may ultimately become unacceptably high creating serious problems for the overall national economy.

A careful examination of various aspects would clearly indicate that India can do without this nuclear deal and would not suffer in its absence.

Indian nuclear power scenario

The power generating capacity in India as on January 2007 was 1,28,435 MW comprising hydrothermal (coal, gas and oil based), nuclear and renewable sources.

Generating capacity:

Sector

Unit (MW)

Percent

Hydro

34,110

26.56

Thermal

84,234

65.58

Nuclear

3,900

3.04

Renewable

6,191

4.82

Total

1,28,435

100

It can be seen from the above data that Indian nuclear power capacity represents only 3 percent of the total power capacity in India.

Even globally, nuclear power contributes only about 17 percent to the electricity demand of the world.

If the target of the proposed nuclear deal were to step up the share of nuclear power in India to as high as 17% in the next decade as per the prevailing global trend, it should be noted that equivalent quantity of power can be generated even without resorting to the nuclear deal , by exploiting the alternate sources of power that are potentially available to India.

Enough fuel for Nuclear Power

For the production of nuclear power, the fuel (fissile material)required can be uranium-233 or uranium -235 or Plutonium-239.

Besides, there are other fissionable material which can be converted to a fissile material, such as uranium-238 (which generates Plutonium-239) .The above fuel are produced from natural uranium and at the present use rate, there are 50 years worth of low cost known uranium reserves remaining in India

In advanced countries, the fuel used in nuclear power plants is reprocessed, so that it can be reused that would provide inexhaustible source of fuel for the nuclear power projects for all time to come . India does not have the facility for reprocessing nor commercially proven technology to set up reprocessing facilities at present. Obviously, Manmohan Singh thinks that if India can have this reprocessing facility, then it would pave way for setting up the nuclear power generating capacity in a big way in India

At present, Indian demand for natural uranium is 540 tonnes per annum and the present production of natural uranium in India is only 280 tonnes per annum. As a result of this, nuclear power projects are presently operating at low capacity utilisation level, which is a matter of concern.

To overcome the shortage of uranium, the Department of Atomic Energy is working on plans to set up new uranium processing plants in Banduhurang in Singhbhum district of Jharkand, Seripally in Nalgonda district and Tummalapalle in Cudappah district of Andhra Pradesh, Mawthabah in the West Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya and at Chatrapur in Ganjam district of Orissa.

The Government of India has very recently approved the proposal for setting up uranium mining and processing plant at Tummalapally in Cudappah district in Andhra Pradesh at the cost of Rs.11062.90 million. The setting up of this mine will meet the uranium fuel
requirement of the nuclear power programme. The mine is likely to be commissioned within thirty months and the processing plant in 36 months. The government of India also has a proposal to set up a facility at Paradeep in coastal Orissa to extract uranium from waste material generated by two fertilizer units in the vicinity.

Therefore, it can be seen that India is unlikely to run out of uranium for the next fifty years, even without the reprocessing facility to be acquired through the nuclear deal.

Thorium as alternate fuel

India has large reserves of thorium which is a source of alternate nuclear fuel for power generation. Thorium 232 generates uranium 233 which can be used as fuel for nuclear power.

India is on the verge of setting up the world’s first Advanced Heavy Water Reactor, which uses thorium as fuel. India has the design and technology to install a 300 MW thorium based reactor immediately. This would be a major technological achievement for India, as thorium based reactors would see the completion of India’s nuclear cycle. The Director of Indira Gandhi Atomic Research Centre, Kalpakkam said recently that the project would be taken up in the eleventh plan and would be completed within seven years.

With the use of Thorium as fuel, India’s dependence on uranium will become considerably less and India can comfortably do without the fuel reprocessing facility that Manmohan Singh seeks to bring to India through the nuclear deal.

Manmohan Singh cannot but have heard Dr. Abdul Kalam speaking on several occasions about the potentials for India using thorium as fuel.

It is particularly surprising that Manmohan Singh has not given any weightage to this strength of India with regard to thorium fuel. Is it that Manmohan singh lacks confidence in the capability of Indian technologists and atomic scientists ?

Renewable sources of energy

All over the world , it is very well accepted that renewable energy is the best source of power from the environmental and long term view point. India has excellent credentials in this regard.

Wind power is one of the most viable renewable energy sources for power generation in India. India has installed wind power capacity of 5340.6 MW and ranks fourth in the world after Germany, USA and Spain. As far as wind resource potential is concerned, the wind energy potential in India has been assessed at 45,000 MW, assuming 3 percent land availability for setting up wind farms.

Exploiting this wind power resource would enable India to do away with the nuclear deal, as wind energy can provide the power that Manmohan singh wants to generate through nuclear deal in the next decade.

India also has considerable hydro electric power potentials still untapped.

Very recently, new hydel power projects have been announced in Arunachal Pradesh to produce 25000 MW, that would be set up in the next eight years. This would be much more than what the nuclear power is presently providing to India. With the involvement of private sector in the hydro electric power projects of Arunachal Pradesh, things are moving fast now and generation of 2710 MW of power by end of eleventh plan is expected.

There are other exciting possibilities like generation of power from urban and industrial wastes. As on 31st March,2006, the cumulative installed capacity of power generation based on energy recovery from urban and industrial wastes is 45.78 MW. The estimated potential of energy recovery from municipal solid waste is expected to grow along with the growth of economy and may reach 5000 MW of installed capacity by 2017.  Similarly, the estimated potential for recovery from industrial waste is around 1000 MW of power at present and it is expected to increase to about 2000 MW by 2017.

There are no technological constraints in stepping up power generation from wind energy and based on municipal and industrial wastes.

There are of course other possibilities like solar power, ocean wave etc. where India has enormous naturally bestowed strength.

What we need is pride and confidence

Recently, speaking at a function at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research at KalpakkamDr. Georges Vendryes, Hon. Executive Vice President of the French Atomic commission said that India has the unique expertise in nuclear power field and pointed out India’s expertise to handle the kind of fuel used in fast breeder reactors, which produce more fissile material even as they use them.

When India and France parted ways after India’s nuclear test in 1974, India lost the supply of enriched uranium from France and other countries. But, Indian scientists overcame the constraints to a large extent by developing technology to use mixed uranium and plutonium carbide fuel. This speaks enormously about the capability and confidence levels of the Indian scientists.

Manmohan Singh should not reduce India and Indian scientists to the level of mere recipients of technology but provide them the opportunity to generate the technology themselves and supply to other countries in the world.

If the nuclear deal would be entered, this would be a great disservice to the Indian scientists and technologists and India would be driven backward.Then, we will be mere buyers and traders.

FOCUS ON POLYCRYSTALLINE SILICON

Polysilicon (p-si) is short for Polycrystalline Silicon, which is a form of silicon composed of many crystals, as opposed to Amorphous Silicon (a-si), which is an unordered form with a random internal structure.

Silicon, one of the most common elements on the planet, is the basic component of polysilicon.

Polysilicon is an essential raw material in the production of solar cells for panels that convert sunlight to electricity for homes. It is a main ingredient in the manufacture of photovoltaic cells.

Polycrystalline silicon is also an indispensable raw material to make chips. It is a key component for integrated circuit and central processing unit manufacture of semi conductors and liquid crystal displays.

This article discusses the following details:

  • GLOBAL SCENARIO
  1. Global demand
  2. Demand in Semi Conductor Industry
  3. Demand in Photovoltaic solar industry
  4. Market growth
  5. Global photovoltaics market
  6. Global producers of polysilicon and their expansion plans
  7. New Projects
  • INDIAN SCENARIO
  • PROGNOSIS
  • PROCESS DEVELOPMENT FOR SOLAR GRADE POLYSILICON
  • PROCESS FOR ELECTRONIC GRADE POLYSILICON
TRIMETHYLOLPROPANE - PRODUCT PROFILE

Alternative name

2-ethyl-2-hydroxymethyl-1,3-propanol

Chemical formula

C6H14O2

Appearance

Colourless, crystalline

Solubility

Soluble in water and polar organic solvents

Toxicity

Trimethylol propane has low acute oral and dermal toxicity

Application:

Trimethylol propane (TMP) is used in the production of alkyd coatings, synthetic lubricants and multifunctional acrylates such as trimethylol propane triacrylate and trimethylol propane trimethacrylate.

It is used as an important raw material in manufacturing polyesters, alkyd and urethane resins. It improves heat resistance, color stability, balance between toughness and flexibility. It is also used in lubricating oils and plasticizers as well as in radiation curing monomers or oligomers

Trimethylol propane is an intermediate product for several polymers as well as for the production of polyester resins, polyurethanes and for UV-curing coatings.

The important field of application for trimethylol propane is its use in medium oil and short oil alkyd resins. The resulting lacquers are characterized by excellent resistance to alkali, detergents, water combined with outstanding impact resistance and flexibility, as well as excellent clarity.

This article also contains the following details:

  • Process
  • Global production and demand
  • Producers in China
  • New Projects in Iran
  • Demand in China
  • Important global producers
  • Indian Scenario
  1. Imports in India
  2. Pattern of Indian Imports
SPOTLIGHT ON SPECILITY CHEMICAL : AZODICARBONAMIDE

AZODICARBONAMIDE

This article discusses the application aspects and process technology, major global producers as well as Indian import/export trends for Azodicarbonamide

Azodicarbonamide is a blowing agent and is a synthetic material that has high consumption among chemical blowing agents.

CAS No.

123-77-3

Formula

NH2CON=NCONH2

Appearance

Yellow to orange red, odorless, crystalline powder

Specific Gravity

1.65

Solubility

In Water Soluble in hot water

Safety

In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive has identified azodicarbonamide as a respiratory sensitiser (a possible cause of asthma).

Specification

Assay

97.0% min

Ash

0.2% max

Decomposition temp

200 C min

Gas yield

210 min (ml/g)

Heat loss

0.3% max

Water

0.25% max

Application

Azodicarbonamide (ADC) is mainly used in the following sectors as blowing agent (also called foaming agents)

  • Packaging materials,
  • Construction materials (mainly heat insulation materials)
  • UPVC pipes (unplasticized polyvinyl chloride)
  • EVA(ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer)
  • PVC (polyvinyl chloride) artificial leather.
  • Shoe soles (PVC or EVA for sport shoes),
  • Wallpaper
  • Carpet pads
  • Polyolefines (telephone cables and electrical wires)

Azodicarbonamide releases nitrogen gas and is a general foaming agent for rubbers and plastics such as PVC, EVA, polyolefin, polystyrene products. It is also used as an aging and bleaching ingredient in cereal flours and dough conditioner in baking bread.

This article further discusses the following details:

  • Application in food sector
  • Process
  • The global capacity shifts to China
  • Major producers in China
  • Indian Imports
URANIUM AVAILABILITY AND EXPLORATION EFFORTS

Operations at the India’s indigenously-built nuclear stations are taking a hit on account of an ongoing natural uranium crunch.

Several of the India’s nuclear stations have been forced to operate at extremely low plant load factor (PLF), with the shortage of uranium emerging as the most critical bottleneck. The overall PLF of the nuclear stations, which cumulatively add up to 4,120 We, have been consistently slipping over the last few years, from levels close to 90 per cent in 2002-03. During the first four months of the current fiscal, the PLF was down at 53.1 per cent (see table).

Plant load factor(%)

Plant

July’07

July’06

Apr to July ’07

Apr to Jul’06

R.A.P.S

38.

2 61.

5 44.1

59.9

N.A.P.S

34.4

26.6

17.8

30.7

Kakrapara

30.8

70.5

54.9

69.0

Tarapur

51.0

74.2

68.6

67.7

Kaiga

30.1

51.4

54.3

64.4

M.A.P.P.

26.3

62.6

50.9

75.3

Total

39.3

60.1

53.1

61.7

This article further discusses the following details:

  • Reactor operations
  • Uranium Exploration Efforts
  • Indentified reserves
  • New Plants
  • Project for Uranium from waste Material
INSTANT COFFEE PROJECTS IN INDIA

The first soluble “instant” coffee was invented in 1901 by Japanese-American chemist Satori Kato of Chicago. But, it was not marketed commercially until the launch of Nescafe in 1938.

The advantages of instant coffee over regular coffee are its long shelf life and the simplicity of its use. The major disadvantage of instant coffee is that it can be easily spoilt if not stored in a dry, air tight container.

Since instant coffee’s quality is derived from its process, usually low quality beans are used for its manufacture.

Instant coffee manufacture begins with brewing of the beans in extraction equipment. Softened water is passed through a series of five to eight columns of ground coffee beans. Finally, the extract is passed through a heat exchanger to cool it to about 5 Deg C. 
By the end of this cycle, the coffee extract contains 20 to 30 per cent solids.

Once the solids, which are soluble are removed, they are dried either through the freeze drying method or by spray drying and converted into instant coffee.

The freeze dried coffee plants are expensive to set up.It costs almost three times the cost of setting up an instant coffee plant.

The freeze dried technology helps in retaining 100% aroma of the coffee beans, as the coffee is manufactured at minus 50 to 60 degree centigrade. Freeze dried coffee is a premium product and is popular, for export markets in the US, UK and other European countries, as well as Japan.

This article discusses the following details:

  • Major Projects in India
  • Tata Coffee
  • CCL Products (India) Ltd. (Formerly known as Continental Coffee Ltd.)
  • Coffee consumption trend
  • Research findings on caffeine effect
  • No caffeine solution
  • Coffee against cancer
  • Coffee production in Vietnam
OTHER ARTICLES
  • Use of Thorium as fuel in India
  • India’s dependence on oil imports to grow 85% by 2012
  • Southern Gas Grid Project
  • Update on Carbon trading
  • Gas from North East Coast Block
  • Methane Recovery project of Coal India
  • Anti Dumping Page
  • Safety and Accident page
  • Update on Biofuel
  • Update on Nanotechnology
  • China News
  • News Round Up-International/India
  • Gasification Projects of Eastman Chemical in USA
  • Guar Gum export facing quality problem
  • Technology developments- International/India
  • Agro Chemical Page
  • Pharma page-International/India
  • Growth of Indian Drug Market-Findings of the Study
  • Business Opportunities
  • Tender
  • Price Details-International
  • Information on Chemical of your choice-Ask for Chemical Facts Free
  • New Projects-International
  • Directory of Chemical Industries in China – Manufacturers, Trading Houses and Promotional Organisations- Part XLIII
  • Chemicals Imported at Chennai Port during the month of May 2007
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