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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Sep 2008

Steel price|Helium|Citric acid|Ammonium sulphate|Peek
Highlights of Some of the Articles

TALK OF THE MONTH
POLYVINYL BUTYRAL – GLOBAL SCENARIO
GLYPHOSATE -PRODUCT PROFILE
KERALA MINERALS AND METALS LTD. - FORGING AHEAD
NALCO ‘S PROJECT PLANS
OTHER ARTICLES

TALK OF THE MONTH

GOVERNMENT’S UNCERTAIN BIOFUEL POLICIES

The National Mission on Biodiesel had envisaged to have almost four million hectares under biodiesel crops such as Jatropha and Sweet Sorghum involving a total investment of Rs 14000 million.

However, it is now said that the Government of India is reluctant to go ahead with its biodiesel policies due to worldwide debate and controversies as to whether diversion of farm land for biofuel have resulted in shortage of food grains.

While the whole country is in deep oil crisis and the government is going ahead with nuclear programme inspite of serious uncertainties and environmental issues involved, it is strange that the government is hesitant on its biofuel policies and programmes.

The controversies with regard to biofuel such as it possibly reducing food crop output have no relevance to India.

In Europe and USA, several crops such as corn are being used for fuel alcohol and biofuel production. On the other hand, in India the proposal is to use only jatropha based biofuel. Apart from the fact that jatropha is non edible crop, it is also a drought resistant crop and it’s requirement of water is minimal. Jatropha is an ideal crop for utilization of waste land area in Indian conditions. It also provides enormous other benefits such as employment opportunities for rural agricultural population and it would pave way for the improvement of the agricultural economy of the country.

The benefits of jatropha biofuel are obvious and it should be extremely difficult for any government in India to have a negative view on jatropha biodiesel programme  India has been discussing about the jatropha biofuel for the last 5 to 6 years at national level. Enthused by various promises of the government and the number of conferences and seminars conducted all over the country, the agriculturists, farmers and industries have responded to the opportunities with great enthusiasm.

Even the former President of India, Dr.Abdul Kalam has spoken repeatedly about the opportunities awaiting the country in jatropha biofuel.

Companies across public and private sector have already rolled out plantations in about three lakh hectares of wasteland spread across the country.

Several companies are doing creditable work in developing agri technology for jatropha cultivation and production of jatropha bio fuel, particularly considering the prevailing high crude oil price and the need to reduce dependence on fossil fuel. BP, through its joint venture, has identified two lakh hectares of land for jatropha plantation. Government owned Indian Oil Corporation is reported to have earmarked Rs 500 crore over the next couple of years to cover over 60,000 hectares of wasteland. While BPCL aims at one million hectares of land, Reliance Industries has tied-up with the Andhra Pradesh government for jatropha plantation.

Indian Oil Corporation is reported to have applied for another 30,000 hectares of land in Madhya Pradesh (MP) which is under consideration of the state government. It has plans to invest more than Rs 500  crore over a period of two years in jatropha related activity. . IOC has already been allocated 30,000 hectares of land in Chattisgarh and 2,000 hectares in MP for jatropha plantation.

There are great research and development opportunities in the biofuel industry and there is exciting possibility of producing down stream products from glycerine (which is produced as by product during the trans esterification of vegetable oil for the production of biodiesel ), which can be substi tute for petrochemicals to some extent. Several multinational companies have already developed the technologies for the production of derivative products from glycerine and have set up manufacturing facilities .

India seems to have lost great time and opportunities in exploiting jatropha biofuel. Unfortunately, the Government of India does not seem to realize that its present lethargic attitude towards jatropha biofuel is costing the country dearly.

POLYVINYL BUTYRAL – GLOBAL SCENARIO

Polyvinyl butyral (PVB) is the most important member of the polyvinyl acetal family of resins.

CAS Number                                    63148-65-2
Molecular formula                            H2(C8H14O2)n
Appearance                                     White granular or powder

PVB resin is a non-toxic, non-corrosive product and has fine characteristics of transparence, insulation, filmforming properties, impacting resistance and drawing performance. It has good tensi le strength, adhesiveness and elasticity.

PVB resin is not dissolved in water but soluble in organic solvents, such as alcohol, ester, ketone, benzene.

Applications

PVB resins are employed in a wide array of industrial and commercial applications.

Several grades of PVB resins are in commercial use, based on the molecular weight of the polyvinyl alcohol used in its manufacture.

PVB film is used to laminate glass plates to make safety glass for automotive and buildings. PVB Film is used mainly for automotive safety glass by attaching with glass. Especially, it is used for exterior wall of buildings, ceiling, floor, interior window and show window as it has excellent sound-proof effect and energy efficiency.

When PVB interlayer is sealed between coated glass, it protects the electronic components that are contained inside.

Independent testing has demonstrated that solar module configurations using PVB as the encapsulant are the most reliable, which is a key reason why PVB is emerging as the encapsulant of choice in thin-film solar modules.

This article contains the following details :

  • Global producers
  • Profile of major producers
  • New project under planning/implementation
  • Demand drivers
  • Growth rate in demand
  • Global demand
  • Pattern of regionwise demand
GLYPHOSATE -PRODUCT PROFILE

Glyphosate is broad spectrum herbicide and was first introduced in the 1970s.

Chemical name                   N-(phosphonomethyl) glycine
Appearance                        Pure product is white crystal

Specification of Glyphosate (technical)

Parameters

Value

Glyphosate content, minimum

95.0 % (w/w)

Weight loss after drying, maximum

1.0 % (w/w)

Insoluble in water, maximum

0.2 % (w/w)

Specific Gravity

1.16 to 1.17

Applications

Glyphosate is a non-selective, non residual organophosphorus herbicide, which is absorbed by foliage and translocated through plants.

It can control many annual and perennial weeds and bushes and can effectively kill deep rooted malignant weeds.It is effective on deep rooted perennial species and annual end biennial species of grasses, sedges and broad leaved weeds. Control of most species has been obtained at the rates of 0.34 to 1.12 kg per hectare area with annual species; 1.68 to 2.24 kgm per hectare for some perennial species..

This article further discusses the following details :

  • Global scenario
    • Profile of major producers
    • Scenario in China
    • Price in China
  • Outline of manufacturing process
  • Technology development
  • Indian scenario
    • Indian production level
    • Exports and Imports
    • Antidumping duty on glyphosate
KERALA MINERALS AND METALS LTD. - FORGING AHEAD

Background details:

Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd (KMML) located at Kollam in Kerala, is one of the pioneers in the field of mineral sand industry in India.

KMML was established by a private entrepreneur in 1932 as F.X. Perira and Sons (Travancore) Pvt. Ltd. During 1956, the concern was taken over by the Kerala State Government and was placed under the control of its industries department. The unit was converted to a limited company with effect from 1.4.1972. in the name of “ The Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd”.

KMML is now an integrated plant with Mineral Separation plant, Synthetic Rutile Plant with Acid Regeneration facility and Rutile grade Titanium dioxide (TiO2)pigment production plant in a single complex.

KMML is the India’s first and only manufacturer of Rutile Grade TiO2 by chloride route.

Since its inception, KMML has made mark in the fields of mining, mineral processing and manufacturing, with the factories at Sangaramangalam and Kovilthottam in Kerala. In 1980s, the unit went for diversification programme by way of implementing the project for TiO2 complex.

Originally, three activities were planned by KMML as part of the TiO2 complex as per the following details:

Enhanced mining and mineral separation of beach mineral sands from the 20000 tonnes per annum to produce 200000 tonnes of ilmenite per annum by deep mining with an Australian collaboration. Out of this, 100000 tonnes was to be for captive consumption and the balance for sale and exports.

The second activity was to beneficiate the 100000 tonnes of ilmenite using the Benelite process of USA using hydrochloric acid to produce about 50000 tonnes  per annum of Synthetic rutile. A chlorine value recovery and recycling facility with the collaboration of Woodal Du Chem of UK based on the effluent iron chloride was also included.

The third plant was for the chlorination of Synthetic rutile to produce Titanium tetrachloride, which would be thermally oxidised to produce treated rutile, with the collaboration of Kerr McGee Chemi cal Corporation of USA.

Thus, the complex was proposed to be established with technical collaboration from four foreign companies. Collaboration agreements were finalized with three companies comprising the second and the third part of the complex and Metallurgical and Engg.  Consultants Ltd. (MECON) Jamshedpur were appointed as Engineering Consultant for the project.

Of the above project schemes, the unit implemented  the project concerning the manufacture of Rutile Grade TiO2 by chloride process.

There was heavy delay in the implementation of the project.

The problems of land acquisition and rehabilitation of displaced people at a thickly populated region like Kollam district in Kerala forced KMML to postpone the enhanced mining acitivity, which was basic with regard to the entire complex to a later period, KMML concentrated on the construction of plants for the third stage of chlorination and oxidation and for the second stage of beneficiation and hydrochloric acid regeneration respectively in just the reverse order.

The threats of expiry of the collaboration agreements at these stages and additional payments for their extension were also there.

Delays and difficulties in procuring the necessary import licenses and finance together with frequent labour unrest prolonged the construction, which took over seven years The entire complex which was estimated to be completed at an invstment of Rs.65 crores consumed about Rs.130 crores for the second and third stage alone. The cost consideration forced KMML to terminate the agreement with MECON halfway through.

After many problems and delays, the unit was finally commissioned in 1986. For several years, the unit suffered due to low capacity utilisation and quality problems. The unit also remained closed for a short period due to chlorine leakage and death of a few employees.

After so many problems, the unit has now stabilized its operations at the production level of around 30000 tonnes per annum of rutile grade TiO2. The unit has substantially improved its technical and financial performance.

This article further discusses the following details :

  • Product range
  • Expansion plans
  • Export performance
  • New project proposals
  • Expansion of synthetic rutile facility
  • Titania sponge
NALCO ‘S PROJECT PLANS

The ambitious plans of National Aluminium Company Ltd (Nalco) to leave a footprint in the wider Asian- African region have failed to fructify with only Rs 80000 million smelter plant in Iran showing promise out of a total Rs 468000 million worth of projects it has planned in South Africa, West Asia and South East Asia.

This article also contains the following details :

  • Project plan in South Africa
  • Project plan in Indonesia
  • Project plan in Tajikistan
  • Projects in India
  • Nalco’s Iran project
OTHER ARTICLES
  • Plan to generate decentralised biomass energy put on backburner
  • Has Tata Group’s Titanium Dioxide Project in Tamil Nadu Gone with the Wind?
  • India’s Mining Deals – Findings of the study
  • Coal production prospects from major mines
  • E-recycling not a priority in India for multinational tech firms - Findings of the study
  • Anti Dumping Page
  • Update on Biofuel industry
  • China News
  • News Round Up
  • Technology Developments
  • Chemicals Imported at Chennai Port during the month of May 2008
  • Chemicals Imported at Chennai Port during the month of June 2008
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