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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Feb 2009

Acetic anhydride|Wind energy in india|Coal bed methane|Wind farm
Highlights of Some of the Articles

TALK OF THE MONTH
TRENDS AND HAPPENINGS IN INDIAN CHEMICAL INDUSTRY
ACETIC ANHYDRIDE - PRODUCT PROFILE
TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS ; ALTERNATIVE ROUTES FOR PROPYLENE PRODUCTION
WEALTH IN THE SEABED ; EXCITING R&D / INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES
POTENTIAL FOR WIND ENERGY IN INDIA
ALTERNATIVE FUELS SCENARIO IN USA
OTHER ARTICLES

Talk of the Month

NEED FOR DEMAND CREATION IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

The year 2009 has started with strange combination of circumstances. 6 months back, nobody could imagine that the price of crude oil would come down steadily to 35US$ per barrel, just as the fact that nobody could imagine around 2 years back that the price of crude oil could reach 140US$ per barrel.

Even today, there is no clear cut and convincing explanation about the reason for steep hike in the price of crude oil earlier, except some vague views that rapid industrial development in China and in India to some extent could have created huge demand for crude oil, leading to the price increase for crude oil .

Now, the reason for steep fall in crude oil price is attributed to the steady decline in demand due to the global melt down and recessionary trends in the American economy, which has impacted the global economic scenario itself.

Apart from financial institutions like banks and lending agencies, the manufacturing industries are also suffering due to fall in demand for the products and consequent stock accumulation in godown. Obviously, the solution for the present dismal scenario is that the demand should be created and built for the products and services.

The question is as to how to create the demand at the requisite level and that too in quick time. This is a million dollar question.

As for as the global chemical industries are concerned, it is necessary to ponder as to whether the pace of capacity creation in chemical industries around the world in the last two years has exceeded the pace of demand creation. This might have contributed to the present topsy-turvy situation to some extent. Is it possible that the chemical industries took for granted that the demand would inevitably increase in consumer oriented economies?

Perhaps, the chemical companies even went to the extent of thinking that large level of supply itself would create demand.

Massive capacity buildup in petrochemical industries have taken place in the petro dollar rich Middleeast countries and by the ambitious chemical industries in China, probably leading to the capacity creation exceeding the demand creation. There is bound to be under utilization of capacity and locking up of inventory and wastage of resources and fall in price, in conditions of surplus supply scenario.

For demand creation in quick time, the multi national companies have to necessarily depend upon the developing countries like India, China and others, which have huge population and therefore potential opportunity for demand creation. In other words, economic growth and growth in the per capita income of the developing countries hold the key for accelerating the demand and overcoming the problem of demand constraint now facing the chemical industries around the world.

There is clear sense of panic and lack of coherent thinking amongst most of the chemical companies in the world who are closing down one factory after the other. They are not in a position to guess as to which would be the time for restarting the plants.

There is still no indication that chemical industries have realized that existing capacity could have exceeded the demand and therefore they had to necessarily wait for a few years so that the growth in the demand would catch up with supply scenario. Used to huge growth year after year, multi national chemical companies would find it extremely difficult to accept the situation where they would have to just wait helplessly until the demand would become more.

Then the only alternative method available for them would be to go for massive investment in developing countries like India and with liberal supply of technology that would spur the industrial and economic activity in these regions and create demand for the products and services.

Even if the large multi national companies would be hesitant to go for massive investment in developing countries to create demand, the developing countries themselves can take the initiative and seize the opportunities. The developing countries should have vision and strategy to convert the present situation to their own advantage.

There is no doubt about huge demand potential for the various kinds of products and activities like housing, infrastructure etc in the developing countries and any investment in such projects would inevitably and immediately push the demand for various chemical products directly or indirectly. The problem of developing countries is that most of the them lack resources to invest and lack of technology skill to build the projects on their own. Now, with no other alternative and with uncertainty glaring at them, large multi national companies should be in a mood the respond to the invitation from the developing countries to invest and mutually benefit themselves.

The recent proposals for massive investment in Gujarat indicates that the imaginative initiative and dynamism of the leadership can make huge investment possible even in the present global dismal scenario.

TRENDS AND HAPPENINGS IN INDIAN CHEMICAL INDUSTRY

CASE STUDY OF SELECTED CHEMICALS POLYACETAL

It is high time that one would admit that there is lack of clarity amongst the Indian chemical industry with regard to the future strategies. India continues to be importer of several chemicals which are not presently produced in India or inadequately produced in India, though the conditions in India are ideal for setting up of capacity for such chemicals. There are number of cases, where raw materials are adequately available in the country but the derivative chemical products are entirely imported.

Possibly, one reason for this anomalous situation is that the Indian project promoters are obsessed with Indian market and there is lack of confidence to venture into the international market in tough competitive conditions. Indian companies hesitate to venture to set up project, if there would not be large demand in India though the demand could be growing in international market.

Such situation is in sharp contrast to the prevailing mood and approach of chemical industries in China, where massive capacities are being built up, which only highlight the large measure of confidence to operate in the global market.

The trends and happenings in Indian chemical industries is influenced by the conservative approach of Indian chemical project promoters and perhaps the lack of proactive policies and support from the Government of India.

To explain and understand the situation clearly, Nandini Chemical Journal discusses the case study of following 12 short listed products from the January 2009 issue onwards, explaining the demand supply scenario for the products in India and global scenario and the factors that influence the decision on investment in the country.

  • Adipic acid
  • Polyvinyl alcochol
  • L-Lysine
  • Butyl rubber
  • DL-Methionine                      
  • Polyacetal
  • Sea water magnesia                 
  • Carbon fibre
  • Synthetic rutile/Titanium dioxide
  • Biodegradable polymers
  • Titania slag

Adipic acid was discussed in January 2009 issue.

In this issue, the case study of polyacetal is discussed.

Alternate name               Polyoxymethylene (POM)

Polyacetal is a versatile engineering polymer

Features of the product

  • Outstanding hardness, friction and abrasion characteristics
  • High stiffness
  • Excellent dimensional stability
  • High tensile strength
  • Low coefficient of friction

The combination of mechanical properties make polyacetal resins ideally suited for replacement of metals in a wide variety of applications. Due to highly crystalline nature of acetals, they are incompatible with most other polymers. Acetals are compatible with elastomers to impact toughness and stiffness. But blends and alloys are generally not available.

Poly acetals can be broadly divided into two forms namely copolymer and homopolymer.

This article contains the following details :

  • Application Sectors
  • Indian Manufacturers
  • Annual Imports
  • Pattern of countrywise imports Period : April 2007 to March 2008
  • Demand
  • Pattern of Indian Demand
  • Manufacturing process
  • Global scenario
    • Global demand
    • Likely growth rate in demand
    • Global producers and their installed capacity
    • New projects and expansion details
    • Recent projects in China
  • Prognosis
ACETIC ANHYDRIDE - PRODUCT PROFILE

Chemical formula   

  (CH3 CO)2 O

Appearance 

Colourless or watery white liquid

Odour 

Strong acetic odour

Product applications

Acetic anhydride is used largely as an acetylating and dehydrating agent.

Acetic anhydride is mainly used in the pharmaceutical, dyestuffs and pesticide sectors.

This article contains the following details

  • Important application sector
  • Derivatives of Acetic anhydride
  • Indian Scenario
    • Import/Exports in India
    • Indian producers
    • New projects
    • Indian production/demand
    • Pattern of use of acetic anhydride in India
    • Broad outline of manufacturing process
    • Processwise capacity
    • Ketene process for the production of Acetic anhydride
    • Oxidation of Acetaldehyde
  • GLOBAL SCENARIO
    • Global installed capacity
    • Important global producers
    • New projects under planning/implementation
    • Projected capacity upto 2011
    • Overall growth rate for Acetic anhydride
    • Application sectorwise growth
    • Global demand
    • Global consumption pattern-2008
    • Regulation
    • Regulations in India
  • PROGNOSIS
TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS - ALTERNATIVE ROUTES FOR PROPYLENE PRODUCTION

Technologies are being developed for “on-purpose” propylene production technologies.

These approaches include propane dehydrogenation, olefin metathesis, selective butylenes (C4) and carbon cuts (C5) olefin cracking, methanol to olefins (MTO) and propylene (MTP) and enhanced FCC processes.

More “on-purpose” propylene routes are under development.

This article further discusses the development efforts of individual organizations

  • Efforts of Mitsui Chemicals
  • Efforts of Toyota Motor Company
  • Efforts of Sinopec
  • Use of aluminum/tungsten as catalyst
  • Nexant Chem Systems
WEALTH IN THE SEABED - EXCITING r&d / INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES

For nearly 30 years, legal control of the sea has actually stopped 200 miles from the shore. The 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea allows states to extend their limits beyond 200 miles, if they can show that the continental shelf beyond their coastline extends that far. So long as they can produce the necessary scientific data and so long as the extra margin is at least 100 miles from the point at which the sea reaches a depth of 2.5km, they will be granted rights over the natural resources on and under the seabed up to 350 miles from land.

For countries that ratified the convention before May 13th 1999, only four months now remain for the submission of their claims.

In all, about 15m square kilometres are at stake. Canada is seeking 1.7m sq km and Australia 2.5m sq.km. Many of the countries that stand to gain most relative to their size, though, are poor and small: Barbados, Mauritius and the Seychelles, for instance. Eight Pacific island nations, among them  Fiji, Palau and Tonga, are claiming a total of 1.5m sq km.

The 80 or so countries with realistic hopes of being able to substantiate a claim are not expecting new fishing rights. Their targets are chiefly on minerals.

This article also contains the following details

  • Minerals in seabed
  • Oil and Natural gas
  • Gas hydrates
  • Dissolved hydrogen sulphide gas
  • Sulphur eating bacteria
  • Sea cucumbers
POTENTIAL FOR WIND ENERGY IN INDIA

“It has been disappointing because India was so much ahead in the wind energy industry some years ago. But things have slowed down. I think India has wonderful potential if the country wants to go ahead. In India, we still have a private market; one man buying one turbine, instead of what you see in China, where people are buying wind farms.

I think this is what we need to see going forward. The future world of wind is not one man buying one turbine. It is the big companies developing bigger parks.”

These words of Mr. Ditlev Engel, President & CEO, Vestas Wind Systems, a leading wind turbine manufacturer, during a recent interaction in Denmark, best sum up the status of the wind power industry in India today.

In India, many companies have either invested in large-sized wind farms or have announced plans to do so. Such companies include the following:

  • Roaring 40s, a joint venture between CLP (formerly China Light & Power) and Hydro Tasmania;
  • BP, the Anglo-Dutch petroleum company that has announced huge investments in renewable energy;
  • Acciona of Spain, which has a global portfolio of 3,500 MW of wind power; and
  • Domestic entities such as Tata Power, Reliance Power, NTPC and ONGC.

This article further contains the following details :

  • New manufacturers
  • Incentive
  • Deepwater Offshore wind power generation
ALTERNATIVE FUELS SCENARIO IN USA

Ongoing climate change and energy security concerns require long-term solutions, which can be met by alternative fuels, including ethanol, biobutanol, and hydrogen. The success of this still relatively young market is strongly dependent on government support in the form of corporate grants and incentives.

This article discusses the following details

  • Ethanol blended fuel at cross roads
  • Second generation biofuel from agricultural waste
  • Enzyme requirement for second generation bio fuel
  • Hydrogen fuel
  • Dow’s Energy Plan For America
OTHER ARTICLES
  • ONGC Coal Bed Methane Project Recent Developments
  • Standards For Coalbed Methane In China
  • World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm Project In UK
  • Cairn’s Explanatory Projects In Rajasthan
  • Tender
  • New Projects - International
  • Chemicals imported at the Chennai port during the month of November – 2008
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