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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, June 2009

DL-Methionine|Styrene|Ethyl Benzene|Jatropha|Castor based products
Highlights of Some of the Articles

TALK OF THE MONTH
TRENDS AND HAPPENINGS IN INDIAN CHEMICAL INDUSTRY
TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS FOR STYRENE / ETHYL BENZENE
GLOBAL RESEARCH EFFORTS ON CASTOR BASED PRODUCTS
MICROREACTORS – RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
REGULAR FEATURES
OTHER ARTICLES

TALK OF THE MONTH

 LET THE GOVERNMENT SET UP A TASK FORCE FOR THE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY

Like many other sectors of Industries, Indian chemical industry is also anxiously looking at the new Government of India that has been now formed after the elections, to provide necessary impetus for growth.

With the global melt down proving to be a real problem now and the
impact being felt by the Indian chemical industry, there is great anxiety that the government should come forward to lay out a convincing road map for growth and progress.

 Of course, during the last few years, the price of crude oil and energy cost has been the most critical issue that confronted the Indian chemical industry.

While the price of crude oil went beyond the roof, nothing worthwhile was done by the Government of India or Indian chemical industry to face the problems and overcome the difficulties. The problem solved itself to some extent when the price of crude oil came down in global sphere. Now , there is distinct possibility that the crude oil price may go up once again when the global recessionary trends would recede, that can create problems for the chemical industry in India.

To sustain the growth of the chemical industry, the highest priority should be given by the Government of India to evolve policy framework, particularly focusing on the following aspects.

  • Firm and clear incentives should be extended to encourage chemical industry to implement programmes that would optimize the energy consumption in process operations
  • The industry should be encouraged to invest more time and resources in quality optimization programme and application development efforts to effectively compete in international market. The Indian industries should be persuaded to produce more grades and specifications of the products to enlarge the demand base and enter the export market in a big way.
  • There are huge number of educational institutions at higher level in India, who have invested enormous money in creating facilities for research and development, but they are not able to use the facilities adequately due to want of projects, programmes and assignments.
  • There is great urgency to encourage cooperation between the industries and  educational institutions to augment research and development efforts, so as to fully utilize the facilities and talent available in educational institutions and pool the resources for the larger good.
  • It is necessary to take some tangible steps to improve the quality content and depth of education provided to the university students in the subjects of chemistry, chemical Technology , chemical Engineering and related fields, so that there would be huge pool of talented technocrats available for chemical industry in future. There is crisis of talent in the chemical industry in India and it would be appropriate to recognize such inadequacies and initiate measures to overcome the problems.
  • A task force must be immediately constituted to precisely identify the areas that provide challenges and opportunities The Task Force should be asked to provide guidelines with regard to the areas of investments in future. Indian entrepreneurs should be guided to identify the appropriate areas for investment in tune with the strength of the country, over all policy approaches of the Government of India and needs of the country and in terms of availability of raw materials, size, market opportunities and geographical conditions and climate of different regions in India.
  • It is high time that the chemical industry should realize that there is no need to produce every type of chemical product and the product for production should be carefully chosen in tune with the national priorities. The “make or buy decision” for Indian chemical industry is now a matter of highest priority.
  • Massive investments have been made by the Government of India in setting up chain of research laboratories under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Unfortunately, such research laboratories have not been able to provide benefits commensurate with investment made.
  • Obviously, there is inadequacy in management of these institutions. Government of India should examine the feasibility of privatizing some of the CSIR labs or converting them into joint ventures with the Indian project promoters or international organizations.
  • Unfortunately, in the last few years jatropha biodiesel industry has not been able to progress to the expected and desired level. This has been mainly due to the lack of clarity in Government of India about extending subsidy support to jatropha biodiesel industry.
  • Government of India should not relax in promoting jatropha biodiesel as an alternative and appropriate energy source even though the crude oil price has come down in recent times. Government of India has to find permanent solution to reduce Indian dependence on international crude supply and ensure that India would not be vulnerable to the wide price fluctuations in the international crude price.
TRENDS AND HAPPENINGS IN INDIAN CHEMICAL INDUSTRY

CASE STUDY OF SELECTED CHEMICALS
DL-METHIONINE

Characteristics

Molecular formula

C2H11NO2S

Appearance

DL-Methionine is in the form of platelets

CAS No.

DL-Methionine 59-51-8
L-Methionine 63-68-3
D-Methionine 348-67-4

Principal forms

Methionine is produced in two principal forms as given below.

  • DL-Methionine (DLM)
  • Methionine Hydroxy Analogue (MHA)

DL-methionine is in the form of powder and is used for feed application

Specification

Description

Details/Value

Appearance

White crystalline powder

Assay

99%

Ash

0.50% max

Loss on drying

0.30% max.

Bulk density

670 kg/m3 ± 10%

Angle of repose

43° ± 10%

Particle size distribution min.

90% 0-500μm

Solubility:

approx 48 gams per litre, water at 25°C

* Methionine Hydroxy Analogue (MHA).

Methinine hydroxyl analogue is a liquid source of methionine and it is used by feed millers for incorporating supplemental methionine direct into feeds.

Methionine Hydroxy Analogue is produced in liquid form with a nominal 88% activity content. It differs from DL-Methionine by virtue of a hydroxy group on the alpha carbon, where DL-Methionine carries an amino group.

Specification

Description

Details/Value

DL-Methionine Hydroxy

Analogue acid Minimum 88 %

Monomer content

Minimum 65 %

Water content

Maximum 12 %

Heavy metals

<15 ppm (expressed as Pb)

Colour

Brownish

PH

1.0

Density at 20 deg.C

1.23 g/cm3

Heavy metals

<15 ppm(expressed as Pb)

This article further discusses the following details :

  • Application
  • Annual imports
  • Supply/producer
  • Demand driver and growth
  • Demand
  • Process
  • Technology developments
  • Global projects under implementation
  • Prognosis
TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS FOR STYRENE / ETHYL BENZENE

Dehydrogenation of ethyl benzene to styrene is a well established technology with continuing refinement of catalysts and reactor designs, so as to increase ethyl benzene (EB) conversion without losing selectivity to styrene

The major licensors of EB technologies include: Lummus Technology with its EB One TM process and Badger Licensing LLC with its ExxonMobil/Badger EB Max process.

The various processes are generally quite similar and the main distinguishing factors are the catalysts used in the alkylation and transalkylation reactions and the specific operating conditions throughout the processes.

This article contains the following process details :

  • Lummus/UOP process
  • TOTAL/Badger styrene process:
  • Propylene Oxide/Styrene Monomer (POSM) Co-product Process
  • Process developed by Snamprogetti and Dow
  • New route based on methanol and toluene
GLOBAL RESEARCH EFFORTS ON CASTOR BASED PRODUCTS

Among all fats and oils, castor is the only one having a high proportion of ricinoleic fatty acid, a hydroxy fatty acid that is highly valued within  the chemical industry.

Applications that are being developed for castor oil include base oil for lubricants, functional fluids and process oils; feedstock for fuels and oleochemicals; and a reactive component for paints, coatings and inks, and polymers and foams.

Castor oil could now be used for the first time as polyol raw material because a special catalyst made it possible to avoid the formation of side products with bad odor. Previous attempts to manufacture polyetherols using renewable materials such as rapeseed, sunflower or olive oil have not been successful because of their odor and emissions levels. There were also disadvantages when it came to processing.

This article contains the following details :

MICROREACTORS – RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

Pressed by margin shrinkage and environmental considerations to streamline costs and reduce environmental damage, many companies in chemicals and consumer products are developing applications for microreactors. Some companies are already using them for production.

Microreactors are not a batch technology. Because they employ flow chemistry, a continuous process, the principles governing their operation and economics can be rewarding.

Microreactors are even being developed for the production of bulk chemicals such as methanol and ethylene oxide (EO).

A growing number of chemical manufacturers are trying to exploit the associated advantage of micro reactors.

While a typical hydrocracking reactor might have a diameter of 4m, microreactor tubes range between 10 microns and 5mm. Because reactions in these narrow spaces tend to be extremely fast, the channels, as they are called, are also quite short.

Issues related to mixing, heat transfer, mass transfer and hydrodynamics that slow transformations and allow side reactions in large reactors are effectively eliminated in microreactors, where mixing is essentially instantaneous. Reaction kinetics become the only limiting factor.

This article further discusses the following details :

  • Advantages of micro reactors
  • Efforts of US based Corning
  • Efforts of Velocys
  • Other developers of microreactor technology
REGULAR FEATURES

COAL TO GAS PLANTS IN CHINA
PROJECTS UNDER IMPLEMENTATION

This article discusses the following details

  • Shenhua Group Co.,Ltd.
  • Datang International Power Generation Co., Ltd.
  • Other upcoming projects
  • Chinese Government’s policy on new CTL projects

PLANT CLOSURES

The article discusses the plans for closure of selected units by the following players

  • Degao magnesium postpones operation
  • Oxychem to idle plant
  • Acetyls complex to close in France
  • Invista to idle nylon / PET plants
  • Texas Petrochemicals to idle capacity
  • Air Products plans closure in UK
  • FMC idles soda ash facility
  • Rhodia shuts nylon Line
  • Solvay To close aluminum brazing flux unit
  • Ercros to close clorine and derivatives plants
  • Oxo-alcohol exit
  • Repsol puts petchem expansion on hold
  • BDO unit remains shut

SAFETY AND ACCIDENT PAGE

Following safety and accident details are discussed:

  • Blast in Bayer ‘s West Virginia plant in USA
  • Review of Bayer MIC process
  • Accidents in China
  • Explosion injures two in USA
  • Toxic fumes kill 6 leather workers in Tamil Nadu, India

ANTI DUMPING PAGE

The antidumping measures introduced in  the various countries in the last few weeks on the following products are discussed:

  • Acrylic fiber
  • Thionyl chloride
  • Phosphoric acid
  • Glazed ceramic tiles
  • Nylon 6
  • Colour TV picture tubes
  • Caustic soda imports from EU, Indonesia
  • Measuring tapes
  • Viscose yarn
  • Fluorescent lamps

UPDATE ON BIOFUELS INDUSTRY

The following recent developments on biofuel industry are discussed:

  • New biodiesel plant in Baotou, China
  • Total invests in biofuel firm
  • Sud-Chemie, Linde start up biofuel pilot plant
  • Cheaper, eco-friendly fuel from GM jatropha
  • Global demand trends for biodiesel
  • EU tariffs on US Biodiesel

NEWS ROUND UP

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed:

INTERNATIONAL

  • Supply of hydrogen via pipeline on Gulf Coast
  • Polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH)
  • Nylon-6 Plant in Vietnam
  • Sodium methylate
  • Lonza’s microbial fermentation site

INDIA

  • EPS Technology

CHINA NEWS

The recent developments on the following products/events are updated :

  • Methanol
  • Rutile titanium dioxide
  • Ethanol
  • Polysilicon
  • Aniline
  • Hyaluronic acid unit
  • Coal gasification technology
  • Coal based MEG synthesis
  • Alkoxysilane

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS - INTERNATIONAL

The recent developments on the following technology efforts are highlighted

  • Process for making hydrogen from glycerin
  • Conversion of carbon dioxide into methanol
  • Technology innovations in polysilicon production
  • Ultrapure products
  • Folic acid food cuts birth defects
  • Forward osmosis for recycling dye wastewater

AGRO CHEMICAL PAGE

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed:

  • Dicofol
  • Ginger helps cancer treatment
  • Organic cotton certification
  • Use level of pesticides in India – Findings of the study

PHARMA PAGE

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed:

  • Potential drug for liver carcinoma
  • Honey drugs
  • Development of vaccine for H1N1

PRICE DETAILS – INTERNATIONAL

Global price trends on the following products are provided :

  • Methyl methacrylate
  • Bisphenol A
  • Nylon 6
  • Paraxylene
  • Styrenics
  • Styrene butadiene rubber
  • Spot Bulk Chemical Prices
  • Rajasthan crude price
OTHER ARTICLES
  • Oil, Gas find in Reliance K-G Blocks-The Controversies
  • The Disturbing Problem Due To Fake Drugs
  • Drug Regulator To Expand Survey On Fake Medicines
  • Bio-Processing Technology For Leather
  • One-Third Of EU Carbon Credits For 2008 From India
  • Comparison Of Processes For Ultra-High Purity Water
  • Use Of Sorghum Crop to make edible cutlery
  • Sweetener from Stevia – efforts of Cargill
  • Solar Energy Park in Kerala
  • World Zinc Market
  • Glass Makers’ Move to check reuse of old bottles
  • Prospects For CNG - Fuelled Cars In India
  • New Projects - International
  • Tender
  • Chemicals imported at the Chennai Port during the month of March 2009
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