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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Jul 2010

Fuel price hike|jatropha|shale gas|essential oils|taurine|citric acid
Highlights of Some of the Articles

TALK OF THE MONTH : WHY NOT DOW CHEMICAL TENDER AN UNCONDITIONAL APOLOGY TO THE BHOPAL VICTIMS ?
FUEL PRICE HIKE : WHY IS GOVERNMENT OF INDIA IGNORING THE JATROPHA OPTION ?
SHALE GAS - OPPORTUNITY TO REDUCE ENERGY IMPORT
THE EU MARKET FOR ESSENTIAL OILS
TAURINE - PRODUCT PROFILE
CITRIC ACID - INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
PESTICIDE FORMULATION IMPORTS : RECENT TRENDS IN INDIA
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA 'S POLICY ON SULPHATE OF POTASH
NATIONAL FIBRE POLICY
OTHER FEATURES
OTHER ARTICLES

TALK OF THE MONTH

WHY NOT DOW CHEMICAL TENDER AN UNCONDITIONAL APOLOGY TO THE BHOPAL VICTIMS?

Dow Chemical, a multi national company of great standing and size, took over Union Carbide well after the incident,  knowing fully well that the administration of Union Carbide was responsible for this serious industrial accident, which is now considered as one of the worst industrial disasters in human history. It is sad that Dow refuses to accept that it should compensate the victims, though Union Carbide taken over by Dow was responsible for the disaster at Bhopal. How can one organization take over another organization when assets alone would be taken over and not material and moral liability? 

Madhya Pradesh Government and Government of India have not certainly  done enough to help the victims and take the American based multinational company to task.  Now, after 26 years, when  judiciary delivered the verdict, which has shocked the nation for its lack of appreciation of the injustice done to the poor and innocent people of Bhopal and the careless , lethargic attitude of the management of the Dow and that of the Government of India.

Now,  in the wake of such public protest and anger, Government of India is trying to take steps which it appears, would be  nothing more than the payment of increased compensation to the victims and their family members, which is widely considered to be inadequate.

The real issue is the lack of  accountability of Dow Chemical. While Government of India appears to think that extending some monetary compensation would be the substitute for all its careless attitude to the issue over the last 26 years, Dow Chemical appears to think that the value of Indian lives deserves only so much

Its efforts to conserve it’s resources by not paying adequate compensation  to the victims and taking responsibility for the tragedy and  it’s ignoring the needs of innocent sufferers are resulting in  great loss of respect around the world for Dow Chemical , which it has gained over several decades of hard, sustained and creditable work.   What is the point in claiming that Dow has technological and managerial excellence when it gives an impression that it has no consideration for human values , particularly when the human beings involved are poor and deprived.

Will Dow Chemical  remain so unconcerned and take a mere legalistic view, if such disaster had happened  in USA or other European countries ? Obviously, the issue involved here is that the Indian lives are considered as cheap and not so worthy by the multinational company like Dow.

It is true that thousands of innocent victims of Bhopal , dead and alive , who have suffered over 26 years now,  cannot be compensated adequately by any amount of money. At the same time, there is an  urgent need to assure the victims  that the world  is civilized and it  cares for them and their sufferings have been duly viewed with genuine sympathy and understanding.

The site in Bhopal where the pesticide factory of Union Carbide (now Dow Chemical) was located had been permanently lost due to poisonous soil contamination. The Government of India says that it would spend around Rs. 3000 million to decontaminate the area. Any technologist  would know that it would be extremely tough task and in all probability, it would not be done adequately due to technological limitations .

All necessary legal procedures should be taken by Government of India and a fast track court should be constituted to render quick justice to the victims. 

All said and done, it is the duty of Dow Chemical to tender an unconditional apology to the victims of Bhopal for its inadequate response and  not mitigating their sufferings during the last 26 years. The world opinion would view  Dow in positive manner to some extent and it’s stature would go up , if Dow Chemical would do so.

Perhaps, it would be a good gesture on the part of Dow Chemical,if it would come forward to clean the entire contaminated site  in Bhopal at its cost and build  a monument at the site  in memory of the poor victims of Bhopal.

Dow Chemical is certainly at the cross roads today. While it would save a few million dollars by not responding to the call of Bhopal, it would gain good will worth several  several million dollars, if it would  act responsibly with grace in the matter.

FUEL PRICE HIKE WHY IS GOVERNMENT OF INDIA IGNORING THE JATROPHA OPTION?

The Government  of India has done it again.  It has once again increased the price of fuel and may marginally reduce the price after the expected huge public protest.  It would then try to convey an impression that it is sensitive to public opinion but would have nevertheless  succeeded  in increasing  the price substantially.  The  helpless citizens will reconcile themselves to the situation, apprehending as to when would be the next price increase.

Many citizens feel outraged about the Government of India resorting to the repeated price increase of fuel at frequent intervals ,  always giving the explanation that such price increase are inevitable due to the spiraling international price of crude oil.

While everyone understands that the Government of India has no way of controlling the international price of crude , the fact is that the Government of India has failed to take measures  for maintaining the price of fuel   in India in spite of the international price situation of the crude.   There are many options and ways of doing this with reasonable success. However, the Government of India has failed to implement time bound and imaginative policy measures to tackle the scenario.

The national consensus is that while there are alternative  energy options like wind and solar power etc. , the best alternative fuel for India that can give sort of immediate relief  is the jatropha based bio fuel.

India has been discussing about the techno economic viability of producing and using jatropha fuel in a big way for the last several years.  But, nothing much has happened on the ground.  The industries and investors have certainly responded and have come forward to set up jatropha  projects in several states  but have not received any matching response from the government so far. It is sad that  a few units that were set up for producing jatropha oil in India are suffering due to the lack of pro active government measures  and a few projects have not taken off at all. 
  
Jatropha is a drought resistant crop and has a long life. Due to the tropical conditions and huge cultivable land  availability in India of which substantial  land area remain inadequately exploited   due to water scarcity , jatropha is an ideal crop for Indian conditions.  Jatropha oil  has been well proved to be suitable in all respects for  mixing with petroleum diesel.  Use of jatropha oil as a direct fuel  in tractors  have  also been experimented successfully.  It has been repeatedly pointed out that by promoting large scale  cultivation of   jatropha crop, there will be several tangible benefits for the country including utilization of land hitherto not used due to water scarcity and huge employment potential , apart from substituting petroleum diesel  to some extent.   

As a matter of fact, the former President of India  and renowned scientist Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was so enthusiastic about the prospects for jatropha in India that he actively propagated the jatropha cultivation in India when he was the President.  He continues to do so.

There are mainly  two issues on promoting jatropha fuel in India and both the issues can be tackled elegantly by appropriate government policies.

For mixing jatropha oil with  diesel , jatropha oil has to be trans esterified , which involves chemical reaction and that would result in the production of glycerin as co product.  Glycerin is a valuable chemical though the demand for glycerin is not high enough for full utilization in the case of large scale production of jatropha  trans esterified oil.

However, in recent years, several multi national companies have developed value added chemical  products for production  from glycerin and such chemicals like epichlorohydrin, propylene glycol are appropriate  and valuable substitutes for petrochemicals. Commercial plants are now in operation abroad.  Unfortunately, Indian scientists have not done much work to develop products for utilization of glycerin.  Government of India could have launched a R & D programme  for utilization of glycerin on national scale and results could be achieved within a year.  Government has not done much in this regard by way of providing  policy support and incentive measures for development of glycerin based products that would substantially improve the economics of jatropha fuel project.

The cost of production of jatropha oil is such that the government has to give marginal  subsidy support to the jatropha industry to ensure reasonable return for the producers. While the government remains helpless in the case of international crude oil price and is spending thousands of million rupees in foreign exchange to import the crude oil, it is unwilling to extend subsidy support to Indian jatropha industry, in spite of the obvious benefits that it would provide. This attitude of the government is surprising and lacks logic.

The unhappiness of the people about the government increasing the price of fuel is justified, particularly considering the fact that the government has not attempted to find any solution for the problem and seem to have no plans except increasing the price of fuel from time to time, unmindful of the consequences to national economy and growth.

SHALE GAS – OPPORTUNITY TO REDUCE ENERGY IMPOR

Shale is a common sedimentary rock found in most countries. Shale gas is natural gas found in shale rock formations.

Shale gas can readily substitute fuel oil in industry and power generation and kerosene in cooking.

This article discusses the following details :

  • General details
  • Global players
  • Indian deposits
  • Price of shale gas
  • Government of India’s plans for shale gas fields
THE EU MARKET FOR ESSENTIAL OILS

The main segments of demand for essential oils in the EU for cosmetics are perfumes / fragrance, skin and hair care and aromatherapy. Skin care is the leading cosmetics product category; together with hair care.

EU is a significant producer of essential oils. Germany, Italy, the UK and Spain together are responsible for 86% of total EU production of essential oil. Italy is a leading producer of bergamot oil.

This article contains the following details :

  • Demand for essential oil in perfumes / fragrance industry
  • Demand for essential oil in aromatherapy
  • Demand for essential oil in hair & skin care
  • Trade
  • Leading suppliers of essential oils and oleoresins to the EU 
  • Types of essential oils imported in the EU
  • Opportunities
TAURINE – PRODUCT PROFILE

Taurine is a derivative of the sulfur-containing (sulfhydryl) amino acid cysteine. Taurine is one of the few known naturally occurring sulfonic acids. Taurine can be found in the lower intestine and, in small amounts, in the tissues of many animals, including humans.

In nature, its main role is as a substrate in the conjugation of bile acids in the liver. It is abundant in human breast milk and is thought to be important in infant brain and retinal development. Research also suggests that it may  also protect cell membranes from toxic substances. In fish, it is thought to be an osmoregulator of cell volume.

Taurine is used as a food additive and is  added to dairy products, beverages, condiments and soy products.

Alternate name

2-aminoethanesulfonic acid

CAS Number

107-35-7

Molecular formula

C2H7NO3S

Appearance

White crystalline powder

Solubility

Water soluble

Assay

Min 99%

Loss on drying

Max 0.5%

Sulphated ash                

Max 0.1%

Chloride(Cl)

Max 0.001%

Sulphate(SO4)                

Max 0.01%

IRON(Fe)

Max 0.001%

Heavy metals(Pb)

Max 0.001%

This article discusses the following details :

  • Applications
  • Emerging application
  • Global demand
  • Global growth rate in demand
  • Process
  • Scenario in China
  • Major taurine producers in China
  • Imports of taurine in India
CITRIC ACID – INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY

Product characteristics

Appearance                    White or translucent solid (Granular / Powder)
Chemical formula (CH2COOH)2C(OH)COOH
Odour Odourless
Taste Acid taste

Application

Due to the versatile molecular structure, applications of citric acid range from sequestering agent, to buffer, organic intermediate, plasticiser and detergent builder.

Application sector

Nature of application

Food and beverages

As acidulant, flavourant and preservative

Pharmaceuticals

As acidulant, flavourant and preservative in astringent lotions

Cosmetics

As acidulant, flavourant and preservative

This article discusses the following details:

  • Discussions on individual application sector
    • Food-Candy,
    • Desserts
    • Jellies, Jams and Preserves
    • Soft drinks and syrups
    • Soft drink tablets
    • Fruit and vegetable juices
    • Frozen fruits
    • Pharamceuticals
      • Selected pharmaceutical formulations using citrates
    • Cosmetics –Hair Rinses and setting fluids, lotions
  • Import/Export trends in India
  • CIF Price trend for Indian imported product
  • Plant closures
  • Indian demand supply scenario
    • Indian demand
    • Pattern of application sectorwise demand
  • Projected Indian demand supply scenario
  • Global demand supply scenario
    • Global installed capacity
    • Global demand
    • Worldwide market share of major players
    • Global consumption pattern
    • Growth rate in demand
  • Scenario in China
  • Scenario in Europe
  • Process outline
  • Prognosis
PESTICIDE FORMULATION IMPORTS RECENT TRENDS IN INDIA

Multinational pesticide firms are increasingly resorting to import of formulations (as opposed to the ‘technical' or active ingredient), as a means to obtain indirect protection for the marketing approval-related test data submitted by them

This article further discusses the following details in detailed manner:

  • Government’s pesticide registration policy
  • Registration status for pesticide formulations
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA 'S POLICY ON SULPHATE OF POTASH

Fertiliser firms are seeking subsidy on Sulphate of Potash (SoP).

Currently, potassium chloride – better known as Muriate of Potash (MoP) – is the only potassic fertiliser covered under the Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) system.

The new regime's ultimate objective is to provide subsidy not on the products per se as much as on their nutrient composition and content. There is, therefore, no rationale for subsidising MoP, but not SoP.

This article discusses the following details :

  • Fertilisers under subsidy
  • The options for farmers
  • Case for subsidy for SoP
NATIONAL FIBRE POLICY

The draft National Fibre Policy (NFP) of Government of India has dethroned cotton from its pedestal among all natural fibres and plumped for ending “the existing disparities within the complete range of fibres” by providing a greater impetus to man-made fibres (MMF) and synthetic fibres including technical textiles, besides speciality (Suvin and Organic) cotton.

This article briefly discusses the details.

OTHER FEATURES

INDIAN SOLAR PROJECTS INITIATIVES

India is highly dependent on imports of critical raw materials including silicon wafer used for solar cells and panels.

India is a manufacturer of solar concentrator collectors for another type of solar infrastructure — solar thermal energy. Unlike silicon-based solar cells found in panels that directly convert sunlight into energy, solar thermal harnesses the sun’s heat using mirrors or lenses to concentrate sunlight on fluid, creating steam that runs turbines to generate electricity.

This article briefly discusses the details.

UPDATE ON REACH REGULATIONS

Reach (Registration, Evaluation, and Authorisation of Chemicals) regulations state that substances that are manufactured or imported into the EU in quantities of more than 1,000 metric tonnes per year, and hazardous substances, must be registered by November 30, 2010. ECHA expects to receive about 5,000 substance registrations by this date.
Under Reach, substances have to be registered by November 30, 2010, May 31, 2013 or May 31, 2018, depending on the tonnage band and the hazardous properties of the substance.

Safety data sheets must be completed for pure substances by December 1, 2010 and for mixtures by June 1, 2015.

Substances that are manufactured or imported into the EU in quantities over 1,000 metric tonnes per year and substances of very high concern (SVHC) must be registered by the first deadline.

ECHA, which is responsible for implementing Reach, is urging lead registrants to submit their registration dossiers for high tonnage substances by at least October 1.

With just six months to go before the first deadline for registering substances under Europe's Reach legislation, companies are accelerating their efforts to gather the necessary data.

This article discusses the following details :

  • Substance Information Exchange Forums  (SIEF)
  • Dossier submissions
  • Need for clarity
  • Extra time for incomplete dossiers

PAPER INDUSTRY TESTS GENETICALLY ALTERED TREES IN USA

While genetically engineered crops such as corn and soybeans have become common, ArborGen’s experiment marks the first large planting of designer trees in the US.  The company says that  plantations of, faster-growing eucalyptus could produce more timber in a smaller area and allow conservation of natural forests.

ArborGen is a joint venture of International Paper, Mead-Wastvaco and Rubicon Ltd.

This article briefly discusses the subject.

RAMESWARAM SEAWEED 
USED TO EXTRACT ETHANOL

Central Salt & Marine Chemicals Research  Institute (CSIR Laboratory, belonging to Government of India) claims to have sourced green fuel – ethanol extracted from seaweed and used it successfully to run a car for the first time.

The Ambassador car was run with a fuel blend of 10% ethanol and 90% petrol. The ethanol was extracted from seaweed cultivated in Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, India.

This article briefly discusses the details

CAPTIVE POWER UNITS MAKE MORE PROFIT THAN CORE PRODUCTS!

Companies may have ventured into captive power projects initially only as a hedge against erratic power supply by state-owned utilities. However, these ventures are now turning into major money-spinners, helping to boost the overall profitability and cash flows for these companies.

This article briefly discusses the details

INDIA’S  CARBON STOCKPILE

Developers of Indian clean-energy projects have winnowed down a stockpile of UN-backed carbon offsets and they are holding out for higher prices.

This article briefly discusses the details.

UPDATE ON BIOFUEL

The following recent developments on biofuel industry are discussed:

  • Emami’s biodiesel project at the cross roads
  • Cellulosic biofuel unit in China
  • Cellulosic ethanol
  • cellulosic biodiesel
  • Biodiesel plant without by product
  • Biodiesel tax credit in USA
  • New biodiesel plant in China

PLANT CLOSURES

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

  • Thai caprolactam
  • BPRP declares C3 forces majeures
  • Invista to close plants in Europe
  • Plant shutdowns proposal of Dupont, Ferro, Royal Adhesives and Sealants, Celanese, Showa Denko

ANTI DUMPING PAGE

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

  • Neoprene
  • PVC flexible film
  • Soda ash

SAFETY AND ACCIDENT PAGE

Following safety and accident details are discussed:

  • Fire in ONGC pipeline
  • Accident in Lyondell unit in USA
  • Production stalled at coca-cola Orissa plant
  • gas blast kills one in USA

NEWS ROUND UP

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

  • A global standard for responsible distribution
  • Methanol
  • Propylene oxide unit from hydrogen peroxide
  • Flame retardants plant
  • Base oils
  • Ethanol based PE plant
  • Butyl rubber
  • Toluene diisocyanate

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS

The recent developments on the following technology efforts are highlighted

  • Storage of CO2 under ground
  • Nanotech initiative of BHEL in India

CHINA NEWS

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

  • Rare earth industry
  • Polyether polyols
  • Plans for functional chemicals areas
  • 3-Cyanopyridine and VB3 Production
  • Trichlorosilane Project
  • China’s policy on rare earth elements

POLYMER PRODUCTS SHOWCASED
IN CHINAPLAS 2010 TRADE SHOW

This article contains the following details:

  • Polyer products of ExxonMobil:
  • Rhodia’s castor based products
  • Specialty polymer from PolyOne

ENERGY PAGE

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

  • New German gas-fired plant
  • Country's first waste-to-power plant in Delhi
  • Solar desalination plant at BARC
  • Motorcycles  powered by compressed air

ENVIRONMENTAL PAGE

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

  • New emission rules for coal plants in Canada
  • Waste paper recycling to meet ITC plant's raw material needs

PHARMA PAGE

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

  • Pfizer recalls 3 drugs made by Indian pharma company
  • US court refrains Dr Reddy's from launching Allegra
  • Aurobindo recalls drug lot from US market for wrong labelling

PRICE DETAILS - INTERNATIONAL

Global price trends on the following products are provided :

  • Methyl ethyl ketone
  • Isopropanol
  • Epichlorohydrin
  • MDI
  • Paraxylene
  • Dimethyl terephthalate
  • Polystyrene
  • Acrylonitrile
  • Spot bulk chemical prices
  • Contract bulk chemical prices
OTHER ARTICLES
  • Essar’s CBM block in  Raniganj
  • Growth profile of Indian biotech industry - Findings of the study
  • Olive oil helps keep breast cancer at Bay,says study
  • Novozymes: new enzyme increases ethanol yield
  • Pat norms for energy efficiency
  • Prospects for nanotechnologists
  • Tender
  • New Projects-International
  • Chemicals Imported at the Chennai Port during the month May 2010
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