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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, July 2011

METHANOL IN CHINA|RARE EARTH INDUSTRY|METHYLAMINES|CARBON FIBRE
Highlights of Some of the Articles

TALK OF THE MONTH : IDENTIFICATION OF R&D OPPORTUNITIES METHODOLOGY AND APPROACH
CHINA’S METHANOL DILEMMA
RESTRUCTURING OF RARE EARTH INDUSTRY IN CHINA AND IT’S GLOBAL IMPLICATIONS
SPOT LIGHT ON SPECIALITY CHEMICAL - ISOBUTYRIC ACID
PRODUCT PROFILE - BISMALEIMIDE TRIAZINE RESIN (BT RESIN)
METHYLAMINES - INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
IMPACT OF SILVER PRICE ON THE SOLAR CELL INDUSTRY
WHITHER KYOTO PROTOCOL AFTER 2012
GROWTH PROFILE OF INDIAN BIOTECH SECTOR
PROSPECTS FOR CONTRACT RESEARCH - FINDINGS OF THE STUDY
CARBON FIBRE FOR ELECTRIC CARS
OTHER FEATURES
OTHER ARTICLES

TALK OF THE MONTH

IDENTIFICATION OF R&D OPPORTUNITIES METHODOLOGY AND APPROACH

It is now well recognized that inspite of having army of technologists and scientists in India, Indian chemical industries are still considerably dependent on the developed countries and even smaller nations like Korea, Taiwan, Israel for it’s technology requirements. The gap in the Indian technology front would be clearly evident from the fact that even for same product with identical process technology, Indian chemical industry have been repeatedly importing technologies, sometimes from the same technology supplier abroad.

For example, many urea plants and petroleum refineries are operating in India. But India has never set up new urea plant or petroleum refinery based on 100% indigenous technology. Obviously, this implies that India has still a long way to go in gaining technology independence.

In recent times, we have been seeing conditions where the import of various bulk chemicals like methanol, titanium dioxide, styrene etc. have all been going up at steady level, with little efforts being made to create indigenous capacities or to curtail the import dependence. In the case of such bulk chemicals, it is often sought to be explained away that the Indian inability to set up projects are often due to either feedstock constraints or comparatively low demand level in India or high cost of energy inputs. Even if such contention would be accepted in the case of large projects and bulk chemicals, there can not be any justification for not creating capacities in the case of several speciality chemicals, where India does not have such constraints. The gap in technology are preventing the setting up of production facilities for several speciality chemicals that have good demand potentials internationally.

What is particularly causing concern is that there do not seem to be any visible R&D strategy at all for the Indian chemical industries . Many government owned research and development establishments belonging to Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and other agencies seem to be working on the research projects that are chosen in arbitrary manner, without considering their need for research for commercial applications and the prospects for exploiting the results of such research efforts in the immediate future. The targeted research area should be chosen based on careful assessment of demand supply scenario for the products and other requirements based on ecological and feedstock factors . In other words, the research activities should be market driven and must be chosen based on the need and not as mere academic exercise.

Obviously, it is necessary that the research and development agencies and the universities should have good understanding of the need of the chemical industries, which would be possible only if they would maintain close and continuing relationship with each other. It would be to the mutual advantage and interests of the chemical industries and R&D bodies to constantly interact with each other and identify the areas of common interest and collaborate in taking up the R&D projects.

In India, we find that most of the R&D departments in chemical industries essentially function like trouble shooting and quality control departments and are not involved in basic and long term research projects. This is mostly due to the inability of many chemical industries to invest substantial amount of money in creating necessary facilities and infrastructure support, that are required to carry out R&D activities in sustained manner.

Further, many chemical units are not focused on research activity at all and have reconciled themselves to acquire the technologies when required, whatever may be the cost.

At the same time, we have many universities and R&D institutions in India, which have good facilities but are operating in isolation in their research pursuits. Obviously, there is a mismatch between several R&D projects being carried out in Indian R&D institutions and the immediate requirement of the chemical industries.

Unfortunately, there are not many specialized market research agencies in India who have capability to carry out market research that would also identify the technology needs. In other words, market research agencies should not only be involved in identifying projected gap in supply for chemical products but also should have capability to identify projected gap in technology for the products, for which scope exists for capacity creation.

To meet such requirement ,the market research agencies in chemical industries should not only have expertise from the point of view of the management and market research capability but should also have adequate technology awareness.

It is high time that R&D bodies in India should start showing interest in identifying the products and process for carrying out R&D work, that have excellent demand potentials with likely supply gap in the Indian and global market in the immediate future.

CHINA’S METHANOL DILEMMA

China is known to build project capacities with speed and dynamism, that one rarely come across in other parts of the world.

Obviously, in view of such aggressive approach towards capacity creation, in the case of many chemical projects in China, supply creation precedes demand creation and not the other way around. This approach may have some advantages, in that it may dissuade the potential competitors from building capacities and perhaps may enable China to get dominant supply status in the global market before long.

Methanol scenario in China is a case study.

In recent years, China has expanded its methanol capacity very fast, making many observers wonder as to whether China is biting more than what it can chew in the case of methanol industry

This article discusses the following details :

  • Methanol scenario in China (Period 2010)
  • New methanol projects coming up in China
  • China’s new methanol capacity in 2009
  • Demand
  • Imports
  • Anti dumping duty:
  • Raw material use pattern in China for methanol
  • Competition from Middle East countries
  • New methanol projects in Middle East countries
  • Project in Saudi Arabia
  • Project in Oman
  • New methanol projects in Middle East countries
  • Use of methanol in automobile
  • Dimethyl ether from methanol
  • Coal to liquid projects in China
  • Methanol to olefin technology (MTO)
  • Methanol protein technology
  • Government’s policy on methanol projects
RESTRUCTURING OF RARE EARTH INDUSTRY IN CHINA AND IT’S GLOBAL IMPLICATIONS

Rare earths are used in wind turbines, hybrid cars and defence applications such as guided missiles. The market for the minerals may double to as much as $6 billion by the middle of the decade, according to an April 21 report by Ernst & Young analyst Michel Nestour .

China, supplier of 95% of the 17 elements known as rare earths, has clamped down on rare-earth mining and cut export quotas, boosting prices and sparking concern among overseas users such as Japan about access to supplies

This article discusses the above subject in detailed manner:

SPOT LIGHT ON SPECIALITY CHEMICAL- ISOBUTYRIC ACID

Isobutyric acid is a carboxylic acid.

Appearance Clear colourless liquid
CAS number 79-31-2
Other names 2-Methylpropionic acid , Valerianic acid, Isobutanoic acid
Molecular formula C4H8O2
Structural formula (CH3)2-CH-COOH

Isobutyric acid is an isomer of n-butyric acid; they have the same chemical formula C4H8 O2 but a different structure.

Odour

Strong, penetrating odour of rancid butter

Specific gravity 0.9697 (0 deg. C).

Solubility

Isobutyric acid is slightly soluble in water but soluble in ethanol, ether and organic solvents.

It is a strong acid and reacts with bases, strong oxidants and metals.

Stability

The product is stable.

This article discusses the following details

  • Hazard
  • Handling
  • Specification
  • Applications
  • Global producers and their profile
  • Broad outline of process details
  • Indian scenario
  • Import in India
  • CIF price of imported product in India
PRODUCT PROFILE - BISMALEIMIDE TRIAZINE RESIN (BT RESIN)

BT resin belongs to the group of thermoset resins used in printed circuit boards (PCBs). It is a mixture of epoxy resin, a common raw material for PCBs and BT resins.

BT resins are heat-resistant thermosets, made of bismaleimide triazine resin, co-reacted with epoxy, to give a resin system with some flexibility.

This article discusses the following details

  • Properties
  • Applications
  • Use in laminate substrate
  • Demand driver
  • Global demand
  • Profile of major global producers
  • Global shortage
  • Substitution
METHYLAMINES - INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY

Amines are formed by the successive exchange of the hydrogen atoms of ammonia by alkyl groups. When the alkyl group introduced is methyl, the resulting amines are methylamines.

All the three amines namely monomethylamine, dimethylamine and trimethylamine strongly resemble ammonia in most of their physical properties. They are gas under ambient conditions and they liquefy under pressure giving rise to colourless liquid.

This article discusses the following details

  • Characteristics of monomethylamine (MMA), dimethylamine (DMA) and trimethylamine (TMA)
  • Toxicity
  • Storage
  • Application areas
  • Indian manufacturers
  • Annual import/export details
  • Indian demand for methylamines
  • Pattern of Indian demand for methylamines
  • Global scenario
    • Major global manufacturers
    • Profile of major producers
    • Global installed capacity
  • Process technology
  • Prognosis
IMPACT OF SILVER PRICE ON THE SOLAR CELL INDUSTRY

A typical solar cell uses 0.10 grams of silver for each watt of generating capacity. That amounts to about 20 grams in a 200-watt panel, adding $23.52 to the cost of each panel. The cost for metal in each panel totals about 11 cents a watt, up from 5 cents a year ago, the London-based industry researcher estimates.

This article discusses the above subject in detailed manner.

WHITHER KYOTO PROTOCOL AFTER 2012T OPPORTUNITY

The future of the Kyoto Protocol is in uncertain and it could end up being an empty shell by 2012.

Major developed countries including Japan, Russia and Canada have refused to be part of the protocol in its second phase and to commit targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions under it.

Europe has also changed the goalposts. It is now suggesting that it would not sign the protocol unless emerging economies, including India and China, take strong targets as well under a new deal.

This article discusses the above subject in detailed manner.

GROWTH PROFILE OF INDIAN BIOTECH SECTOR

This article briefly discusses the status of Indian biotech sector.

PROSPECTS FOR CONTRACT RESEARCH - FINDINGS OF THE STUDY

The Indian market for outsourced pharma research and manufacturing activities — also called CRAMS — is in the pink of health and looks set to capture a sizeable chunk of the global outsourcing pie by 2012, a new report by ICRA says.

This article briefly discusses the prospects for CRAMS (contract research and manufacturing services) sector in India.

CARBON FIBRE FOR ELECTRIC CARS

This article discusses the following details :

  • Usage trend of carbon fibre
  • Plan of BMW
OTHER FEATURES

SAFETY AND ACCIDENT PAGE

Safety and accident details of HPCL's diesel leak at Mundra: Oil spill feared off Kutch coast are discussed.

PLANT CLOSURE

The article discusses the plans for closure of Uralkali potash facility in Russia

ANTI DUMPING PAGE

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

  • Rubber Chemical - PX-13 or 6PPD
  • Pentaerythritol
  • Metronidazole
  • Glyphosate

NEWS ROUND UP

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

International

  • Succinic acid
  • Polycarbonate
  • Acrylic acid and superabsorbents
  • New generation EPS

India

  • Study on water related issues in KG basin
  • Government bars ethanol transport in UP

CHINA NEWS

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

  • Polycarbonate plant
  • Carbon black
  • Coal to olefins plant
  • HSBC project

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS

The recent developments on the following technology efforts are highlighted

  • Extraction technology for lithium from brine
  • Pilot test for turning recycled plastic into energy
  • Fungus that grows in dishwashers
  • E.coli seen spawning biofuel

AGRO CHEMICAL PAGE

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

  • Costlier Substitutes For Endosulfan In Kerala
  • Fluorine Containing Pesticide Intermediates
  • Certification Scheme For Medicinal Plants
  • Biotech Research To Combat Banana Disease
  • Soap From Arecanut Extract
  • Use Of Pesticides In Rubber Plantation

PHARMA PAGE

The following recent developments in the pharma industry are discussed:

  • Ephedrine HCl – Narcotics Issues
  • The Stent Market
  • Unicef Discloss Vaccine Prices
  • Price Revision For Eli Lilly's Insulin Drug
  • Anti Tb Drug-Transitmycin
  • Edible Vaccine

ENERGY PAGE

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

  • Energy generation from plastic waste and tyres
    • Waste generating states
    • Waste from cement kilns
  • Aviation biofuel
  • Reliance Industries makes another gas find in KG basin
  • Delay in development of coal blocks
  • Wind solar hybrid energy systems
  • HOEC awaits nod to increase gas output at PY-1-field
  • NTPC told to shut down four power generation units
  • Eco clearance norms for solar thermal projects relaxed

ENVIRONMENTAL PAGE

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

  • Formaldehyde and styrene added to list of carcinogens
  • Aristolochic acid
  • Portal to monitor greenhouse gases
  • Malaysia rare earths refinery project

PRICE DETAILS – INTERNATIONAL

Global price trends on Natural rubber is provided

OTHER ARTICLES
  • Shale gas reserves in China
  • Yet Another Price Increase Of Diesel
  • Tender
  • Chemicals Exported At The Chennai Port During The Month Of April 2011
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