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Journals

Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, March 2012

Bio based chemicals|Biorefinery|Wheat Gluten|Polyphenylene Sulphide
Highlights of Some of the Articles

TALK OF THE MONTH : NATURAL GAS / COAL SHORTAGE DESTROYING INVESTOR’S CONFIDENCE IN CHEMICAL PROJECTS
GLOBAL PROSPECTS FOR BIO BASED CHEMICALS
MULTI PRODUCT BIOREFINERY FOR PRODUCING CHEMICAL FROM WOODY BIOMASS
SINOPEC‘S EFFORTS TO DEVELOP COAL BASED CHEMICAL TECHNOLOGY
POLYHYDROXYALKANOATE (PHA) - EMERGING BIOPLASTIC
POLYPHENYLENE SULFIDE (PPS) - PRODUCT PROFILE
WHEAT GLUTEN – INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
INDIAN VACCINE INDUSTRY AT CROSS ROADS
PROGRESS OF MAJOR COAL TO OLEFIN PROJECTS IN CHINA
SPECTACULAR ACHIEVEMENTS IN BT COTTON TECHNOLOGY IN INDIA - FINDINGS OF THE STUDY
BIOSIMILAR PRODUCTS SCENARIO - INDIA’S OPPORTUNITY
TULSI IN OUR POTS: A MULTI-PURPOSE MEDICINE
ALARMING FALL IN PRODUCTION OF NATURAL GAS & CRUDE OIL IN JANUARY 2012
SHALE GAS - CHANGING GLOBAL ENERGY SCENARIO
PERFORMANCE OF SUGAR UNITS IN UTTAR PRADESH
ELECTRONIC GRADE FLUORINE GAS JOINT VENTURE
OTHER FEATURES
OTHER ARTICLES

TALK OF THE MONTH

NATURAL GAS / COAL SHORTAGE DESTROYING INVESTOR’S CONFIDENCE IN CHEMICAL PROJECTS

The growth of Indian industrial output was reported to be only 1.8 percent in December 2011, which should be a matter of great concern. This has been mainly because of the poor shows by the major sectors such as manufacturing and mining.

The December output of the manufacturing sector – constituting over 75% of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), grew by a dismal 1.8 percent as compared to a high 8.7 percent expansion in the same month of 2010. Alongside, the mining sector output also dipped into negative 3.7 percent during  December, 2011, as against a 5.9 percent growth a year ago.

While the consumer goods sector witnessed the higher growth  of  10 percent during December 2011,as compared to low 3.5 percent increase in December 2010,basic strength of the industries and economy will be really reflected only by the robust performance and growth of manufacturing sector.

For those who observe the national economic and industrial scenario from close quarters, it would be clearly evident that the manufacturing sector, particularly the  chemical, petrochemical and allied  industries are registering decline in growth, with capacity creation not matching the demand growth. In such conditions, the import of chemical and allied products are steadily increasing and the imports are now reaching alarming level. This is particularly so in the case of basic building blocks such as methanol, acetic acid etc. Import of fertilizers are also showing increasing trend which would make the Indian agriculture sector, the nerve centre of national economy, vulnerable to the international supply and price cartel.

Obviously, the investor’s enthusiasm for chemical and petrochemical sectors are now low in India, which appears to be due to the lack of confidence about the global competitiveness of the chemicals produced in India and uncertain energy / feed stock scenario.

In such circumstances, the chemical sector are choosing the easy option of importing bulk chemicals, which are basic building blocks , for the production of derivative products. Even in the case of such down stream and derivative products, imports are surging as capacity built up is far from adequate.

Coal shortage

The current shortage of coal production in India is a matter of serious concern to the economy, as nearly 22,000 MW worth coal based thermal power plants are unable to take off due to lack of  coal availability.

As per the Eleventh Plan, which will come to an end on March 31, demand for coal was estimated to be 700 million tonnes per annum.

It is reported that Coal India alone was expected to produce about 620 million tonnes per annum of coal as part of the Eleventh Plan but the target was revised to 580 million tonnes and then to 440 million tonnes per annum currently.

Apart from power sector, other industries requiring coal such as cement are currently importing coal,so as to meet their production targets. Currently, about 70 to 72 percent of the coal produced domestically is supplied to the power sector, while the remaining 28 percent is meant for other industries. But due to the demand supply gap, other industries do not have access to domestic coal at adequate level .

Natural gas shortage – Disappointing KG basin output

As output from D6 block in KG basin has fallen to less than 35 mscmd a day from 61.5 mscmd in March 2010, the government has to cut allocations from the field so that only priority customers would be offered gas.

Since all indications point to gas supplies from KG Basin likely dwindling to 27 mmscmd from 35mmscmd , the power  plants may have to shut down or run only for three days a week, as supply of natural gas will fall below threshold levels

With the government preparing to rationalise gas distribution from RIL’s              KG-D6 block in the wake of a drop in production , the gas-based power plants of GVK Power, Lanco Infratech, GMR and others, all based in Andhra Pradesh, are functioning at less than 50 per cent of installed capacity due to reduced supply of gas . If this falls below the threshold of 40 per cent, then it would not be financially viable to run them.

What is even more distressing is that, of the 4,000-MW gas-based fresh capacity coming up in Andhra Pradesh, about 1,400 MW is close to being commissioned and they are facing serious gas shortage scenario.

Government’s lack of  forward planning

With energy and feedstock scenario causing so much of concern, the future of Indian chemical industries itself appear to be  uncertain today.

Obviously, solutions have to be evolved with great urgency to overcome the present crisis scenario by chalking out appropriate and intelligent strategies in tune with the India ‘s strength and weakness.

The disappointing fact is that the Government of India, particularly Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, have not come out with any guidelines or vision document for chemical industries in the next 10 years or so.

Without government’s active involvement and the government providing support to the chemical industries by way of appropriate policy planning measures, it would not be possible for the chemical industries to work out it’s future plans. Any strategies adopted by the chemical industries without government being involved would amount to planning in vacuum.

It is high time that the Government of India should constitute a task force for the chemical industries in India and work out action plans based on the ground realities.

There are still many avenues for growth in India by developing technologies and facilities for products like algae based fuel, jatropha based fuel etc.

But India needs integrated strategies with complete involvement of all the stack holders in evolving such strategies.

GLOBAL PROSPECTS FOR BIO BASED CHEMICALS

Investors in biochemical projects are wary about uncertainty surrounding feedstock access, potential dependence on third-party agreements and high capital costs. They are looking for partnerships, joint ventures and off take agreements.

All the pieces are there to create a viable market base and investor base for biochemicals sector  and the best companies will be able to exploit them to their benefits.

Viable companies have to demonstrate differentiated, protected technologies with a sustainable price advantage.

This article discusses the following details :

  • Funding
  • The requirements to forge ahead
  • Promising project of Myriant ,USA
  • Global biochemical projects in the pipeline
INDIA SHOULD IMPLEMENT LARGE TITANIUM DIOXIDE PROJECT

Titanium dioxide is an important chemical and white pigment , extensively used in the paint, polymer, textile, paper and a host of other industries.

Titanium dioxide is produced from ilmenite , which is a mineral. Ilmenite mineral deposits are  available in large  quantity in the sands of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.  

While  India  mines and produces ilmenite ore in Kerala,  Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa , large quantity of ilmenite is presently  exported  , without converting it into value added product namely titanium dioxide.

Indian deposits of ilmenite is estimated to be around more than 12% of the world reserves but Indian production of titanium dioxide is less than 1% of the total world production.

There are four titanium dioxide  units  in operation in India and their capacity is small compared to the capacities of the plants being operated in other parts of the world.

This article discusses the following details

  • World demand supply scenario
  • Indian demand supply scenario
  • Project cost
  • Titanium dioxide should be thrust area for growth
  • Tata’s Efforts in Tamil Nadu
  • Investment opportunity with huge potential
MULTI PRODUCT BIOREFINERY FOR PRODUCING CHEMICAL FROM WOODY BIOMASS

This article discusses the following details :

  • Flexible platform technology
  • Testing of technology
  • Feed stock
  • Comments on the technology
  • Future plans
SINOPEC‘S EFFORTS TO DEVELOP COAL BASED CHEMICAL TECHNOLOGY

Sinopec has been seeking petroleum substitutes and coal is a top choice for chemical synthesis feedstock.

Sinopec recently attained a critical breakthrough in technology.

This article discusses the above subject in detailed manner.

POLYHYDROXYALKANOATE (PHA) - EMERGING BIOPLASTIC

Naturally occurring polymers

Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are naturally-occurring polymers that have attracted much attention as potential biodegradable substitute to plastics.

PHAs belong to a family of biopolyesters produced by various microorganisms to yield polyesters with varying side chain lengths.

In addition to their biodegradability and biocompatibility, another widely recognized characteristic of PHAs  is it’s chirality.  They exhibit highly stereoregular polymer backbones with R configuration

PHAs are produced under controlled conditions by biotechnological processes.

This article discusses the following details :

  • Salient properties
  • Miscibility of PHB with various polymers
  • Applications
  • Process outline
  • Biosynthesis
  • Industrial production
  • Starting material for the process
  • Processing of PHA
  • Global PHA producers
  • PHA -trademarks
  • PHA project of Telles
  • PHA -costs
  • Research challenges
POLYPHENYLENE SULFIDE (PPS) - PRODUCT PROFILE

This polymer has a high melting point of approximately 280 deg. C, excellent chemical resistance and is inherently flame retardant. It possesses self extinguishing properties without the addition of any flame retardant chemical additives.

The first commercial grades of polyphenylene sulfides (PPS) were introduced by Phillips Petroleum in 1968 under the trade name Ryton. These were of two types, a thermoplastic branched polymer of high viscosity which was processed by PTFE-type processes and an initially linear polymer which could be compression molded.

In 1973 in Europe, the emphasis was shifted to injection molding and coating processes

This article discusses the following details:

  • Product application
  • Disadvantages
  • Process outline
  • Global producers
  • Global capacity and demand
  • Global production
  • Demand driver
  • Global growth in demand
  • Future prospects
WHEAT GLUTEN – INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY

Gluten is the natural protein in wheat endosperm which, when combined with water, forms a taffy-like dough.

Wheat gluten is a water insoluble complex protein fraction separated from wheat flour.

Wheat gluten is essentially wheat flour with the starch removed. The total proteins in flour have been roughly divided into two fractions, the soluble fraction and the insoluble fraction. The insoluble fraction is known as gluten.

Appearance:  Yellowish grey powder

This article discusses the following details

  • Solubility
  • Types
  • Product specification
  • Product application
  • Sector of Applications
  • Derivatives of wheat gluten
  • Indian Import / Export
  • Indian producer
  • Plant closures
  • Indian demand
  • Global scenario
  • Global demand
  • Global manufacturers
  • Process for wheat gluten
  • Recommendation
INDIAN VACCINE INDUSTRY AT CROSS ROADS

This article discusses the following details:

  • Absence of uniform government policy
  • Concerns on the quality front
  • Price cut
  • Need for appropriate business climate
PROGRESS OF MAJOR COAL TO OLEFIN PROJECTS IN CHINA

In 2011, three coal to olefin (CTO) plants in China were put into operation.

Sinopec Zhongyuan Petrochemical Co Ltd (hereinafter referred to as Zhongyuan Petrochemical) transformed a petroleum based olefins plant into a coal based olefins plant, bringing China’s total CTO capacity to 1.805 million tonnes per annum, including a coal to ethylene capacity of  406,000 tonnes per annum and a coal to propylene capacity of 1.399 million tonnes per annum.

This article contains the following details :

  • Shenhua Baotou 
  • Shengua Ningmei
  • Datang Duolun
  • Zhongyuan Petrochemical’s transformation project
  • Advances in the CTO / MTO technology
SPECTACULAR ACHIEVEMENTS IN BT COTTON TECHNOLOGY IN INDIA - FINDINGS OF A STUDY

The rapid increase in hectares of hybrid cotton is credited to the introduction of Bt technology which spurred hybridisation resulting in an increase from 3 Bt cotton hybrids in 2002-03 to 884 Bt cotton hybrids in 2011-12.

Thus, Bt cotton has transformed cotton production in India by increasing yield and decreasing insecticide applications.

This article discusses the details.

BIOSIMILAR PRODUCTS SCENARIO - INDIA’S OPPORTUNITY

What is a biosimilar?

A biosimilar is a approximate copy of a patented biological drug. It is an approximate copy because it is hard or impossible to make an exact copy of a biological at the moment.

Why is it in the news?

While generic drugs have made a big dent in the market, regulators had not allowed generics companies to make off patent biological. They are relaxing their attitudes due to the high cost of patented biologicals.

This article further discusses the following details :

  • What are regulators doing?
  • Biosimilars in numbers
  • Other details
  • Why is it interesting for Indian companies?
TULSI IN OUR POTS: A MULTI-PURPOSE MEDICINE

Basil (Ocimumtenuiflorum, syn. O. sanctum) plant grows wild in India but is also widely cultivated in home and temple gardens.

Basil has a long history of medicinal use and is mentioned in ancient Ayurvedic texts such as CharakSamhita. More contemporary texts, such as Indian Medicinal Plants by Kirtikar and Basu (1975), mention  basil for treatment of a variety of conditions including pain, fever, vomiting, bronchitis, earache and diseases of the heart and blood , but it has also been used in the treatment of diabetes, arthritis and asthma .

Fresh leaves taken with black pepper have been used as a prophylactic against malaria, and a decoction of the root has been recommended for malarial fevers .

The leaf juice has been used for chronic fever, haemorrhage, dysentery and dyspepsia and also as an anthelmintic and topically for ringworm and skin diseases .

The traditional form of preparation is an aqueous extract of the leaves.

Ayurveda is not the only system of medicine to honour and make use of  basil.

The plant also figures in the ancient medical systems of the Greek, Roman, Sidha and Unani.

In the article, the authors list a few medicinal uses of basil in different form as remedies for common disorders adaptogen, Anti-stress activity, Anti oxidant activity, Anti cataract activity, Immuno modulating activity, Anti inflammatory, analgesic and anti pyretic activity, Psychopharmacological effects, Anti diabetic actions.

This article discusses the following details:

  • Introduction
  • Basil as an adaptogen
  • Pharmacology
  • Anti-stress activity
  • Anti oxidant activity
  • Anti-cataract activity
ALARMING FALL IN PRODUCTION OF NATURAL GAS & CRUDE OIL IN JANUARY 2012

The continuous drop in Reliance Industries-operated Krishna Godavari Basin D6 block output has pulled down domestic gas production for the 14th straight month in January 2012. The output fell by 8.9 per cent year-on-year at 3.963 billion cubic metre.

This article discusses the above subject in detailed manner.

SHALE GAS - CHANGING GLOBAL ENERGY SCENARIO

Global resource of shale gas

The “technically recoverable” global shale gas resources is reported to be around at 6,600tn cubic feet, roughly equal to today’s proved reserves.

This article discusses the following details:

  • The largest identified shale gas resources in the world
  • US Shale gas scenario
  • Environmental  issues relatinh to shale gas drilling
  • The future scenario
PERFORMANCE OF SUGAR UNITS IN UTTAR PRADESH

The top sugar combines in UP have crushed more cane in the ongoing        2011-12 season (October-September), compared with what they did during the corresponding period of 2010-11.

At the same time, the recovery rates — the percentage of sugar extracted from the cane crushed — have been lower for all groups, barring DCM Shriram Consolidated and Dwarikesh Sugar Industries Ltd

The reduced recovery is partly on account of mills having to start the current season 15 days earlier. Normally, crushing begin after November 15. This time, the sugar units were forced to advance it by 15 days, which meant crushing less mature cane.

This article discusses the above subject in detailed manner.

ELECTRONIC GRADE FLUORINE GAS JOINT VENTURE

Flourine gas (F2)  is environmentally friendly cleaning gases.

F2 emissions have no impact on global warming, unlike nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), a gas that is currently commonly used for cleaning applications in the production of flat-panel displays and thin-film photovoltaics.

This article discusses the above subject in detailed manner.

OTHER FEATURES

SAFETY AND ACCIDENT PAGE

Following safety and accident details are discussed

  • LyondellBasell blast
  • Silo collapse at IFFCO plant in Orissa

NEWS ROUND UP

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

INTERNATIONAL

  • Phosphates rock
  • Methanol
  • 1,4-butanediol (BDO) from renewable resources
  • Biobased plasticizers for flexible vinyl
  • Soda ash project in Saudi Arabia

INDIA

  • Indian salt industry turns to China, Mexico for help
  • Petchem project in Kakinada
  • Integrated PTA, PET, and PSF manufacturing complex

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS

The recent developments on the following technology efforts are highlighted

  • Cellulosic ethanol – Technology development efforts by DSM
  • Battery technology development by BASF
  • Development of food ingredient by biosynthetic route
  • Distillery effluent finds use in crop production in Karnataka
  • Higher efficiency solar cells
  • Biobased BDO
  • Research plan for Nanomaterials
  • Effective enzymes to make ethanol

AGRO CHEMICAL PAGE

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

  • Bayer speeds phaseout of old insecticides
  • Plans afoot to alter national organic production standards
  • Progress of organic farming in India

PHARMA PAGE

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

  • First vaccine against black fever enters clinical trials
  • KG5 (‘Wonder drug’ ) to treat cancer
  • AstraZeneca recalls sterile products made at Bangalore unit

ENERGY PAGE

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

  • Windmills not so green, says report
  • Cerc issues tariff guidelines  for renewable energy
  • Solar-wind hybrid power generator for rooftops
  • Performance of Singareni Collieries company
  • Issues facing the Indian compat fluorescent lamp industry
  • Biomass power sector in dire straits
  • Probe on Lanco’s solar projects
  • Renewable Fuel Standard 2012

ANTI DUMPING PAGE

The antidumping measures for soda ash introduced in India in the last few weeks are discussed.

ENVIRONMENTAL PAGE

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

  • Eu parliament approves phosphate ban
  • Pollution Board's distillery effluent processing norms
  • Changes to carcinogens report procedures
  • EU to harmonize biocides regulation
  • Soil organic carbon

PRICE DETAILS

Global price trends on the following products are provided

  • Butadiene
  • Propylene
  • Thermal coal prices may increase in India
  • Methanol
OTHER ARTICLES
  • Tenders
  • Chemicals imported at Chennai port during the month of December 2011
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