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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Jun 2013

DIMETHYL FORMAMIDE |CARBAZOLE|XENON DIFLUORIDE|GAS ALLOCATION FOR POWER
Highlights of Some of the Articles

TALK OF THE MONTH : CHINESE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY WILL HAVE THE LAST LAUGH
SPOTLIGHT ON SPECIALITY CHEMICAL : XENON DIFLUORIDE
CARBAZOLE - PRODUCT PROFILE
DIMETHYL FORMAMIDE – PRODUCT PROFILE
INDIA SHOULD BENCH MARK WITH CHINESE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY
GAS ALLOCATION PLAN FOR POWER PLANTS TO LEAVE FERTILIZER SECTOR HIGH AND DRY
PERFORMANCE OF ONGC
UPDATE ON FDA’S ACTION AGAINST DRUG INDUSTRY
STATUS OF LENR TECHNOLOGY FOR ENERGY GENERATION
OTHER FEATURES
OTHER ARTICLES

TALK OF THE MONTH

CHINESE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY WILL HAVE THE LAST LAUGH

Swaminathan Venkataraman

Director, Nandini Consultancy (S) Pte.Ltd., Singapore

E mail :- swaminathan.v@nandinichemical.com

The recent decision of the Government of China to regulate the Carbon di sulphide industry by restricting the location for the new projects and stipulating other conditions ,only highlight the pragmatic futuristic approach of China in organising the chemical and allied industries.

In recent times, Government of China has taken similar regulatory measures with regard to number of other projects such as Calcium carbide, Polycrystalline silicon and others. Of course, the imposition of such measures have inevitably resulted in the closure of a few units which could not fulfill such conditions and have slowed down the growth of the particular industry.

But, such calculated moves are bound to do a lot of good to the health and progress of Chinese chemical industry in the coming years.

In recent times, there have been criticisms from many quarters , specially in the western countries, about the mushroom growth of chemical industries in China in the last decade and such pattern of development have been termed as chaotic and unplanned . But, we need to realise that such conditions are bound to happen, when a country would seek to move from a developing stage to a developed one.

If China were not to adopt such aggressive growth strategy in the developing stage, then it would have resulted in China excessively depending upon the developed countries for its technology needs and perhaps, its growth profile would have been limited by the willingness of the developed countries to provide or share the technology.

What chemical industries in China have done in the past have been to move ahead in an aggressive manner and obviously taking calculated risk in the process. Happily, with such approach, chemical industries in China have been able to move from a developing stage to the present one , where fine tuning of the development process are being carefully effected now and thus paving way for the

Chinese chemical industries to become globally competitive in all respects. What has to be noted is that while reviewing the past growth profile of chemical industries , the policy planners in China have learnt right lessons and have been careful in working out the future growth strategies, in tune with China’s strength and opportunities and experienced gained in the past. A few examples given below would illustrate this view.

Investment in coal based methanol projects

China’s massive investment in setting up coal based methanol projects have resulted in low capacity utilisation of just around 50% in the methanol industry.

China presently also sees a situation, where though it has surplus methanol capacity, the import of methanol from abroad , particularly from the middle east countries are quite substantial and Chinese chemical industries find it difficult to compete with such imported methanol even in Chinese territory. The reason is the low price of feed stock (natural gas) for methanol production in middle east countries , which has made the economics of natural gas based methanol projects in middle east countries to be better than the coal based methanol projects in China.

Under such circumstances, the extraordinary initiative taken by Chinese methanol industry to achieve capacity utilisation by launching and promoting coal to liquid projects and methanol to olefin ( ethylene and propylene ) projects are receiving great appreciation all over the world from discerning observers.

China’s efforts to develop indigenous technology with regard to coal to liquid projects have been reasonably successful and the methanol industry in China have also been pragmatic enough to utilise the overseas technologies such as that of UOP to set up CTL / MTO projects in China in a massive way, so as to not lose time and opportunities.

Before long, it is likely that China would dominate the global market with regard to cost effective olefin products produced from coal based methanol , which would happen with further fine tuning of the technology parameters.

China’s efforts to develop di methyl ether based on methanol is also bound to catch the imagination of the world sooner or later and fuel starved countries like India would view di methyl ether as an appropriate fuel .

Corn based ethanol projects

China’s recent decision on discouraging future production of corn based ethanol is also based on ground realities and represent an appropriate strategy.

China is now the second largest producer of corn in the world after USA. But, the economics of the corn based ethanol projects have become poor even in USA due to increasing price of corn and lowering price of ethanol.

Such conditions are reflected in China also, particularly due to the increasing requirement of corn for livestock feed. While corn based ethanol industry in USA is still struggling with the issue , China has moved with speed and directed that future ethanol projects in China would be largely based on other materials such as cassava. This may become a trend setter around the world in future with regard to feedstock for ethanol projects.

Uncertainty with regard to polycrystalline silicon project

Poly crystalline silicon projects in China have suffered heavily in recent times due to rapid expansion of capacity. With the slowing down of the European economy and imposition of anti dumping measures against the Chinese products such as polycrystalline silicon and solar panels by USA and some European countries and consequent fall in the export market , many units in China have been forced to close down and even large players have laid off several facilities. It remains to be seen as to how the Chinese silicon industry would respond to this challenge.

Government of China has announced number of measures to regulate the poly crystalline silicon industry and improve its efficiency level and operational parameters.

In recent times, the price of poly crystalline silicon have dropped down by more than half in the global market and capacity rationalisation in China has become necessary. While this is likely to take place in China, China will continue to remain as dominant player due to the expertise that it has already gained in the field by setting up and operating large capacity plants. In all probability, with the capacity for silicon products coming down in tune with the demand, the price of poly crystalline silicon would go up in the near future , enabling the Chinese industry to bounce back.

China’s move on Rare Earths project

By its aggressive production policies and thrust on exports, China now controls around 90% of the global market for rare earths. While China recently announced curbs on export of rare earths to conserve its resources, its move has sent shock waves amongst the electronics industry around the world.

This is a typical example of China rapidly expanding its production, penetrating the export market in a sustained manner over a period of time and then controlling the market.

Dominating share of citric acid in the global market

Similar is the story with regard to citric acid. China now produces over 90% of the world requirement of citric acid and holds around 70% of European market. Several citric acid units in Europe , Americas and India have closed down due to their inability to compete with China.

In the case of Citric acid also, China built large capacity more than its need and has successfully penetrated and dominated the global market and its world market position on citric acid is likely to remain unchallenged for long time to come.

Thrust on R & D

It needs to be kept in view that the future of Chinese chemical industry would not only depend on its confidence to build massive capacities to meet the requirement of the projected global market but also its realisation that innovative R&D efforts are required.

While it is a fact that strength of Chinese chemical industry in the R&D front is nowhere near the capability and achievements of R&D institutions in developed countries in Europe and USA, one cannot miss the fact that large multi national organisations like DuPont, DOW and others are themselves setting up large R&D centres in China, recognising the inherent strength and capability of China in this respect.

There have been many occasions of elegant cooperation between the Chinese universities and overseas R&D institutions , that promise great future for China’s R&D scenario.

Why Chinese chemical industry will have the last laugh ?

In the field of chemical industries, China is virtually becoming the manufacturing hub of the world.

In such huge manufacturing base in China, several European,Middle east, Asian countries and USA have a big share. It is to the credit of China that appropriate climate for investment and confidence building measures amongst overseas companies have been built over a period of time creditably, to enthuse the multi national companies to invest in China and cooperate with the Chinese companies.

With large domestic market base in China that has the potential to reach further high level with the growth in the economy , with China consolidating its prospects of emerging as a launching pad to catch the market in the other Asian and African countries, China is likely to become the largest chemical producing country in the world in the near future.

The critics of Chinese chemical industries are now sitting back and taking closer look at the strength and prospects of China , with more realistic understanding. China will have the last laugh at these critics.

SPOTLIGHT ON SPECIALITY CHEMICAL : XENON DIFLUORIDE

Xenon difluoride (XeF2) is used as an etching gas, primarily in the Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS).

The properties of XeF2 make it ideally suited to the etching of MEMS silicon and control of this step becomes more crucial, as the patterns etched become smaller and more complex.

XeF2 is a highly selective and directional etchant of silicon, which enables complex structures to be created quickly, uniformly and at the small sizes required for integration into almost any device.

Synonyms Xenon (II) fluoride; Xenon fluoride
Molecular formula XeF2
Physical form Solid crystals
CAS number 13709-36-9
Melting point 129 deg.C
Density 4.32 kg/L
Odour Pungent

Solubility

XeF2 is soluble in solvents such as BrF5, BrF3, IF5, anhydrous HF, and CH3CN, without reduction or oxidation.

Solubility in HF is high, at 167g per 100g HF at 29.95 deg.C

Safety

XeF2 can be safely destroyed /disposed off by dissolving in a slightly acidic water solution.

Contact with liquid organic materials (acetone, alcohol etc). should be avoided due to violent chemical reaction.

Paper can spontaneously combust on contact with XeF2 (solid).

XeF2 should never be stored in / with glass due to reaction and pressure increase.

Cylinders containing XeF2 should not be heated above 60 deg.C, as this may cause valve leakages.

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Applications
  • Demand driver
  • Synthesis
  • Important global producers
CARBAZOLE - PRODUCT PROFILE
Synonyms 9-azafluorene, dibenzopyrrole, diphenylenimine, diphenyleneimide
Molecular formula C12H9N
CAS No 86-74-8
Appearance White crystals or light brown powder
Stability Stable. Combustible. Incompatible with strong oxidizing agents, nitrogen oxides, potassium hydroxide
Toxicology Harmful by inhalation or ingestion. May be harmful in contact with skin. Suspected carcinogen.

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Application
  • Manufacturing process
  • Anti dumping measures on Carbazole Violet Pigment 23
  • Global scenario
  • Indian scenario
DIMETHYL FORMAMIDE – PRODUCT PROFILE
Alternate name DMF
CAS number 68-12-2
Molecular formula (CH3)2 CHON
Purity >99%
Appearance Colourless, hygroscopic liquid
Density (at 20 deg.C) 0.95 g per cm3
Solubility Freely miscible with water
Odour Characteristic amine like odour

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Product application
  • Indian scenario
  • Demand drivers in global market
  • Assessment of global demand
  • Pattern of global demand
  • Scenario in China
  • Process outline for DMF
INDIA SHOULD BENCH MARKWITH CHINESE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY

Nandini Consultancy Centre, a chemical business consultancy firm based in Chennai and Singapore organised a seminar at Chennai on 27th May,2013 on “Ups and downs of chemical industries in China – Lessons for India”.

Mr. N.S.Venkataraman, Director, Nandini Consultancy Centre, Chennai and Mr. Swaminathan Venkataraman, Director, Nandini Consultancy (S) Pte.Ltd., Singapore presented their research findings on the subject. The seminar was well attended by senior executives from chemical and allied industries and interactive discussions took place on the research findings presented during the seminar.

The seminar concluded with the following observations and recommendations on the various aspects of Chinese chemical industries and the lessons that India can learn from the Chinese experience.

China has now emerged as the largest chemical manufacturing base in the world, out beating USA. In the last ten years, share of China in the global chemical industry have moved from 6% to 12% whereas the share of USA has come down from 23% to 19% and that of Western Europe from 34% to 26%. Share of India has gone up from 2% to 3%. Obviously, chemical industries in China have grown at the cost of USA and Western Europe. This speaks volume about the dynamic and aggressive approach of Chinese chemical industry backed by proactive government policies.

The article discusses the subject in detail.

GAS ALLOCATION PLAN FOR POWER PLANTS TO LEAVE FERTILIZER SECTOR HIGH AND DRY

The power ministry has finalized a proposal that will allow it to corner a lion’s share of the domestic gas for running stranded power projects, leaving fertilizer units to meet their fuel needs largely through expensive re-gassified liquefied natural gas imports.

In a proposal for the Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI), the power ministry has justified priority gas allocation for the power plants as it would result in additional generation of 67 billion units of electricity, resulting in tariff realization of about Rs.37,000 crore, while fertilizer subsidy burden of the government would only increase by Rs.10,000 crore.

Higher power generation will also have significant multiplier effect on the overall economy, it added.

The power ministry has said that gas availability for the power sector could be increased by pooling resources within the fertilizer and power sectors after diverting 6 mmscmd of gas from the non-core sectors such as sponge iron and steel sectors and allocating 10 mmscmd of additional finds (5 mmscmd from ONGC and 5 mmscmd from GSPC) to the pool with present domestic gas prices.

The total availability of gas from domestic sources at present is around 20 mmscmd for fertilizer sector and 7 mmscmd for power sector.

The allocation for power sector from Reliance Industries KG D 6 block has fallen to almost zero, as the production from the block has bottomed to 16 mmscmd from peak of 60 mmscmd few years back.

This has put a question mark on about 18,000 MW of gas-based power capacity (excluding 5,783 MW of old central and state sector gas based stations), as they are struggling to operate in the absence of fuel. Bank exposure of about Rs.60,000 crore in these projects risk the chance of becoming NPAs.

The pooling exercise would increase the total availability of gas for power and fertilizer sectors to 43 mmscmd with the requirement of RLNG for the power sector reducing to 46 mmscmd for these 18,000 MW projects to run at 70 to 75 of plant load factor. It would also result in improving the ratio of domestic gas to RLNG to 48 to 52 and restrict variable cost of generation to reasonable level of Rs.6.76 per unit, said an official in power ministry.

PERFORMANCE OF ONGC

Public sector explorer ONGC has added 84.84 million metric tonnes to its reserves in a single year — 2012-13. This is the highest reserve accretion that ONGC has achieved in two decades.

This was possible after ONGC turned its focus to deep offshore instead of ‘on nomination’ fields, which are mature/ageing fields.

As a result of the discoveries made last year, ONGC now has much more oil, as well as oil-equivalent gas.

Large discoveries

What made the difference was that ONGC made large discoveries in blocks won under the licensing rounds as well as those awarded on nomination basis, before the New Exploration Licensing Policy regime came into existence.

Performance of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation is further discussed in this article.

UPDATE ON FDA’S ACTION AGAINST DRUG INDUSTRY

US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains a high degree of objectivity in its actions. The FDA's stringency of parameters, allows for giving a proper hearing to companies found to violate its norms and a system of graded penalties, irrespective of nationality.

There have been many cases in recent history, where many brand name companies have paid hefty penalties over non-compliance of GMP and some are still under investigation over faulty manufacturing processes.

The consent decree approach is taken only after a drug company has received repeated FDA warning letters concerning GMP observations and deficiencies and if these repeated offences have not been corrected.

Despite the US regulator finding irregularities at various drug sites of Big Pharma, they continue to do business as and when compliance is restored.

Wockhardt is the latest Indian drug maker to come under FDA fire.

Ranbaxy pleaded guilty to poor manufacturing practices and agreed to pay $500 million as penalty,

But even the brand name companies like GlaxoSmithKline, Boehringer Ingelheim and Hospira are not immune to being investigated and issued warning letters or even compelled to sign consent decrees by the FDA, when they were found guilty of not following good manufacturing practices (GMP) under US laws. .

The related details on following pharmaceutical companies are also discussed in this article

  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Hospira
  • Ben Venue Laboratories
  • McNeil
STATUS OF LENR TECHNOLOGY FOR ENERGY GENERATION

Compiled by Dr.Mahadeva Srinivasan

E-mail:chino37@gmail.com

The concept of LENR “Low Energy Nuclear Reactions” has been studied for several decades and has now finally taken its leap into reality.

Scientists worldwide have been quietly investigating low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR) for the past 20 years. Researchers in this field are now claiming paradigm-shifting results, including generation of large amounts of excess heat nuclear activity and transmutation of elements.

The energy source is nickel and hydrogen and the energy density is a factor of 100,000 or more compared to the combustion processes of today’s fossil fuels.

Although no current theory exists to explain all the reported phenomena, some scientists now believe quantum level nuclear reactions may be occurring. It is said that LENR can produce nuclear origin energy at room temperatures. This technology could revolutionize energy production and storage, since nuclear reactions release millions of times more energy per unit mass than do any known chemical fuel.

A third route to Nuclear Energy, besides fission and thermonuclear fusion, is thus close to becoming an industrial reality. The deep implications of this development to the global economic balance as well as the security environment is slowly being realized and appreciated.

E-Cat developed by Andrea Rossi

The year 2011 saw the Ni-H gas loaded system taking centre stage, displacing the earlier Pd-D system, as the more promising contender in the Cold Fusion /LENR field, following Andrea Rossi’s demonstration of a 10KWth Ni-H reactor in the presence of an invited audience of about 50 persons, at the University of Bologna, Italy on 14th January 2011.

The author discusses about the following subject in this article

  • Technology developed by Defkalion
  • Technology developed by Brillouin Energy Corporation (BEC) of Berkely
  • Indian initiative
  • Worldwide interest
  • Prospects for CF/LENR technology
GLOBAL DEMAND FOR PLASTIC PIPE - FINDINGS OF THE STUDY

Global demand for plastic pipe is projected to rise 8.5% annually through 2017 to 11.2 billion meters, improving significantly from growth posted between 2007 and 2012.

These and other trends are presented by World Plastic Group Inc., a Cleveland based industry market research firm.

PVC is by far the most widely used pipe resin, accounting for over 55% of global plastic pipe demand in 2012. Going forward, however, HDPE is expected to take market share from PVC in a variety of construction applications. For instance, as PEX becomes more common in many regional markets, the material will supplant PVC potable water distribution pipe.

Additionally, fiberglass demand for which has historically been limited because of its high price is beginning to be utilized in a wider array of water and wastewater settings because of its performance advantages.

Construction related applications will provide the most impetus for growth in plastic pipe demand in all global regions.

Global demand for plastic pipe is further discussed in this article.

OTHER FEATURES

PLANT CLOSURES

The article discusses the following closure plans

  • Cabot to close carbon black facility in Malaysia
  • Closer of phenolic resin unit in France

SAFETY AND ACCIDENT PAGE

The following article discusses the following accidents that occurred in the various countries

  • Fire in HPCL refinery
  • Latvia explosion halts production
  • Explosion in fertilizer unit in Texas, USA
  • Glochem bulk drug unit at Vizag Pharma City gutted

ANTI DUMPING PAGE

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

  • Polypropylene
  • Nonyl Phenol
  • Soda ash
  • Solar panel

NEWS ROUND UP - INTERNATIONAL

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed

  • Nitrogen liquefier
  • Fumed silica
  • NGL fractionation capacity in Texas,USA
  • Cellulosic fiber facility in Japan
  • Polypropylene project in Russia
  • Ion exchange resin capacity at Leverkusen
  • Rhodium scenario
  • Chlorine dioxide
  • Biocides
  • Substitution of olive oil by rice bran oil

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed

  • Catalytic methylation of amines with carbon dioxide
  • Scientists generate electricity from plants
  • Gold from corn starch
  • Cost-saving measure to upgrade ethanol to butanol
  • Butene Oxidization and Dehydrogenation Technology
  • UOP’s fractionators deal
  • Co-processing of non-edible oils
  • A fabric that drains away sweat
  • Plant based eggs
  • Nuclear technology helps in developing crop with desirable traits

CHINA NEWS

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed

  • Carbon disulfide industry in China
  • Revamping of rare earth projects in China
  • Methanol to olefin projects in China
  • Coal-to-gas project
  • New production plant for vae dispersions
  • Recycled cooking oil may power vehicles in Shanghai soon

AGRO CHEMICAL PAGE

Tool to prevent rust attack on wheat.

Much of the world’s wheat varieties are highly susceptible to stem rust attacks and the losses are estimated at $16.4 billion on a production level on 117 million tonnes.

An estimated 85% of wheat in production is susceptible to stem rust attacks, which can turn fields of wheat into blackened stubble with no grains at all.

Above subject is discussed in this article.

PHARMA PAGE

Following pharmaceutical products are discussed in this article

  • Bedaquiline - TB drug – Need for caution
  • Nanogel may end need for insulin injections
  • Diarrhoea vaccine
  • Novel drug against advanced prostate cancer

ENERGY PAGE

Nuclear Fuel Complex to raise output for meeting energy demand

Nuclear Fuel Complex, the sole supplier of fuel to the India’s nuclear power plants, has firmed up big plans to establish two major fuel fabrication facilities to meet the expected jump in nuclear power production.

One is a 500 metric tonnes a year fabrication facility at Kota in Rajasthan,with an investment of Rs. 1,6000 million. It will also have a 65 metric tonnes year zircaloy (zirconium alloy) plant. The project is awaiting final clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

The above topic is further discussed in this article.

OTHER ARTICLES
  • Price details
  • Price manipulation of oil
  • Ex Factory prices of chemicals in China in April 2013
  • Tenders
  • Chemicals imported at Chennai port during month of April 2013
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