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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Mar 2013

BUTYRIC ACID |POTASSIUM PERMANGANATE|CYMENE|ALGAE BIO FUEL
Highlights of Some of the Articles

TALK OF THE MONTH : WHITHER CSIR LABS ?
BUDGET THAT WILL NOT SOLVE ENERGY PROBLEMS
PRODUCT PROFILE - BUTYRIC ACID
PRODUCT PROFILE - POTASSIUM PERMANGANATE
PRODUCT PROFILE - CYMENE
POWER FROM ALGAE BIO FUEL – OPPORTUNITIES FOR INDIA
SHALE OIL MAY BOOST GLOBAL GDP
ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES IN SHALE GAS PRODUCTION IN USA
INDIAN COAL DEMAND TO TOUCH 981 MILLION TONNE IN FOUR YEARS
LIKELY INVESTMENT IN KG-D6 GAS FIELD
BIO BASED ETHYLENE PROJECTS
OTHER FEATURES
OTHER ARTICLES

TALK OF THE MONTH

WHITHER CSIR LABS?

With foresight and vision, Jawaharlal Nehru was instrumental in setting up chain of national research laboratories under the auspices of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. (CSIR) Today, there are 37 full fledged laboratories and 39 extension centres under its fold , employing around 18000 persons under various categories looking after scientific and administrative functions

CSIR labs operate in different disciplines namely Biological Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Engineering Sciences, Physical Sciences and Information Sciences. It is claimed that CSIR has been continually striving to achieve its objectives, that would lead to generation of new knowledge and new products, processes and technologies in diverse areas ranging from chemicals and drugs to materials and electronics; from safe drinking water and food technology to aerospace; and environment protection and toxicology to petroleum processing.

Having been established around 60 years back, it is now necessary to review the performance of CSIR, assess its contribution and judge whether CSIR has lived upto the expectations of the nation.

Financial dependence

In the year 2010-11, Government of India provided budgetary support of around Rs.2929 crores to CSIR labs by way of plan allocation and non plan allocation. However, the extra budgetary resource generated by CSIR labs have been only around Rs. 631 crore in the year 2010-11. (Source : Annual report of CSIR 2010-11). Over the last several years, thousands of crores of rupees of tax payer’s money have been pumped into CSIR labs by Government of India.

Obviously, even after more than sixty years of functioning, CSIR labs are heavily dependent on government budgetary support for its survival and existence. In other words, it has not been able to justify its existence and functioning from the point of view of financial performance.

While the government funding for research efforts are justifiable, the question is whether it should be so heavy even after 60 years of functioning of CSIR labs. and even for its existence and survival. Even scientific pursuits should make commercial sense.

One can legitimately argue that with such high dependence of CSIR labs on government funding support for over six decades and with no likelihood of CSIR becoming financially independent in the foreseeable future , strong case certainly exist to review the contribution of CSIR labs to the national technological advancement in a meaningful way.

Patents and Papers

While reviewing the annual report of CSIR for the last several years, it would be seen that substantial portion of the reports are devoted to cover the number of papers published, patents filed and obtained.

There is not so much of reference to the commercialisation of technologies developed . While some technologies have been commercialised, certainly they are not commensurate with the investments made and resources spent .

Technology development efforts would be meaningful , only if it would contribute to transform and support the industrial growth of the country by way of process optimisation, product development , application development efforts etc. On the other hand, most of the efforts of CSIR appear to be ending in just papers and patents.

The issues

There are many scientists and technologists working in CSIR who are knowledgeable and have expertise in their area of research but they seem to be constrained by the functioning climate in CSIR.

While those working in CSIR often complain about domination and interference by bureaucrats in the decision taking process and red tapism , the problem does not appear to be as simple as this. Many industry personnel having opportunity to work with CSIR institutions complain that the work culture is not upto the desired standards and are much different from the work culture prevailing in similar research laborotaries functioning in developed countries. Lack of sense of urgency is clearly evident. Obviously, there is no accountability by the scientists for the results obtained vis a vis efforts made. The system for rewards and promotions appear to be largely based on seniority and years spent and not on the work output. Such systems are largely based on the prevailing pattern in the government departments and public sector undertakings, which are not appropriate for scientific establishments.

One cannot forget the fact that sometime back , there was even agitation by CSIR staff complaining about the promotion policies, wage parity etc.

Commercialisation of technologies and industry confidence

The purpose of research and development is to develop and optimise technologies that can be commercially exploited and that would lead to industry growth in healthy direction. From this point of view, CSIR’s performance appear to be dismal. While some technologies have been commercialised, they are too few and far between, compared to the investments made and years spent.

A number of technologies developed on bench scale in CSIR labs have not proved adequate when scaled to commercial size plant. In such circumstances, the industry confidence in the capabilities of CSIR labs are poor. There are number of simple technologies which can well be well handled by CSIR, but industry prefer to go abroad for buying such technologies paying exhorbitant cost.

Many examples can be readily cited. For example, Central Electrochemical Research Institute , Karaikudi started working on production of Titania Slag from ilmenite more than twenty years back and nothing has come out of this of this work in industrial scale. Central Salt Marine Chemical Research Institute, Bhavnagar has been working on algae farm for many years now but still it has not been able to come with any internationally competitive technology for optimising the yield in the algae farms, which could be commercialised at competitive global standards. Many other examples are well known.

The reports of the CAG about the performance of CSIR have been very critical on several occasions but no follow up action appear to have been taken on such reports.

Lack of adequate confidence of the industry on CSIR to bank on its technology are too evident to be ignored.

What is the way out ?

India is in urgent need of breakthrough in R&D efforts in appropriate directions. India still remains as one of the large buyers of technology in the world. India buys technology even from small countries like South Korea, Taiwan and Israel. CSIR has to accept part of the blame for this situation.

Government of India is now going ahead with its privatisation policies as a matter of routine. Obviously, such privatisation of public sector units are being done not only with the objective of getting resources to bridge the budget deficit but also clearly recognising that the management by private sector could be far more efficient and productive than what the government can do. The same logic should be applicable for CSIR also.

As a process of reform, the Government of India should take urgent steps to privatise CSIR labs and may even invite overseas organisations to take share in equity .

Government should continue to provide fund support for research initiatives in a calculated manner for specific projects in priority areas but let the research work be done by the privatised CSIR labs and the private sector management can certainly manage the research and development activities with well planned targets , purposive and commercial objectives , that would inevitably contribute to the growth and development of science and technology in India.

In this case, government can certainly scrutinise the functioning of the institutions with regard to the grants that it would provide.

BUDGET THAT WILL NOT SOLVE ENERGY PROBLEMS

The budget for 2013-14 is one more event of missed opportunity, as far as the chemical, petrochemical and biotech industries are concerned.

The country's economic growth can be stepped up only by adopting improved technology practices and energy management. Nothing worthwhile has been said about new initiatives in this regard.

India is facing impending energy crisis, with the import of crude oil, coal and natural gas increasing at alarming proportions, with the indigenous production remaining nearly at standstill level. Because of this heavy dependence on import of energy source, national economy has become highly vulnerable to international price fluctuations and the cartels. There is great urgency to find out appropriate energy source for India in tune with India's strength and opportunities.

Such appropriate source can be obtained only by going for bio fuels based on jatropha and algae. Due to lack of government support and incentive programme, the jatropha bio fuel industry, started with great fanfare a few years back ,has now virtually collapsed. While millions of dollars are being spent in developed countries including USA for development of technology for algae bio fuel , practically nothing has been done in this regard in India. India has great advantages with regard to algae bio fuel , which can be produced in large quantity and used as energy source for power sector.

Several mails have been to the Government of India to view jatropha bio fuel and algae bio fuel as the thrust area for research and development and for setting up production facilities in a massive way.

This budget makes no mention about such urgent national needs . It is disappointing that such suggestions have not been heard by the Union Finance Minister.

PRODUCT PROFILE - BUTYRIC ACID

Butyric acid is a fat molecule and is composed of a glycerol molecule joined to three fatty acid molecules.

Appearance Clear liquid
Molecular formula C4H8O2
CAS NO 107-92-6
Chemical name Butanic acid,Butanoic acid, Propylformic acid
Other names Butyric acid; 1-Propanecarboxylic acid
Corrosivity Non-corrosive in presence of glass
Solubility Miscible in water

Toxicity

Acute oral toxicity (LD50) 2000 mg/kg [Rat]
Acute dermal toxicity (LD50) 530 mg/kg [Rabbit]

The following details are discussed in this article 

  • Application
  • Production
  • Producers
  • Price
  • Indian demand supply scenario
PRODUCT PROFILE - POTASSIUM PERMANGANATE

Potassium permanganate is a compound of manganese, potassium and oxygen. It is dark purple or bronze like odourless crystals.

Its solutions are faint pink to deep violet, depending on concentration.

Molecular formula: KMNO4

Materials intended for drinking water treatment must conform to NSF standard 60 in the United States and to DIN 19169 in the Federal Republic of Germany

The following details are discussed in this article

  • Application
  • Indian Import/ export
  • Indian manufacturers
  • Demand
  • Sectorwise demand pattern
  • Global demand supply scenario
  • Global manufacturers
  • New project in China
  • Global demand
  • Anti dumping duty in USA
  • Global Import / export
  • Control on distribution of potassium permanganate in Europe
  • Cure for protozoan parasite
  • Ground water treatment, Process outline and Prognosis
PRODUCT PROFILE - CYMENE

Cymene or p-cymene, is a naturally occurring aromatic organic compound. It is classified as a hydrocarbon related to a monoterpene.

It is insoluble in water, but miscible with ethanol and ether.

Other names 1-Methyl-4-(1-methylethyl)benzene, 4-Isopropyltoluene; Paracymene
Appearance Colourless liquid with a characteristic odour
CAS NO. 99-87-6
Density 0.857 g per cm3
Stability Stable. Flammable. Incompatible with strong oxidizing agents, strong acids, strong bases
Toxicity Acute oral toxicity (LD50): 3669 mg/kg [Rat]
Molecular Formula C10H14

Cymene is insoluble in water, but miscible with ethanol and ether.

The following details are discussed in this article.

  • Application
  • Process
  • Technology
  • Indian Import of p-cymene
POWER FROM ALGAE BIO FUEL – OPPORTUNITIES FOR INDIA
PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEMINAR AT CHENNAI

Chemical Industries Association , an apex body representing cross section of chemical and allied industries organised an interactive and brain storming seminar on “Algae/Algae bio fuel - India’s opportunities” at Hotel Savera, Chennai on 9th February,2013.

The seminar was attended by representatives from chemical and agro industries from all over India.

The seminar was inaugurated by Sri. P.N.Devarajan, a renowned chemical engineer, Ex - Director Reserve Bank of India and former Group President , Reliance Industries Ltd. The seminar was presided over by Sri. P.K.N.Panicker, President, Chemical Industries Association and former President of Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers. Valedictory address was delivered by Sri.P.S.Balasubramaniam, former Managing Director, Tamil Nadu Petro Products.

The objective of the seminar is to review the algae bio fuel policies of the governments in different countries , importance of promoting algae bio fuel industry in India in a big way, need for R & D initiatives and the appropriate strategies for the country.

Papers were presented during the seminar by senior chemical engineers and agricultural scientists.

The following resolutions were adopted at the end of the seminar .

1. Algae bio fuel based mini power plants in algae complex to be set up in rural areas

2. Multiple benefits of algae farm and need for research efforts

3. Need for algae policy

4. Algae bio fuel – the definite option for India

SHALE OIL MAY BOOST GLOBAL GDP- FINDINGS OF THE STUDY

Worldwide shale oil production could add $2.7 trillion to the global economy annually by 2035 by slashing the price of crude by as much as $50 a barrel, PwC said.

Shale oil production could surge to 14 million barrels per day or as much as 12 percent of total oil output from around 1 percent now, as it expands from its U.S. base over the next two decades,That could lift global gross domestic product by between 2.3 percent and 3.7 percent per year by 2035, according to the report, "Shale oil: the next energy revolution.

Lower global oil prices due to increased shale oil supply could have a major impact on the future evolution of the world economy by allowing more output to be produced at the same cost," John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC and co-author of the report, said.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES IN SHALE GAS PRODUCTION IN USA

Few places on earth bear the scars of oil production like Long Beach, California.

Parts of the city have sunk by as much as 29 feet from their original level because of subsidence caused by extraction of billions of barrels of oil from the giant Wilmington field lying directly beneath the city's streets and the adjoining harbour.

Environment issues relating to shale gas production in USA is further discussed in this article.

INDIAN COAL DEMAND TO TOUCH 981 MILLION TONNE IN FOUR YEARS - FINDINGS OF THE STUDY

Coal demand is expected to increase seven per cent every year to touch 981 million tonnes (mt) in the next four fiscals. This will be largely fuelled by the sharp increase in demand from the power sector, said IMaCS, a development consulting firm.

Indian coal demand, production and future coal imports are further discussed in this article.

LIKELY INVESTMENT IN KG-D6 GAS FIELD

BP and Reliance Industries, partners in oil exploration in India, plans to invest in excess of $5 billion over the next three to five years. This investment will be made in a series of projects to develop around 4 trillion cubic feet of discovered natural gas resources from the KG-D6 block under the block's enhancement plan.

At current international liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices, it would cost more than $50 billion to import this volume of gas into India,. The implementation of the various projects in the KG-D6 enhancement plan is subject to regulatory and government approvals.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

BIO BASED ETHYLENE PROJECTS - A GLOBAL REVIEW

Biobased PE and other derivatives of ethanol-based ethylene will remain premium-priced specialty products for at least the next few years,

Industry efforts to develop ethanol-to-ethylene units and downstream capacities have been limited. Only two companies produce biobased ethylene at meaningful scale, and total biobased-ethylene capacity makes up just 0.2% of global ethylene production.

This article reviews the related activities of the organization.

OTHER ARTICLES

ETHYLENE PROJECTS IN USA BEING REVIVED

Dow idled the St. Charles unit in January 2009 following an extended period when operating rates in North America were in the low-80% range. Other producers idled or closed units as well and 2.4 million metric tonne of regional production capacity 6.7% of the total was taken off the market between 2008 and 2010.Total nameplate North American ethylene capacity in 2011 was 33.4 million metric tonne and operating capacity was 89.9%.

But, these projects are now being reviewed.

Following ethylene projects are discussed in this article

  • Dow Chemical
  • Ethylene plant in the United States based on shale gas
  • Ethylene expansion at Lake Charles, LA

SAFETY AND ACCIDENT PAGE

Accidents occurred in China’s aniline plant is discussed

PLANT CLOSURES

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

  • Polysilicon facility facing closure
  • VCM plant at Lake Charles in USA
  • Methanex to temporarily shut operations in Chile
  • Reichhold to shut facility due to hurricane sandy damage
  • BASF, Petronas halt plans for jv within Rapid project
  • Penrice to close Australia’s soda ash plant

NEWS ROUND UP - INTERNATIONAL

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

  • Likely global glut scenario for lead
  • Acquisition by Bayer CropScience
  • 1,6-hexanediol
  • Butanol
  • High molecular weight polyethylene
  • BASF divests Conica Sports Surfaces business
  • Petchem expansion in Singapore
  • MTBE
  • Dichlorobenzene capacity of Lanxess in Germany
  • Helium deposits in Siberia
  • Biobased hotmelt adhesives
  • Phthalate-free plasticizer
  • HDPE start-up in Serbia
  • Soda ash plant in Turkey
  • Sulfur-enhanced fertilizers
  • Oxo alcohols
  • Sulfonated naphthalene formaldehyde
  • Safety of HFC replacement - R-1234yf
  • Xanthan gum

NEWS ROUND UP - INDIA

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

  • Reliance contracts to Jamnagar projects
  • ONGC ‘s plans for gas exploration
  • Western offshore fields to be completed this year
  • GSFC buys stake in potash company
  • Second desalination plant in Chennai
  • Feasibility study for LNG terminal in Karnataka

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed

  • Spent malt as cattle fodder to boost milk production
  • Waterborne solar plants
  • Micro-fibrillated cellulose technology
  • Supercritical hydrolysis for bio based sugar production.
  • Integrated biorefinery based on garbage
  • Dow licenses quantum dot technology
  • Stretchable battery

USING FISH WASTE TO MAKE A LOW BUDGET CROP NUTRIENT

Vivekananda Kendra –Natural Resources Development (Vk- Nardep), an NGO in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu has developed a new technology using fish wastes to make a nutrient ,at offers all the vital ingredients needed for crop growth in an organic way through locally available resources.

Though fish is available throughout the year, during the post monsoon season, huge quantity of fish waste as well as non-edible fish related waste are generated both in village markets and also in household kitchens.The disposal of this waste material poses a big problem. As the fish-waste contains rich proteins, it cannot be kept beyond 24 hours. This waste material becomes the basic substrate for the bio-formulation developed . This also solves the problem of pollution and waste-disposal.

Following subjects are further discussed in this article.

  • Outline of the process
  • Shelf life

CHINA NEWS

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed

  • Caprolactam projects in China
  • Hexamethylene diamine
  • Honeywell’s UOP technology for petrochemical production
  • PTMEG
  • World-scale isononanol plant
  • Phenol/Acetone

AGRO CHEMICAL PAGE

The recent developments on the following products are updated

  • Herbicide-tolerant corn from Dow
  • Flubendiamide

AREA UNDER GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS

Global acreage under biotech or genetically modified (GM) crops continued to expand in 2012, but the pace was a bit slow than previous year.

Interestingly, for the first time since the introduction of these crops in 1996, the developing countries now have more area under GM crops compared to their industrialised counterparts.

In 2012, an additional 10.3 million hectares (mh) came under GM crops against 12 mh in 2011.

Following subjects are further discussed in this article.

  • Steady Growth
  • Global area of biotech crops

PHARMA PAGE

Following pharmaceutical products are discussed in this article

  • Asthma drug may help treat diabetes, obesity - Amlexanox
  • Technology to predict effect of drugs - OncoprintR
OTHER ARTICLES
  • Price Details - Chlor-Alkali Prices, Ex Factory Prices Of Chemicals In China Chemical Market during the period of January,2013
  • Tenders
  • Chemicals imported at the Chennai port during the month of December 2012
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