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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal,May 2013

HCFC 125 |CALCIUM D SACCHARATE|POLYTRIMETHYLENE TEREPHTHALATE
Highlights of Some of the Articles

TALK OF THE MONTH : ASSAULT  ON  KOODANKULAM
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS TO PRODUCE ETHANOL FROM AGAVE
HCFC 125 -  EMERGING  REFRIGERANT
SPOTLIGHT ON SPECIALITY CHEMICAL CALCIUM D SACCHARATE
WISHFUL  PRICE  FORECAST   FOR  SOLAR  POWER
POLYTRIMETHYLENE TEREPHTHALATE PRODUCT PROFILE
UNCERTAINTIES  FACING  KOCHI  LNG  PROJECT
DEMAND GROWTH TREND FOR BIOTECH PRODUCTS  FINDINGS OF THE STUDY
SHOULD NATURAL GAS BE PREFERRED FOR POWER OR FERTILISER INDUSTRY?
ACQUISTION / MERGER -  INTERNATIONAL
SAFETY AND ACCIDENT PAGE
ANTI DUMPING PAGE
OTHER ARTICLES

TALK OF THE MONTH - ASSAULT  ON  KOODANKULAM

Koodankulam  nuclear power plant is now in the advanced stage of commissioning and it has become  subject of animated discussions for several years ,with determined group of “environmentalists and activists” trying to stall the project at any cost.

Several issues relating to safety of nuclear power plants have already been answered convincingly in several TV debates and print media. The problem  is that the detractors listen to all the answers and put the same questions once again !

Let us confine  to one  issue that has been raised  recently by  the opponents of Koodankulam nuclear power plant relating to the  so called “substandard equipment”  .  It is particularly sad that even a former Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission , who was privy to several of decisions earlier when he served  in Atomic Energy Commission , has thought it fit to  make  adverse remarks about the equipment installed in Koodankulam nuclear power plant , though he left the Atomic Energy Commission long back and  certainly did not have the opportunity to inspect and  test the equipment  presently installed in Koodankulam  plant  himself.

Any engineer would know that in all chemical, nuclear and other projects, all equipment  and pipelines would be subjected to  rigorous tests and trial runs before commissioning the project. If any inadequacies are found , they would be rectified.  If one equipment fail the test, it would not mean that the project would be unsafe. The particular equipment would be replaced and re tested again.  This is the normal practice and  are  called test runs and  trial runs. Whether an equipment is inadequate or not would be known during the trial runs and this is not considered as a cause for alarm. If the whole project has to be scrapped if one part of the equipment would be found defective, then no project can be commissioned.  These are all simple and well known matter and it is surprising that even such things have to be explained.

It is also very well known that nuclear plants have extremely stringent safety procedures  and have to be certified by  another  body   who are not part of the project team  and several times in the past, the approval  have been denied for some facilities until they would be rectified

If the former Chief of Atomic Energy Commission and now a bitter critic  thinks that Koodankulam plant should be scrapped,there are number of other eminent scientists and technologists in India who are satisfied about this project. This include several former Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission and senior executives who worked for long years in Atomic Energy Commission as well as several scientists  and engineers presently   involved in designing and operating nuclear plants in India.

The fact is  (which has already been pointed out several times) that all nuclear plants in India are operating with excellent   safety track record for several years.   It has also been pointed out several times that many  nuclear plants are in operation in the world in  highly safety conscious countries in Europe and north America  and more plants are being built in several countries today including Asia and Middle East countries

There are well trained scientists and engineers involved in maintaining and operating the nuclear plants   in India , who are as much Indians as the pledged critics and  such scientists and engineers  (some of whom are treated with high respect in developed countries) vouch for the safety of the Koodankulam  plant.

The country should have faith in  the utterances  and claims  of scientists and technologists and that is how development of science and technology have taken place around the world.

Particularly in the case of sophisticated  and intricate  technologies, which are difficult for lay man to completely understand, the views of the majority of scientists have to be accepted , without attributing any motives to them.

Discussions  with regard to topics such as Koodankulam nuclear plant cannot be carried out in the same manner as the vexed political and economic issues , when any one may think that they are competent to comment.

It would be in the interest of India’s progress if the critics of Koodankulam nuclear plant, large number of whom are activists, ex bureaucrats and politicians,  accept their limitations with regard to  their understanding of technology issues and   leave the matter to the  wisdom and  decision of the scientists, who are as much concerned about the safety issues and welfare of India as anyone else.

HUGE DEFICIENCY  IN NATIONAL GOVERNANCE

 The following three instances  clearly indicate  how poorly the India is being governed.

1. Around Rs. 15000 crores have been spent  on Koodankulam nuclear  power plant which is yet to be commissioned even after  ten years of starting the  construction activity. At the same time, Tamil Nadu where Koodankulam plant is located has power deficiency of around 4000 MW and on an average  around  8 hours of  power cut  every day is imposed in most part of the state.  Many small and medium scale industries in Tamil Nadu  have been forced to close  down due to want of power   and thousands of semi skilled and unskilled workers  belonging to lower income group have been rendered jobless.

2. Kochi  LNG  terminal  is now ready for commissioning after protracted delay , with the investment of around Rs.4000 crores. But, the pipelines to transport the natural gas from the terminal  to user industries are not ready. Therefore, the Kochi terminal, when it would be finally commissioned in   July, 2013  can operate only at less than 15% capacity. No one is sure today as to when the laying of pipelines  to transport gas from the terminal would be completed.

3.  About 9000 MW of natural gas based power plants with investment of around Rs. 50,000 crores are stranded in various parts of the country due to inadequate supply of natural gas. Some of these plants have shut down , some are functioning below 30% capacity and a few others are generating power using other costlier fuels. The government has not been able to ensure supply of natural gas for these projects to operate them; even as huge investment have been made,  the power projects have been completed and several states are reeling  under serious power shortage scenario.

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS TO PRODUCE ETHANOL FROM AGAVE

Agave is a plant which can be grown in marginal or desert land and therefore, it would not displace food crops.Agave can grow on hot dry land with a high-yield and has low environmental impact.

Agave plants are found in all kind of soils, from shallow and eroded with steep slopes to flatter lands with better fertility conditions. Agave is distributed geographically worldwide.

Agave fibers contain 65 percent to 78 percent cellulose. With new technology, it may be  possible to breakdown over 90 percent of the cellulose and hemicellulose structures, which will increase yield of ethanol and other liquid biofuels from lignocellulosic biomass drastically.

Traditional application

Agave thrives largely in Mexico and is traditionally used to produce liquor such as tequila.

Agave have also been used traditionally for fiber, food, medicine and building materials.

Botanical traits and cultivation

The agave plant is closely related to the lily and amaryllis families.

Agave has a rosette of thick fleshy leaves, each of which usually end in a sharp point with a spiny margin.

Following matters  are discussed in this article

  • Competitive advantages of agave
  • Applications
  • Research efforts
  • Comparative distilled ethanol production
  • Cultivation and use in Mexico
  • Agave plant in Australia
  • Indian scenario

Guayule rubber has been emerging as an attractive and sustainable alternative to both natural rubber and synthetic rubber.

Guayule is a desert plant indigenous to the southwest United States and northern Mexico. Guayule thrives in hot, dry ecosystems .Guayule needs low input of water, nutrients and pesticides — less than many other crops and can be grown under arid and semi-arid climatic conditions, which dominate a majority of the earth’s climate.

Guayule plant is receiving importance due to its hypoallergenic properties.  It is an alternate source of latex that is also hypo allergenic.

Guayule is a natural source of elastomeric materials which are free of antigenic proteins. Amoung the 16 species of the genus Parthenium, guayule is the only species known to produce rubber and it can be used as a commercial source of natural rubber. The plant contains up to 20% rubber which is deposited in parenchymatous cells, primarily in the vascular rays of stems and roots.

The applications of the biorubber in both solid and emulsion forms have increased in scope and ctions have been forged amongst number of industry players to develop consumer and industrial products that would be launched in future.

Applications of Guayule

Natural rubber made from guayule  does not contain proteins that cause latex allergies while, Hevea-derived rubber contains proteins that causes severe allergic reactions to people.

Guayule plant produces terpene resins, which are natural pesticides as  it is resistant to many pests and diseases.

Guayule can be an economical and  environmentally friendly source of bio fuel.

The following details are discussed in this article

  • Cultivation
  • Process for natural rubber from Guayule
  • Advantages of biorubber for guayule
  • Bioprocessing technology for rubber
  • Biofuel
  • Products produced by Yulex corporation.
  • Research grant
  • Efforts of CIRAD
  • Joint venture between Yulex and Versalis
  • Process for ethanol from guayule developed by Albany
  • Approval for rubber gloves from guayule
  • R & D plans of Bridgestone
  • India’s efforts to cultivate Guayule
  • Prognosis
HCFC 125 -  EMERGING  REFRIGERANT
Chemical formula CHF2CF3
CAS number   354-33-6
Synonyms

1,1,1,2,2-pentafluoroethane, R-125,   HCFC 125, HFC 125

Related to HFC group,  R 125 is a refrigerant and it does not contain chlorine and refrigerant is fire safe.

Physical/chemical properties

Appearance:                    Colorless and Odourless

HCFC 125 is electrically non-conductive, non-corrosive and leaves no residue.

HCFC 125 is a refrigerant that has zero ozone depletion potential. Although it has zero ozone depletion potential, it has high global warming potential, reported by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as 3450 times that of carbon dioxide.

Density of liquid (25  deg.C, g/cm3) 1.245
Vapour pressure  (25 deg,C, Mpa) 1.371
ODP       0.00
GWP     3.400

Flammability: Non flammable

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Comparison with other refrigerants
  • Applications
  • Process technology
  • Global producers
  • New project under planning in India
SPOTLIGHT ON SPECIALITY CHEMICAL CALCIUM D SACCHARATE

Calcium D-saccharate is calcium salt of D-glucaric acid.

Glucaric acid is derived by oxidizing D-glucose with nitric acid.

CAS No.  5793-89-5
Appearance  White, odorless, tasteless, crystalline powder
Molecular  formula C6H8CaO8.4H2O

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Product application
  • Process
  • Import/Export
  • Indian producers `
  • Production
  • Prognosis
WISHFUL  PRICE  FORECAST   FOR  SOLAR  POWER

Price of poly crystalline silicon and wafers which are used in the production of solar power modules have fallen by nearly three quarters in the last one year.  Naturally, this has resulted in speculation in India that the cost of production of solar power would come down drastically.

While it has already come down  to a large extent,  many solar players in India think that the price would further fall down and some have even gone to the extent of predicting that the price of solar power may become as low as Rs.4 per unit in the near future

In the recent government bids under the Phase II  of National solar Mission, some of the bidders are reported to have quoted solar power price of Rs. 6.50 per unit.

However, it is doubtful as to whether such wishful thinking would  materialise.

It is necessary to keep in mind that the  fall in the production cost of solar power has not been due to any significant technology advancement , though  several technology initiatives are being made. The fall in the cost is only due to the fall in the price of poly crystalline silicon and wafers in recent times due to  over capacity creation in China.

Earlier, governments in Europe and USA provided subsidies to buy Chinese  made solar panels as part of commitments to boost renewable energy.  Such incentives created a glut of suppliers in China since 2010.

Meanwhile ,debt crisis in Europe has forced European countries to cut government subsidies to the solar sector.  U S imposed a 31% tariff on Chinese wafers, complaining that manufacturers in China were being underwritten by the   Chinese government. Due to subsidy  cuts in Europe, pace of progress of solar industry have slowed and orders for Chinese companies rapidly reduced.  The price of poly  crystalline silicon plummeted to below 20 US$ per kilogramme from  more than 100US$ at one time.

The above subject is dicussed in this article

OVER VIEW OF INDIAN SOLAR POWER PROJECTS

National Solar Mission – Targets

Phase

I

II

III

Period

2010-13

2013-17

2017-22

 

Grid based capacity addition (MW)

1,100

4,000

20,000

 

Off-grid capacity addition (MW)

200

1,000

2,000

 

Target

Promote off-grid applications + moderate grid capacity addition

 

Aggressive grid addition

through renewable purchase obligation (RPO)

Aggressive capacity addition with reducing cost

 

Solar collectors

7 million sq. feet

15 million sq. feet

20 million sq. feet

 

Solar photovoltaic installations in India

India has over 40 private solar players

Cumulative installations in India:  Over 1.2-GW

Installations in 2012 was          980 MW, which was slightly lower than its forecast of 1,090-MW

Delays in the commissioning of solar photovoltaic (PV) projects and States missing their renewable portfolio obligations (RPO) were cited as the main reasons for the shortfall.

Expected installation in 2013    1.3 to 1.4 GW

Following details  are discussed in this article

  • Key issues
  • Subsidy support
  • Indian cell and module industry in dire straits
  • Government policy on import of modules and cells
  • Import dumping
  • Irrational custom duty
  • Views of Indian Solar Manufacturers' Association
  • China's solar companies in Disarray
  • Overcapacity issues in China and price fall
  • Polysilicon Industry in China
  • Strategies of Chinese industry
  • Cost of solar power
  • Forecast on price scenario for solar power
  • Grid parity
POLYTRIMETHYLENE TEREPHTHALATE PRODUCT PROFILE

Polytrimethylene terephthalate (PTT) was first patented in 1941, but it was not until the 1990s, when Shell Chemicals developed the low-cost method of producing high quality 1,3-propanediol (PDO), the starting raw material for PTT, that enabled commercial production of PTT

PTT has unique properties as compared to the other aromatic polyesters such as PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and PBT (polybutylene terephthalate).

The applications of PTT are to be found mainly in the textile industry.

PTT fibers are claimed to be both soft and extremely stain resistant and have  high strength and stiffness.

Comparative properties

PTT has slightly more power stretch and recovery than PBT and more than
nylon 66, nylon  6 and polyester

Type

PTT

Conventional polyester

 

PBT

Nylon 66

Tensile Strength (cN/dtex)

3.4 – 3.7

3.7– 4.4

3.5

4.1 – 4.5

Elongation at break (%)

36 -42

30 – 38

38

32 – 44

Initial Young’s modulus (cN/dtex

23

97

23

31

Tensile recovery from 20% elongation (%)

88

29

40

62

Specific gravity

1.34

1.38

1.34

1.14

Moisture regain (%)

0.4

0.4

0.4

4.5

Boil shrinkage (%)

14

7

15

13

Melting point ( deg C)

230

254

230

253

Glass transition point (deg C)

51

69

25

76

Weathering resistance

Negligible loss of strength

Negligible loss of strength

Negligible loss of strength

Moderate loss of strength

Yellowing resistance (w/exposure to NOX-BHT, vanillin, and dry heat)

Negligible yellowing

Negligible yellowing

Negligible yellowing

Yellowing under some conditions

Following details  are discussed in this article

  • Applications
  • Process
  • Technology developments
  • Plant closures
  • Important producers
  • Scenario in China
  • Global demand pattern
  • New project
  • Indian import
  • Prognosis
UNCERTAINTIES  FACING  KOCHI  LNG  PROJECT

Kochi LNG  terminal, costing around  Rs. 4300 crores,  is being built by Petronet   LNG Ltd.(consortium of Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), both of which are public sector enterprises.

The terminal at Kochi is expected to meet  the  enormous demand of natural gas for power, fertilizers, petrochemicals and various other industries in the Southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka .

Construction of LNG Receiving, Storage & Regasification Terminal at Kochi has been going on for more than four years now.

The terminal was initially planned for a throughput of 2.5 million metric tonnes per annum. However, within the course of the project construction, it was decided   to raise its capacity to 5 million metric tonnes per annum,  in view of projected high demand potential of LNG in south Indian markets, thereby extending the project completion date from its earlier planned 2011.

Several schedules announced in the past for the mechanical completion of the  facility  have not been adhered to.  The earlier  deadline announced was 2nd quarter of 2012   and the latest schedule is July,2013.

User industries in Kerala not yet ready :

Even if the mechanical completion  of the terminal would be completed in the next few months and the procedures   for receiving natural gas from foreign countries have been completed, the Kochi LNG terminal facility is   facing huge uncertainty at the present time

Follwing details are discussed in this article

  • The proposed LNG based power project at Kochi
  • Proposal to use LNG for thermal power plant at Kayankulam
  • Gas pipeline project in serious trouble:
  • Delay  in  GAIL’s   LNG  pipeline  project in Tamil Nadu
  • Uncertain future of Kochi LNG project :
  • Who is responsible ?
  • Need for pragmatic approach from the governments  and the project management
DEMAND GROWTH TREND FOR BIOTECH PRODUCTS  FINDINGS OF THE STUDY

The biotechnology sector in India will achieve a revenue of $11.6 billion in 2017, growing at a CAGR of 22%, according to a recent report from Ernst & Young.

The key growth drivers of the $4.3 billion industry include strong domestic demand for biotech products, growth in contract services, focus on R&D initiatives and strong government support for the sector, the report said.

Industry comprises of five sub segments, out of which bio-pharma leads with a revenue share of 62%, followed by bio-services 18% and the bio-agri division with a share of 15% during 2012.

The global biotechnology industry continued on a path of recovery in 2012 as public companies in the sector achieved top- and bottom-line growth for the third straight year, even while R&D spending remained under pressure at many companies.

India provides cost advantages in drug discovery and development and will sustain its competitiveness as compared to other high-cost locations.

R&D spending by public companies has grown by 5%, well below the 9% growth rate achieved in 2011. While expenditures remained strong at commercial leaders, pre-commercial entities substantially reduced R&D spending, the report said.

"Therefore, pressure on global biotech players could result in them getting into arrangements or partnerships with Indian companies to leverage the cost advantage and technical expertise to optimize their R&D spend effectively," the report added.

SHOULD NATURAL GAS BE PREFERRED FOR POWER OR FERTILISER INDUSTRY?

India produces less than 100 million standard cubic metres of natural gas per day (MMSCMD).Another about 50 MMSCMD is imported as liquefied natural gas (LNG). However, the immediate demand from various sectors and mainly from power plants can easily absorb another 100 MMSCMD.

At present, gas-based fertiliser plants get top priority in allocation of scarce natural gas. They are followed by LPG-extraction units, with gas-based power plants placed third in the priority list.

Today, priority gas allocation to fertiliser units is being questioned. Fertiliser plants use major part of gas as feedstock, unlike power plants which burn it as fuel.

Following details  are discussed in this article

  • Natural gas for fertiliser production
  • Supply of natural gas
  • Arguments in favour of gas for fertiliser sector
  • Requirement of gas by fertiliser units
  • Increasing import of urea
  • Subsidy burden
  • Fertiliser industry needs priority for gas allocation
ACQUISTION / MERGER -  INTERNATIONAL

Acquistion / merger of following companies are dicussed

  • Symrise acquires Belmay’s fragrance activities
  • Arkema acquires majority stake in AEC Polymers
  • Clariant acquires nano-silver ink technology from Bayer
SAFETY AND ACCIDENT PAGE

Accidents occurred in  the plants in USA and India are discussed

  • Explosion in fertilizer unit in Texas, USA
  • Explosion at  Gulf Oil Corporation in Andhra Pradesh
  • Fire in DRDO lab
  • Accidents in cracker units in Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu
ANTI DUMPING PAGE

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

  • Plaster boards
  • Silicon metal
  • M-dihydroxybenzene
  • Soda ash

NEWS ROUND UP - INTERNATIONAL

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed

  • Propane Dehydrogenation Projects In North America
  • PDH Plant In Korea
  • Sodium Cyanide Plant In Mexico
  • Butadiene  Scenario In Usa
  • Chlorinated Pvc Projects Of Lubrizol
  • Polyols plant in Singapore
  • Nylon salt plant in Netherlands
  • Polyphenylene sulfide JV in Korea
  • Celanese, Pertamina JV for fuel ethanol
  • Westlake acquires US PVC products business from Saint-Gobain
  • Methanol plant in Louisiana
  • Methanol capacity in New Zealand
  • Paper chemicals
  • Bromine expansion project in Jordan
  • TDI / MDI
  • Poly carbonate
  • PET project in Sri Lanka
  • US ethylene expansions
  • China’s  Major Ethylene Producers in 2011
  • Strategies of Qatar Petroleum

NEWS ROUND UP - INDIA

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed

  • J&J’s licence to make baby powder cancelled
  • Cove Point LNG plant to supply to India

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed

  • Hydrogen Sensor For Greater Safety
  • Energy storage system
  • Carbon Fiber Reinforced Graphite
  • New material to soak up oil spills

CHINA NEWS

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed

  • China Blacklists  Chemicals On Environmental Grounds
  • Phenol-acetone project
  • Butyl acrylate
  • Sinopec to build coal to gas project in Xinjiang

AGRO CHEMICAL PAGE

The recent developments on the following products are updated

  • Glyphosate Supply Deal  Between Monsanto And Nufarm
  • New genes for water use efficiency  corn
  • Coconut oil as bio fuel
  • Rice bran oil  replacing olive oil in Spain
  • Bee-harming pesticides banned in EU

PHARMA PAGE

Following pharmaceutical products are discussed in this article

  • Authentication system for medicines
  • Insulin

ENERGY PAGE

The recent developments  in the energy sectors are updated

  • BHEL-NTPC-IGCAR Effort To Boost Efficiency Of Power Plants
  • BHEL developing products to make solar energy cheaper
  • Estimate on global Oil Demand Growth
  • China’s wind power projects
  • Bio gas  for power in Tamil Nadu
OTHER ARTICLES
  • Environmental Page
  • Caffeine
  • Price Details
  • Crude Oil Price
  • Ex-Factory Prices Of Chemicals In China during April 2013
  • Tenders
  • Chemicals Imported At The Chennai Port During The Month Of March  2013
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