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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Jul 2014

BIO-SYNGAS | SODIUM CHLORATE | POLYHALITE POTASH| MELAMINE TECHNOLOGY
Highlights of Some of the Articles

TALK OF THE MONTH : SHOULD COAL INDIA FORAY INTO FERTILISER / CHEMICAL PRODUCTION ?
NATURAL GAS PRICE REVISION BY THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA: – IS IT NECESSARY OR AVOIDABLE?
PRODUCT PROFILE POLYHALITE POTASH A CHLORIDE FREE POTASH FERTILISER
BIO SYNGAS - TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS
SODIUM CHLORATE – INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
GAS EXPLORATION EFFORTS NELP AT THE CROSS ROAD
AVOIDABLE GAS PIPELINE EXPLOSION IN ANDHRA PRADESH
INDIA’S FAST BREEDER REACTOR AT KALPAKKAM A NEW MILESTONE
MELAMINE TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPED BY EUROTECNICA
METHANE TO ETHYLENE PROCESS DEVELOPED BY SILURIA TECHNOLOGY
PROSPECTS FOR GUAR
PEST RESISTANCE TO ENGINEERED CROPS - FEARS IN USA
OTHER FEATURES
OTHER ARTICLES

TALK OF THE MONTH

SHOULD COAL INDIA FORAY INTO FERTILISER / CHEMICAL PRODUCTION?

Coal India, is to have decided to amend its memorandum of association, for entering into the business of producing fertilisers and chemicals using coal gas.

The amendment will permit Coal India to produce, process, store, distribute, sell, import, export or otherwise deal in gas and other byproducts arising from coal gasification and use them to produce ammonium nitrate, fertilisers and associated products. The amendment will also allow the Coal India to install and operate such plant in the country and overseas.

When Coal India is yet to perform to the level of expectations and needs in it’s core area of functions, should it diversify and stretch it’s resources?

Coal India should focus on production:

Union Minister for Coal, Power and Renewable Energy, has asserted clearly that enhancing coal supplies and sorting out environmental issues are the pressing problems on hand facing Coal India. Ministers statement is appropriate and should be welcomed.

When Coal India has not been able to meet the targets in the past and there is considerable scope and opportunities for improving it’s performance, what is the need for Coal India to diversify into the manufacture of fertilizer and chemical from coal gas?.

Need to increase coal production

Increasing coal production is necessary, since production had not matched demand .

Past performance

(In million metric tonnes)

Year Actual production of coal Target
2013-14 462.5 482
2012-13 452.2 464
2011-12 435.8 4452

Import of coal

India imported over 80 million metric tonne of coal last fiscal. Nearly 50 million metric tonne of the imports went to meet shortfall in supplies from state run monopoly Coal India, which produced less than the target.

Improving coal quality, enhancing synergy between the coal and the power sector and improving practices of the coal sector should be the priority areas for focus for Coal India and not diversifying into chemical plants.

Environmental issues

Coal ministry has proposed raising the production ceiling for existing coal mines identified for ramping up output, without seeking fresh environmental clearance with the aim of saving some $1.8 billion a year spent on imports but equipment shortage may prove to be a stumbling block.

Of the 19.5 million metric tonnes shortfall between target and achievement in respect of coal production in 2013-14, at least 12.5 million metric tonnes was lost due to lack of environmental clearances.

Coal ministry has suggested automatic green nod for mines with capacity of 8 to 16 million metric tonne capacity, to raise output by 4 million metric tonne plus 25% of 8 million metric tonne capacity. For mines with 16 million metric tonne and above capacity, the coal ministry has suggested an enhanced ceiling of 6 million metric tonne plus 15% of 16 million metric tonne capacity.

Projects that can be put up on fast track

Mines State Present capacity (in million metric tonne)
Amrapali Jharkhand 12
Amlohri Madhya pradesh 10
Nigahi Madhya Pradesh 15
Khadia Uttarakhand 10
Kaniha Odisha 10
Samleshwari Odisha 11
Lingaraj Odisha 13
Kulda Odisha 10

Poor condition of equipment and obsolete technology

Even if the government operationalises the new policy, the shortage and poor condition of existing equipment would be a big stumbling block. Equipment makers can take upto nine months for delivering dumpers and excavators or draglines.

NATURAL GAS PRICE REVISION BY THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA: – IS IT NECESSARY OR AVOIDABLE?

Nandini Chemical Journal conducted an All India Essay Competition for college students on “Natural gas price revision by Government of India – Is it necessary or avoidable?”.

Prize winners in the All India essay competition

  • Mr.Arjit Sahni, IV Year BA LLB (H) student,Amity Law School,Amity University, Uttar Pradesh
  • Mr.Aditya P.Singh, B.A. LLB,(Corporate Hons) student, National Law University,Jodhpur

Highlights of the views

Rangarajan committee recommended that the natural gas price should be hiked, which is a flawed idea.

It is said that the beneficiary of gas price increase would be the state owned gas producers, apart from the private gas producers. It is further argued that the price increase is necessary, to enthuse the gas explorerers to explore and produce more gas. But these are banal arguments, which amount to distorting facts and concealing issues.

Following views of the students are discussed in this article.

  • Price rise will increase the fiscal woes of the government
  • Power sector will face problems
  • Transferring money from the government to the gas producers
  • Impact on CNG market
  • Flawed pricing formula
  • Gas exploring companies have not delivered
  • Transferring risk to the government
  • Does the government need to cajole the gas producers?
  • Take into account the ability of the consumers
  • Rely on the public sector
PRODUCT PROFILE - POLYHALITE POTASH A CHLORIDE FREE POTASH FERTILISER

Polyhalite is a salt comprising sulphur, potassium, magnesium and calcium, all essential nutrients for crop production.

It has the additional benefit of being low in chlorides and can be used as a specialty fertilizer suitable for fertilizing crops and agricultural land that are sensitive to chlorine. The product can be applied directly to land in its natural form.

Cleveland Potash Ltd is the only company mining polyhalite, a chlorine free potash fertilizer. ICL Fertilizers Cleveland Potash Ltd.’s production currently runs at approximately 130,000 metric tonne per year.

The following details are discussed in this article

  • Key features of polyhalite
  • Current polyhalite product
BIO SYNGAS - TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS

Synthesis gas (syngas) also known as producer gas is a gas mixture that contains mainly hydrogen (H2) and carbon monoxide (CO). It is produced by the gasification or pyrolysis of carbonaceous materials.

Synthesis gases comprise mainly of either carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide and hydrogen.

* Synthesis gas can be used in a catalytic process to synthesize products such as methanol, etc.

* Syngas is also used as an intermediate in producing synthetic petroleum for use as a fuel or lubricant.

Comparison of syngas and bio syngas

Syngas Biosyngas
Composed of hydrogen and carbon monoxide obtained from fossil fuels(coal,oil residues, natural gas ) Chemically identical to syngas
Produced by gasification at low temperature Produced by fermentation

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Conventional process
  • Bio based process for bio syngas
  • Bio syngas development
SODIUM CHLORATE – INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY

Sodium chlorate is colourless, odourless crystals or white granules.

Product specification

Parameter Value
Purity 99% min
Specific gravity 2.5
Water insolubles 0.03% max
Chlorides 0.3% max
Sulphates 0.02% max
Chromates 0.02% max
Iron 0.03% max
Water 1.0% max

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Product application
  • Indian producers
  • Indian import
  • Demand driver and growth
  • Global scenario
  • Process
  • Recommendation
GAS EXPLORATION EFFORTS NELP AT THE CROSS ROAD

Auctioning of acreages under the Natural Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) was unveiled in February 1999.

Under the NELP regime, 360 exploration blocks have been offered so far and 254 blocks have been awarded. At present, 166 of the awarded blocks are active, while 88 have been relinquished. So far, 128 hydrocarbon discoveries have been made in 42 NELP blocks. Out of these, 82 are gas discoveries and 46 are oil discoveries.

Of all the contracts given under NELP in the past, only one — KG-D6 operated by Reliance Industries (RIL) and its foreign partners BP and Niko Resources — is producing oil and gas now. It is another matter that the output at the KG-D6 block that went into production in September 2008, has, after reaching a peak of 68 mmscmd in March 2010, fallen steeply to around 13 mmscmd now.

Further details are discussed discussed in this article.

  • Results of NELP so far
  • The issues
AVOIDABLE GAS PIPELINE EXPLOSION IN ANDHRA PRADESH

The gas pipeline explosion in Andhra Pradesh is an unfortunate occurrence. Many other accidents that have happened in the country in recent times including the repeated accidents in the match / fire works factories in Virudhunagar, Sivakasi region in Tamil Nadu are all avoidable.

Certainly , such accidents indicate that the top administration in the establishments have not been adequately alert and have not enforced efficiency in adequate measure to ensure that proper safety measures would be adhered to and implemented.

Following details are discussed in this article.

  • Claims of GAIL on standards followed
  • GAIL should be made accountable
  • Whither safety audits?
  • Multiplicity of authorities
  • Lack of safety watch dog
  • Public concern
INDIA’S FAST BREEDER REACTOR AT KALPAKKAM - A NEW MILESTONE

Kalpakkam nuclear power plant, 40 km south of Chennai, is all set to achieve a milestone, with loading of liquid sodium in the fast breeder reactor . The plant is awaiting the green signal from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, the country’s nuclear power regulator.

For the 500 MW ‘prototype fast breeding reactor’, loading of 1,750 metric tonne of the coolant liquid sodium is practically the last big event, before the unit starts generating electricity.

This is an important milestone because nuclear establishments in several countries are watching India’s Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR), the first plutonium based fast breeder reactor anywhere in the world.

This Rs.5,677-crore techno economic demonstration plant is of crucial importance to India’s nuclear plans. Its success would set the ball rolling for a clutch of ‘fast breeder reactors’ at least six of them have been planned.

The above subject is further discussed in this article.

MELAMINE TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPED BY EUROTECNICA

Eurotecnica (also named ETCE) is an Italian company established in Milan since 1962. ETCE is part of Proman Group, an international company with assets in Germany, Trinidad, Italy and USA.

Melamine technology has been developed by ETCE based on the High Pressure Non Catalytic Melamine Process, a unique process because of its superior performances in terms of product quality, safety, efficiency, reliability and zero pollution features.

The first plant designed and implemented by ETCE was one built in Kuwait in the 1970’s

To date, ETCE has licensed and implemented 20 melamine units worldwide accounting for 610 000 metric tonnes per annum, which is more than one third pf the world’s consumption.

Following details are discussed in this article.

  • Main advantages of ETCE melamine process
  • Licensed plants in China
  • Licensed plants in other parts of the world
  • ETCE G4 (Fourth generation technology)
  • Melamine plant combined with small urea plant
METHANE TO ETHYLENE PROCESS DEVELOPED BY SILURIA TECHNOLOGY

A new methane to ethylene process developed by Siluria Technologies (San Francisco,USA) appears to be technologically and economically viable and could improve the relative cost position of ethylene producers in Europe and Asia, say analysts at IHS Chemical.

The report, published in April, 2014, analyzes the design and economic performance of a commercial scale ethylene plant based on Siluria’s new oxidative coupling of methane (OCM) technology.

IHS Chemical says that Siluria’s technology is the first revolutionary advance in ethylene production, since the development of steam cracking.The revolutionary catalyst design and unique process intensification is provided by Siluria process.

The above subject is further discussed in this article.

PROSPECTS FOR GUAR

Pesticide use is surging among U.S. corn farmers, who are worried that some insects have become resistant to genetically modified versions of the crop.

This ’is an unexpected reversal, since one of the promises of engineered corn when it was introduced 17 years ago was its ability to kill pests.

Although Monsanto Co. designed its corn to kill the worms, resistant bugs have been found in four states and growers say that pesticides are needed again to protect their crops.

The above subject is further discussed in this article.

 

PEST RESISTANCE TO ENGINEERED CROPS - FEARS IN USA

Eurotecnica (also named ETCE) is an Italian company established in Milan since 1962. ETCE is part of Proman Group, an international company with assets in Germany, Trinidad, Italy and USA.

Melamine technology has been developed by ETCE based on the High Pressure Non Catalytic Melamine Process, a unique process because of its superior performances in terms of product quality, safety, efficiency, reliability and zero pollution features.

The first plant designed and implemented by ETCE was one built in Kuwait in the 1970’s

To date, ETCE has licensed and implemented 20 melamine units worldwide accounting for 610 000 metric tonnes per annum, which is more than one third pf the world’s consumption.

Following details are discussed in this article.

  • Main advantages of ETCE melamine process
  • Licensed plants in China
  • Licensed plants in other parts of the world
  • ETCE G4 (Fourth generation technology)
  • Melamine plant combined with small urea plant
OTHER FEATURES

SAFETY & ACCIDENT PAGE

The following articles discussing about the accidents occurred at various places

  • Bhilai steel plant gas leak
  • Gas leak at Vizag Steel plant
  • Gas explosion at Alang,Gujarat
  • Blast, fire in Bathinda refinery

ANTI DUMPING PAGE

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

  • Purified terephthalic acid (PTA)
  • Potassium carbonate
  • Vitamin C
  • PVC
  • Perchlorethylene
  • Acetone

NEWS ROUND UP – INTERNATIONAL

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed

  • Oil field chemicals unit in Saudi Arabia
  • Organic peroxide
  • Acquisition of BASF's AKD emulsions business
  • BASF, Yara ammonia JV
  • EPDM project in USA
  • Methane to propylene plant on US Gulf

CHINA NEWS

The recent developments on the following products are discussed

  • Propylene to methanol plants in China
  • Isobutene dehydrogenation unit
  • JV for synthetic rubber project
  • Isophorone facilities
  • Keyuan Petrochemical
  • Isobutylene plant

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS

The recent technology developments on the following products are discussed

  • Advanced biofuel facility in US based on UOP technology
  • Biobased BTX
  • Fuel cell technology to power planes, cars
  • New technology to detect cracks in buildings

NEWS ROUND UP – INDIA

The recent developments on the following products are discussed

  • Agreement between RIL,RCF and GAIL for coal gas exploration
  • Titanium dioxide project in Odisha - Controversies

AGRO CHEMICAL PAGE

Market potential for banana fibre

The fibre from the banana plant has been traditionally used for stringing flowers and in the manufacture of paper and rugs.

As part of promoting rural entrepreneurs in the field of agriculture and animal husbandry, the Myrada KVK in Erode in Tamil Nadu designed a skill training programme on banana fibre extraction for unemployed rural youth in the region.

The above article is further discussed in this article.

PHARMA PAGE

Genetically modified mosquitoes

Scientists have hailed the genetic modification of mosquitoes that could crash the insect’s populations as a “quantum leap', that will make substantial and important contribution to eradicating malaria.

The new technique by a team at Imperial College London involves injecting mosquitoes with a gene that causes the vast majority of their offspring to be male, leading to an eventual dramatic decline in population within six generations as females disappear.

The above subject is further discussed in this article.

ENERGY PAGE

GAS PRODUCTION, CONSUMPTION TREND - FINDINGS OF A STUDY

India, the fourth largest energy consumer globally, recorded the largest volumetric decline in natural gas production and consumption last year, BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2014 said.

Natural gas production in India fell a massive 16.3 per cent to 33.7 billion cubic meters from 40.3 bcm in the previous year.

India, which is world's 11th largest consumer of gas, saw consumption fall by 12.2 per cent to 51.4 bcm in 2013 from 58.8 bcm in the previous year.

The above subject is further discussed in this article.

The recent developments on the following energy fields are discussed

  • Exploitation of marginal fields
  • Global biodiesel output – Findings of the study
  • India’s largest solar power project
  • New varieties of sugarcane for ethanol

ENVIRONMENTAL PAGE

NUCLEAR WASTE IN NEW MEXICO FACILITY

A New Mexico facility containing 3,706 cubic meters of toxic radiological materials may be on the precipice of a serious incendiary event, after the U.S. Department of Energy confirmed that it would fail to meet a deadline to remove drums of nuclear waste from the wildfire-prone area owing to safety concerns.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

OTHER ARTICLES
  • Price details
  • Impact on oil price, due to conflict in Iraq
  • Pricing issues faced by dye chemicals
  • Benchmark price for Ethanol
  • Ex factory price of Chemicals in China in May 2014
  • Tenders
  • Chemicals imported at Chennai port during month of April 2014
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