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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Oct 2014

PRECIPITATED SILICA MARKET|POLYPHENYLENE SULPHIDE MARKET|POLYCHLOROPRENE
Highlights of Some of the Articles

TALK OF THE MONTH : MISSED STEPS OF INDIAN CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES
PRECIPITATED SILICA – GLOBAL SCENARIO
POLYPHENYLENE SULFIDE (PPS) INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
SPOTLIGHT ON SPECIALITY CHEMICAL POLYCHLOROPRENE
OFF SHORE WIND POWER PROJECT IN GUJARAT WHY NOT IN OTHER STATES TOO ?
COUNTERPRODUCTIVE PRESSURE ON NAPHTHA BASED FERTILISER UNITS IN SOUTH INDIA
SHOULD SCIENTISTS BE COMPELLED TO TEACH IN SCHOOLS ?
INDIA’S INCREASING DEPENDENCE ON METHANOL IMPORT
ONGC’S PRODUCTION PERFORMANCE
INDIAN COAL SCENARIO
COAL GASIFICATION TECHNOLOGIES IN CHINA
SHALE GAS BOOSTS PROSPECTS FOR HYDROGEN FUEL CELL
OTHER FEATURES
OTHER ARTICLES

TALK OF THE MONTH

MISSED STEPS OF INDIAN CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES

While there are near unanimous view that Indian chemical industries have great opportunities that can enable it to forge ahead, the ground reality is that the challenges appear to be formidable, as a result of which the potential opportunities remain unutilized.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is now making valiant efforts to give strong thrust to the growth of Indian manufacturing sector,which can  have positive  impact on Indian chemical industries, if only the chemical industry players can raise up to meet the challenges.
The problem of Indian chemical industries appears to be more linked to the mind set and attitude of those involved in the various facets of Indian chemical industries such as investors, project promoters, professionals and research agencies

All these players appear to be overwhelmed by the challenges and seem to have  reconciled themselves to  a scenario, where they think that the Indian chemical industries can not progress in the absence of technology support from developed countries and helpful policy support from Government of India. Such attitude, that reflect lack of confidence  can not help the Indian chemical industries to move on in the global arena and in tune with the expectations of Mr.Modi.

The most  serious problem facing the Indian chemical industry is on the technology front, where indigenous research and development efforts have made little impact, for all practical proposes, on the performance of chemical industries whether they are small, medium or large.

Obviously, Indian chemical industries have to work out appropriate strategies for growth in tune with the strength of the country in terms of raw material  availability, tropical conditions,mineral deposits and beneficial conditions  such as long coastal line etc.

The way forward for the Indian  chemical industries is to understand that they can not blindly follow the path of growth of  developed countries  and multi national companies. Such approach will become  counter productive  and can not take the Indian industries forward.Innonative approach is the primary need.

Indian chemical industries  have certainly a  lot of things to learn from China and should draw lessons from China’s massive initiatives in the last two decades.

China has made impressive level of progress and achievements in chemical industries not only by acquiring technology from abroad but also by developing technologies on its own, keeping the conditions in China  in view.The immediate example is coal based chemical projects that China has developed largely based on a few international technologies  and supplementing them with it’s own                              R&D efforts.

The other important aspect is that China is not only receiving substantial investment from overseas countries, but China’s investors also have made considerable investment themselves.

Even Mr.Modi appears to think that foreign direct investment in massive way  can only make Indian industries  forge ahead in spectacular manner. This is not correct view.

There is investment capability in India and money is floating amongst Indians who can invest considerably. The point  is that the approach and performance of the Indian chemical industries have not inspired confidence  amongst investors and the policy paralysis of the Government of India in the last few years have created sense of disillusionment.

A careful analysis of the issues and the prospects faced by the Indian chemical industries would readily reveal the fact that the problem is only due to lack of proactive  mind set and approach. Mr.Modi is obviously trying to change the mind set for the better with  his slogans and stress on  dynamism that need to be built everywhere in the country.

PRECIPITATED SILICA – GLOBAL SCENARIO
Appearance White, amorphous (non crystalline) powder
CAS number 1343-98-2
Chemical formula SiO2. xH2O

Application

Precipitated silica is used as powder in compact form in several application sectors

Precipitated silica is used in the automotive sector to manufacture fuel efficient tires which significantly reduce the rolling resistance of tires and achieve considerable fuel savings compared with conventional automobile tires.

Precipitated silica is also used as an ingredient in the food and animal feed industries, as well as in paints, coatings and dentrifices.

While providing effective cleaning of teeth, precipitated silicas in oral compositions may present compatibility problems with key formula actives such as stannous ions. These compatibility problems have been shown to be directly related to surface properties of precipitated silicas such as surface area, number of hydroxyl groups and porosity.

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Substitute for fumed silica
  • Precipitated silica in combination with silanes
  • Outline of process
  • Global producers
  • Global demand
  • Scenario in China
  • Demand drivers and growth
  • Indian import and export precipitated silica
POLYPHENYLENE SULFIDE (PPS) INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY

Polyphenylene sulfide (PPS)is an engineering polymer and it offers thermal resistance, chemical resistance, mechanical strength and dimensional stability. It is also inherently flame retardant.

Appearance Pellet in natural or compounded colour
CAS No 26125-40-6
Chemical formula            (-C6H4-4-S-)n 

Product application

PPS is used in injection moulding and extrusion applications for computer components, automobile parts and various electrical appliances.

PPS polymer is generally reinforced with glass fiber or inorganic fillers and supplied in the form of PPS compounds, which are used primarily as moulding material.

Disadvantages

- Difficult to process (high melt temperature)
- Comparatively high cost
- Fillers required to get good impact strength subject to warpage and brittleness

Following details are discussed in this article.

  • Process outline
  • Global producers
  • New projects
  • Global capacity 
  • Global demand
  • Demand driver 
  • Global growth in demand
  • Indian import and export
SPOTLIGHT ON SPECIALITY CHEMICAL POLYCHLOROPRENE
Synonyms Chlorobutadiene polymers, 2-chloro-1,3-butadiene polymer, 
Poly (chloroprene)
CAS 9010-98-4
Molecular formula C4H5Cl

Polychloroprene rubbers are characterized by a number of specific properties, determined by the presence of chlorine atoms in the macromolecules.

Polychloroprene has high resilience and good resistance to ozone, flame and weathering, as well as high strength and good resistance to abrasion, oxidants, oil and aging. But it has only fair dielectric properties and needs special compounding for low temperature service.

Product grade

Polychloroprene is produced in both dry and latex forms.

Dry grade of polychloroprene rubber are normally used in industrial and automotive rubber goods such as hoses and belts.

Latex grade of polychloroprene rubber are used in waterborne adhesives and dipped goods.

Application

Polychloroprene rubber is primarily used in automotive and industrial rubber goods such as waterborne adhesives, automotive hoses and belts, dipped goods, footwear and gloves, among others.

Following details are discussed in this article.

  • Manufacturing process
  • Substitution product
  • Global producers
  • Global production
  • Global demand
  • Global region wise consumption pattern of polychloroprene elastomers
  • Growth in demand
  • Global import and export
  • Indian import
OFF SHORE WIND POWER PROJECT IN GUJARAT WHY NOT IN OTHER STATES TOO?

It is gratifying to note that the Government of India has announced signing of an initial agreement for setting up joint venture firm for setting up off shore wind power project in Gujarat. This is a very significant move of the Government of India with far reaching implications for the better.

With the domestic production of coal  and natural gas falling short of national requirements and India now emerging  as large importer of coal, crude oil and natural gas in the world, the fuel source for power projects has become a matter of great concern. Several power projects are now stranded due to want of natural gas and many power units are operating below capacity due to the coal stock position in the plant premises remaining at critical level. The price of such  fuel  are also subjected to frequent fluctuations creating an element of uncertainty in the economics of operating the thermal power projects.

The above subject is further discussed in this article.

COUNTERPRODUCTIVE PRESSURE ON NAPHTHA BASED FERTILISER UNITS IN SOUTH INDIA

In a letter dated April 2,2014  Government of India had stated that the production of naphtha based urea fertilizer units such as SPIC Tuticorin, Madras Fertiliser Ltd, Manali and Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilisers, Mangalore will continue under modified NPS-III (New Pricing Scheme) till the natural gas availability and connectivity  are provided to these units or till June 2014, whichever  is earlier, beyond which subsidy for these naphtha based plants will not be paid.

However, the August 27 meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had approved the continuation of production only up to September 30,2014.

In view of the above order, the above three naphtha based fertilizer units in southern India are now facing uncertainty.

Chemical Industries Association, an apex body representing the cross section of chemical industries and based in Chennai, has submitted appeal to Prime Minister to look into the matter and do the needful urgently.

The three urea units in South India have already  made considerable investment to convert their facilities for using natural gas as feedstock instead of naphtha . Now, the units are in a position to switch over to production of urea based on natural gas as feedstock.

The above subject is further discussed in this article.

SHOULD SCIENTISTS BE COMPELLED TO TEACH IN SCHOOLS?

Many would be surprised  that Ministry of Science and Technology of Government of India has announced that every scientist working in government owned CSIR labs without any exception, have to take classes in government owned or government aided educational institutions atleast 12 hours in a year without any honorarium. Though the announcement has been made with good intention, this mandatory order may become counter productive due to  several reasons.

Around 6000 scientists who would be compelled to take this exercise belong to government owned laboratories under Council of Scientific and Industrial Research,whose overall performance have not met  the expectations of the nation so far.

Following details are discussed in this article.

  • CSIR labs need to stay focussed
  • Counter productive order
  • Need for dedicated teachers
INDIA’S INCREASING DEPENDENCE ON METHANOL IMPORT

Global methanol demand is expected to increase from 60.7 million metric tonne  in 2013 to more than 109 million metric tonne in 2023, with an average annual growth rate of 6%, according to research from IHS.

China is expected to be the major driver of this demand increase, while at the same time,  the North American methanol market riding the wave of low cost US shale derived feedstocks, is undergoing a renaissance as new projects deliver significant capacity additions.

However, it appears that India will not have increased share in global methanol production and will remain a net importer.

Following details are discussed in this article.

  • Capacity addition
  • Methanol consumption in China
  • North America to be net exporter
  • Global import trend
  • Indian import of methanol
ONGC’S PRODUCTION PERFORMANCE

East coast block

ONGC has been facing flak from the Government of India because of delay in bringing the east coast finds in KG-DWN-98/2 block on stream.

ONGC is targeting 2018 to start production from its east coast oil and gas block, which is adjacent to KG-D6 block operated by Reliance Industries.

The area has been in the news because of the allegations made by ONGC that there was a shift in reservoir, which could have resulted in RIL drawing gas from its find. The two have now asked Texas based DeGolyer and MacNaughton (D&M), an international petroleum consultant, to assess ONGC’s claims.

Following details are discussed in this article.

Progress with regard to prospective projects
GK-28/42 and MB-OSN/2005/1
Shale gas exploration
Production trend
Future plans

INDIAN COAL SCENARIO

58 out of the 100 power plants that the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) monitors, have come under  critical stock position with less than seven days of coal stock., The stock levels are the lowest since mid 2012, with 38 plants left with only seven days of coal and 20 with 0 to 4 days of coal.

The inability of Coal India  accounting for 80 per cent of the country's coal output  to raise production fast enough has made India to be the world's third largest coal importer despite sitting on the fifth largest reserves.

Following details are discussed in this article.

  • Supply constraints
  • Plans for import by Coal India
  • Coal price
  • Underground coal mine in Singareni Collieries
  • Total primary coal production & consumption (Quadrillion Btu)
  • Units with operational coal blocks in the iron & steel sector
  • Units with operational coal blocks in the aluminium sector
  • Units with operation coal blocks in the power sector
  • Investments in under captive coal blocks
COAL GASIFICATION TECHNOLOGIES IN CHINA

Dr.D.M.Mohunta,Director, Commerical, Chemical & Development Co.
E-mail: dmm@ccdcindia.com

Commercial, Chemical And Development Company (CCDC), based in Chennai, India will collaborate with East China University of Science and Technology (ECUST) to promote coal gasification technologies.

To learn more about the process and how individual industries and industrial clusters can benefit, please contact Dr. D. M. Mohunta, Chennai dmm@ccdcindia.com.

While western countries had developed coal gasification technologies, China set up plants with different technologies in mid 90’s.

At the same time, China set up a programme of learning from the experience of western countries in coal gasification technologies  and for indigenous development. The culmination of this strategy was the development of commercial scale coal gasification technology  in China, which broke the monopoly of the West and also provided better operational efficiencies.

The above subject is further discussed in this article.

SHALE GAS BOOSTS PROSPECTS FOR HYDROGEN FUEL CELL

Because of the abundant shale gas supply in North America due to shale gas projects, future gas prices are expected to range around $4 to 6 per million Btu, significantly lower than the peak 2008 price levels of $9 per million Btu.

As a result, hydrogen produced from steam reforming of natural gas could be an attractive fuel choice, since it emits no greenhouse gases at its point of end use and produces water as the only by product from the automobile.

Hydrogen automotive fuel could remain highly competitive relative to gasoline.

With stringent emission standards and increased government support, hydrogen fuel cell based cars appear poised to become more popular.

The above subject is further discussed in this article.

OTHER FEATURES

ANTI DUMPING PAGE

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

  • Rare earths
  • Electrical insulators
  • Methyl methacrylate
  • Tert-Butylhydroquinone
  • Flexible slabstock polyol
  • Sulphur black
  • Phenol

SAFETY & ACCIDENT PAGE

The following articles discussing about the accidents occurred at various places.

  • Propylene explosions in Taiwan
  • Fire in PTA unit at Cooper River, SC, facility
  • Man dies, 11 hurt in factory blast in Tamil Nadu

NEWS ROUND UP- INTERNATIONAL

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed

  • Fertilizer complex in USA
  • Tencel fiber plant in  Australia
  • Agriphar – Acquisition by Platform Specialty products
  • Phosgene project in Hungary
  • Methioinine production unit at Mobile, AL
  • Propylene oxide and tertiary butyl alcohol plants in US
  • Shale exploration efforts of Ineos in UK
  • Sodium cyanide
  • Nitrogen fertilizer complex in Turkmenistan
  • Bio-propane project in Rotterdam

CHINA’S EXPERIENCE IN COAL CHEMICAL PROJECTS

According to the deputy secretary general of China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation, there are currently 26 coal to oil  and 58 coal to olefin (via methanol) projects in various stages, from the planning stage to plants that are already running.  

If all these projects are realized, by 2020  China will have combined annual capacity of about 40 million metric tonne of oil and similar capacity of olefins.

Following details are discussed in this article.

  • Profitability of coal chemical projects
  • Technology
  • Environmental issues
  • High water consumption
  • Large investment need

CHINA’S POLICY ON SMALL SCALE COAL BASED PROJECTS

China’s National Energy Administration (NEA; Beijing) has told that China will ban coal to gas projects with capacities smaller than 2 billion cubic meters and coal to oil facilities that produce 1 million metric tonne or less. Larger projects will be subject to regulatory approval from the State Council.

Data show that almost 70% of energy consumed in China comes from coal, a ratio much higher than in developed countries. NEA says that developing coal-to-oil and coal-to-gas projects is significant for ensuring China’s energy security and shift toward using cleaner energy. However, certain regions have been overenthusiastic about building new plants, and there are signs of “blind development” regardless of the impact on the environment, water resources, and technological and economic capabilities.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.
PERFORMANCE OF SINOPEC - ASIA’S LARGEST REFINER

On August 22, China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation  announced its interim results for the six months ended June 30, 2014.

The Asia’s largest refiner achieved RMB 1 356.17 billion in turnover, other operating revenues and other income in accordance with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), down 4.2% year-on-year. 

The company kept a double digit growth in operating profit of RMB 52.27 billion, up 11.8% from the previous year.  Net profit was RMB  32.54 billion, up 7.5% year on year.

Following details are given in this article

  • Production of shale gas
  • Production of oil and gas
  • Operating revenue
  • Summary of operations for the Exploration and Production Segment
  • Summary of Operations for the Refining Segment Unit: million metric tonne
  • Summary of Operations, Chemicals Segment Unit: kilo metric tonne

CHINA NEWS

The recent developments on the following products are discussed

  • Methanol project in USA
  • Aland - Vitamin C producer
  • Phosphorus trichloride project

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS

The recent technology developments on the following products are discussed

  • PPG’s R&D effort to cut energy usage
  • Soybean research facility in USA
  • Research for using CO2 as plastic feedstock
  • Nuclear battery
  • Silica from rice husk

NEWS ROUND UP - INDIA

The recent developments on the following is discussed

  • Proposed production of ethanol from bamboo biomass
  • Proposed titanium plant in Andhra Pradesh
  • Ethanol based bus
  • Glass makers accuse GAIL of discrimination

PHARMA PAGE

Recent developments in the pharma field are  discussed in this article.

  • Development efforts for Ebola vaccine
  • Roche’s breast cancer drug

SOLAR THERMAL DEMONSTRATION PLANT

Novatec Solar and BASF have commissioned a solar thermal demonstration plant based on a new type of molten salt technology, known as direct molten salt or DMS technology.

The plant is located on the site of the solar thermal power plant PE1 in southern Spain. The innovative feature of the new plant design is that the solar collector uses inorganic molten salt as heat transfer fluid.

Most solar thermal power plants currently use heat transfer oils, which have a limited qualification temperature. Using inorganic salts as heat transfer fluid allows operating temperatures above 500 degree C, resulting in a significant increase in power yield.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

ENVIRONMENTAL PAGE

Recent developments in the environment  field are discussed in this article

  • Greenhouse gas levels hit new high, says UN
  • Ban on the use of benzene and n-hexane in electronic products
OTHER ARTICLES
  • China's natural gas pricing policies
  • Spot price of polymers in China - Period 2014
  • Tenders
  • Chemicals imported at the Chennai port during July 2014
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