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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal,  April 2015

INDIAN R&D|PUBLIC SECTOR UNITS|SOLAR IRRIGATION PUMPS
Highlights of Some of the Articles

WHY NOT INDUSTRY PASS ON BENEFITS OF CRUDE OIL / GAS PRICE FALL TO CONSUMERS TO BOOST DEMAND & GROWTH ?
INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY - 2-PROPYLHEPTANOL
INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY - 2-ETHYLHEXANOIC ACID
PRODUCT PROFILE - EMAMECTIN BENZOATE
IS PRIME MINISTER’S PLANS TO CUT OIL, GAS IMPORT BY 2022 FAR FETCHED ?
DOES INDIAN R&D NEED SHOCK TREATMENT ?
SHOULD GOVERNMENT INVEST IN REVIVING CLOSED PUBLIC SECTOR UNITS ?
MISGIVINGS ON MODI GOVERNMENT’S LAND ACQUISITION BILL JUSTIFIED
18,024 HECTARES OF ALLOTTED INDUSTRIAL LAND LYING UNUSED ACROSS 20 STATES
SOLAR IRRIGATION PUMPS – A GREAT OPPORTUNITY
ANOMALY IN GOVERNMENT’S FERTILISER POLICY
GOVT AIMS TO SAVE RS 7,000 CR OF UREA SUBSIDY IN 4 YEARS
OTHER FEATURES
OTHER ARTICLES

TALK OF THE MONTH

WHY NOT INDUSTRY PASS ON BENEFITS OF CRUDE OIL / GAS PRICE FALL TO CONSUMERS TO BOOST DEMAND & GROWTH?

In India, most of the petrochemicals are in short supply,  resulting in steady increase in the import. In view of the short supply scenario in India, the Indian market for the petrochemicals remain as seller’s market.

Due to the high price of the petrochemicals in Indian market,  demand growth is not taking place to the potential level. There is strong case for reducing the price of  petrochemicals in tune with the price fall of crude oil / natural gas. This  would boost the demand for several petrochemicals and derivative products and contribute to the over all growth of the Indian  industries and Indian economy . 

However, Indian industries, whether in public sector or private sector, do not seem to be impressed with such proactive policy and approach, that would contribute to the long term growth of the industries by creating strong demand base. It is high time that they should reorient the strategies.
In the last few months, price of crude oil has fallen sharply in the global market. Recently, Government of India announced the cut in price of natural gas. Obviously, the petroleum refineries  and petrochemical units  are the beneficiaries due to the reduction in the price of crude oil / natural gas.

However, the industries which readily increased the price of finished products whenever the price of crude oil / natural gas increased in the past, are now  reluctant to reduce the price of the products in tune with the price fall of crude oil / natural gas. This only reflects the  counter productive  and short sighted approach of the industries.

Crude oil price fall (Period 2012 to 2015
Quarterly average price per barrel
Naphtha price fall

Naphtha is the building block for the production of urea fertilizer and several petrochemicals.

The price of naphtha which is produced from crude oil / natural gas has fallen sharply in the international market. It has happened due to fall in the price of crude oil and also the development of shale gas production in USA. With  the large availability of shale gas in US, consumption of naphtha in US has reduced considerably creating  surplus scenario for naphtha in USA and glut in the global naphtha supply market.

Price trend of naphtha
Export price of naphtha

The price of naphtha has dropped by over 75 % between April 2014 and Feb 2015.

Natural gas price cut by 8% to $4.66 per unit

Government of India has cut the natural gas price by 8% from 1st April 2015, aligning it with the international benchmarks with which it is linked by a formula. The government had introduced a local gas pricing formula in October that takes the average annual price at four energy hubs in the US, Canada, Russia and the European Union to calculate the gas price .

In its first revision since the introduction of the formula, the price has been cut to $4.66 per million British thermal unit (mmbtu) on gross calorific value basis. On net calorific value basis, it will cost about $5.18 per unit compared with $5.61 previously. The gas prices are due for revision every six months. 

The reduction follows the global decline in oil and gas prices. Since June last year, crude oil prices have almost halved and the price of liquefied natural gas has slumped to less than $8 a unit from $14. Lower gas prices act as a disincentive to explorers as it reduces returns on billions of dollars of risk capital.

INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY 2-PROPYLHEPTANOL

2-propylheptanol (2-PH) is a branched C10 fatty alcohol.

Propylheptanol is a mixture of isomeric decyl alcohols: 2-propylheptanol, 4-methyl-2-propylhexanol and 5-methyl-2-propylhexanol.

The “high-molecular-weight” plasticizers, which are based on C9 or C10 alcohols such as 2-PH with its ten carbon atoms have been declared risk-free in tests conducted by the European Union.

Synonyms                                 2-PH, Isodecanol, Isodecyl alcohol,2-propylheptane-1-ol
Molecular formula                     C10H22O
CAS-No.                                   10042-59-8
Physical status                           Liquid
Colour                                     Colourless
Odour                                      Mild
Flammability                              Flammability limits 0.6 - 6.9 % (V)
Miscibility                                  It is miscible with most common organic solvents.
Water solubility                        82 mg per litre
Flammability                              Flammability limits 0.6 - 6.9 %

Storage

Exclusion of atmospheric moisture should be ensured , e.g. by storing under a blanket of dry nitrogen, as otherwise the product quality may deteriorate, e.g. the water fraction may rise or 2-PH may be discolored by rust in normal steel tanks

2-PH can be stored for one year at temperatures below 40 deg.C, if moisture is excluded.

Specification

Property

Value

Unit

Fraction of –decanol isomers

99.5 min

% by area

Water

0.1 max

% by weight

Platinum –cobalt colour

10 max

 

Acid value

0.1 max

Mg KOH / g

Following details are discussed in this article.

  • Application
  • Process
  • Important global producers
  • Demand drivers for 2 - PH
  • Indian scenario
INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY 2-ETHYLHEXANOIC ACID

Molecular formula:                                C8H16O2
Appearance                                          Colourless liquid
CAS No.                                              149-57-5
Alternative name                                   2-Ethylcaproic acid
3-Heptanecarboxylic acid
Specification

Purity, as water free                              Min. 99.5%
Water, wt                                             Max. 0.10%
Colour, Hazen                                      Max. 10
Acid Value, mg KOH per g                    382-395
Stability:                                                Stable under normal temperature and pressure.
Incompatibilities with other materials:    Strong oxidizing agents, reducing agents, strong bases.
Storage

The product should be separated from strong oxidants. It should be stored in an area without drain or sewer access.

Following details are discussed in this article.

  • Applications
  • Process
  • Important global producers
  • Indian import
  • Pattern of countrywise import
  • Sample of individual import
PRODUCT PROFILE - EMAMECTIN BENZOATE

Emamectin benzoate is semi synthetic biogenic insecticide. It is used in the prevention and control of various pests in farm crops such as vegetables, fruit trees and cotton.

Emamectin benzoate is produced from avermectin concentrate.

Emamectin benzoate active ingredients is formulated as aqueous emulsions, suspension concentrates, wettable powders, water dispersible granules and emulsifiable solutions. 

CAS No.                                   155569-91-8
Chemical Name:                       Emamectin benzoate 
Synonyms:         ;                       4-deoxy4epimethylaminoavermectinb1abenzoate;
(4''r)-4''-deoxy-4''-(methylamino)avermectin b1 benzoate;
Avermectin B1, 
4-deoxy-4-(methylamino)-, (4R)-, benzoate (salt)

Molecular Formula:                    C49H77NO13

Appearance                              White to pale yellow crystalline powder (70%TC)
Off white columnar granular (5%EDG)

Solubility                                   (70%tc) Soluble in methanol, acetone
slightly soluble in water, insoluble in hexane

Mammalian Toxicology

*          Oral Acute oral LD50 for rats 76-89 mg per kg. 
*          Skin and eye - Acute dermal LD50 for rabbits >2000 mg per kg. 
*          It is not irritant to skin, and has no sensitising potential. 
*          Inhalation LC50 (4 h)for rats 2. 12- 4. 44 mg per m3. 

Caution 

*          Toxic to aquatic livings such as fish. Also high toxic to bees. 
*          No mixing with alkaline substances. 
*          Rapidly degrade in light. 
*          Should be sealed tightly and stored away from light in a cool and dry place.

Specification
Formulation: 5%WDG

Item

Specification

Appearance

White or yellow loose granule without visible extraneous impurities

Emamectin Benzoate B1 Content (%)

5.0 ± 0.3

Water, %

≤ 3.0

PH value

7.0-9.0

Solubility and solution stability, %

Residues ( 5min later )

≤ 0.5

Residues ( 18h later )

≤ 2.0

Persistent foam ( 1min later ), mL

≤ 60

Function character

  • Emamectin benzoate is high effective, low poisonous
  • Has the function of stomach poison and contact insecticide
  • Effect of preventing and controlling under extremely low density
  • It is secure for beneficial insect, person and livestock in conventional dosage

Package:1 kg per aluminium foil bag, 2 5kg per drum

Following details are discussed in this article.

  • Application
  • Scenario in China
  • Indian sceanario
  • Indian Import 
  • Sample of individual import
IS PRIME MINISTER’S PLANS TO CUT OIL, GAS IMPORT BY 2022 FAR FETCHED?

Prime Minister said that India needs to bring down its import dependence on oil and gas by 2022.

“We currently import around 77 per cent in energy sector, in oil, gas and petroleum sector.  We can reduce this import by at least 10 percent by 2022. This 10 percent we will produce ourselves and this should be our dream,” Prime Minister said.

“If we become successful in reducing import by 10 percent in 2022, by achieving 10 percent growth in domestic production, then I can assure you that by 2030 we can reduce this import to 50 percent,” Prime Minister added.

While Prime Minister’s target to cut import of oil and gas by 10% by 2022 is laudable, one wonder whether it would be achievable?

Following details are discussed in this article.

  • India’s past crude oil production trend
  • India’s past natural gas production trend
  • Solar power
  • Wind power
  • Algae biofuel
DOES INDIAN R&D NEED SHOCK TREATMENT?

While delivering a lecture 'Celebration of Science' at Jamia Milia Islamia in New Delhi,                 Dr.CNR Rao, a renowned scientist and Bharat Ratna awardee, said that it is difficult to bring development in the country with the "lousy" quality of science in India

It has been realized quiet some time back that Indian R&D segment is a weak link in the Indian chemical and petrochemical industries. While concern have been expressed about the failure of many indigenous R&D efforts, adequate sense of dynamism is yet to be injected in the Indian R&D sector.

Most of the investment in research and development activity in India have been carried out by the Government of India under Council of Scientific Industrial Research. The role of private sector in R&D field in India is conspicuous by lack of significant presence.

As a matter of fact, most of the chemical industries in small and medium scale sector have no role in R&D sector, worth it’s name. Even large scale units, which claim having R&D activity are really more focused on quality optimization efforts and cost   reduction proramme in the existing operation and not in product development or R&D activity with long term targets and strategies.

Following details are discussed in this artilce

  • Dr. CNR Rao’s scathing criticism
  • Defence research lab in civil construction activity
  • CSIR Labs now running educational institutions
  • Does R&D  need shock treatment?
SHOULD GOVERNMENT INVEST IN REVIVING CLOSED PUBLIC SECTOR UNITS?

Chemical Industries Associatiion, an apex body representing the cross section of chemical and allied industries based in Chennai, has submitted a letter to Prime Minister and Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, about Government of India’s move to revive IDPL, Hyderabad unit, which has been remaining closed for the last several years.
Text of the letter is given in this article.
It is reported that the Government of India would revive Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (IDPL), a public sector undertaking. Government would invest around Rs.900 crore for IDPL units at Rishikesh, Gurgaon and Hyderabad. Of this, more than Rs.450 crore would go towards reviving the operations in IDPL, Hyderabad.
Above subject is further discussed in this article.

MISGIVINGS ON MODI GOVERNMENT’S LAND ACQUISITION BILL JUSTIFIED

Modi government’s determined move to enact the Land Acquisition Bill has caused considerable misgivings in the country,  for which there appear to be justifiable reasons.

There is the fundamental question as to whether taking away the agricultural land for setting up industry or housing projects is appropriate in a country like India,  which is essentially an agriculture oriented economy and  particularly when agriculture operations provide jobs to millions of people at unskilled and semi skilled level  in the densely populated country.  More than 75% of country’s population constitute peasants and tribals, who have only traditional skill  in agricultural operations.

It is reported that in the last few decades, around 2% of agricultural land in the country have already been lost to industrial , housing and other projects, leaving thousands of agricultural labourers in difficult economic conditions, needing freebies from government to survive.

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Modi government’s stand
  • What about wasted and unutilized land ?
  • nvestment in agriculture can be as productive as in  industry
18,024 HECTARES OF ALLOTTED INDUSTRIAL LAND LYING UNUSED ACROSS 20 STATES

Around 18,024 hectares of land is lying unused in SEZs across 20 states with Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu topping with a total of 10,714 hectares, according to Union Finance ministry data.

While most of these land parcels were allocated to SEZs by the respective state governments for setting up various types of industries, some were purchased on their own by private promoters. The 20 states have so far allocated 45,783 hectares to SEZs.

Gujarat has 4,795 hectares lying unused, followed by Maharashtra (3,124 hectares and Tamil Nadu (2,795 hectares).

Union government had given formal approvals to start 436 SEZs across the country. Of them, 347 were notified but only 199 are operational as of now.The respective state governments had acquired land for SEZs from villagers and there were many farmers protests against such acquisition in the past.

State

Land allocated

Utilised

Unutilised

 

In hectares

Gujarat

12383

6819

4795

Maharashtra

6580

1757

3124

Tamil Nadu

5266

223

2795

Karnataka

2302`

85

1039

MAJOR AGRO ITEMS SHOWING NEGATIVE GROWTH TREND IN JAN 2015

Commodities

Value ($mn)

% change

Jan 2014

Jan 2015

Tea

64.33

50.01

-22.26

Coffee

59.54

49.59

-16.71

Rice

721.25

683.31

-5.26

Other cereals

96.52

42.99

-55.46

Tobacco

62.13

59.31

-4.54

Spices

199.01

180.77

-9.17

Oil meals

305.13

132.12

-56.70

SOLAR IRRIGATION PUMPS – A GREAT OPPORTUNITY

Generating solar power for pumping water for irrigation could have massive collateral benefits.  It can revitalise nearly stagnant agriculture in several regions, which has adequate groundwater but short on energy to run pumps.

9 million diesel pumps burn some 7 billion litres of diesel for irrigation and emit additional                 20 million metric tonne of CO2.By using solar power for groundwater, India can curtail annual CO2 emissions by nearly 6%.

Farmers can be provided solar irrigation pumps with a power purchase guarantee,similar to what the large solar power generators get. Karnataka’s Surya Raitha scheme is already piloting this idea.

National Solar Mission’s goal to install 100 gigawatt of solar capacity by 2022, can be met by 10 million farmers, each operating a    10 kilowatt solar pump. A solar pump can generate 13,000 units of power per year worth Rs.65,000. 10 million solar farmers can generate 130 billion units of solar power and have substantial earnings.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

ANOMALY IN GOVERNMENT’S FERTILISER POLICY

There has been a serious anomaly in the policy framework of Government of India for fertiliser for the last five years.  The anomaly is that urea is under direct control. Its MRP is fixed by the government and subsidy is variable.

Following details are discussed in this article.

  • Excessive use of urea
  • Adverse NPK ratio
  • Urea centric policies
  • Imbalance in subsidy rationalisation
GOVT AIMS TO SAVE RS 7,000 CR OF UREA SUBSIDY IN 4 YEARS

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs decided to supply natural gas at a uniform price to all fertiliser plants on the gas grid through a pooling mechanism. This means the cost of production of urea at pooled price would be similar for all plants and less than the price of imported urea.

Currently, the production cost for every tonne of urea varies between Rs.14,000 and Rs.20,000. This is because of different gas procurement sources. On the other hand, each tonne of imported urea costs about Rs.19,000. The government’s subsidy bill for urea has increased from Rs.33,924 crore in FY12 to Rs.35,398 crore in FY13 and further to Rs.38,545 crore in FY14.

The supply of gas to urea units through the pooling mechanism is estimated to increase output of the fertiliser by about 3.71 million metric  tonne in the next four years. Currently, India consumes about 30.5  million metric tonne  of urea a year. Of this, 22.5 million metric tonne is indigenously produced, while about 8  million metric tonne  is procured from overseas.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

OTHER FEATURES

PLANT CLOSURE

The articles discusses about the closure of following plants

Nufarm plant closure

Mawana sugars Shuts all UP units

ANTI DUMPING PAGE

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

Saturated fatty alcohols

Pyridine

Stainless steel products 

NEWS ROUND UP - INTERNATIONAL

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed

  • Propylene oxide styrene monomer – Shell’s project at Moerdijk site
  • Fertilizer complex in Tanzania
  • Nylon-6 unit in Poland
  • Polypropylene plant in Egypt
  • Nitric acid plant in Hungary
  • PTA projects
  • Food grade sodium hexametaphosphate plant in US
  • Carbon black plant in Mississippi,USA
  • TiO2 capacity cuts in Europe
  • Ammonia plant in USA
  • Pharma grade  H2O2 facility in Netherlands
  • Chevron to exit Australian shale gas

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS

Recent developments on the following products are discussed

  • Hydrazine hydrate
  • Tokyo researchers develop aromatics catalyst
  • Engineered yeast may spell end of hangovers
  • World’s first hydrogen powered tramcar
  • Hydrogen generation process

IMPRESSIVE GROWTH OF PROPYLENE PROJECTS IN CHINA

The capacity of propylene in China was increased from 8.16 million metric tonne per annum in 2007 to 20.82 million metric tonne per annum in 2013, an increase of 1.5 fold.  The average scale of propylene cracking units also increased to 269 kilo metric tonne per annum. 

Total capacity of propylene in China is expected to reach 24 to 26 million metric tonne per annum  in 2015. 

China’s output of propylene will also jump from 19.02 million metric tonne in 2013 to 28 million metric tonne in 2015.

The apparent consumption of propylene in China increased from 9.5 million metric tonne in 2007 to 21.6 million metric tonne in 2013, an increase of 1.29 fold. 

In the three major consumption sectors of propylene, the consumption proportion in China is 68% for making PP, 8% for making propylene oxide and 7% for making acrylonitrile. 

In China, is expected that the average annual growth of the propylene demand up to 2016 will be 4.4%, faster than the capacity growth. 

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

CHINA NEWS

The recent developments  in China are discussed in the following articles

  • Alkoxylation facility
  • Potassium sulphate plant
  • Coal gasification facility in Luoyang
  • New coal bed methane development plan

SOLAR POWER STATION IN SPACE

China plans to build a huge solar power station 36,000 kilometres above the ground in an attempt to battle smog, cut greenhouse gases and solve energy crisis.

If realised, it will surpass the scale of the Apollo project and the International Space Station, and be the largest-ever space project.

The power station would be a super spacecraft on a geosynchronous orbit equipped with huge solar panels. The electricity generated would be converted to microwaves or lasers and transmitted to a collector on Earth, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Wang Xiji (93), an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and an International Academy of Astronautics member with over 50 years to space technology research, Wang age (93), is an advocate for the station: "An economically viable space power station would be really huge, with the total area of the solar panels reaching 5 to 6 sq km."   That would be equivalent to 12 of Beijing's Tian'anmen Square, the largest public square in the world, or nearly two New York Central Parks. "Maybe people on Earth could see it in the sky at night, like a star," says Wang.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

NEWS ROUND UP – INDIA

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed

  • Revival plans of FCI Ramagundam
  • India overtakes US as third biggest steel producer
  • Gelatine makers affected by beef ban
  • India's fast breeder reactor to start generation
  • ISRO satellite images to help check ‘illegal sand mining’
  • 5 killed in Vizag cracker unit blast

AGRO CHEMICAL PAGE

Recent developments in  agro fields are discussed in the following articles

  • Neem coating of 75% domestic urea made mandatory
  • Indian pesticides market
  • Bio fertilizer 'Mycoraja'
  • Agricultural waste to produce biofuel
  • Low calorie rice that can help shed flab developed
  • Golden rice

PHARMA PAGE
Recent developments  in the pharma  fields are  discussed in the following  articles

  • Sun Pharma - Ranbaxy merger
  • Indian Pharma companies will soon be rated by USFDA
  • New alzheimer’s drug developed by Biogen ldec
  • Stem cell based drug - Stempeucel
  • Night vision eye drops.

ENERGY PAGE

ENERGY STORAGE SYSTEM -  RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

Renewable energy and storage systems go hand-in-hand everywhere, not just in solar powered micro and mini grid solutions, where the need for storage is more obvious.

For companies like OMC, whose business model is to supply power to a well paying anchor customer, such as a telecom tower or a petrol bunk and provide surplus electricity to nearby villages, storage solutions are not just facilitators; they are indispensable.

That is more so in solar powered micro and mini grids  where companies put up a solar power generation unit  to supply power.

However, storage systems come with their own issues. First, they are costly. For instance, if  it is needed to use a flow battery of Imergy Power to provide 4 hour back up for a 1 MW solar power plant, it would approximately cost Rs. 3 crore. However, costs are coming down. Imergy has a roadmap to bring down cost by 40 per cent in three years.

 A November 2014 report of UBS and Navigant Research said that battery costs would come down to $ 230 per kWhr (around $ 700 per kWhr now) in about three years and would likely fall to  $ 100 later on.

Storage systems are also maturing in technology. Lithium ion technology is the market leader today, but is likely to be replaced  by flow batteries due to several issues.

For instance, lithium ion has problems in ‘deep discharge’. It is necessary to start recharging when it has discharged half of its capacity. It could be dangerous if the battery is overcharged, so it is necessary to stop charging the moment it reaches full. Flow batteries do not have these issues, last as long as 20 years and even have a residual value, because (in some cases) the metal in the electrolyte can be sold. On the other hand, flow batteries are bulky and hence cannot be used in all applications.

Energy storage is, therefore, still an evolving science but its future seems assured. The UBS Navigant Research report predicts that the storage industry, riding on the back of falling costs and maturing technology, will grow 50 fold by 2020, from 400 MWhr in 2013. 

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

  • Recent developments in energy fields are discussed in the following articles
  • Solar  power projects in Tamil Nadu
  • Pooling of domestic imported gas
  • Government run suppliers allowed to sell bio-diesel to all consumers
  • China Adds 10.6 GW Solar Capacity in 2014
OTHER ARTICLES
  • Spot price of polymers in China - February 2015
  • Tenders
  • Chemicals imported at Chennai port during the month of January 2015
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