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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal,  March 2015

BIO SURFACTANTS|HYDROGEN GAS|GAS ALLOCATION TO UREA
Highlights of Some of the Articles

LACK OF THRUST ON R&D RETARDS CHEMICAL INDUSTRY GROWTH
SODIUM BOROHYDRIDE - INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
TERPINEOL – PRODUCT PROFILE
BIOBASED ACRYLIC ACID - TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS
SPOTLIGHT ON SPECIALITY CHEMICAL PENTAMETHYLENE DIISOCYANATE (PDI)
BIO SURFACTANTS - UPDATE ON GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
HYDROGEN GAS FROM SODIUM BOROHYDRIDE
GOVT.OF INDIA’S FERTILISER PRODUCTION POLICY IN DISARRAY
ANOMALY IN GAS ALLOCATION TO UREA, OTHER FERTILIZER UNITS
UREA INDUSTRY IN INDIA - STAGNANT PRODUCTION AND INCREASE IN CONSUMPTION
OIL EXPLORATION EFFORTS OF RELIANCE INDUSTRIES
REVIVAL OF MARGINAL OIL FIELDS IN INDIA
OTHER FEATURES
OTHER ARTICLES

TALK OF THE MONTH

LACK OF THRUST ON R&D RETARDS CHEMICAL INDUSTRY GROWTH

Prime Minister has stressed the importance of increasing indigenous production and making products in India to attain self sufficiency and industrial growth.

While this is certainly a laudable initiative and approach, this objective can be achieved only by strengthening the R&D efforts and injecting an element of dynamism in the R&D institutions.

However, conditions in India, particularly in the case of chemical industry, are not appropriate  for the success of make India campaign in the immediate future, due to lack of R&D thrust.

Even after six decades of independence and planned growth, Indian chemical industry still largely depends upon technology and technical know how support from abroad to sustain its  growth and capacity creation programme.

While Government of India has spent thousands of crore of rupees  in maintaining the government owned CSIR labs and huge funds  have been provided over the years to several  R&D ventures  in the private sector and university research programme, the results are not commensurate  with the investment made and are nowhere near the expectations. This is a very unhappy and disturbing situation facing Indian R&D front.

Repeated  import of  technology for the products that are already produced by several units in India only reflect the conditions that the chemical industry base in India  have still not been developed adequately. In the past several years, there are only a few technologies that have been developed in the laboratory successfully  and which have been proved successful  in commercial ventures with regard to competitive efficacy and quality.

Even in the case of pharmaceutical and bio technology projects where India claims that it has made break through in the global market, most of the products produced are formulation types which are exported in good quantity and they are not basic technicals.

While the government owned CSIR labs should accept the blame for such situation to some extent, private and public sector chemical companies are also considerably responsible for such dismal scenario.

Most of the investments made by private and public sector chemical companies in research and developments are only by way of trouble shooting exercise and quality optimization programme and are not really related to  basic research and the new product development efforts.

With the country depending on import of technology to a significant extent to sustain the growth of chemical industry, there have not been adequate efforts to develop appropriate technologies to meet the specific requirement of the country.

CSIR labs need revamping

Certainly, CSIR labs, that have been set up by the Government of India to promote research and development  in various areas, should be revamped.              The labs should be asked to work on target driven projects and take up any project for research only after ascertaining the utility value and their appropriateness for the country’s requirement. The stress should be on making them profit conscious.

It would be good idea to convert atleast a few CSIR labs into joint venture with private sector.

Corporate R&D plans for companies

Though several chemical companies in the medium and large sector claim that they have research and development facilities and funds are ear marked for R&D work, there are really no published information about the target set by them and achievements made.

It would be appropriate that the government should instruct all companies with turn over more than Rs.100 crore per annum to publish separate annual report on R&D work carried out,  similar to the finance and profitability statement of the companies published every year.  This step will go a long way in motivating the companies to focus attention on R&D areas, which would do good both for companies as well as for country.

Need for industry and university joint efforts

Many universities exists in India with adequate library and research facilities and equipment. Unfortunately, most of such facilities are not put into adequate use. They are utilized mainly for the purpose of providing routine education and training to the students and they remain unutilized for most period.

Unlike developed countries like USA, there is little collaboration between universities and industries in India  in taking up research and development work. This situation in India may largely be due to lack of confidence on the part of the industries in the capability of the universities to turn out quality work in quick time in a committed manner.

There has to be healthy and progressive dialogue between universities and industries in working out appropriate method of cooperation, where there are many possibilities.

INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY 2-PROPYLHEPTANOL

Alternate name                         Sodium tetrahydridoborate, Sodium tetrahydroborate

Appearance                               Odourless white to grey white microcrystalline powder which often forms lumps.

CAS Number                             16940-66-2

Molecular formula                      NaBH4

Solubility in water                       It is readily soluble in water

Sodium borohydride crystallizes in dihydrate form in water at temperature below 36.4 deg.C and in anhydrous form on temperature over it.

Solubility in organic solvents

Sodium borohydride is soluble in most polar solvents that contain a hydroxyl or an amine group.

The stability of sodium borohydride in organic solvents is dependent on the degree of hydrolysis that can occur.

Stability

The presence of water accelerates hydrolysis reaction.The stability of sodium borohydride in solution that contains water is dependent on the temperature and pH of the solution. The hydrolysis reaction occurs evolving hydrogen gas decreasing the stability of sodium borohydride, when temperature is increased or pH is lowered.

The instability in lower alcohols (methanol, ethanol) can be overcome by the addition of base.

Safety

Sodium borohydride may liberate hydrogen gas even violently or explosively when reacting with oxidizers, acids, heavy metals or heavy metal salts.

Contact with moisture, water or steam causes gradual decomposition of the product and  slow release of hydrogen, which is flammable.

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Application
  • Substitution possibility
  • Manufacturing process for sodium borohydride
  • Indian Import
  • Global producers
  • Scenario in China
TERPINEOL – PRODUCT PROFILE

Terpineol is a naturally occurring monoterpene alcohol.

Terpineol is produced with three isomeric forms namely alpha, beta and gamma terpineol.   Terpineol is usually a mixture of these isomers with alpha terpineol as the major constituent, which is the fragrant substance in the isomers.

Terpineol is a naturally occurring monoterpene alcohol.

Terpineol is produced with three isomeric forms namely alpha, beta, and gamma terpineol.   Terpineol is usually a mixture of these isomers with alpha terpineol as the major constituent, which is the fragrant substance in the isomers.

Appearance               Slightly viscous clear liquid
CAS No.                     8000-41-7 
Molecular formula      C10H17OH
Odour                         Pleasant odour similar to lilac.
Solubility                    Soluble in alcohol

Grades

Terpineol is produced in the following two grades :

  • Fragrance / flavour grade  
  • Pharmaceutical / extra pure grade

Shelf life

The shelf life is 24 months or longer, when stored properly.

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Process outline
  • Product application
  • Supply analysis
  • Global supply of pine resin / gum turpentine
  • Global production of terpineol
  • Global producers of terpineol
  • Indian import / export of terpineol
  • Prognosis
BIOBASED ACRYLIC ACID TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS

Acrylic acid is a high volume chemical that feeds into a broad range of products.

One of the main applications is in the manufacture of superabsorbent polymers that can soak up large amounts of liquid and are used mainly in diapers and other hygiene products. Acrylic acid is also used in adhesive raw materials and coatings. There is now focus on producing bio based acrylic acid.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

SPOTLIGHT ON SPECIALITY CHEMICAL PENTAMETHYLENE DIISOCYANATE (PDI)

Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) has unveiled a breakthrough technology to make a new aliphatic isocyanate based on bio route for use in the coatings industry.

Pentamethylene diisocyanate (PDI), which will be officially launched at the European Coatings Show at Nuremberg, Germany, in April,2015 is a new isocyanate and 70% of its carbon content comes from biomass without generating any direct competition for food production.

Above subject is further discussed in this article

BIO SURFACTANTS UPDATE ON GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS

The term "biosurfactant" can be applied to a surfactant that is obtained directly from a natural source (from plant, animal or microbial cells) by some kind of separation procedure such as extraction, precipitation or distillation.

These surfactants have recently gained appeal as an alternative to surfactants organically synthesized from petrochemicals.

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Raw material and types
  • Production cost
  • Demand driver
  • Growth rate in demand
  • Important players
HYDROGEN GAS FROM SODIUM BOROHYDRIDE

In November 2004, Samsung Engineering announced the successful test ride of a hydrogen powered motorcycle .The scooter can run for up to 140 kilometres on  6 litres of hydrogen fuel.

The newly developed technology uses a water-based solution of sodium borohydride, made from sodium borate, to produce hydrogen gas.

On 6 litres of hydrogen fuel, the vehicle can travel three times farther than a scooter powered by a nickel-cadmium cell. 

Sodium borohydride, owing to its low cost and high hydrogen density (10.6 wt%), has received extensive attention as a promising hydrogen storage medium.

However, its practical use is hampered by its high thermodynamic stability and slow hydrogen exchange kinetics.

Recent developments have been made in promoting H2 release and tuning the thermodynamics of the thermal decomposition of solid sodium borohydride.These conceptual advances offer a positive outlook for using sodium borohydride based materials, as viable hydrogen storage carriers for mobile applications.

GOVT.OF INDIA’S FERTILISER PRODUCTION POLICY IN DISARRAY

Even as the Government of India is stressing the importance of boosting production of fertilizers and is taking efforts to revive the closed units and promote new projects, it is strange that  several existing fertilizer units are forced to curtail or stop production due to the government’s unimaginative policy and approach.

Urea is a controlled commodity. Government gives the difference between cost of production and MRP as subsidy.

However, for production beyond 100 per cent capacity, the subsidy is calculated on the basis of import prices. This makes production beyond capacity is unviable, as import prices have come down substantially.

A few instances are given below, which clearly reflect on the government’s counter productive  policy with regard to fertilizer industry in India .

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Stoppage of nitrophosphate plant by DFPCL
  • Stoppage of urea production in CFCL
  • AB Nuvo shuts down UP urea plant for a month
  • Suspension of production by naphtha based urea units  in south India
ANOMALY IN GAS ALLOCATION TO UREA, OTHER FERTILIZER UNITS

The proposed policy for allocation of domestically produced natural gas, which downgrades the position of urea manufacturers in the pecking order, has prompted fertiliser units to reiterate their demand for being kept at the top of the list.

The Fertiliser Association of India (FAI) sent letters to the Fertiliser and Agriculture demanding not only that the fertiliser sector be given top priority ahead of CNG (compressed natural gas) and PNG (piped natural gas) sellers and atomic energy and space research sectors, but also that there should be no differentiation in allocation between urea and NP/NPK fertilisers.

The industry points out that the proposed re allocation policy would hurt P&K (phosphatic and potassic) fertiliser manufacturers despite the need for higher quality fertilisers.

The fertiliser plants cannot rely on imported R-LNG, as it is not viable. Also, ammonia will have to be imported

The FAI letter also highlights domestic production over imports in its letter. “Nitrogen is imported through ammonia and finished products like urea and NP/NPK fertilisers. 40 per cent of domestic production of nitrogen is also dependent on imported gas as LNG. Any loss of production of NP/NPK fertilisers due to non availability of domestic gas will increase import dependence.

UREA INDUSTRY IN INDIA STAGNANT PRODUCTION AND INCREASE IN CONSUMPTION

Government policy

In 2010, the government de controlled the selling price of complex fertilisers such as DAP (di ammonium phosphate), and introduced a nutrient based subsidy (NBS).

Under the NBS policy, the government fixes a flat subsidy per metric tonne payable on various grades of complex fertilisers every year and producers are allowed to decide on the selling price that will help them recover the balance from farmers.

As complex fertiliser subsidies have been kept under check, the prices of complex fertilisers have risen three-fold since their decontrol in 2010.

In contrast, the selling price of urea has not kept pace even with inflation.

Even as the government has made several budget announcements regarding decontrol of urea selling prices, there is no concrete framework yet.

Following details are dicussed in this article

  • Consumption trend
  • Subsidy burden
  • Production cost
  • Price trend
  • Stagnant production
  • Import trend of urea
OIL EXPLORATION EFFORTS OF RELIANCE INDUSTRIES

Reliance Industries (RIL) and its foreign partner BP have reported eight oil discoveries in the Cambay basin block bagged by them in the fifth round of New Exploration Licensing Policy (Nelp) auction.

The discoveries in block CB-ONN-2003/1 reportedly hold oil initially in place (OIIP) of  15.04 million barrels.

Reliance Industries faced investors’ glare after production from its flagship project KG-D6 has dropped drastically. The gas fields in deep waters of the east coast began production in April 2009 and touched a peak of 69.43 mmscmd in March 2010. Currently, the output is around   11 to 12 mmscmd.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

REVIVAL OF MARGINAL OIL FIELDS IN INDIA

Government’s policy on marginal oil fields

In the nomination era, no policy was ever pronounced, since it was all government owned and managed, and production periods extended ad infinitum.

With the opening up of the sector in the 1990s and the original licences nearing the end of their contract period, the government has to take some steps to make these fields viable, and possibly even biddable, for E&P companies.

However,India is not so logical when the private companies enter the scene.  With contracted fields nearing the end of their licence, the government is bringing out a new extension policy. Media reports indicate that the government shall be seeking additional revenue from the old fields of private E&P companies.  The extension shall be for a short period, rather than for the economic life of the field.

With the opening up of the sector in the 1990s and the original licences nearing the end of their contract period, the government has to take some steps to make these fields viable, and possibly even biddable, for E&P companies.

However, India is not so logical when the private companies enter the scene.  With contracted fields nearing the end of their licence, the government is bringing out a new extension policy. Media reports indicate that the government shall be seeking additional revenue from the old fields of private E&P companies.   The extension shall be for a short period, rather than for the economic life of the field.

Following details are further discussed in this article

  • Need  to avoid premature abandonment
  • Need for proactive approach to the ageing well
  • Marginal oil fields in US and Europe
OTHER FEATURES

PLANT CLOSURES

The articles discusses about the closure of following plants

  • ExxonMobil to close butyl rubber unit in France
  • Nippon Shokubai closes phthalic anhydride plant in Japan
  • Teijin-DuPont JV closes polyester film plant in Japan
  • Eastman plans acetate tow closure

ANTI DUMPING PAGE

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

  • Graphite electrodes
  • Sodium nitrate
  • Acetone

SAFETY AND ACCIDENT PAGE

The following articles discussing about the accidents occurred at various places

  • Fire in refinery in USA
  • Two killed in blast at Gulf Oil company
  • Deadly bio terror agent leaked from lab in USA
  • Fire in Reliance gas pipeline

NEWS ROUND UP – INTERNATIONAL

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed

  • Ammonia plant in Louisiana
  • Lithium ion battery separators
  • Polypropylene spunbond capacity in Indonesia
  • Worldwide expansion plans for PVP by BASF
  • Butanediol capacity of BASF at Geismar
  • Diphenyl carbonate plant in Japan
  • Lufthansa begins biofuel flights
  • Methanol plant at Geismar
  • Novel soda ash plant in Norway
  • Polyphenylene sulfide

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT

The recent developments on the following products are discussed

  • Technology for turning waste water into fresh water
  • New tech promises zero tannery pollution

CHINA NEWS

The recent developments  in China on the following details are discussed

  • Toluene alkylation technology
  • Rare earth export quotas
  • Coal to chemicals plant in China

NEWS ROUND UP – INDIA

Stalled projects

Stalled projects worth Rs.8.8 lakh crore or 7% of GDP, are holding up investments in the economy, impacting corporate balance sheets  and public sector banks which have extended loans.

Top reasons for stalling across ownership

By ownership

Why projects stalled

Private Indian 585 Projects

Lack of promoter interest

Lack of non environmental clearances

 

Govt. 161 Projects

Land acquisition problem

Lack of non environmental clearances

Lack of funds

States with stalling rate> 10%

                                 State

2013 Q4 (%)

2014 Q3

West Bengal

34.4

28.9

Himachal Pradesh

20.2

22.7

Odisha

11.4

19.9

Jharkhand

32.0

17.3

Uttar Pradesh

26.2

16.6

Chhattisgarh

20.2

15.4

Andhra Pradesh

12.3

14.9

Maharashtra

7.5

12.4

Telengana

9.0

10.0

AGRO CHEMICAL PAGE

Recent developments in  following agro products are discussed in this article

  • Seed  bank for medicinal plants
  • Rice herbicide – Radical jumbo
  • Novel herbicide

PHARMA PAGE

SYNTHETIC VACCINE TO FIGHT POLIO
TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS

British and American scientists have now joined hands to develop a wholly artificial vaccine to combat polio.

The main challenge in developing a synthetic vaccine is how to keep the mock virus, without a real genome, stable long enough to generate immune response.

WHO and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are providing a $674,000 grant with the hope that the new approach can address shortcomings in an existing vaccine and help eliminate polio once and for all. The participating British scientists will come from the universities of Leeds, Oxford and Reading.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

CANCER DRUG – IMBRUVICA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration expanded the approved use of Imbruvica (ibrutinib) for patients with Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia (WM), a rare form of cancer that begins in the body’s immune system. The drug received a breakthrough therapy designation for this use.

The drug is projected to join the ranks of other top selling oncology drugs, with $4.2 billion in estimated sales in 2019, according to an average of estimates by analysts.

The drug is now approved for both mantle cell lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Imbruvica is one of the major advances in CLL treatment in the past couple of years It is not a cure, but it is relatively easily tolerable.That’s important because many cases of CLL occur in older patients and some cases can progress very slowly.

Like Gleevec, the number of people on the drug has potential to grow greatly over time, as patients using the drug live longer and if it ends up replacing chemotherapy as an initial treatment for CLL.
Imbruvica is co marketed by Pharmacyclics, based in Sunnyvale, California and Janssen Biotech, based in Horsham, Pennsylvania.
Above subject is further discussed in this article.

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

  • New drug for HIV vaccine
  • Asian herb may protect against Ebola
  • Novartis, Japan unit halts production over drug side effect
  • High tech pens to detect blood glucose
  • Drug Stempeutics gets US patent for stemcell product

ENERGY PAGE

PROPOSAL FOR 15,000 MW SOLAR POWER PROJECTS IN INDIA

The Union Cabinet approved the setting up of 15,000 MW of grid connected solar power projects through NTPC and its subsidiary NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd (NVVN).

The scheme will be implemented in three tranches. In the first, 3,000 MW will be set up by bundling solar power with unallocated coal based thermal power at fixed levelised tariffs.

In the second tranche, 5,000 MW project will be set up with government support.The final 7,000 MW project will be set up without any financial support

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

OTHER ARTICLES
  • Spot price of polymers in China - January 2015
  • Tenders
  • Chemicals imported at the Chennai port during December 2014
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