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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal,  September 2015

CELLULOSE ACETATE|VITAMIN A|BIODIESEL
Highlights of Some of the Articles

NEED FOR NATIONAL FOCUS ON CHEMICALS FROM WASTE
TETRAHYDROFURAN – INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
PRECIPITATED SILICA – SCENARIO IN CHINA
GLUFOSINATE AMMONIUM - PRODUCT PROFILE
GLOBAL METHANOL SCENARIO – RECENT TRENDS
IS GLOBAL INVESTORS MEET NECESSARY ?
NATURAL GAS PRICE TREND IN INDIA
INDIA’S URANIUM NEED
GLOBAL FATTY ACID ESTERS MARKET - FINDINGS OF THE STUDY
WORLD DEMAND FOR PLASTIC PIPE FINDINGS OF THE STUDY
ILLEGAL IMPORT OF CHINESE FIRE CRACKERS IN INDIA
PRODUCTS FROM BIOBASED CHEMICALS
OTHER FEATURES
OTHER ARTICLES

TALK OF THE MONTH

TALK OF THE MONTH

NEED FOR NATIONAL FOCUS ON CHEMICALS FROM WASTE

Well intentioned Clean India Campaign launched by Prime Minister appears to be slowing down largely due to technology issues.

While it is a fact that the mindset of an average Indian about the cleanliness in the surroundings is yet to change dramatically for the better, those who have taken the campaign sincerely now appear to feel whether the campaign has been launched in vacuum.

While wastes are being collected in towns and cities and dumped   in the outskirts, they are largely remaining as dumped waste causing several ecological issues and unclean conditions, as they are untreated.  What to do with mountain of collected waste has now become the real and grave issue in India, requiring urgent national attention.

There is a crisis in waste management in India today.

Obviously, the need is to treat and manage the wastes economically and profitably by converting it into value added product. Commercial projects for utilisation of wastes to produce such products are not in operation in India at any significant level.

Power generation from municipal waste

Power generation from municipal solid waste is a great opportunity for a country like India that is generating millions of tonne of municipal solid waste and facing power shortage across the country.

It is disappointing that the successfully operated power projects from municipal solid wastes are only a few and some projects have faced serious environmental issues.

Significant developments in engineering and technology practices for generation of power from municipal solid wastes have happened in developed countries and large capacity plants are in successful operation abroad. Some international companies possessing such technologies have shown interest in transferring technical knowhow to India   but have received only lukewarm response from Indian project promoters.

Selected methods for conversion of MSW to power

  • COMBUSTION             (in excess air )             (direct method )
  • GASIFICATION            (in reduced air )            (indirect method )
  • PYROLYSIS                 (in absence of air )      (indirect method )

Direct method involves production of both heat and electricity by direct combustion.

Indirect method involves gasification/pyrolysis of wastes to produce syngas, which can further be used to produce power.

Types of available gasification technologies 

  • Low temperature gasification
  • Fluidized bed gasification
  • Plasma arc gasification
  • Thermal gasification followed by plasma gasification
  • Gasification combined with pyrolysis

Hydro power plant from treated effluent in Delhi

Delhi Jal Board (DJB) has recently commissioned the first ever hydropower plant in Delhi, which will produce 20,000 kWh of electricity per year. The plant has been commissioned at Chilla area in East Delhi.

This is the first plant in Delhi which will be run through hydraulic turbines propelled by treated effluent coming out of a Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP).

  Plants for energy from waste in Delhi and Jaipur

Railways will be setting up first of its kind plants at New Delhi and Jaipur stations for disposal of solid waste in environmental friendly manner and generation of energy from the garbage.

The plants are proposed to be set up under the Waste-to-Energy project of the Railways.

"There will be two plants, first-of-its-kind in railways, for disposal of municipal solid waste (MSW) generated at stations as well as conversion of MSW into electricity and synthetic gas.”

The proposed capacity for handling waste is 20 metric tonne per day at New Delhi station and 5 metric tonne per day at Jaipur station area. Railways will provide 1000 sq metre land on licence fee basis in the vicinity for setting up the plant. RITES, a railways subsidiary, has invited Expression of Interest (EoI) for the project.

Railways generate a substantial amount of solid waste by passengers, visitors, vendors and staff.

Chemicals from CO2

Lot of work has taken place abroad in generating chemicals and polymers from carbon dioxide. Inspite of India being a huge generator of CO2 gas, advanced projects for production of value added from carbon dioxide have not yet been planned and implemented in India. 

CO2 can be used in the production of number of valuable products that include the following

  • Polycarbonate
  • Polypropylene carbonate
  • Dimethyl carbonate
  • Carbon dioxide as refrigerant
  • Development of algae for production of bio diesel

Fuel from plastic waste

Technology has been developed to convert waste plastics (polyolefins) to automotive grade fuel and petrochemical. 

Using this technology, waste polyolefins (polyethylene and polypropylene like carry bags, packaging materials, household plastics, agricultural pipes, etc.) can be converted exclusively into any one of the products such as gasoline, diesel.

Plastics waste gasification plant in Japan

Showa Denko (Tokyo) opened a gasification plant that uses plastic waste from its Kawasaki, Japan manufacturing complex. 

The plant produces feedstock for Showa Denko's ammonia plant at the site.  Showa Denko obtains part of the hydrogen required for the synthesis of ammonia from the gasification unit at Kawasaki.

Synthesis gas / methanol from sewage sludge

Projects have been set up abroad for the production of methanol from sewage sludge.

India should certainly look into the feasibility of producing methanol from waste. This is a great project opportunity, as India imports more than 1.2 million tonne of methanol per annum and India faces shortage of natural gas, which can be the feedstock for methanol.

A plant operates in Canada which converts municipal solid waste (MSW) into methanol. The plant has capacity to produce 38 million litres of methanol per annum.

There are possibilities of producing several other chemicals like synthesis gas / ammonia gas from municipal solid waste.

Recent selected initiatives abroad

NASA turns Human Waste into food

The US space agency NASA has funded researchers to find out how to recycle human excreta into food that can help astronauts sustain on deeper space missions, including Mars.

The researchers at Clemson University in South Carolina will receive $200,000 (roughly Rs. 1.4 crores) a year for upto three years to achieve this task, the US space agency said in a statement.

Using urine and breathed-out carbon dioxide as the building blocks to create useful aboard items, the team is genetically engineering yeast to produce things that astronauts may need.

"A particular strain of yeast can be genetically manipulated to create polymers, or plastics, used for 3D printing, as well as Omega 3s, which lower heart disease risk, and protect skin and hair," Mark Blenner, professor at Clemson said.

Yeast also feeds on fatty acids which certain algae can create out of carbon.

Blenner's system would grow yeast that could take those lipids and nitrogen and turn them into plastics and Omega 3s.

Biofuel from winery waste
The solid grape waste left over from wine-making could be used to produce low cost biofuel.

The researchers showed that up to 400 litres of bioethanol could be produced by fermentation of a tonne of grape marc - the leftover skins, stalks and seeds from wine-making.

Researchers found that the majority of the carbohydrates found in grape marc could be converted directly to ethanol through fermentation with a yield of up to 270 litres per metric tonne of grape marc.

Global wine production leaves an estimated 13 million metric tonne of grape marc waste each year.

Need for national focus

R & D initiatives to develop appropriate technologies for the production of chemicals from wastes are conspicuous by absence in India.

It is surprising that industrial houses in India involved in chemical and related projects and looking for diversification opportunities, have not cared to pay adequate attention to explore the possibilities for producing chemical projects from waste material.  This is particularly so, even as Indian industries are confronted with shortage of feedstock such as natural gas and crude oil.

Government of India also need to realise that it’s clean India campaign can be injected with greater vigour and sense of direction only by taking steps to promote projects for producing value added chemicals from waste material.

While the Government of India should take proactive steps in this regard, certainly the ball is in the court of Indian industries and R&D institutions.

Setting up of viable projects from waste material will not only provide profit for the investors, but also provide incentive to people to collect and dispose the waste in healthy manner and keep the surrounding clean.

TETRAHYDROFURAN – INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY

CAS No.                                   109-99-9

Molecular formula:                    C4H8O

Tetrahydrofuran (THF) is a clear, colourless, low viscosity liquid with an ether-like odour. THF exhibits high volatility and has  low freezing point. At 20 deg.C, THF is completely miscible with water.

Specification

Descripton

Unit

Specification

Analysis method

Purity

wt %

99.8 min.

Gas Chromatography

Colour

APHA

10 max.

JIS K 0071-1993

Moisture Content

wt ppm

200 max.

JIS K 0068-1992

Peroxide Content

wt ppm

150 max.

(iodimetry)

Stabilizer (BHT)

wt ppm

200 ~ 300 
(typical = 250)

Gas Chromatography

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Applications
  • Process
  • Producers
  • Global consumption trend
  • Indian import
  • Global Import  trend
PRECIPITATED SILICA –SCENARIO IN CHINA

China tire makers are increasing their use of precipitated silica in tires. Replacing 50% of the carbon black usually used in Chinese tires with high dispersion silica would generate additional demand for  one million metric tonne of high dispersion silica.

Under the new environmental protection law, China’s new water based environment friendly coatings – which must incorporate precipitated silica as a delustering agent and thickener have developed fast and have found more applications and buyers.

Demand for special precipitated silica in the manufacture of coatings is projected to grow fast.

Following details are provided in this article

  • Production
  • Consumption
  • Applications
  • China’s precipitated silica producers
GLUFOSINATE AMMONIUM - PRODUCT PROFILE

Glufosinate-ammonium is a broad-spectrum contact herbicide and is used to control a wide range of weeds after the crop emerges or for total vegetation control on land not used for cultivation. Glufosinate herbicides are also used to desiccate (dry off) crops before harvest.

Glufosinate ammonium is a white solid with pungent odour

Synonym 2-Amino-4-(hydroxymethylphosphinyl)butyric acid ammonium salt, DL-Phosphinothricin

CAS Number    77182-82-2

Empirical Formula C5H15N2O4P

Following details are provided in this article.

  • Uses
  • Registration
  • Producers
  • Substitute for glyphosate
GLOBAL METHANOL SCENARIO – RECENT TRENDS

Important application areas

Methanol, traditionally, has been a chemical feedstock consumed in the manufacture of derivatives such as formaldehyde, acetic acid, methyl methacrylate, and methylamines.

Following details are discussed in this article.

  • Methanol demand pattern
  • Global demand
  • Global methanol import trade
  • Global producers
IS GLOBAL INVESTORS MEET NECESSARY?

Mr. Narendra  Modi started the practice of organising global investors meet with much fanfare and  huge cost  with the objective of encouraging investment in Gujarat , when  he was the Chief Minister of the state. Several other states have now followed this practice.

While for  the global investors meet in Gujarat several project promoters trooped in and thousands of crores of rupees of investment were  promised and many MOUs  were signed,  it is said that the actual realisation of investment was much less than 50%  of the promises made.  Same is the case in several other states.  Unfortunately, no state government has so far published a white paper on the expenses made in organising the global investors meet, investment promised and investment actually realised.

Many industrial observers think that such investments would have come in any case even without organising the global investors meet. It is justifiably criticised that global investors meet has become a tool for the state level politicians to publicise themselves and reap political advantages in elections.

In today’s scenario, where communication channels are very extensive, nothing can be exaggerated and nothing can be concealed from the Indian and overseas investors.   Everything is there for all to see. 

 In such circumstances, if any government were to think that the project promoters and investors can be hoodwinked to make investment in the state based on their promises, such expectations can only be  termed as foolish. The decisions of the project promoters to invest or not to invest would always be based on careful considerations and calculations of the merits / demerits of the situation and cost benefit factors.  Given the credibility of the state level politicians ,no investor would believe their promises,  though they may attend meetings and listen to them.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

NATURAL GAS PRICE TREND IN INDIA

Indian pricing formula

As per the mechanism approved in October 2014, price of domestically produced natural gas is to be revised every six months using weighted average or rates prevalent in gas surplus economies of US/Mexico, Canada and Russia to incentivise exploration in deep sea that was not viable at USD 4.2 rate.

Indian gas price is calculated by taking weighted average price at Henry Hub of US, National Balancing Point of UK, rates in Alberta (Canada) and Russia with a lag of one quarter.

So, the rates for April 1 to September 30 period were based on average price at the international hubs during January to December 2014.

The October 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016, rate will be based on average of prices during July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015.

Following details are discussed in this article.

  • Price level in Asia pacific region
  • Likely price trend
INDIA’S URANIUM NEED

Uranium import agreements have been signed by Government of India with Uzbekistan based Navoi Mining & Metallurgical Combinat State Company (NMMC), Russia-based JSC TVEL Corporation, Canada based CAMECO and Kazakhstan-based NAC Kazatomprom.  The government has recently signed an agreement with Kazatomprom, a company based in Kazakhstan with an import potential of 5,000 metric tonne of uranium ore concentrate.

With India signing several deals for import of uranium, the government says that total fuel consumption at nuclear reactors except Kudankulam and Tarapur will increase by 9% and 30% in the next two years.

With limited domestic reserves, India has been allowed to import uranium as a result of the India-US nuclear agreement.  More imports will mean better capacity utilization of plants, which has increased from 79% in 2011-12 to 82% in 2014-15.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

GLOBAL FATTY ACID ESTERS MARKET FINDINGS OF THE STUDY

A new market study on the global fatty acid esters market has been recently published by Transparency Market Research (TMR).

The report estimates the market to develop at a CAGR of 4.1% over the period from 2014 to 2020 and attain a market value of US$2.24 billion by the end of the forecast period .

According to the report, titled “Fatty Acid Esters Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2014 - 2020”, the global market for fatty acid esters stood at US$1.70 billion in 2013.

The research report states that the rising concerns relating to fitness and beauty is the main factor driving the growth of the fatty acid eaters market around the world. The rising obesity across the world is another growth driver of this market, as fatty acid esters helps in reducing weight by burning calories.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

WORLD DEMAND FOR PLASTIC PIPE FINDINGS OF THE STUDY

World demand for plastic pipe is projected to rise 6.7 percent per annum though 2019 to 19.3 billion meters.

 Strong construction activity, particularly in the large markets of China and the US, will boost demand as plastic pipe sees intensive use in both building and nonbuilding construction applications. Plastic’s performance, cost, and installation advantages will also spur its increasing use over competing pipe materials such as concrete, copper, and steel.

These and other trends are presented in World Plastic Pipe, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry research firm.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

ILLEGAL IMPORT OF CHINESE FIRE CRACKERS IN INDIA

With Chinese fireworks finding their way into the Indian market despite import restrictions, the Government of India has sprung into action, well before the festival season to check the smuggling of the cheap but dangerous crackers from across the border.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has already written to the Central Bureau of Excise and Customs and the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) to take  pre-emptive action to stop illegal imports.

“The DGFT has asked the Customs Department to sensitise its officers on the possibility of smuggling of fire crackers from China through mis representation of cargo. The illegal shipments usually start sometime in September, so there is still time to step up vigil,” the official said.

Fire crackers are often camouflaged as toys when shipped illegally from China. Unlike toys, firecracker is a restricted item and cannot be imported without licence. Since the DGFT refrains from giving licence, fire cracker import is practically banned.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

PRODUCTS FROM BIOBASED CHEMICALS

How the following products are produced from biobased chemicals are discussed in this article.

  • Artificial leather
  • 1,4 Butanediol / Tetra hydro furun
  • Succinic acid
  • Bio based levulinic acid
  • Italian firms partner on levulinic acid
  • Bio based Epichlorohydrin (ECH)
  • Renewable route to butadiene
  • Propylene / isobutene from renewable feedstock
OTHER FEATURES

PLANT CLOSURE

The articles discusses about the closure of following plants

  • Bayer to close TDI plant in Germany
  • Vedanta halts production at Korba aluminium plant in India
  • n-butyllithium
  • Jindal Steel shuts Australia colliery

SAFETY AND ACCIDENT PAGE

The articles discuss about the accidents that occurred in the following plants

  • Blasts at LyondellBasell site were ‘a criminal act’
  • PVC explosion in South Korea
  • OSHA places DuPont in severe violator enforcement programme
  • Explosions  in chemical warehouse in Tianjin, China

ANTI DUMPING PAGE

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

  • HFC
  • Potassium carbonate
  • Linen fabric
  • Caustic soda
  • Ban on import of electroic, PET scrap

NEWS ROUND UP – INTERNATIONAL

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed

  • Alkane capacity in Michigan, USA
  • Natural detergent alcohols
  • Chlorinated PVC project in Thailand
  • Alkoxylation plant in Singapore
  • Lithium carbonate facility in Chile
  • Potash
  • Israel okays Adama nematicide
  • Shell to drill for oil in Arctic Ocean
  • Shale gas transport from USA to Europe

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS

Recent developments on the following products are discussed

  • Silicon dioxide aerogels
  • Ice creams resistant to melting

CHINA NEWS

The recent developments  in China are discussed in the following articles

  • Cellulosic ethanol technology
  • Trimethylol propane
  • Chemical catalysts manufacturing plant
  • New Duranol line in China
  • Petrochemical Complex in Ningxia
  • Solvay’s fluoroelastomers plant in China
  • Propylene and isobutylene coproduction plans

NEWS ROUND UP – INDIA

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed

  • Bio-fuels
  • Ethanol blending in India
  • SAIL sets up converter unit in MP
  • Concrete weight coating (CWC) project in Gujarat
  • Use of geo-textiles in rural roads
  • Rice bran oil

PHARMA PAGE

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

  • Drug to treat alcohol addiction
  • Registration on Diclofenac

CAN PEROVSKITE BE SUBSTITUTE FOR SILICON IN SOLAR POWER PROJECT ?

Perovskite is a mineral composed of calcium titanate, used for making solar cells.

The mineral was discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia by Gustav Rose in 1839 and is named after Russian mineralogist Lev Perovski.

In the last  few years,  perovskite, which is a lot cheaper than silicon, has been knocking about in solar labs.  The efficiency levels in lab tests have reached 20 percent levels that conventional silicon cells took two decades to get to.

As pure technology, the ‘perovskite solar cell’ is the long awaited breakthrough. Among the ‘third generation’ solar cells (after crystalline silicon, and thin film), perovskites have proven to be better than ‘dye sensitised’ and ‘organic’ cells.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

SOLAR POWER INSTALLED CAPACITY IN INDIA  CROSSES 4 GW MILESTONE

Grid connected solar power installed capacity has crossed the 4 GW-mark, according to data released by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

Against a target of 1,400 MW for 2015-16, the achievement in the first four months of the financial year was 358 MW, or 25 per cent. On the basis of projects awarded in the recent months, both under the Central  and States’ schemes, it appears  that installations in the current year will exceed 2,500 MW.

The MNRE has set a target of 100 GW of solar capacity to be achieved by 2022.

Wind installations in the first four months of the current financial year were 412 MW, according to the MNRE data.

The India’s wind capacity is forecast at 38,690 MW by 2020. The government’s target for 2022 is 60,000 MW.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

OTHER ARTICLES
  • Spot price of polymers in China - August 2015

  • Tenders

  • Chemicals imported at Chennai port during the month of June 2015

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