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Journals

Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, June 2016

Highlights of Some of the Articles

AGING THERMAL POWER PLANTS - SHOULD THEY BE CLOSED OR MODERNISED ?

NIOBIUM  - PRODUCT PROFILE

HYALURONIC ACID – PRODUCT PROFILE

SPOTLIGHT ON SPECIALITY CHEMICAL - CHLORO SULPHONATED POLYETHYLENE

DIMETHYL SULPHOXIDE - INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY

WILL DONALD TRUMP DERAIL PARIS CLIMATE DEAL IF HE HAPPENS TO BECOME U S PRESIDENT ?

ALL INDIA ESSAY COMPETITION - ARE INDIA’S PROMISES TO PARIS CLIMATE CONFERENCE ACHIEVABLE AND HOW ?

40 MILLION INDIANS AT RISK FROM RISING SEA LEVELS: UN REPORT

FLOATING SOLAR POWER PLANT - AN EMERGING OPPORTUNITY FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY

FIRE WORKS FACTORIES IN TAMIL NADU - ARE THEY KILLING FIELD FOR INNOCENT WORKERS ?

GM CROPS ISSUES - FINDINGS OF THE STUDY#

CARBON CAPTURE - RECENT EFFORTS

HEAT RESISTANT GEL -- R & D EFFORTS OF ISRO

PROPANE DEHYDROGENATION (PDH) FACILITIES IN NORTH AMERICA

TRENDS IN GLOBAL BOPP FILM INDUSTRY

POTASSIUM BROMATE & IODATE IN BREAD

INDIA’S NATURAL GAS PRODUCTION AND IMPORT TREND

ANTI DUMPING PAGE

SAFETY & ACCIDENT PAGE

NEWS ROUND UP – INTERNATIONAL

CHINA NEWS

NEWS ROUND UP - INDIA

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS

AGROCHEMICAL PAGE

PHARMA PAGE

ENERGY PAGE

 

TALK OF THE MONTH

AGING THERMAL POWER PLANTS - SHOULD THEY BE CLOSED OR MODERNISED ?

It is reported that Central Electricity Authority, which is the planning wing of the Power Ministry of Government of India, has recommended that the 37 aging coal based thermal power plants with combined capacity of 37 GW(37000 MW) should be closed immediately, as they are not adhering  to the prescribed norms for  emission and consumption of fuel and water. These plants are more than  25 years old and according to Central Electricity Authority,  they have turned uneconomical.

In December,2015, Environment Ministry of Government of India had issued norms for emissions from power plants such as particulate matter, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.

Aging plants now being considered for shut down accounts for about 12% of Indian total installed power capacity. Of the  37 GW of capacity proposed to be closed, 22 GW  belongs to state governments and 13 GW belongs to public sector companies such as NTPC  and 2 GW capacity belongs to non state producers.

Should the aging plants be closed straightaway ?

Looking at the above scenario, one wonders as to whether it would  be appropriate to totally scrap  the aging plants. Will it not be beneficial to replace the critical equipment and modernise the plants and  introduce appropriate technology to optimise their performance ?

It has to be kept in  view that the power plants consist of several individual equipment such as  boilers, turbines, blowers, cooling towers etc. Those equipment that have recorded low efficiency standard can be selectively replaced. Such steps would ensure that the revamped plants would operate as per the stipulated environmental norms and with required parameters of efficiency from the point of view  of  coal and water consumption.

The question is whether Central Electricity Authority has examined such  options  carefully and carried out detailed cost benefit study. If it has done such studies, the details have not been made public and exhibited in public domain. It would be doing grave mistake, if it would be obsessed with the closure option, simply because the thermal power units have been operating for 25 years. Those  in  the know of things, are bound to criticize the decision to totally scrap these plants  without application of mind in convincing manner, as knee jerk reaction.

Cost factors

It would cost Rs.6 to Rs.7 crores per MW to set up new thermal plant. Further, the new power projects take 5 to 6 years  for implementation, as the recent experience indicate. Modernisation of the existing aging thermal plants would cost only less than half of the investment that would be required for setting new thermal plants of similar capacity.

What future plans ?

Central Electricity Authority seem to have proposed to set up super critical thermal power plants at the existing site, after scrapping the aging plants.

It remains to be examined as to whether the existing sites where the aging thermal plants are proposed to be scraped, would be suitable for setting up super critical thermal power plants, in view of the larger capacity involved and other locational and infra structural requirements. While the number of aging thermal plants are proposed to be  scrapped, how many super critical units are proposed to be set up ? With the Government of India’s announced plans to build 200 GW capacity for renewable energy projects  by 2022 and a  few super critical plants already announced in different locations, is there a case for setting up more super critical power plants at the site of aging plants ?

Let it not be a bureaucratic decision

Meanwhile, while so many doubts and uncertainties exist with regard to the proposal to scrap the aging plants, it is reported that Central Electricity Authority would go ahead and hold talk with the  owner of the aging plants to prepare  roadmap for phasing   out the old capacity.

It is very important that before taking such decisions involving closure of the existing facilities which will have several associated issues, Central Electricity Authority should invite  views of the experts in the country and  consult them and there  are many experts in India with vast knowledge on the subject and  with proven experience in the field.

Let not the decision to close the aging power plants be a bureaucratic decision taken in a closed door meeting, which may ultimately prove to be a poorly informed and counter productive decision that may go against the national interest.

 

NIOBIUM  - PRODUCT PROFILE

Niobium is used to produce stronger, lighter steel for industrial pipes and aircraft parts. It is mined in only three places on Earth and the price of every kilogram is seven times higher than copper.

Both the US and Europe list niobium as a strategically important mineral.

What makes the niobium business so attractive is that there are only a few operating mines.

Anglo and Niobec account for 9% of production, and Brazil’s CBMM supplies the rest, according to Argonaut Securities. 

More than 80 percent of global supply of niobium comes from one company -- Cia. Brasileira de Metalurgia & Mineracao in Brazil.

Metal Bulletin Ltd., which publishes prices for metals as obscure as bismuth and germanium, says there’s not enough liquidity to report one for niobium.

Price of niobium metal averaged about $40 a kilogram last year, according to Cradle Resources, which is based in Perth, Australia. An equivalent amount of copper on the London Metal Exchange fetched about $5.49.

Global demand for niobium is about 90,000 to 100,000 metric tonne annually.

China Molybdenum Co. purchased Anglo American Plc’s niobium and phosphate unit in Brazil, agreed to pay $1.5 billion or 50 percent more than the valuation by some analysts.

 

HYALURONIC ACID – PRODUCT PROFILE

Hyaluronic acid is the natural substance found in the fluid that surrounds a healthy knee joint and helps cushion, lubricate and protect the knee, as it moves throughout the day.

Hyaluronic acid is a natural polysaccharide, which is  found in all tissues.

Hyaluronic acid is unstable in acid form and it is usually extracted and refined as sodium salt called sodium hyaluronate.

Sodium hyaluronate has a high ability for retaining water and the solution of sodium hyaluronate is highly viscous.

In pharmaceutical field, sodium hyaluronate has been utilized in ophthalmic medical device (used for surgery of cataract), drug for arthritis (injection), eye drops, topical uses and so on.

Furthermore, sodium hyaluronate has been studied for adopting Drug Delivery System.

Hyaluronic acid

CAS number  9004-61-9
Appearance Clear liquid
Odour Odourless
Stability   Unstable

 

Sodium hyaluronate

Synonym 

Hyaluronic acid sodium salt

Hyalurone sodium

CAS Number 9067-32-7
Molecular Formula C14H20NNaO11n
Appearance   White powder
Odour     Odourless
Specific Gravity H2O= 1 density           30 - 200 kg/m3
Solubility in water Easily soluble in cold water
Stability  Stable under normal conditions

Specification -  Cosmetic grade

Name of the producer               Qufu Guanglong Biochemical Production Co.,Ltd., China

 

Description

Value

Appearance

White powder

Purity

>99%

Glucuronic acid

≥42%

Molecular weight

≥(0.8-1.3)x106

pH

6.0-7.5

Loss on drying

<10%

Protein

≤0.1%

Residue on ignition

<20%

Heavy metal

<20ug/g

Bacterial counts

<100cfu/g

Germs

Negative

 

 

Specification - Pharmaceutical grade

Description

Value

Appearance

White powder

Purity

>99%

Glucuronic acid

≥42%

Molecular weight

≥1x106

pH

5.5-7.5

Loss on drying

<10%

Protein

<0.1%

Residue on ignition

<20%

Heavy metal

<20ug/g

Germs

Negative

Bacterial endotoxins

<1

Special viscosity

>1500

 

Specification - Food grade

 

Description

Value

Appearance

White powder

Glucuronic acid

≥42~50%

Molecular weight

≥1x106

pH

6.0-7.5

Following details are provided in this article

  • Product application
  • Manufacturing process
  • Global Demand
  • Key players

 

SPOTLIGHT ON SPECIALITY CHEMICAL - CHLORO SULPHONATED POLYETHYLENE

 

Product characteristic and specification

Chlorosulfonated polyethylene is a kind of elastomer, which has completely saturated main chain and pendant group and can be vulcanized by cross linking agent.

CAS No  68037-39-8

Appearance 

White odourless chips, flakes
Specific gravity                          1.1 – 1.28 (based on grade)
Density                                     1.11–1.26 gm per cm3
Tensile strength range               1000 – 3000 PSI
Service temperature range        -60 deg C to +149 deg C

Incompatibility                         

Aldehydes, ethers, esters, hydrocarbons (aromatic, chlorinated,nitro), ketones

Characteristic of chlorosulfonated polyethylene

  • Superior ozone resistance and weatherability, even for the formation without carbon black
  • Good resistance to many chemicals
  • Moderate resistance to oil and solvent because of chlorine in structure
  • Good flame retardancy
  • Excellent resistance to abrasion and mechanic damage

Product specification

Name of the manufacturer: Tosoh Corporation, Japan

Description

Value

Grade TS 320

Grade TS 430

Grade TS 530

Grade TS 830

Chlorine content (Wt %)

23

35

35

36

Sulphur content (Wt %)

1

1

1

1

Mooney viscosity

(ML 1 + 4 at 100 deg.C)

37

46

56

90

 

Following details are provided in this article

  • Product applications
  • Indian import
  • Pattern of country wise import
  • Demand driver
  • Indian demand
  • Outline of process and raw material used
  • Global production
  • Global producers
  • Plant closure
  • Demand drivers for chlorosulfonated polyethylene
  • Global consumption pattern
  • Growth rate
  • Prognosis

 

DIMETHYL SULPHOXIDE - INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY

Product characteristic and specification

CAS Number  67-68-5

Alternate name

Sulfinyl bismethane

Methyl sulphoxide

DSMO

Appearance                                          Colourless hygroscopic liquid
Odour and taste                                   Practically no odour / Sweet after taste

Molecular formula                                

C2H6OS
Density                                                 1.1
Boiling point  189 deg C

Toxicity

Dimethyl sulphoxide is a toxic chemical and skin contact results irritation with redness, itching and sometimes scaling.

Prolonged contact causes corneal opacities.

Product specification

Name of the producer : Gaylord Chemical Company International, USA

Grade : Industrial grade

Description

Value

Assay, % minimum by GLC

99.7%

Water, % maximum by KF

0.1

Colour (APHA) maximum

10

Titrable acid, ml 0.01N NaOH 50.0 g sample

5.0

 

Grade : Pharmaceutical grade

Description

Value

Assay

Min 99.9%

Refractive index @ 25 deg C

1.4755 to 1.4775

Specific gravity @ 25 deg C

1.095 to 1.101

Acidity, ml. 0.01 N NaOH

NMT 5.0

Water, % by KF

NMT 0.1

UV absorbance

No absorbance maximam between 270 and 350 nm

UP absorbance @ 275 nm

NMT 0.20

A 285/A 275

NMT 0.65

A 295/A 275

NMT 0.45

Limit of non volatile residue

NMT 0.01%

Related compounds %

Impurities NMT 0.1%

  • Product application
  • Indian import
  • Pattern of countrywise import
  • Indian demand growth
  • Indian demand
  • Outline of process and raw material used
  • Technology development in China
  • Raw material
  • Global production
  • Global producers
  • Prognosis

 

WILL DONALD TRUMP DERAIL PARIS CLIMATE DEAL IF HE HAPPENS TO BECOME U S PRESIDENT ?

Swaminathan Venkataraman, Director, Nandini Consultancy (S) Pte Ltd, Singapore

E-mail:swaminathan.v@nandinichemical.com

 

In a speech on energy policy, Republican U S Presidential nominee Donald Trump has said that he would cancel the Paris climate deal, if he were to be elected as U S President. Many people across the world were surprised and even worried that Trump has made such statement which appears to be against the mood and expectations of the world.

Reservations in some quarters

Of course, it is not as if everyone is happy about the various decisions taken in the Paris climate conference. Many people are of the view that Paris climate conference acknowledged the need to aggressively address the climate change issues, but, it failed to detail with clarity as to how it should be done. Aggregate pledges to reduce green house gas emissions made by the nation states of the world fail far short of what is needed to begin to address the looming catastrophic climate change.

Emission cuts contained in the agreement are based on voluntary pledges and are inadequate to meet the target of 2 deg. C peak global increase in temperature from Industrial age. No causes are discussed or specific solutions proposed and fossil fuels like coal and oil not mentioned in the agreement. Each country is left to define it’s own solution. Technologies and actions are not prescribed to halt growth of climate destructive industries.

In spite of such reservations in some quarters, the overwhelming consensus view is that the loopholes in the Paris climate deal should be analysed and remedial actions should be taken to remove the deficiencies. The world does not want the cancellation of the deal itself.

U S participation in climate deal vital

While more than 195 countries in the world have pledged to reduce carbon emissions in the land mark agreement in Paris , it is imperative that United States which is the second largest carbon emitter after China has to cooperate actively in the implementation of Paris agreement. In the absence of U S participating, the Paris climate deal would become an exercise in vacuum

Donald Trump is wrong

Donald Trump has said that he would re negotiate the global agreement and now has said that U S would pull out, if he were to become the President.

Donald Trump has said in his characteristic style that “any regulation that is outdated , unnecessary or bad for workers or contrary to national interest will be scrapped and scrapped completely”. He further said “ we are going to do all this while taking proper regard for rational environmental concerns”.

Donald Trump is certainly wrong when he said that there is no evidence that humans are responsible for climate change. It appears that Donald Trump does not care about findings and conclusions of science and technology .

Political direction of USA

Currently, in USA, the leading members of the Republican party appear to oppose significant policy measures to mitigate climate change and most have distanced themselves from mainstream scientific views.

It would be extremely unfortunate and counter productive for the world as well as U S, if the next U S President would resort to the following steps.

*          Abandon Obama Administration’s current climate change commitments, including its emissions reductions target for 2025 and in effect, withdraw support for the Paris Agreement.

*          Undermine Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts via the Clean Air Act to curb emissions from power stations.

Political direction of China

Donald Trump may also find a friend in China, if China would fail to stick true to its commitment, if it faces a large economic downturn as is forecast by leading economists, as it seeks to shift from a manufacturing/investment led to consumption led economy.

Will Trump be true to his threats and tirade ?

Politicians around the world are known to say something sensational and indulge in rhetoric particularly before elections to catch the national attention. Perhaps, Trump is also talking in the same manner as an average politician.

It is known that even extremist views get some support in the world on variety of issues. In the same way, Trump may also get support for his tirade against Paris climate deal.

However, it gives some hope that Donald Trump said that he would view the Paris climate deal with regard for national environmental concerns.

When the world suffers from global warming due to carbon emissions, USA cannot remain isolated. Certainly, the advisors to US President would be intelligent enough to tell the US President in office that the problems caused due to carbon emissions do not have a frontier or border.

The President of USA cannot act in his whimsical way when in office due to various compulsions and the balancing acts that he need to do. This would apply to any US President, even if he happens to be a maverick.

 

ALL INDIA ESSAY COMPETITION - ARE INDIA’S PROMISES TO PARIS CLIMATE CONFERENCE ACHIEVABLE AND HOW ?

 

Nandini Consultancy Centre , a renowned firm of chemical engineers and chemical business consultants ( www.nandinichemical.com), based at Chennai and Singapore, conducted All India essay competition on “ Are India’s promises to Paris climate conference achievable and how ? “

There was good response from all over India.

Following students have been declared as prize winners in the essay competition

*          Tanvi Kejriwal, Neerja Modi School, Jaipur,Rajasthan

*          Rishab Periwal, Neerja Modi School, Jaipur, Rajasthan

*          Shivani Sivakumar, Bala Vidya Mandir Sr.Sec. School, Chennai

*          Pragya Kumari, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi

 

Highlights of the views of the participants

Are India’s plans well made ?

It seems that India’s promises to the Paris Climate Conference  to achieve 175 gigawatt, consisting of 100 gigawatt for solar, 60 gigawatt for wind and 15 gigawatt for other renewable may have been made in hasty manner.

It appears  that India’s plans for the climate management have not been well made  in a realistic manner based on the ground realities  and India’s past track record .

Tall targets

Achieving the promise of around 175 gigawatt of renewable energy by 2022 seems tough as of now.

While there have been significant improvement in  India’s efforts to build  renewable based power projects in the last two years, India still has a very long way to go, since India has to build more than 20000 MW of renewable power projects per year and such scale has never been achieved in the past.

Coal accounts for about 60.8% of total energy produced in India at present. In the coming 25 years, India’s energy demand may increase by around 150% and to meet the higher level of demand. India has to substantially increase the power production, which has to be coal based to a significant extent.

It appears that India has no alternative other than using large quantity of coal to produce power for long time to come. Therefore, even as renewable based power projects would be built, coal based power projects would also be built, which may neutralize the benefit of generating renewable power to some extent.

India’s emissions will increase several fold by 2030, if current policy are any indications. This is due to the high absolute growth in thermal power, as the current base of thermal power is very large.  Doubling  of emissions will put Indian emissions at about 9% of the global total by 2030 compared to about 6% now.

Replenishment of degraded forest reserves

Deforestation in India has not stopped.

Various statistics over the years indicate that between 1980 and 2007, 1,140,177 ha of forest land were diverted for non forest purposes.

The Minister in Charge of the Environment, Forests and Climate Change has himself made a statement in the Parliament  a few weeks back that more than 184,000 ha of forests have been diverted for non forestry purposes during the last five years.

To get the land area required for setting up large solar and wind power and hydro power projects, India may  have no option other than acquiring the forest land area to some extent, resulting in further deforestation.

Deforestation is already happening. For example, in the states of Rajasthan and Maharashtra, the concentrated solar parks and the wind power projects have already made incursions into forest land,  affecting the livelihood of local communities.

The loss of huge tracts of pristine evergreen and rain forests to mega hydro projects in the Himalayan states and the north eastern part of the country is continuing and it is estimated that further deforestation of minimum of 70,000 ha may happen, if even half of the hydro projects in pipeline in the States of Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh would be commissioned.

It appears that two of the commitments of India namely to improve forest reserves and promotion of renewable energy projects may not  entirely go hand in hand.

Slow progress in carbon capture projects

Carbon capture projects should be speeded up in power projects and large chemical plants. So far, little attention has been given to this application in the industrial sector.India has made little progress in this front.

Continued research in CO2 capture processes from industrial sources will be essential to meet this target.

Scattered support for Clean India Campaign

“Swacch Bharat Abhiyan” initiative not only aims at having a cleaner India but indirectly also aims to reduce the effects of climate change. A cleaner India would reduce pollution levels in the atmosphere, water and land as well.

The problems that Prime Minister faces today in carrying out these initiatives is scattered support

One fact is evident. Even if the entire government falls on its knees, it would not be able to make the clean India projects significantly successful, without the co operation of environmentally aware citizens. Not only aware of the environment, but also care for it.

Let us look through the prism of opportunity

With the development of modern wind turbines which have the capacity to operate at heights exceeding 100 meter where the wind speeds are significantly greater, it can help in boosting the wind power production significantly.

This implies that even though India may not be able to fully meet the solar energy targets, it can balance the solar energy requirement by developing wind power plants  in a bigger way.

However, India’s efforts to avoid emissions are tied to the availability and level of international financing and technology transfer, since India still faces complex developmental challenges, which India can not tackle alone and all by itself.

While the Government of India is striving hard, the ground realities appear to be that the promises to the Paris climate conference would be hard to meet.

India would do well to look at the Paris Agreement on Climate Change through the prism of opportunity and move to a green growth trajectory. Ramping up renewable output and decarbonising the transport sector are the good starting points.

40 MILLION INDIANS AT RISK FROM RISING SEA LEVELS: UN REPORT

Nearly 40 million Indians will be at risk from rising sea levels by 2050, with people in Mumbai and Kolkata having the maximum exposure to coastal flooding in future due to rapid urbanisation and economic growth, according to a UN environment report.

The Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-6): Regional Assessments said that the worst impacts of climate change are projected to occur in the Pacific and South and Southeast Asia.

It said focusing on the population at risk from sea level rise by 2050, seven of the 10 most vulnerable countries worldwide are in the Asia Pacific region.

India tops the chart with nearly 40 million people in the country projected to be at risk from rising sea levels, followed by more than 25 million in Bangladesh, over 20 million in China and nearly 15 million in the Philippines.

It said that changes in settlement patterns, urbanisation and socio economic status in Asia have influenced observed trends in vulnerability and exposure to climate extremes.

The report said that in many coastal areas, growing urban settlements have also affected the ability of natural coastal systems to respond effectively to extreme climate events, rendering them more vulnerable.

In 2011, six of the ten countries most vulnerable to climate change worldwide were in Asia and the Pacific.

The report said livelihoods can be impacted negatively by natural disasters, economic crises and climate change.

 

FLOATING SOLAR POWER PLANT - AN EMERGING OPPORTUNITY FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY

Sangita Gayatri K, , Nandini Consultancy Centre, Email: sangitagayatri@gmail.com

 

Availability and acquisition of land is a serious challenge facing the new  solar energy projects in India.

As floating solar plants are installed on water bodies like dams and lakes, installation of  floating solar systems could take India one step closer to achieving the 100 GW target set for solar power by 2022 and achieve the target promised to  the Paris Climate Conference.

Floating solar plant are now being viewed favorably around the world. Unlike land based solar plants, floating solar power plants are installed on water reservoirs like dams, lakes or rivers which eliminates the problem of limited land availability.

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Advantages offered by floating solar systems
  • Technical challenges
  • Major existing floating solar power plants around the world
  • Major global floating solar plants under construction
  • Progress in India

 

FIRE WORKS FACTORIES IN TAMIL NADU - ARE THEY KILLING FIELD FOR INNOCENT WORKERS ?

There are around 500 fire work factories in Tamil Nadu, which employ more than one lakh direct and indirect workers. Most of them are located in Sivakasi and nearby region, where 90% of India’s production of fire works take place. The units make around 300 varieties of fire works.

Fire work factories are often applauded as triumph of small scale and enterprising entrepreneurs. However, they have also become notorious, due to the poor safety records, employment of child labour, violation of safety norms and regulations .Large number of innocent workers have been killed or suffered injuries during the last several years in many accidents, which appear to have become a matter of routine.

Unfortunately, this does not seem to have stirred the conscience of the employers, the Government of Tamil Nadu or even the common man, while the distressing conditions continue.

Obviously, employers have to be blamed for such frequent accidents, but Government of Tamil Nadu also need to be blamed squarely.

Government of Tamil Nadu has full fledged inspectorate of factories and team of health officials who are supposed to inspect and monitor the fire work factories before providing them approval and during their operations.

When so many accidents take place, the employers have been arrested for a few days and then they would come out on bail . But, government officials whether at lower level or at top level are rarely touched and they go scot free.

State minister in charge, bureaucrats such as secretaries and commissioner in charge sitting at state secretariat in Chennai, local district collector and other police officials react to these gruesome accidents, as if death of innocent workers and injury to them are matter of no consequence and as if the minister and officials are not responsible in any way.

Considering the fact that they take no worthwhile efforts to ensure safe conditions in the fire work factories, one wonders as to whether the Tamil Nadu government is concerned at all. Chief Minister and other ministers do not even condole the death of the workers due to accidents in the fire work factories in Sivakasi region any more as the accidents have become too many and too frequent.

The media also appear to have got so used to such accident scenario, that when innocent workers die ,the media report  the matter in a routine way in some corner of the page without any comment or sometimes do not report at all.

There is absolutely no protest by the political parties or NGOs or general public and government of Tamil Nadu does not seem to be keen to implement the safety regulations in the way it should. Possibly, the officials have other reasons to ignore such accidents, when poor people lose life.

Fireworks and match industries are the only source of income for most of the homes in and around Sivakasi and Virudhunagar district at large.

In the absence of adequate alternative employment opportunities in other areas such as agriculture, labour including child labour is cheap in Sivakasi and the life of poor workers have also become cheap.

Mostly women are employed in these factories. Workers are not adequately educated in handling explosive chemicals or trained in safety measures . Often, they are not given proper uniforms and safety equipment .They are not taught about the hazards involved in a well structured way.

It is sad and agonising that fireworks factories in Tamil Nadu have been made to become killing field for poor and innocent workers.

List of major accidents and death given in this article should disturb any person and it should certainly disturb top bureaucrats and ministers. But, this does not seem to be happening .

List of accidents in fire works units in Sivakasi region, as reported.

Period

Location of fireworks unit

Injured

Died

July 7, 2009:

Vadakkanpatti village

 

17

July 20, 2009:

Namaskarichanpatti in Virudhunagar District.

45

8

July 28, 2009:

Keezha Tiruthangal village in Sivakasi

 

3

August 3, 2009:

Meenampatti in Sivakasi.

 

1

August 29, 2009:

Sattur.

3

2

March 30, 2010:

South Car Street in Dindigul.

6

1

August 5, 2010:

Sivakasi.

 

1

August 10, 2010

D Durai samypuram village, near Sivakasi

8 (officials)

 

August 26, 2010:

Virudhunagar

 

1

October 17, 2010:

Ellappan Pettai village, near Cuddalore.

 

3

January 21, 2011:

Near Virudhunagar.

16

8

June 5, 2011:

Near Sattur.

1

1

August 6, 2011:

Near Sivakasi.

 

6

Oct 3, 2011:

Near Sattur.

 

2

December 28, 2011

Near Sivakasi.

2

4

February 3, 2012:

Sevalpatti.

1

 

Feb 28, 2012:

Madurai.

 

2

March 7, 2012:

Sivakasi

1

1

March 27, 2012:

Sankarapandiapuram near Sattur

2

 

May 10, 2012:

Sivakasi in Virudhunagar district.

 

1

Aug 10, 2012:

Thulukkakurichi near Vembakottai.

1

 

Aug 13, 2012:

Maraneri near Virudhunagar.

 

1

Sept 05, 2012:

Mudhalipatti, Virudhunagar Taluk

60

38

Sep 28, 2012

Vembakottai village near Sivakasi in Virudhunagar district.

 

3

Aug 23, 2013

M Duraisamypuram ,near Sivakasi

1

 

March 18, 2014

Saminatham near Sivakasi.

 

1

June 26, 2014

Sivakasi

 

3

August 3, 2014

Viswanatham.

8

 

Nov 10, 2014

Sivakasi

 

3

Mar 14, 2016

Karseri near Sivakasi

8

 

April 6, 2016

Padanthal near Sattur

2

1

May 3, 2016

Chinappam Patti, Salem District

 

4

May 6, 2016

Tharamangalam Village, Salem

1

5

May 21,2016

T.Manavacheri

15

1

May 31,2016

Mayiladumthurai, Sivakasi

3

2

May 31,2016

Kurunthamangalam Village, Virudunagar

2

2

June 4, 2016

Chinakalapet, Purducherry

6

1

 

GM CROPS ISSUES - FINDINGS OF THE STUDY

Genetically modified crops have attracted controversy ever since they were first commercialized two decades ago, but have come under particular scrutiny in recent months.

In the U.S., a law requiring labeling of some foods containing GMO ingredients is set to take effect in Vermont on July 1 after a bid to create a national standard stalled in the US Senate earlier this year.

Major food companies have said that scientific consensus proves that genetically modified organisms or GMOs, are safe and that labeling is unnecessary and could drive up costs for consumers. Groups opposed to GMOs on ethical and environmental grounds say  that consumers have a right to know if their food has been modified.

GMO technology “is a necessary tool” to improve the global food supply, Monsanto said in its website. The company supported the process that the NAS used to perform the study.

The committee’s review was focused on corn, soybean and cotton crops and involved the review of about 900 publications. More than 90 percent of the corn and soybeans planted in the U.S. last year were produced from genetically engineered seed, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

 

CARBON CAPTURE - RECENT EFFORTS

Derivative producers for CO2

Carbon capture and storage, as it is known, has long been a goal of big oil, gas, and coal producers and the utilities that generate power. Power plants that burn fossil fuels are the largest single cource of carbon emissions.

Research and development to date has focused on derivatives of ammonia known as amines, which can separate carbon dioxide from smokestack exhaust. That technology, though, is costly and energy intensive, adding to the cost of electricity and siphoning off a large amount of the power produced by the plant.

Part of the problem is that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the exhaust is so low : 12 to 15 percent for a coal plant and as little as 5 percent for a modern natural gas plant.

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Future Gen project
  • Efforts of Exxon

 

HEAT RESISTANT GEL -- R & D EFFORTS OF ISRO

Researchers of the Indian Space Research Organization at its Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram, have developed a silica gel that would serve as a thermal barrier in cryogenic fuel tanks, boot soles and  sun films .

The hydrophobic silica aero gel, as it is known now, is supposed to have low thermal conductivity and density and high specific surface area and can be applied on any surface.

Silica aero gels are attractive candidates for many unique thermal, optical, acoustic, catalytic and chemical applications and are best known for their “super insulating property.”

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

 

PROPANE DEHYDROGENATION (PDH) FACILITIES IN NORTH AMERICA

 

Currently, two PDH facilities are operating in North America, both in the United States.

Flint Hills Resources has a 600,000 metric tonne per year PDH unit at Houston that has been operating since 2010. Late last year, Dow started up a 750,000 metric tonne per year PDH unit in Freeport.

Following plants are under construction or in development.

  • Enterprise
  • Formosa Plastics
  • Ascend Performance Materials
  • Petrochemical Industries Co. (PIC)

 

TRENDS IN GLOBAL BOPP FILM INDUSTRY

The strength of the BOPP film industry stems from the high volumes used in primary packaging, particularly for food, which are not easy to cost effectively replace.

Growth in packaged foods markets around the world will continue to be a key driver for future demand,  underpinned by population growth, urbanisation and rising incomes in developing markets.

A key focus for the industry will be how to manage the demands from converters and brand owners for a global supply of BOPP film.

With many customers expanding their global footprints and increasingly offering standardised solutions, they need consistent, reliable product across multiple regions, and the ability to partner with BOPP producers to achieve this. This could be a motivator to drive consolidation in the market, and there are signs this is starting to happen.

The 10 largest BOPP producers now account for 30% of global production. This compares with 25% in 2011 and 27% in 2013.

AMI is forecasting the industry will continue to advance at around 5%  per year to 2020 giving rise to a demand of 9.5 million  metric tonne.


 

POTASSIUM BROMATE & IODATE IN BREAD

In 1999, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified potassium bromate as possibly carcinogenic (cancer causing) to humans.  It was found to cause tumors of the kidney and thyroid and cancer of the abdominal lining in laboratory animals.

The Health Ministry  of Government of India has asked for a detailed report on the findings of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) suggesting presence of potassium bromate, classified as a possible carcinogen by World Health Organisation, in most Indian bread and bakery products.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

 

INDIA’S NATURAL GAS PRODUCTION AND IMPORT TREND

Natural gas scenario

(in mmscm)

April FY 15

April FY 16

% Change

Net domestic output for sale

26,780.33

25,306.73

-5.50

LNG import

18,535.73

21,309.28

14.96

Total consumption

45,316.06

46,616.01

2.87

The production  of natural gas in India was 32 billion cubic metres (bcm) in FY06, which increased to a high of 52 bcm in FY11 and thereafter reduced to about 32 bcm in FY16.

While the overall production dropped, production of PSU explorers ONGC and OIL has largely remained flat in the range of 25 to 26 bcm. Production from private players, particularly RIL, ramped up from FY08 to FY11 and then declined substantially from FY12 onwards.

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Why flat production by PSUs ?
  • Gas import

 

ANTI DUMPING PAGE

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

  • Methylene chloride
  • Steel pipes, tubes
  • Coumarin
  • Methyl Acetoacetate

 

SAFETY & ACCIDENT PAGE
 

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

  • Fire at Sabic ethylene plant
  • Blast at Pemex JV site in Mexico
  • Nova stops work on PE1 expansion after fatal accident

 

NEWS ROUND UP – INTERNATIONAL

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed

  • Diethyl toluamide (DEET)
  • Bleaching earth
  • Ilmenite smelter project in Saudi Arabia
  • TiO2  plant in Mexico
  • MDI prepolymer project in Italy
  • Shale gas based ethylene projects in Europe

 

CHINA NEWS

 

The recent developments  in China are discussed in the following articles

  • Shale gas production sharing contract
  • Soda ash project
  • Polyether rigid foam project
  • Neopentyl glycol facility
  • Diesel hydrogenation project
  • Maleic anhydride unit
  • Ethylene glycol monobutyl ether project

 

NEWS ROUND UP-INDIA

 

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed

  • NTPC, Coal India ink agreement for reviving fertiliser units
  • Off shore LNG terminal project of H-Energy
  • Manganese demand supply scenario in India

 

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT
 

Recent developments on the following products are discussed

  • Solar powered cement
  • Batteries that last five times longer
  • Bionic leaf turns sunlight into liquid fuel
  • New engineering plastic resin grades

 

AGROCHEMICAL PAGE

 

Recent developments in agrochemical fields are discussed in the following articles

  • Dicamba
  • Regulations on glyphosate herbicide
  • Problems faced by the tapioca industry in Tamil Nadu

 

PHARMA PAGE

Recent developments in Pharma field are discussed in the following articles

  • Clinical trials–Issues and opportunities
  • Vaccine production

 

ENERGY PAGE

 

Recent developments in energy fields are discussed in the following articles

  • Proposal on coal gasification project of Coal India (CIL)
  • New wind power capacity may decline to 2,500 MW in FY17