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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, May 2015


Highlights of Some of the Articles
NEED FOR SPECIAL FOCUS ON AGRO CHEMICAL PROJECTS TO STABILISE INDIAN AGRI SECTOR Indian agriculture sector has been moving from one crisis to another, which is  evident  by the spate of farmer suicides during the last several years. John Galbraith, a renowned  economist and former US ambassador of India said several years back, that Indian economy is largely dependent on performance of agriculture sector, which, in turn, is dependent on weather and seasonal conditions. Agricultural sector is  affected if  it rains too much or if there is drought.Though vulnerability of Indian agriculture sector to seasonal conditions are well known, during the last six decades of independent India, successive state and central governments have not been able to find solution adequately for this vexed issue confronting the Indian agriculture sector. Obviously, there is urgent need to stabilize the Indian agri economy and put it on firm rail, that would help in sustained economic and social growth, employment generation and equanimity of income and opportunities to a large extent. What is urgently needed is to make agricultural  operation more remunerative or atleast as remunerative as industrial operations and business in services sector. One obvious method of achieving this end is to promote large number of agro chemical projects in India, which would lead to the production of eco friendly products in a significant way and can also be substitute for petrochemicals(which are not adequately produced in India due to feedstock constraints or ecological issues). Unfortunately, no specially focused attention have been paid to boost the agro chemical projects in the country so far. Agro chemicals from tapioca, maize There are many agro chemicals that can be produced from tapioca or maize based starch such as sorbitol, L-lysine, lactic acid / poly lactic acid, citric acid and several others, which are not adequately produced in the country. India remains net importer of these starch based chemicals.  Agro chemicals from castor seed India is a large producer of castor seed in the world and is largely exporting castor seed and castor oil without much  value addition. There are exciting possibilities of producing value added chemical products from castor seed including polymers that would be game changers for the Indian castor industry. China and Brazil, which are also large producers of castor seeds, are now focusing on such value added products from castor seeds. Agro chemicals from sugarcane India is a large producer of sugarcane and there are many sugarcane molasses based products that can be profitably produced including industrial ethanol, that can lead to several downstream products, which are petrochemical substitutes . Unfortunately, molasses are being converted largely into alcohol for human consumption. Algae based products Algae is very important and  quick growing crop that can be cultivated in tropical conditions that are prevalent in India. Algae cultivation needs only waste water, carbon dioxide and sunlight, which are all abundantly available in India. Several species of algae contain more than 35% of oil. Bio fuel can be produced from algae by extraction  from algae bio mass. Residual mass can be subjected to anaerobic digestion to produce methane gas (natural gas), which can be used for power generation. After anaerobic digestion, the remaining mass can be subjected to fermentation to produce ethyl alcohol and several ethyl alcohol derivative products.  India is reported have more than 60 million hectares of waste land and algae can be cultivated in atleast two million hectares of waste land. Several integrated algae based projects can be set up in various parts of the country, that will significantly lead to all around development including improvement in rural economy. Integrated algae based projects that involve cultivation of algae, production of bio fuel, setting up of power plant based on methane and production of ethyl alcohol can be promoted  atleast in  one hundred locations around India. Each of such integrated project with economic viability will  call for investment of around Rs. 120 crores. So many opportunities There are so many other   attractive agro chemical investment opportunities, that remain to be utilised. Farmers need guidelines Indian farmers should be given  continuous guidelines  by government of India with  regard  to choice of crop they should cultivate to get maximum returns. Such decisions are  now  taken by farmers  largely as community decision at local level based on the views of senior members. It would be appropriate if the Government of India would provide guidelines to the farmers in various parts of India from time to time about the choice of crop for cultivation based on demand supply forecast, price forecast, monsoon forecast etc. The policy of government of India with regard to the support mechanism for various crops can be evolved from time to time, with reference to the above forecast and guidelines. Need for pro active and appropriate approach Government of India should apply it’s mind to make Indian agriculture more broad based and more remunerative. Indian agri sector need innovative approach to sustain it’s growth and promotion of agro chemical projects is the best way of doing so. Government of India has a very important and significant role to play.
To boost farm productivity, technology intervention should address farm mechanisation of small farms. Integration of ICT (information and communication technology) in Research and Extension can give a dimension towards innovative solution by linking institutional responsibilities. It is critical for Indian agriculture sector to overcome low productivity levels arising out of depleting land resources, soil degradation, high dependency on rain fed irrigation and climate change patterns. Following details are discussed in this article
  • Low productivity
  • Integration of genes
  • Sequencing of genomes
  • Use of ground water resources
Appearance                              Colourless liquid
Odour                                      Alcoholic
CAS number:                           27458-94-2 
Formula                                   C9H20O
Synonyms                               *Isononyl alcohol
Description Specification Appearance Clear Liquid Colour APHA 10 max. Specific Gravity 20/20°C 0.833 - 0.839 Water Content Wt % 0.10 max. Distillation test     I.B.P. 193°C min. (Per 100ml of sample 760mm Hg) D.P. 208°C max. Acid Value KOHmg/g 0.1 max. Iodine Value Ig/100g 0.1 max. Ester Value KOHmg/g 1.0 max. Hydroxyl Value KOHmg/g 380 min. Solubility: Isononanol dissolves slightly in the water but easily in organic solvents. Stability and reactivity
  • Stable under normal conditions.
  • Possibility of hazardous reactions         
  • Reaction with strong oxidants
  • Vapours may form explosive mixture with air
Following details are discussed in this article
  • Applications
  • Global producers
  • Process
  • Global capacity and production
  • Regulatory issues
  • Demand
  • Indian Imports
  • Prospects
Nearly 90 different companies, with more than 100 plants spread across more than 30 countries, supply acetic acid globally. The top-10 producers operate over 60% of global capacity. Following details are discussed in this article
  • World: 2015 acetic acid demand
  • Pattern of global demand
  • Scenario in China
  • Global capacity utilisation
  • Global demand forecast
  • Technology
  • Process for acetic acid from acetylated wood
  • Global import
Polysilicon production is energy intensive. Production in the United States, where shale gas has lowered energy costs, has provided advantages to USA in the production of polysilicon. Wacker Wacker sold 51,000 metric tonne of polysilicon in 2014 and has about 20% market share. Wacker currently operates plants at Burghausen and Nunchritz, Germany, with annual nameplate capacities of 40,000 metric tonne and 20,000 metric tonne, respectively. Above subject is further discussed in this article.
India has 900 GW of commercially exploitable sources of renewable energy, if 3 percent of the country’s wasteland is made available, according to the Ministry for New and Renewable Energy.     The renewable sources of energy include wind and solar power, biomass and waste to energy apart from small hydro power plants. More than 4,000 MW of grid connected renewable energy power projects were set up in 2014-15, beating the targets by 8.5 per cent. At the end of March 2015, India has 35,777 MW of renewable energy capacity. The solar power potential of the country remains largely untapped with only 3 GW of installed power compared with 750 GW of potential. Wind power, on the other side, has been developed at a much faster pace with an installed capacity of 22.5 GW as on December 31, 2014 compared with a total potential of 100 GW.
In Greater China, BASF posted sales of over €5.5 billion 2014  and employed 8 033 people at the end of that year.  Greater China is currently BASF’s third largest market after Germany and the United States. BASF aims to achieve sales of Euro 12 billion in China by 2020. For BASF today, activities in China are an integral part of the  company.  In particular, China is of ever-increasing importance for the company’s  global R & D and innovation network. With major investments in Nanjing, Shanghai and Chongqing, BASF is one of the largest foreign investors in the Chinese chemical industry, and maintains the BASF Asia Pacific Innovation Campus in Shanghai as a research and development hub for the Asia Pacific region. BASF has invested more than Euro 5 billion in China over the last 20 years (more than Euro 7 billion with partners) to build a locally competitive production, marketing, sales and technical service network in China. BASF constructed one of its largest and most advanced Verbund sites in eastern China’s Nanjing, together with its partner Sinopec. BASF currently operates 22 major wholly owned subsidiaries and 8 major joint venture in Greater China and maintains a number of sales offices, for example in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hefei, Shenyang, Chongqing, Changchun, Xiamen, Chengdu, Qingdao and Taipei.  BASF’s business in Greater China includes intermediates, monomers, petrochemicals, dispersions & pigments, care chemicals, nutrition & health, paper chemicals, performance chemicals, catalysts, construction chemicals, coatings performance materials and crop protection. Following details are discussed in this article
  • BASF Production Sites in China
  • Research & development
India is a leading exporter of guar gum, commanding about 80 per cent of global production, followed by Pakistan. Guar gum is derived from guar seeds (cluster beans), a legume crop that grows in semi arid regions of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana. The gum is used by drilling companies to thicken water that is mixed with sand and pumped through shale rock cracks to extract gas. It is also used as a thickening agent in products such as ice-cream, bread, pasta, sausages and pastries. India's guar gum industry is facing the heat as North America's oil and drilling sector has reduced offtake of the commodity by almost half following a sharp drop in crude oil prices. The offtake started slowing down from December, but fell drastically between January and March, pulling down prices of guar gum split and guar gum powder.. In January to March quarter, exports have dwindled by 50 percent as North America's oil and gas industry did not import guar gum. Government of India has withdrawn the  two  percent export incentive, which has dampened the mood even further. As demand has dipped, prices have started falling for both guar gum split and guar gum powder. Price of guar gum split has fallen 40 percent per metric tonne since October last year, while the price of guar gum powder has dropped 37.5 percent.
  • Above subject is further discussed in this article.
Versalis (Milan), a leading producer of elastomers; and Yulex (Phoenix), an agricultural biomaterials company, are forming a partnership to manufacture biorubber materials based on the renewable industrial crop guayule. The companies plan to build an industrial production complex in southern Europe by mid-2016. Guayule is a renewable, non food desert shrub that requires little water and is an alternative source to natural rubber because of its latex allergy friendly properties. As an industrial crop that can be grown under arid or semiarid conditions, its cultivation will allow the partners to make the most of untilled lands or fringe areas in mild climate territories in southern Europe. Above subject is further discussed in this article.
Phthalate plasticiser industry is seeing considerable changes internationally, stemming from concerns over the safety of the ‘low’ phthalates in general and DOP in particular. In many parts of the developed world and especially in Europe, voluntary initiatives have led to a phase out of phthalates in some applications, even before regulations placed restrictions and outright bans. However, there are no restrictions in the use of phthalate plasticizers in Asia. Phthalate plasticizer Phthalate plasticizers are divided into two distinct groups based on the number of carbon atoms in their alcohol chain. Low phthalate plasticizers are derived from phthalic anhydride and short chain alcohols. High phthalate plasticisers are high molecular weight phthalates (those with more than 6 carbon atoms in their backbone, which gives them increased permanency and durability). Type Selected products   Low phthalate plasticizer
  • Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (2 DEHP)
  • Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
  • Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP)
  • Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP) 
  • Diiso hexyl phthalate (DIHP)
  High phthalate plasticizer  
  • Di isononyl phthalate (DINP)
  • Di isodecyl phthalate (DIDP)
  • Di(2-propyl heptyl) phthalate
  • Di iso undecyl phthalate (DIUP)
  • Di iso tridecyl phthalate (DITP)
  • Di octyl terephthalate (DOTP)
Above subject is further discussed in this article.
Oil contaminated with organic chlorides, that can corrode the insides of the equipment in refineries, is known as “orphaned oil”. In Sept. 17, 2012, Chevron admitted that its pipeline delivering California crude to San Francisco area refiners was contaminated. Chevron ended up pushing an estimated one million barrels through the pipe to get rid of the chlorides. Above subject is further discussed in this article.
The bio digester technology has been developed by Gwalior based Defence Research and Development Establishment (DRDE) and Tezpur based Defence Research Laboratory (DRL), with an objective for resolving the problems of   un decomposed human waste. The innovation degrades and converts the human waste into usable water and gas in an eco friendly manner. The generated gas can be utilised for energy/cooking and water for irrigation purposes. The process involves the bacteria which feed upon the faecal matter inside the tank, through anaerobic process, which finally degrades the matter and releases methane gas that can be used for cooking, along with the treated water. Above subject is further discussed in this article.
SAFETY AND ACCIDENT PAGE The following articles discussing about the accidents occurred at various places
  • ONGC’s gas well catches fire near Surat
  • Accident at paraxylene unit in China
  • Protest over plans to expand coal fired power plant in China
  • GAIL blamed for pipeline accident
ANTI DUMPING PAGE The antidumping measures introduced in  the last few weeks on the following products are discussed.
  • PVC paste
  • Acetone
NEWS ROUND UP - INTERNATIONAL The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed
  • Silver nanowires
  • Silicone monomer
  • AkzoNobel adds coatings capacity, alkoxylation unit
  • Polyetheramine capacity in Singapore
  • PEKK capacity in France
  • Precipitated silica capacity at Netherlands
  • Wood based biorefinery
  • Polyamide capacity at Richmond
  • Methane to propylene plant in USA
  • EPDM
  • Nd-PBR
  • Butyl rubber
  • JV for cathode active materials in Japan
  • Ethylene vinyl alcohol capacity in Belgium
  • Announced cracker projects in North America
  • AMRI closes plant
TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS Recent technology developments are discussed in the following articles
  • Sensor to detect freshness of food
  • Insulin pump
  • New dressing from abattoir waste heals wounds
  • Technology to detect detergent in milk
CHINA NEWS The recent developments  in China is discussed  in the following articles
  • Silicones in  mould making and aerospace industries
  • Specialty polyether project
  • New PVAc production plant
  • New EPDM plant
  • New desiccant manufacturing plant
  • New unit for molecular sieve adsorbents
  • China’s refineries with capacity of over 10 million metric tonne per annum
  • Cellulose acetate expansion
NEWS ROUND UP - INDIA Recent development in India are discussed in the following articles.
  • IOC become lead refiner in India
  • GAIL to stop LNG import sat Dabhol for lack of infrastructure
  • Proposed barytes project in Andhra Pradesh
  • Mining of magnetite in Andhra Pradesh
AGRO CHEMICAL PAGE Recent developments in agro fields are discussed in the following articles
  • R & D Rice Technology by Dow AgroScience
  • Package to control white stem borer in coffee plantations
  • Hydrogen from corn
  • Chinese govt. sued over Monsanto herbicide -Glyphosate
PHARMA PAGE Recent developments  in the pharma  fields are  discussed in the following  articles
  • Oxytocin injections – Recent controversies
  • Process patent for steml cell based drug - Stempeucel
  • Malaria vaccine
  • Capsicum for controlling diabetes, obesity
  • Enzyme to convert blood into universal type
  • Bio compatible alginate hydrogel  to help deliver drugs
ENERGY PAGE Recent developments in the energy field are discussed in the following articles
  • Performance of nuclear fuel complex
  • Potential of  ‘cold fusion’, as primary source of energy
  • Alaknanda hydropower project
  • Proposed floating LNG terminal in West Bengal
  • Battery to store solar energy
HAS SHALE OIL PRODUCTION IN USA SLOWED DOWN? The rise in U.S. oil production  appears to be slowing down and driving a rebound in crude prices from below $50 a barrel, according to crude trader and hedge fund manager Andrew J Hall. Oil production from Texas to North Dakota peaked at almost 10 million barrels a day in February, 2015 and has been falling since then. A drastic reduction in drilling rigs is starting to shrink U.S. oil output, according to government data. This has  helped to drive a 36 percent rally in the price of crude oil in the past six weeks Lower crude prices have also boosted demand, while the risk of supply disruptions across the Middle East is growing amid sectarian tensions. Above subject is further discussed in this article
  • Price details
  • LNG price negotiation
  • EU starts fresh probe into bioethanol pricing
  • Natural gas pricing for  small industries
  • Potash price
  • Spot price of polymers in China - Period March 2015
  • Tenders
  • Chemicals imported at Chennai port during the month of February 2015
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