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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Jun 2005

Process intensification|Potassium metal|Reforming catalysts|Ion exchange

Highlights of Some of the Articles
FOCUS ON APPROPRIATE PROJECT OPPORTUNITIES The chemical industries in India still have not effectively identified a strategy for its growth, appropriate to the Indian conditions. The Indian industrial houses are still blindly following the pattern of growth of the developed countries, which create more problems in the long run than it solves for India. In the increasingly competitive global environment and with rapid lifting of restriction on imports and trade for one country to another, it is certainly not appropriate to set up projects on which India has no particular strength, even if there would be large demand in India. One immediate example is the setting up of large isopropyl alcohol project in western India, which is based on propylene as the raw material. Obviously, the international prices of propylene would be lower than the propylene available in India at any time, since propylene is a petrochemical that can be produced at lower cost in other parts of the world where there would be lower feedstock costs. Possibly, such isopropyl alcohol project is being planned keeping the Indian market alone in view, which cannot be a sound strategy. Like several other petrochemical projects such as Bisphenol A, Styrene, Oxo-alcohol, this Isopropyl alcohol unit put up in the past, also face problems due to import dumping. Aspects such as demand level in India and ready know-how availability from abroad cannot be the justification anymore for setting up projects. A bold and strong strategy for project identification and implementation has to be thought of urgently to sustain the growth of Indian chemical industries. Unfortunately, this is not happening due to gap in Indian technology or non-availability of suitable technology from overseas sources. A few examples of such missed opportunities where Indian industries reveal lack of dynamism are cited below : L-Lysine HCL : L-Lysine HCl is a cane molasses based project, extensively used as cattle feed additive and pharmaceutical intermediate all over the world. This product is not presently produced in India. Indian requirements are entirely met by imports and the demand is steadily going up in India. No project is presently being set up for L-Lysine in India, obviously due to lack of technology and inadequate efforts and confidence level to develop technology in India. A global size L-Lysine project from India can make a mark in the international market. Sea Water Magnesia : With the demand for sea water magnesia/dead burnt magnesite steadily going up in India and with the quality of Indian dead burnt magnesite not found adequate by refractory unit, due to declining quality of magnesite reserves in India, the import of DBM and sea water Magnesia increasing. The raw material for sea water Magnesia is only sea water and there is no constraint in its availability. Earlier, a sea water magnesia plant was set up near Vishakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh by Birla Group with much fanfare, but it collapsed even before commercial commissioning. The project appears to have failed largely due to the uneconomic capacity as well as some gaps in technology which could have been sorted out by running the plant for a few months. Unfortunately, the management panicked and gave up the project without taking adequate remedial steps and sold the equipment piece meal. The failure of this project does not in any way reflect on the appropriateness of the Sea Water Magnesia project in India. This is a case of inadequate technology efforts from Indian sources and excessive dependence abroad for technology. Acetone : Acetone is presently produced in India by petrochemical route from Cumene, when both acetone and phenol are produced as co products. Therefore, the production of acetone depends on the production of phenol, which in turn depends on the demand supply scenario for phenol. While the demand for acetone is going up, it is not possible for the Indian units to increase the production of acetone, since it means an increase in the production of phenol as well. Obviously, an ideal solution would be to produce acetone from ethylalcohol on which there is no technology constraint. Considering the large level of import of acetone in India and international supply scenario for acetone, acetone project from ethyl alcohol of globally competitive size can very will be considered. Titania Slag : Titania Slag can be the starting material for the production of Titanium Dioxide pigment by both sulphate process as well as Chloride process. Titania Slag is produced from Ilmenite and the Indian deposits of Ilmenite is more than 150 million tonnes, which is around 12% of the total world reserves. The global demand for Titania slag is over one million tonnes and there is no production of Titania slag in India. Obviously, no careful study of this opportunity has been made in India by Indian project promoters. Many other examples of missed project opportunities in India can be readily suggested. The problem appears to be the lack of confidence of Indian industries to think on original lines and move in unexplored areas with confidence. With efforts on research and development being so little and with so much of dependence on developed countries for acquisition of technology, it is not surprising that such impressive project opportunities are being ignored, even as the industries are driving themselves on beaten track and looking for technology suppliers all over the globe.
Chemical Industries are capital intensive and require large amounts of utilities (energy, process water, etc.) and working capital. Indian chemical industries are facing the problems of high capital investment, long gestation period, high cost of utility and money. After having overcome the pollution problem to a large extent, the Indian Chemical Process Industry is now faced with stiff competition from overseas manufacturers having access to cheaper resources. The chemical process industry apart from being capital intensive has a long gestation period. In stark contrast, the Software Industry which requires much less capital, utilities and theoretically has a zero gestation period . It is no wonder therefore that the investment in the indigenous chemical industry has showed down, whereas the software industry has seen a spectacular growth. The global Chemical Process Industry has the same problem but it is more acute for the Indian chemical Process Industry for reasons mentioned above. The solution to these problems lies in order of magnitude; smaller plants consuming less energy and using sustainable technology. These can be achieved by improvement in existing plants, development of new technology and combine two or more operations. During the past decades many new developments have occurred in the process industry from end-of-pipe technology to integrated, environmentally friendly technology and clean technology. Engineers at many universities and industrial research centres are working on novel equipments and techniques and potentially could transform the concept of chemical plants and lead to compact, safe, energy-efficient and environment-friendly sustainable processes. Chemical engineers all over the world are working towards these goals. An entirely new discipline “Process Intensification” focuses these issues. For small scale industries, trial and error procedures can be used for the improvement of the process in an economical way. In the case of large and mega scale industry, the trial and error procedure can not be employed. The problems of the bulk chemical industries are outdated technologies and poor infrastructure and these cannot be removed overnight. For this a cheaper alternative is the method of process intensification, i.e. getting more from the existing assets.
Recovery of Platinum and Rhenium from reforming spent catalyst is reported using acidic leaching method followed by adsorption of the Platinum and Rhenium complexes onto an anionic resin. The adsorption and desorption behavior of Platinum(IV) and Rhenium(VII) were surveyed in column chromatographic systems consisting of one of the conventional anion–exchange resins of large ion-exchange capacity and various solutions. 
The noble metals were strongly adsorbed on the anion-exchange resins from dilute hydrochloric acid , while most base metals did not show any marked adsorbability . These facts made it possible to separate the noble metals from a large quantity of base metals such as Fe(III), Al(III) and Na(I).
Although it used to be very difficult to desorb the noble metals from the resins used. 
In the present study, Precious metals quantitatively separated and recovered from base metals on a small column by elution with a nitric and perchloric acid solutions , or at first Rhenium was eluted from resin by nitric acid, Then the resin with adsorbed Platinum complex , is dried and burned in an oxidizing atmosphere at 800-850oC. The recovered metallic powder is mainly platinum.
The present systems should be applicable to the separation, concentration and recovery of traces of the noble metals from a number of base metals coexisting in a more extended range of amounts and ratios. 
Various elutions of interest are studied and the optimum condition for highest Platinum and Rhenium recovery and purification are reported.
Many companies within India are trying to compete in the global market place and finding the competition tough. Today many customers can shop around the world for the parts of services they want, so therefore they know the reasonable price. With this price fixed, the only way an organization can increase their profit margin is to reduce the cost of operations. Companies all over the world are turning to Lean Manufacturing techniques to lower their operational cost.
This article discusses the following aspects:
  • Product Characteristics
  • Product Application
  • Derivatives of Potassium Metal
  • Manufacturing process
  • Global manufacturers
  • Demand
  • Global Product Outlook
  • Environmental Page-India
  • Pesticide Page-India
  • Ozone Layer and UV Radiation
  • Eco-friendly paints
  • Technology Developments-India/International
  • Anti Dumping page-India/International
  • Coal to Liquid Projects in China-Highlights of Conference in Beijing
  • Energy Page-Biofuels Directive in European Union-Progress Report
  • Certification Issues
  • Biotechnology-India
  • Export Potential of Fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy sector in India: Findings of EXIM Bank’s study
  • Kraft Paper Units plan cut in output to counter glut
  • When Oil Wells Run Dry
  • Update on Nano Technology
  • Update on e-Chemical Business
  • Pharma page-India/International
  • Update on Electronic Chemicals
  • Herbal Page
  • News Round Up-India/International
  • Agro Page-India/International
  • Jatropha-TERI’S efforts
  • Business Opportunities
  • Tender
  • Iodised Salt – Lack of Evidence
  • Maleic Anhydride – Process Flow
  • Nandini Internet Index
  • International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code-Part XXXII
  • New Customs Duty Effective from 1st March 2005
  • Directory of Chemical Industries in China-Manufacturers, Trading Houses and Promotional Organisations – Part XXVIII
  • Ventures of Multi National Companies in Chemical Projects in China
  • Price Trends
  • Chemicals Imported at Chennai Port During the Month of January 2005
  • Chemicals Exported at Chennai Port During the Month of March 2005
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