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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Aug 2010

CSIR labs|Ciproflaxin|Bitumen|Spandex fiber|Tri-ethyl aluminium

Highlights of Some of the Articles
Jawaharlal Nehru, a great visionary and the first Prime Minister of independent India was instrumental in setting up the  chain of national laboratories under Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), with the objective of initiating and achieving great heights in development of appropriate technology to meet the national needs.  Jawaharlal Nehru correctly realized that without laying a strong foundation for scientific and technological research, a resurgent India cannot be built. Jawaharlal Nehru’s move and approach has been fully proved to be correct during the last six decades when  CSIR  laboratories have been moving  from strength to strength  in terms of manpower and facilities. Today, CSIR  is said to be one of the largest public funded R & D organizations in the world with a network of 38 laboratories  and around 80 extension and regional centres. It is employing  more than 19,000 staff, with the scientists and technical staff  constituting around 74% of the total staff strength. Of course, the remaining  around 26% are  constituted by administrative and non technical staff.  The Government of India is reported to be providing budgetary support to the CSIR Labs to the extent of around Rs.17100 million per year. While a firm base has been created through CSIR labs for conducting scientific and technological research in India, there is lingering doubt as to whether the overall performance of CSIR labs have met the expectations of Jawaharlal Nehru. Sometime back, the scientists in the CSIR labs even  indulged in agitation demanding better wage structure etc. which made many wonder as to whether there is appropriate and adequate research culture in CSIR at all. This is not to belittle the contribution and achievements of CSIR labs which has gone from strength to strength in terms of manpower and facilities over the years but to point out that the CSIR labs  have not been able to provide commensurate benefits in tune with the investments made and money spent in maintaining them.  Unfortunately, “the consumer confidence” in CSIR labs is far from satisfactory. While it is certainly not necessary that research activities  should be evaluated in  terms of rate of returns  for the investment made, results have to be shown over a period of time that the investment in the research have been well spent and rewarding benefits have been achieved. It is reported that CSIR Labs have more than 3000 patents in force, of which around  58% are foreign registered patents  and around 42% are patents registered in India. Of course, of this, a single patent can be counted more than once, depending on the number of countries where it is granted. One cannot be found fault with , if it would be said that patent registrations need not be the be all and end all of research activity and the utility of such research should be evaluated by the utility value of the patents in actual practice. While the CSIR labs do generate revenue from its patents, it is reported that in 
2004-2005, CSIR filed 50 patents and generated Rs.40 million in royalties and licencing, while in the same period , it spent Rs.100 million in  filing for the new patents and maintaining the existing ones !
Obviously, the functioning of  CSIR labs have to be  evaluated on the basis of its earnings and money spent ,  while giving some credits for the quality research work even if it would not have resulted in any earnings.  Unfortunately, the government and the management of CSIR labs are yet to carry out any detailed investigative study from the point of view of the financial performance, to bring out a white paper on the justification for more than Rs.17000 million that is being spent by Government of India every year in maintaining the CSIR labs. Now, the question is as to whether the research activities in India should continue to be pursued by government owned organisations  like CSIR labs. May be not.  The government is to govern and not to carry out technological and scientific research under its fold. Jawaharlal Nehru was certainly justified in founding and promoting CSIR labs immediately after independence that helped  in  laying the foundation for research activities in India.   It is now more than six decades after we achieved independence and India has moved a long way in scientific and technological competence.  The question is how long should the Government of India fund the research activities on such a massive scale without commensurate results. While the government of India has now accepted the concept of privatization of public sector organizations and even such massive and highly productive company like Indian Petrochemical Corporations Ltd. has been privatized, what could be the objections for privatizing the CSIR labs?. The privatization of the CSIR labs would wipe  away the sort of lethargy and government culture that have crept into  these institutions over the last several decades and would help in meeting  the urgent requirement of India to achieve breakthroughs in technological research , that would benefit India substantially. While CSIR labs have certainly contributed to scientific advancement, what we need is much more qualitative and meaningful research achievements. Possibly, privatization of CSIR labs will make this possible.
With the chemical industry becoming global in it’s outlook and behaviour in all respects, the price level of the chemicals are now increasingly being guided by several inter related and complex factors, in addition to the  global/ regional  demand supply scenario as well as short fall or surplus in any  particular region. In view of the rapidly changing chemical industry scenario in different regions in the world on various count such as capacity creations, plant closures, environmental issues, imposition of anti dumping/safeguard duties etc. the prices of the chemicals are often subjected to steep and unforeseen changes. Companies that seek to create new capacities or  expand the  existing facilities for production of chemicals have to necessarily forecast the price behaviour of the product atleast for the next 5 to 6 years. Such price forecasting have become absolutely necessary to assess the prospects for the chemical products and project the profitability of operation in the coming years. It is, therefore, necessary that the chemical industry managers have to keep themselves continuously posted with the information about the latest development and changes on the various aspects of the functions of  chemical industry in the global as well as regional context  that could influence the price trends. This updating of data and information have to be carried out  on regular, continuous and day today basis. The price forecasting will be meaningful, only if it would be  made on the basis of the global as well as regional demand supply scenario. The regional factors can not be ignored in the price forecasting. The price forecasting particularly has become a difficult and complicated exercise, in view of number of varying and sometimes conflicting contributing factors, that have impact on the price behaviour. There are several  factors that  influence the price forecasting such as the following: Raw material price:

The price of raw material is the most important component in determining the cost of production and consequent price fixation for the finished product. Therefpre.the price behaviour of the raw material have to be studied with great care during the price forecast exercise.
Cost of fuel and power

Just like raw material, fuel and power costs also significantly contribute to the cost of production and product pricing.
With natural gas and petroleum fuel increasingly  being used for energy purposes and as feed stock across the world, forecasting the price of natural gas and fuel is extremely important issue in price forecasting for the chemical products. The recent experience have shown that the price of crude oil and natural gas are made to fluctuate considerably from time to time due to political issues, self centered policies of the regions where the fuel and natural gas are significantly produced and market manipulation and stock market behaviour. Anticipating the price behaviour of fuel and natural gas has almost become a matter of speculation these days! Likely demand supply scenario in the market

Due to technology development, environmental issues, product obsolescence etc. substitutes and more eco friendly products are being continuously developed. The need for development of such substitute products also arise due to changing consumer expectation and taste and logistic compulsions.
Therefore, the demand supply scenario for the products are often subjected to changes and consequently causing price variation in the market from time to time. In such conditions, it is inevitable that the price of the product that are in scarce supply would go up considerably, until adequate capacity would be built up for the product in one part of the world or the other. The performance of the consuming and  end user sector are significantly influenced by the changing demand supply scenario and which consequently lead to price variations. Freight factors for transportation

Freight cost are likely to go up in tune with the fuel prices. Therefore, the consumers who are located close to the producing units will have advantages in the delivered price of the products.Consumers, located at distance from the producing units would have to pay higher delivered price.
Difficult task The issues such as the above affect the price trend in the market, which clearly highlight the difficulties involved in the price forecasting and the uncertainty about it.
The Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers of Government of India is in the process of finalising a policy to promote investments in the production of urea, a mass-use fertiliser. For fresh investments in urea, the government needs to facilitate long term availability of natural gas, the feedstock that accounts for four-fifths of urea production cost--at competitive rates. If India would import natural gas at $6 to 7 per mmBtu for fertiliser plants, it is viable to set up fresh capacity. India is planning an aggressive foray into the global market for natural gas, as it reckons that the output from Reliance Industries’ KG-D6 block would hardly meet the growing demand from key sectors like fertilisers. According to official estimates, even RIL gas will cost around $6 per million metric British thermal unit (mmBtu), including transportation cost by the time it reaches the customer. Production from RIL’s K-G D6 block is now at 60 million metric standard cubic metres a day (mmscmd) and the government has already allocated it to existing gas consumers, including fertiliser, power and steel producers. Potential gas suppliers to India include producers in major liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporting countries such as Indonesia, Australia, Qatar, Oman, UAE and Algeria. State-owned GAIL has advised the government that now is the opportune time to strike global gas contracts, which could fetch gas at a competitive price of around $6 to 7 per unit at any fertiliser production facility in India. Since natural gas demand in the USA is depressed due to the economic slowdown, global LNG prices have come down. The availability scenario is good and it is a buyer’s market now. Therefore, India should be able to get long-term supply of gas at competitive prices.
Presently, over ten ciprofloxacin active ingredient manufacturers are operating in China, mainly located in Zhejiang province.  This article discusses the following details :
  • China’s major ciprofloxacin active ingredient producers
  • Exports
  • Global suppliers
  • Environmental issues
  • Prospects
Bitumen is composed, primarily of highly condensed polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Crude bitumen is a sticky, tar-like form of petroleum, which is so thick and heavy that it must be heated or diluted before it will flow. Product characteristics Alternate name Asphalt CAS number 8052-42-4 Appearance Black solid material at 25 deg C Density 1.03 kg per lit Melting point / softening point 55 deg C This article discusses the following details
  • Hazardous decomposition products
  • Product specification
  • Product application
  • Demand drivers
  • Global growth rate in demand
  • Historical global demand trend
  • Global use pattern
  • Sectorwise usage pattern
  • Global production
  • Major international producers
  • Environmental issues
  • Advances in usage technology
  • Process details
  • Indian scenario
    • Styrelf range of bitumen products
    • Modified bitumen product from Shell Bitumen India
    • Indian Oil Corporation Ltd.
    • CRMB  ( Crumb Rubber modified bitumen )
    • Emulsion
    • PMB ( Polymer modified bitumen )
  • Indian bitumen demand
  • Indian bitumen standards
  • Export of petroleum bitumen from India
  • Import of petroleum bitumen in India
2-Propyl heptanol is high molecular weight alcohol and a mixture of isomeric decyl alcohols. 2-Propyl heptanol is a clear, high-boiling liquid with a mild odour. It is used for plasticizer manufacturing Product characteristics CAS name          2-Propyl-1-heptanol  CAS number 10042-59-8  Synonyms           Isodecanol, Isodecyl alcohol, Oxo Alcohol, C4 Chemicals Formula                 C10H22O  Purity                    >=99,5  % Boiling point          205 to 225  deg.C Solubility 2-Propyl heptanol is miscible with most common organic solvents, but is practically insoluble in water. This article discusses the following details
  • Applications
  • Demand driver
  • Project of Evonik Industries
  • Project of Perstorp
  • Project of BASF
  • BASF’s project in China
  • Market growth
  • Process technology of Evonik
  • Technology developed by Davy Process Technology
  • Indian scenario
Spandex is a synthetic polymer with high elasticity. Chemically, it is made up of a long-chain polyglycol combined with a short diisocyanate and contains at least 85% polyurethane. Spandex fiber is an elastomer, which means it can be stretched to a certain degree and it recoils when released. These fibers are superior to rubber because they are stronger, lighter and more versatile. In fact, spandex fibers can be stretched to almost 500% of their length. 
The name "Spandex" is an anagram of the word "expands". It is the preferred name in North America; in many European countries, it is referred to as "elastane.
This article discusses the following details :
  • General details
  • Application
  • Process outline for spandex fibre
    • Dry process
    • Melt process
  • Raw Materials
  • Seamless garments from spandex fibre
  • Important global producers
  • Scenario in China
    • China’s capacity to produce spandex in 2001-2009
    • Important spandex producers in China
    • Supply of spandex in China
  • Indian scenario
    • Proposed project at Silvassa, India.
  • Prognosis
Tri ethyl aluminium is an organometallic compound and colourless liquid with a characteristic smell. Alternate name Tri ethylalane; Tri ethyl aluminum Formula C6H15Al CAS 97-93-8 Toxicology Corrosive - causes burns. Very destructive of respiratory tract. The product should be kept away from sources of ignition. It should be packed in tightly closed container and stored in a cool, dry place This article discusses the following details :
  • Specification
  • Product application
  • Global producers
  • New projects
  • Process
US based Gevo has been developing a fermentation process to produce isobutanol from biomass and started up its one million gal  per year first biobutanol demonstration plant in St. Joseph, Missouri. LANXESS announced its $10m investment in US biobutanol developer Gevo. LANXESS. Gevo also plans to produce isobutene - a key raw material in butyl rubber manufacturing - from sugar-based isobutanol. The firms intend to produce isobutene by dehydrating isobutanol. LANXESS is working to optimize the dehydration process, which has already been successful in the laboratory This article discusses the following
  • Bio based succinic acid
  • Levulinic ketals from cellulosic biomass
  • PHA
  • Acetic acid from biomass feedstock
  • 1,3 propanediol by fermentation process
  • Polyethylene resin from sugar based ethanol
PROCESS FOR ETHYLENE BY OXIDATIVE COUPLING OF METHANE Siluria Technologies (San Francisco) has developed a nanowire-based catalyst that can convert methane directly to ethylene at temperatures significantly lower than those required for steam cracking.  This article briefly discusses the details. US SCIENTISTS CREATE MALARIA RESISTANT MOSQUITOES In a major breakthrough, the entomologists at the University of Arizona in USA have succeeded in genetically altering mosquitoes, rendering them completely immune to the malaria parasite, consequently, incapable of transmitting the disease to humans. This article briefly discusses the details. ALGAE BASED POLYMERS TECHNOLOGY OPPORTUNITY US-headquartered Cereplast, which already makes plastics from starch, expects to start producing algae-based polymers by the end of this year. This article briefly discusses the details. LARGEST OIL SPILLS IN THE WORLD BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico *     BP is under pressure to satisfy  US Government officials that the containment cap placed on the leaking well on July 15 is holding. *     Using the government task forces upper estimate, as many as 4.4 million barrels of oil have escaped into the Gulf.This would make it the largest accidental oil spill in history (military attacks have created far bitter spills) *     Despite that, this quantity of refined oil is enough to keep America’s cars and trucks on the road for just a quarter of a day *     BP has spent almost $4 billion on clean up costs to date, with the eventual total estimated at $39 billion. In this article, list of  largest oil spills in the world such as country, location, period and oil spill in million barrels are provided. GEOTHERMAL ENERGY POTENTIAL IN HIMALAYAN REGION The feasibility of geothermal generation of electricity in the Himalayan region on a larger scale has already been established by China. A geothermal plant has been operating since 1977 in Yangbhajain, Tibet with eight double-flash units with a total capacity of 25 MW. Plants are also operating in Langju, Nagqu, Guangdong and Hunan in China. This article briefly discusses the details. CUTTING CO2 EMISSIONS FINDINGS OF THE STUDY The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released the study report on Energy Technology Perspectives (ETP) 2010 on July 1. According to the study, increasing energy efficiency and carbon capture and storage (CCS) would be two key options available to stakeholders including governments. This article briefly discusses the details. GAS ALLOCATION FROM KG-D6 FIELDS

The Government of India has so far allocated about 64 million standard cubic metres per day (mmscmd) of output from the eastern offshore fields of KG basin to the power fertilizers, steel and refineries sectors.
This article briefly discusses the details. URANIUM IMPORTS FOR NUCLEAR REACTOR UNITS In all, there are 19 nuclear power reactors with a capacity of 4,560 MW in operation in India. Out of these, currently six reactors of 1,060 MWe are under international safeguards and hence, qualify for the use of imported uranium. The remaining nuclear power reactors are fuelled by domestic uranium and are operated at lower power levels to match the fuel availability, resulting in lower average operational efficiency. This article briefly discusses the details. PLANT CLOSURES The article discusses the plans for closure of selected units by the following players
  • SCACC closed a caustic soda line in China
  • Shell declares force majeure on polyols
  • HIP-Petrohemija stops Elemir SBR production
  • CPC to shut reformer in Taiwan
  • Eastman Plans to Restart Shuttered Texas Unit
  • Sinopec Shijiazhuang shuts caprolactam line
SAFETY AND ACCIDENT PAGE Following safety and accident details are discussed:
  • BP RIG explosion
  • BP oil rig blast: safety alarm was off, says engineer
  • Dow says it is not to be blamed for Bhopal
  • Gas leak at Durgapur steel plant
  • Explosives godown blast near Villupuram, Tamil Nadu
  • Formosa  Petrochemical Corp shuts refinery after fire
ANTI DUMPING PAGE The antidumping measures introduced in  the various countries in the last few weeks on the following products are discussed:
  • Hydrazine hydrate
  • Glass fibre from China
  • Viscose fibre
  • PVC paste resin
  • Methanol
  • Laminated films
NEWS ROUND UP The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed: International
  • Sulphuric acid
  • Trimethylgallium
  • Ethylene glycol
  • Lithium-ion batteries
  • Polysilicon
  • Carbon black
  • Ammonium Nitrate
  • Polyethermines
  • Propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant
  • Methyl Esters
  • Bio-succinic acid
  • Dow and Mitsui & Co. form Chlor-Alkali Joint Venture
  • C18 Dicarboxylic Acids and Esters
  • Butyl rubber
  • Nylon 6,6 plant
  • Cracker project in Al-Jubail
  • Bioplastics – Biolice
  • Coal gasification project in Rajasthan
  • ONGC Cauvery Asset
  • Cement companies exploring alternatives to coal
TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS The recent developments on the following technology efforts are highlighted
  • Bacteria reducing carbon emissions
  • Biobased product development
  • Advanced technology for processing highly acidic crude
CHINA NEWS The recent developments on the following products/events are updated :
  • Regulations on coal-to-gas plants in China
  • Conference in China on coal to MEG
  • Calcium carbide
  • Titanium dioxide project
  • Melamine materials
  • Active lime and calcium carbide
  • Chlorine dioxide
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Methanol
AGRO CHEMICAL PAGE The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed:
  • Use of toxic chemicals  to make vegetables look fresh
  • New cultivation technology to increase rice yield
  • Findings of the study on turmeric
  • Study on requirements for jatropha plants
ENERGY PAGE The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed:
  • Developers for 20 MW solar PV units in Andhra Pradesh
PRICE DETAILS – INTERNATIONAL Global price trends on the following products are provided :
  • Bulk chemical prices
  • Contract bulk chemical prices
  • BP Plans deep water drilling off Libya
  • Tender
  • New Projects – International
  • Chemicals Imported At The Chennai Port During The Month Of June 2010
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