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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, May 2005

Water desalination|Glycerine|Mono Ethylene Glycol|Biofuel

Highlights of Some of the Articles
NEED FOR QUICK & PRAGMATIC BIOFUEL POLICY The increasing global crude oil prices have created considerable anxiety amongst the industrial establishments in India . As the industries inevitably pass on the increased cost of petroleum inputs to the common men by raising the price of the finished products, the general public ultimately have to take the burden . In such circumstances, there is great expectation in India about the biofuel and as to whether the developing biofuel industry would enable the country to become less dependent on the imported crude oil in the coming years, protecting the country from steep price fluctuations Several initiatives have been taken in recent times on the energy front such as large scale promotion of wind energy farms for power generation, blending of ethyl alcohol with petrol and developmental efforts towards Jatropha based biofuel Advantages of Jatropha Of the several efforts , jatropha based biofuel is considered to be the most promising for several reasons such as the following : Jatropha plantations are very tolerant crops with regard to soil conditions and climatic /irrigation factors. It is ideally suited in today's Indian conditions where several regions do not have enough water for agricultural operations. It is an ideal waste land crop .
  • Massive creation of jatropha plantations would provide employment to lakhs of agricultural labourers at semi skilled and unskilled level. 
  • Since the life of jatropha plant extends to many years, the long term work involved in maintaining the crop is minimum.
Promotional Efforts Impressed by the potentialities of jatropha, Government of India and Planning Commission have been looking at the opportunity carefully.. Several reports have been prepared and organizations like Indian Oil Corporation and Indian Railways, apart from several universities and private institutions , have initiated technology development plans. The TamilNadu and Andhra Pradesh governments have introduced schemes to encourage investment in jatropha plantations. Enthused by the government support, several individuals and organizations have already started cultivating jatropha in a big way . Uncertainties Still there are technological and economic uncertainties about jatropha biofuel and the issues have not yet been addressed adequately at the state and the national level. Such conditions can slow down the progress of the biofuel ventures, unless the government would act immediately. The Issues Though biofuel is actively supported by several developed countries in the world, it should be seen that such countries encourage production of biofuel from edible crops, whereas jatropha sought to be promoted in India is a non edible crop. In USA , it is Soya, in Germany it is Rapeseed, in France it is Sunflower , which are all actively encouraged for the production of biofuel. In the case of such edible crops , the cake that would be produced as by product is a value added product since it can be used as animal / cattle feed. In the case of jatropha, the cake would be toxic as jatropha is a non edible crop and such cake cannot be used as animal feed. Such cake can be used as soil inputs to some extent, though some quarters think that it should not be used as soil additive in view of its toxicity. In any case, the value that the cake would get as soil additive would be very much less compared to the possible use as animal feed. Though the vegetable oil produced from jatropha seeds can be straightaway used as fuel, it cannot be used in sophisticated automobiles, for which the vegetable oil has to be subjected to a process known as trans esterification , that would improve the properties of vegetable oil to function as fuel. In the process of trans esterification of vegetable oil , glycerine would be produced as bye product at the rate of around one kilogram of glycerine for every four kilogram of trans esterified vegetable oil produced. It would be extremely difficult to sell large quantity of glycerine that would be produced while making lakhs of tones of trans esterified vegetable oil from jatropha. Indian demand for glycerine is only around 50,000 tonnes per annum. Even internationally, glycerine is very much a surplus commodity today as huge capacity for biodiesel has already been created. Intense efforts are taking place around the world to develop new application for glycerine and worthwhile efforts in India in this direction are yet to be initiated. The price realization for the by product glycerine would considerably come down when glycerine would be available in large quantity. Need for government subsidy Considering the technology issues and overall economics of operations and to ensure reasonable returns to the farmers, it is absolutely essential for the Government of India to provide massive subsidy support to the jatropha based biofuel industry. As a matter of fact, all countries including USA provide subsidy to the biofuel industry to encourage the national efforts. It is necessary on the part of the government to decide urgently on subsidy policy for the jatropha based biofuel considering the overall benefits, so that the Indian initiatives can move at a faster pace. Considering the rising trend of global crude oil price and the massive and increasing outflow of foreign exchange due to the import of crude oil, it would be a far more pragmatic approach to support the Indian biofuel industry by extending subsidy and other forms of incentive. It should be a cost benefit decision. Clearly, the ball is in the court of the Government of India as the industries and the consumers in India now conceptually support the biodiesel wholeheartedly and are looking forward to the right lead from the government.
More than 200 engineering colleges have been licensed to function in Tamil Nadu, India . The total intake capacity for these engineering colleges is reported to be around 72000 every year. There are also around 150000 seats for diploma level engineering education in Tamil Nadu. In such circumstances, Tamil Nadu has the daunting taks of finding employment for around two lakh engineering degree and diploma holders passing out every year. There are cases, where engineering graduates in Tamil Nadu, who have passed out in the 1999 remain unemployed till now. There are also cases where diploma holders are forced to take up jobs like selling sarees in textile shops. As the unemployment amongst the fresh engineers have not become a serious issue and is assuming crisis proportions, it is necessary to analyse the problem carefully and methodically and examine at this stage as to whether so many engineering seats are necessary and as to whether the students should opt for engineering education in such large number. With the objective of setting the record straight, Nandini Consultancy Centre, a Chennai, India based Chemical Engineering organisation conducted an elaborate survey to assess the demand supply scenario for engineering graduates in Tamil Nadu. The recommendation of the study are provided in this article.
Desalination is the production of fresh, low-salinity potable water from a saline water source (seawater or brackish water)via membrane separation or evaporation. Water on the planet found in the oceans, which is called as seawater:Around 97.5%. Global water of low salininity suitable for use after treatment:Less than 10 million cubic metres. Number of desalination facilities operating in the world:20000 Total production capacity: Excess of 3 million cubic metres per day Some countries, such as Spain , Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates , now rely on desalinated water for more than 70% of their water supply.
Glycerine is generally produced internationally both by natural and synthetic routes. Glycerine is a Clear, water-white, viscous, sweet tasting hygroscopic liquid. It occurs in combined form in all animal and vegetable fats and oils and is usually present as triglyceride combined with fatty acids like stearic, oleic, palmitic and lauric acids. Glycerine (Glycerol) also occurs naturally in all animal and vegetable cells in the form of lipids such as lecithin and cephalins. This article discusses the emerging global surplus scenario for glycerine.
This article discusses the following aspects: Characteristics
  1. Applications
  2. Indian Manufacturers
  3. India Production level
  4. Demand
  5. New Projects
  6. Price Trends
  7. Import/Export details
  8. Global scenario
  • Global Use Pattern
  • Global Production capacity and demand for MEG and EO
  • MEG capacity expansion
  • World MEG market faces severe supply crunch
  • New Projects
1-METHYLCYCLOPROPENE – PRODUCT PROFILE 1-MCP is a gas that has been successfully introduced for prolonging the life of ornamental plants and cut flowers. This article discusses the following aspects : Characteristics
  • Application
  • Safety issues
  • Major producers
  • Registration and approval
  • Technology
SPOTLIGHT ON SPECIALITY CHEMICAL: SODIUM METHALLYL SULFONATE This article discusses the application aspects and process technology as well as Indian import/export trends for Sodium Methallyl Sulfonate. OZONE FRIENDLY SUBSTITUTES "FINDINGS OF UN REPORT Twenty years after coming up with a new generation of chemicals to protect the ozone layer, the world is now confronted with the fact that these ozone friendly substitutes for chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) also happen to be greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. This has been revealed by a United Nations Environment Programme report, "Safeguarding the ozone layer and the global climate system: Issues related to hydroflourocarbons (HFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs)", brought out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in collaboration with the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel.
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