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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Apr 2007

IPCL|Linear alkyl benzene|Rutile|Dimethyl ether|Heavy water|Rabies vaccine

Highlights of Some of the Articles
IPCL CLOSED VADODARA LAB PLANT: SHORT SIGHTED DECISION Just a few weeks before the merger of Indian Petrochemicals Corporation (IPCL) with Reliance Industries (RIL), the IPCL management has closed its 43,500 tonnes per annum linear alkyl benzene (LAB) plant at the Vadodara complex, Gujarat, India. The plant is reported to have been closed mainly because of its so called small size relative to world scale LAB plants operating elsewhere. This is the fourth IPCL plant which has been closed in recent times. All of these were part of the Vadodara complex, which was set up in the early 70s, when IPCL was first constituted. The plants which have been shut include a dry spun acrylic fibre plant of 12,000 tonnes per annum capacity, the wet spun acrylic fibre plant with 12,000 tonnes per annum capacity and the acrylates plant with 10,000 tonnes per annum capacity. Much earlier, the company had shut down the petroleum resins plant (5,000 tonnes per annum) and an old poly propylene plant (30,000 tonnes per annum). The Vadodara complex of IPCL is built around a 150,000 tonnes per annum ethylene cracker, which receives feed stock from RIL’s Jamnagar refinery. The plants currently running include for polypropylene (25,000 tonnes per annum), polyvinyl chloride (55,000 tonnes per annum), polybutadiene rubber (20,000 tonnes per annum), ethylene oxide/ethylene glycol (20,000 tonnes per annum) and acrylonitrile (36,000 tonnes per annum).  Anyone who had worked in IPCL particularly in the LAB plant or who knows about the glorious past performance of IPCL would have been deeply disappointed to know about the decision to close the LAB plant. Such decision would not have been taken, if IPCL would have continued to remain as Government of India undertaking. While the money making is legitimate objective of setting up and operating projects, closing the projects without justifiable reasons would amount to wastage of the national resources setup at the cost of scarce capital. LAB project of IPCL was not losing money though it may not be earning the type of money that the Reliance Industries would target for itself. We often come across such situation in developed countries where plants are closed for short or long time due to severe market competitive conditions which would force the units to be operated at less profitable conditions . But there is no reason for the projects in developing countries to adopt such practice. One wonders as to whether the present management of IPCL has cared to think carefully about alternative ways of improving the economics of the LAB project. Certainly, there would be ways to expand the capacity by installing balancing equipment that can contribute to better economics. One may not be surprised if India would become net importer of LAB in the near future, due to this untimely decision of the present management of IPCL. By importing LAB, the country would lose foreign exchange about which perhaps the IPCL management is not concerned. There are economic and social objectives of setting up and managing industrial projects. Government of India should certainly demand an explanation from IPCL management as to why it thought fit to close down the unit . If IPCL would refrain from giving suitable explanation, the government should not hesitate to examine the methodology of forcing the IPCL management to restart the plant or selling the plant to others more interested in the project. We talk about social responsibility of business and terms such as responsible care. are becoming popular. One wonders as to how the decision of Reliance Industries to close down the LAB plant of IPCL would fall under the concept of responsible corporate management. Global scenario for LAB The LAB market is dominated by Sasol and Petresa. Both have production in Europe and North America. Petresa also has a plant at Camaçari, Brazil. Other LAB producers have only regional production. World Capacity - 2005 World demand-2005   3.4 million tonnes 2.487 million tonnes Asia pacific 46% 42% North America 15% 16% Latin America 10% 11% Western Europe 18% 10% Africa/Mideast 10% . Others 1% 21% The world linear alkylbenzene market is reported to be oversupplied because of new capacity startups, keeping operating rates around 80% to 82%. Capacity in the Mideast/Africa region grew 30% in 2006, to 353,000 tonnes per year, Capacity there is expected to grow further to 523,000 tonnes per year New capacity startups this year in Saudi Arabia and Qatar are expected to drag operating rates below 80%, and remain at similar levels for the next few years. Global demand grew about 2% overall during 2006. Producers will need to be innovative with existing assets to reduce dependence on detergent formulation trends and other factors. Huntsman is considering diversifying beyond detergent products at its Chocolate Bayou, TX plant. For others, feedstock integration has become the priority amid volatile and surging costs. CAPACITY OF PRODUCERS IN EUROPE, AMERICA & MIDDLE EAST




(in thousands of tonnes per year)
Sasol Baltimore , MD 116
Lake Charles , LA 109
Huntsman Chocolate Bayou, TX 181
Petresa Bécancour , PQ 120 LATIN AMERICA BRAZIL     Petresa Camaçari 220 Venezuela     Quimica Venoco Guacara 80
Sasol Augusta 220   Porto Torres 100 GERMANY     BASF Ibbenburen 50
Petresa San Roque 220 EASTERN EUROPE    
Alternate names
  • Synthetic Rutile
  • Beneficiated Ilmenite
  • Upgraded Ilmenite 
Characteristics Appearance (Form) : Generally, black dry free running sand. Opaque under a microscope. Odour : Slightly acrid odour Synthetic rutile is produced from ilmenite by a process of chlorination. The Indian deposits of ilmenite well exceed 150 million tonnes and deposits are available in several states including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, in India. Presently, ilmenite is mined and produced in Kerala, Orissa and Tamil Nadu. There are proposal to open mines for the production of ilmenite in Andhra Pradesh immediately. This article further discusses the following details
  • User Sector
  • Driving Factors for Demand
  • Indian Producers of Synthetic Rutile
  • Indian Demand
  • Global Demand
  • Traditional Commercial Process available for Synthetic Rutile
  • Recent Process Technology Developed
  • Claimed Quality level of Synthetic Rutile by different process routes 
Dimethyl ether is used mainly as an aerosol propellant, a refrigerant or a foaming agent. It is also used as chemical intermediate in the synthesis of chemical products with high added value such as dimethyl sulfate, dimethyl sulfide, dimethyl carbonate and polycarbonates. With the price rise of crude oil in recent years, the use of dimethyl ether as a substitute fuel has become a market focus This article further discusses the following details:
  • Various application sectors
  1. Refrigerant
  2. Foaming Agent
  3. Substitute for LPG
  4. Substitute for Alcohol based fuel
  5. Fuel for diesel engine
  • Price factors
  • Rapid Capacity Creation in China for Dimethyl Ether
  1. Major Dimethyl Ether Producers in China in 2006
  2. Major Dimethyl Ether Projects Being Constructed or Planned for Construction in China  
Global demand for biodiesel is expected to increase from 6.9 million tonnes in 2006, to 44.8 million tones in 2010, according to a study published last year by SRI Consulting (SRIC; Menlo Park, CA). Asia is expected to overtake North America and Central and Eastern Europe to become the second-biggest regional producer of biodiesel after Western Europe by 2010, SRIC says. Palm oil, one of Southeast Asia’s most abundant natural resources, will be the main raw material for the region.s biodiesel capacity and plans are in place to develop huge areas of land into additional oil palm plantations. Consumption of palm oil for biodiesel production in Asia will increase from 563,000 tonnes in 2006 to 8.4 million tonnes in 2010, SRIC says. This, however, has caused concern about the environmental impact of clearing rain forests to plant oil palms. Rising prices for palm oil are also creating doubts about biodiesel’s status as a cheap alternative to hydrocarbon-based fuels. The biggest biodiesel developments will be in Malaysia, followed by Thailand and Indonesia. Malaysia and Indonesia jointly account for almost 85% of global production of crude palm oil. Annual Production of Palm Oil based biodiesel Estimates
(in Asia/Pacific by country)
(in thousands of tonnes)   2006 2010 Malaysia 79 5,130 Thailand 196 1,500 Indonesia 49 1,061 Singapore . 250 China . 220 India 15 145 Australia 46 136 This article further discusses the following details:
  • Projects in Malaysia
  • Projects in Indonesia
  • Plans in Thailand
  • Environmental Concern
HEAVY WATER PRODUCTION IN INDIA - MILESTONE AND ACHIEVEMENTS The research in Heavy Water production was initiated by the Chemical Engineering division of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in the 60s and was continued by the Heavy Water Division of the Centre where a Pilot Plant was operated for studying the H2S-H20 exchange process. While these studies were in progress, a Heavy Water Plant at Nangal in Punjab was set up in August, 1962. Department of Atomic Energy embarked on an ambitious programme of producing nuclear power of 10,000 MWe which required setting up a number of heavy water plants.
An organisation known as the Heavy Water Projects was set up on May 1, 1969. This was later renamed as the present Heavy Water Board with effect from February 17,1989.
Heavy Water Plants based on Ammonia-Hydrogen exchange process were set up at Baroda and Tuticorin. First plant based on Hydrogen Sulphide-water exchange process developed indigenously at BARC, was set up at Rawatbhata near Kota, Rajasthan. At present there are eight heavy water plants in India. EXPORT OF HEAVY WATER FROM INDIA For the first time, India exported 4.4 metric tones of heavy water to an American firm - Spectra Gases, headquartered in new Jersey with branches in the UK, Germany and Singapore. The consignment sailed from Mumbai on February 25, 2007 and is expected to reach US shores on March 23, 2007. However, it is not clear from which Indian atomic facility the heavy water was sourced. The capacity utilisation of al the heavy water plants till December 2006 was 113%. Heavy water molecules have two atoms of the hydrogen isotope deuterium bonded with an atom of oxygen, making its properties slightly different from normal water which is H2O. It functions as a moderater in nuclear reactors which use unenriched uranium and helps stabilise the fast paced and volatile chain reactions. The development, according to the nuclear fraternity, indicates that tables have turned with India supplying a sensitive nuclear component to a major nuclear power like US. Generally, it has been the other way round. The quantity despatched may be small. But the export of heavy water from India to US for the first time is very important and significant in view of the on going negotiations relating to the nuke deal, said Mr. ALN Rao, Chief Executive of Heavy Water Board (HWB) of Atomic Energy Commission. He said that the American firm imported heavy water from India because of its excellent quality and .high purity. level. India is the world’s second largest heavy water producer and has exported it to other countries. India sold 100 tonnes of heavy water to South Korea in 1996 and 30 tonnes to China recently. This article further discusses the following details
  • Operation of Heavy water plant
  • Plant at Kota
  • Plant in Hazira
  • Plant in Thal
  • Plant in Manuguru
  • Plant in Tuticorin
USE OF COAL - ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS Coal, the dominant fuel for electric power in the US, China and elsewhere, faces an uncertain future amid growing concerns about global warming. Some experts say that coal can still play an important role with new technology being developed to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions underground. But environmental activists,who have long seen coal as the biggest culprit in global warming emissions, cite an urgent need for incentives to reduce greenhouse gases from power plants. PLASMA TECHNOLOGY TO TURN GARBAGE INTO ENERGY Contributed by Dr.S.S.Verma
Plasma (fourth state of matter) has very exotic properties and its application in various forms is under investigation to convert waste into useful end products. Over the past decade, half a dozen companies have been developing plasma technology to turn garbage into energy. This article further discusses the following details:
  • Plasma conversion
  • What is plasma
  • Areas of application
  • Emerging Application of Plasma Technology
CONCEPT OF GEO ENGINEERING FOR GLOBAL COOLING Geo-engineering is the direct use of technology to counteract climate change. The use of planetary-scale engineering to counteract climate change is known as .geo-engineering.. If man is inadvertently capable of heating the entire planet, surely it is not beyond his wit to cool it down as well Although most climate scientists do not like to talk about it, cutting greenhouse-gas emissions is not, strictly speaking, the only way to solve the problem of climate change. Just as technology caused the problem, it might also be able to help reverse it. ANTI RABIES VACCINE: SHORT SUPPLY AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS After the recent death of a baby due to dog bite in Bangalore , the dearth of anti rabies medicine in the country is compounding national anger. One solution suggested for dog bite problem is killing the dogs. However, animal activists say that it is a myth that killing the dogs will solve the problem. Dogs are territorial animals. When a group of dogs are eliminated from a locality, another set from nearby areas will move in. Another solution suggested is that implementation of animal birth control (ABC) would bring down death caused by rabies infection. In any case, the availability of rabies vaccines has become subject of national debate,. Particularly since a few units have been closed in recent times due to technology and other issues. Rabies Vaccine is an active immunizing agent used to prevent infection caused by the rabies virus. The vaccine works by causing the body to produce its own protection (antibodies) against the rabies virus. This article contains the following details:
  • WHO Guidelines for treatment of Rabies
  • Categories
  • Nerve tissue vaccine (NTV)
  • Human Diploid Cell Culture Rabies Vaccines (HDCV)
  • Purified Vero Cell Rabies Vaccines (PVRV)
  • Purified Chick Embryo Cell-culture Vaccine (PCECV)
  • Indian Operating Capacity level
  • Major Indian Producers
  • Units not in operation
  • Extent of Prevalence of rabies in India
  • Demand supply scenario
  • Technology Developments
  • Investment Opportunity
TECHNOLOGY EFFORTS OF GLOBAL CHEMICAL COMPANY: BASF In view of the need to maintain the competitive standards and ensure that the consumer’s expectation with regard to safety and environmental standards are fully met, the chemical companies al over the world have stepped up efforts towards development of appropriate technologies to achieve higher standards of safety, cost, energy and quality optimisation. As part of its efforts in keeping the valued readers of Nandini Chemical Journal informed about the developments in chemical industries all over the world, Nandini Chemical Journal is publishing series of articles on the technology efforts of global companies. In this series, articles discussing about the technology efforts of Sumitomo Chemical Company and Dow Chemical Company have been already published. Incorporated in the year 1865, BASF has emerged as one of the major chemical companies with about 100 production sites al over the world. BASF with head quarters in Germany is having customers in about 170 countries. This article also contains the following details:
  1. Fuel Cell Technology in Chlor Alkali electrolysis
  2. Development of Catalysts
  3. Catalyst for Styrene Production 
  1. L-Lysine
  2. Phytase
  3. Chiral intermediates 
CHINA NEWS This article contains the following details:
  • Propylene oxide/Styrene monomer
  • China to raise eco-taxes
  • Phenol/Acetone project in Jiangsu
  • Ethylene Project
  • CDM Projects in China
  • Stearic acid project
  • Organic Titanium project
  • Cyanuric aicd project
  • Hydrazine Hydrate facility
  • New China Oilfield has 2.2b barrel reserves
  • New Projects Recently Approved in China
  • Biochip for Genetic Testing
  • Anti Dumping Measure
  • Safety and Accident Page-Inadequate Planning Contributed to Formosa Accident in Illinois
  • Carbon Dioxide Cleaving Breakthrough
  • Update on NanoTechnology
  • Bioethanol Projects in Japan
  • Development of Anti Malaria Drug
  • China’s Biodiesel Need is Predicted to go sky-high
  • Update on Biofuel
  • Promising Alternative Biodiesel Plant
  • News Round Up-International/India
  • Technology Development-International/India
  • Update on Biotechnology-International/India
  • Carbon Dioxide Storage System
  • Pharma Page-International/India
  • Clinical Trials
  • Agro Chemical Page -International/India
  • Environmental Page –International
  • Energy Page -International/India
  • Pesticide Page
  • Update on Carbon Trading
  • Business Opportunities
  • Price Details – International
  • Use of Synthetic Rubber by Tyre Units In India
  • New Projects – International
  • Directory of Chemical Industries in China – Manufacturers, Trading Houses and Promotional Organisations- Part XXXXVIII
  • Chemicals Imported at Chennai Port During the Month of January 2007 
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