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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Sep 2013

XANTHAN GUM | OFFSHORE WIND ENERGY| JATROPHA BIOFUEL| HYDRO POWER PROJECTS
Highlights of Some of the Articles

TALK OF THE MONTH : NATIONAL ECONOMY NEEDS TECHNOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS
PETROLEUM JELLY – INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
XANTHAN GUM - INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
FOCUS ON IMMEDIATE ENERGY OPTIONS FOR INDIA - OFFSHORE WIND ENERGY
FOCUS ON IMMEDIATE ENERGY OPTIONS FOR INDIA - JATROPHA BIO FUEL INDUSTRY
NHPC’S HYDRO POWER PROJECTS
CAN LAW PREVENT ACID ATTACK ?
INDIAN GUAR GUM INDUSTRY AT CROSS ROADS
IMPACT OF ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM ON TAMIL NADU’S INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS
FOCUS ON EXPLORATORY EFFORTS - SNAIL’S PACE OF OIL EXPLORATORY EFFORTS
OTHER FEATURES
OTHER ARTICLES

TALK OF THE MONTH

NATIONAL ECONOMY NEEDS TECHNOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS

Millions of words spoken and written by economic pundits including those in the government point to the need for several fiscal measures , change in the interest regulations and credit policies to retrieve the national economy and the rupee from the deep slide.

While such fiscal measures are necessary, it is surprising that economists do not adequately stress the need for appropriate technological and research initiatives needed to relieve the country from the energy burden .

Impending energy crisis

The huge import of natural gas, crude oil and coal and the fluctuating international price of these fuel are contributing to huge outflow of foreign exchange to pay for the import of energy source and consequent current account deficit of high order .

The country is now facing a serious energy crisis. Present Indian import of crude oil is around 160 million tonnes with the Indian production stagnating at around 30 million tonnes per annum. Production of coal is stagnating at around 540 million tonnes with the import of coal now at around 80 million tonnes per annum. With the production of natural gas falling steeply due to the disappointing performance of Reliance managed KG basin, the production of natural gas in the country has dropped with the import steadily having to increase. The oil / gas exploration efforts are moving at snail’s pace.

Alarming increase in import source

If the Indian GDP were to increase at 8% per annum, the energy consumption has to increase at 10% per annum.

With the production of energy source like coal, crude oil and natural gas now nearly stagnating, Indian import of these vital energy source will have to steadily go up and double by 2017-18. This would be an alarming situation, that would severely destabilise Indian economy due to high India’s dependence on import and price fluctuation in the global market.

Without solving this issue of external dependence for energy source , it is not possible to retrieve the economy. In this respect, both short term and long term measures are needed.

Short term measures

Obviously, the short term measures should lead to considerable reduction in the consumption of fuel in the country by curtailing energy use wherever it is possible. It is certainly feasible to reduce the energy consumption at least by 10 to 15% by optimising the energy use in the factories, avoiding wastage and curtailing the fuel use for automobiles and other transport modes.

Of the total energy consumption in India, around 32% is accounted by the transport sector. Government is the biggest consumer of fuel in this respect.

We still see 40 cars following a politician or a Chief Minister while they go on tour. It is no more uncommon to see the Chief Ministers and cabinet ministers using chartered flights to travel. When it comes to election campaign, politicians use chartered helicopters in a big way. These acts only indicate that the government officials,ministers and politicians are insensitive to the national need to curtail the consumption of fuel.

To create awareness amongst citizens about the energy crisis faced by the country and to create an appropriate atmosphere for conservation of fuel, petrol bunks all over the country should be closed on every Saturday and Sunday. While technically , this may save only a small percentage of fuel consumption as fuel can be bought on other days, the gravity of the situation would be felt by everyone. Certainly , this would make people become conscious of the energy crisis and to strive to save energy wherever possible. Such simple measures will go a long way.

Government has to come out with some incentive programmes to industries and other services sector for conserving energy . There would be good response if the government can come out with an imaginative scheme .

Medium and long term measures

As far as long term measures are concerned , alternate energy fuel appropriate to Indian scenario have to be developed. Technologists have suggested number of schemes in the past, that can produce spectacular results in three to four years time.

Such schemes suggested include the following.

Jatropha biofuel

Development of jatropha biofuel as substitute for diesel should be encouraged.

Jatropha is a drought resistant agricultural plant that can be grown largely in India and biofuel produced from jatropha seeds can be mixed with diesel to reduce the diesel consumption. The NDA government under Mr. Vajpayee took positive steps to implement the jatropha project in a big way but unfortunately it was not followed by subsequent Dr. Manmohan Singh’s government. Hundreds of crores of rupees invested in setting up jatropha biofuel projects have been wasted and more than twenty units presently remain closed. The jatropha biofuel projects should be revived.

Algae biofuel

Development of algae biofuel as substitute for petroleum fuel should be encouraged.

India has appropriate conditions with a long coastal belt for cultivation of algae and 50% of the algae contains oil. Enormous work is being carried out at present by many multinational companies abroad for development of algae bio fuel and US government has announced many promotional programmes. The production of algae bio fuel in a big way is likely to take place in developed countries between 2015 and 2020. Practically, nothing has been done in India inspite of India’s obvious advantages.

Dedicated research and development facilities to optimise the production of jatropha and algae based bio fuel have to be initiated with extreme urgency. Indian scientists and technologists are certainly capable of perfecting such technologies in tune with the international trends in a period of three to four years, if only an appropriate programme and policy can be introduced by the government.

Algae and jatropha biofuel projects if promoted competently can reduce India’s fuel imports atleast by 10 to 15% in the next five to six years if only the country can plan, implement and forge ahead with projects.

Off shore wind and solar power projects

Globally and particularly in Europe and China, offshore wind power projects are being developed with high priority as an ecologically friendly and appropriate substitute for fuel based power. India has around 7000 kilometres of coastline and nothing worthwhile has been done for promoting offshore wind power projects.

There are still huge potentials for onshore wind power and solar power projects in India. Things are moving at painfully slow pace in developing these very obvious alternate energy sources.

One lakh megawatt power generation capacity can be built by solar , as well as on shore and off shore wind power projects by 2020.

Prognosis

If the government would not move with great speed to reduce the country’s dependence on import of energy source, there is no way that country’s economy can be stabilised, whatever may be the growth in services sector and other areas.

While the government is yet to respond adequately to the impending energy crisis,the present crisis clearly indicate that it has to move forward with dynamism and vision.

PETROLEUM JELLY – INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY

Petroleum jelly is mixture of mineral waxes and oils. They are stabilized in such fashion that the oil appears to form the internal phase, whereas the wax compound forms the external phase.

Alternate names : Mineral jelly, Petrolatum

Appearance : Amorphous swollen jelly like mass

CAS Number : 8009-03-8

Solubility : Insoluble in water. Soluble in dichloromethane, chloroform, benzene, diethyl ether, carbon disulfide and oil of turpentine.

Density @ 60 deg C, kg/L 0.840 to 0.866

Melting Point : deg C46 to 52 deg C.

Types

Refined and purified petroleum jellies are white and yellow in colour

Less refined petroleum jellies are generally green in colour

White petroleum jelly

White petroleum jelly is used for production of medicinal and cosmetic products.

It is produced by blending white oil, microcrystalline wax and paraffin wax.

Yellow / other petroleum jelly

For application in lubricant etc, yellow / other petroleum jelly is used.

It is produced by blending less refined mineral oils, slack wax and paraffin wax.

The following details are discussed in this article

  • Application
  • Process
  • Indian import
  • Indian export
  • Indian demand
  • Global scenario
  • Global demand of petroleum wax
  • Pattern of Production of Petroleum Wax
  • Producers of petroleum jelly
  • Demand driver
  • Regional market
  • Prognosis
XANTHAN GUM - INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY

Xanthan gum is a high molecular weight polysaccharide and is a natural biopolymer, produced by a biotechnological fermentation process in aerobic conditions, based on the culture of a micro organism.

It is generally derived via the fermentation of the glucose in corn syrup .

Xanthan gum is increasingly been used as a less expensive alternative to guar gum in many food-based applications. It has seen growing use by the oil industry to thicken drilling mud, enabling the more efficient extraction of crude oil and natural gas.

Appearance : White to cream coloured free flowing powder

CAS No. : 11138-66-2

Chemical Formula : (C35H49O29)n

Odour : Odourless

Main composition : D-Glucopyranose Glucan, D-Mannose, D-Glucuronic acid

The following details are discussed in this article

  • Application sector
  • Import
  • Indian demand
  • Indian supply:
  • Manufacturing Process
  • Global production
  • Global producers
  • Anti dumping measures
  • Substitutes for guar in shale gas operations
FOCUS ON IMMEDIATE ENERGY OPTIONS FOR INDIA - OFFSHORE WIND ENERGY

Wind could meet 12% of global power demand by 2020 and up to 22% by 2030, according to a recent study by the Global Wind Energy Council and Greenpeace International.

Globally, India ranks fifth in terms of installed wind power generation capacity after US, Germany, Spain and China. However, India is yet to tap offshore potential for wind power generation

It is imperative that the offshore wind power potential of India should be tapped to the maximum possible extent, especially as India has over 7,000 km long coastline.

Although more expensive than onshore installations, offshore turbines can derive economic mileage from higher and more stable wind power.

Several potential zones for such projects off the coast of Gujarat, Maharashtra and south of Tamil Nadu have been mapped.

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Present wind power potential based on land (onshore ) in India
  • Advantages of offshore wind power project
  • European scenario for offshore wind power projects
  • Important offshore wind farms in Europe
  • UK scenario for offshore wind power projects
  • Canadian Scenario for offshore wind power projects
  • USA scenario for offshore wind power projects
  • China’s scenario for offshore wind power projects
  • Indian scenario for offshore wind power projects
  • Challenges in offshore wind power project
  • Cost of offshore wind power projects
  • Technology development in offshore wind power project
  • World’s largest’ offshore wind installer
  • Case for setting up offshore wind power project in India & preliminary work in India
  • Draft offshore wind energy policy
  • Prognosis
FOCUS ON IMMEDIATE ENERGY OPTIONS FOR INDIA - JATROPHA BIO FUEL INDUSTRY

The national consensus is that one of the best alternative fuels for India that can give sort of immediate relief in the energy front is the jatropha based bio fuel.

Unfortunately, the jatropha biofuel industry in India has not forged ahead to the level of expectations and it is much behind the targets and schedules. It is obvious that the Government of India has not given enough thrust and emphasis for the exploitation of jatropha biodiesel as alternate sustainable energy, which has resulted in the collapse of the Indian jatropha bio fuel industry for all practical purposes.

The recent decision of Indian Oil Corporation to review its jatropha biofuel programme, which was launched with fanfare a few years back, is a big set back to the Indian efforts to find alternate source of fuel in tune with the country’s strength.

Brief outline on jatropha

Jatropha is a drought resistant crop and has a long life. Due to the tropical conditions and the fact that substantial land area remain inadequately exploited due to water scarcity in India, jatropha is an ideal crop for Indian conditions.

 Following details are discussed in this article

  • Issues facing jatropha biofuel industry
  • Glycerin – a valuable byproduct
  • Cultivation area
  • Jatropha bio diesel plants
  • Market outlet for jatropha biofuel
  • Highlights of research activities
  • Initiative of Vajpayee government not followed
NHPC’S HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

The share of hydropower in the overall electricity output has declined from 44 per cent in 1970 to 19 per cent in 2012.

Hydro power utility NHPC runs 17 stations with total capacity of 5,702 MW. It has drawn up a target to add over 10,000 MW of hydropower capacity by 2022.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

CAN LAW PREVENT ACID ATTACK?

Even after Supreme Court gave its verdict restricting the retail sale of acid to prevent the acid attack on women, the acid attack has not stopped .

There are large number of acids that can cause harm if thrown at a person that include organic and inorganic acid. In addition, there are number of alkalies which can also cause harm In addition to acids and alkalis, there are also other chemicals which are equally harmful. . In all, the number of such chemicals, which can harm are well over 200.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

IMPACT OF ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM ON TAMIL NADU’S INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS

RESOLUTIONS PASSED DURING THE MEETING ON 17th AUGUST,2013 AT CHENNAI

Chemical Industries Association , an apex body representing the cross section of chemical industries , organised a meeting of chemical industries in Tamil Nadu at Chennai on 17th August,2013 to discuss about the impact of environmental activism on chemical industries in Tamil Nadu.

Representatives from cross section of chemical industries in Tamil Nadu including Sterlite Industries,Nuclear power project, Malladi Drugs, Thirumalai Chemicals, Cetex Petro Chemicals, Asian Paints, Ram Nath & Co., Nandini Consultancy Centre, Commercial Chemical & Development Company and several others participated in the meeting.

The following resolutions were passed during the meeting on the basis of interactive discussions for several hours.

1. Responsible care :

Several chemical industries pointed out the features of their plant design and operating parameters and pointed out that the greatest care are being taken in adhering to the ecological standards and ensuring safety of the personnel operating in the plant as well as those living around the project.

Chemical industries recognise the need and importance of responsible care in designing and implementing and operating the chemical projects.

The chemical industries also recognise the need for proactive communication with people particularly living around the project

2. Stalled projects :

Chemical industries express concern that several important projects that can go a long way in promoting economic and industrial growth of Tamil Nadu have been delayed or stalled in recent time due to exaggerated environmental activism.

Such projects include the LNG gas pipeline scheme running through Tamil Nadu, Coalbed methane project in Thanjavur district and others .

3 Sinned against and not sinned :

It is recognised that the chemical industries should view the criticisms and objections in positive manner and should provide appropriate explanations to allay the fears and reassure the people.

However,on several occasions, it has been seen that the critics and environmental activists advance baseless charges such as possible ill health to the people around , possible explosions etc. without any authenticated scientific or technical proof that will stand scrutiny.

On number of occasions, the chemical industries find it difficult to discuss the details and provide explanations to environmental activists as well as some political outfits inspite of strong technical and industrial justifications in favour of the project, due to hostile attitude of the pledged critics with pre conceived ideas and the lack of conducive atmosphere for well informed discussions.

When public agitations are whipped up on the basis of campaign by the critics even after clearance for the project from environmental authorities and such public agitations are extensively publicised in the media, the reputation and credibility of the chemical industries suffer seriously in the eyes of the general public.

Chemical industries feel that on most such occasions,they are sinned against rather than sinning.

4 Ban on expansion or new industries in Manali and Ranipet industrial belt :

Expansion of existing industries or setting up of new industries are NOT now permitted in Ranipet and Manali industrial belt in Tamil Nadu, as the overall pollution index in the region are said to be above the acceptable level by the Central Pollution Control Board.

Such index above permissible level have happened due to some historical reasons such as some closed units violating the environmental standards earlier. However, a number of chemical units operating in these industrial estates at present have highly sophisticated plant facilities and they operate at zero emission standards at internationally accepted level.

Chemical industries appeal to Tamil Nadu government to look into the matter with urgency and evolve appropriate policy measures to ensure that the growth of chemical industries in such important industrial belt such as Manali and Ranipet in Tamil Nadu would not be affected.

5. . Appeal to the media :

Chemical industries appeal to the media to get the necessary clarifications and details from any particular chemical industry, before publishing any adverse report on such unit based on the allegations by the environmental activists.

This is particularly necessary, since large section of the population may not have the requisite understanding of the various ecological standards and protection measures and their impact.

FOCUS ON EXPLORATORY EFFORTS

SNAIL’S PACE OF OIL EXPLORATORY EFFORTS

The fact that the oil ministry of Government of India has not auctioned exploration blocks for over two and half years is a disturbing signal. The poor investment climate has delayed the annual auction of oil and gas blocks, which was last held in March 2011.

Foreign energy firms such as Petrobras, Statoil, Santos, BHP Billiton and Eni evinced interest in exploration activities in India earlier.But, it appears that they are no more so keen now.

It is said that the government forcefully changes contracts at will and midcourse.

India’s natural gas production has steadily declined over the last two years to 111 mmscmd in 2012-13 from 143 mmscmd in 2010-11, mainly due to the fall in production at RIL's KG D6 block.

According to the Directorate General of Hydrocarbon (DGH), only three NELP blocks have so far seen any kind of commercial production, even as 254 blocks have since 1999 been allotted to exploration companies in the nine rounds of NELP, from which 113 discoveries have been made.

Following details are discussed in this article.

  • Pull out by BP
  • Other pull outs
  • Whither 10th round of NELP?
OTHER FEATURES

PLANT CLOSURES

The article discusses the following closure plans

  • Shell shuts unit at Texas refinery
  • PolyOne to close six facilities in USA
  • Shell declares styrene monomer force majeure
  • Versalis to close LDPE plant at Gela, Italy
  • W.R. Grace to exit silica sol FCC catalyst production
  • BASF restructures fuel cell unit and closes NJ facility

SAFETY AND ACCIDENT PAGE

The following article discusses the following accident

Tower explosion at HPCL refinery

ANTI DUMPING PAGE

The antidumping measures introduced in the various countries in the last few weeks on the following products are discussed

  • Tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ)
  • Single mode optical fibre

NEWS ROUND UP – INTERNATIONAL

GLOBAL AMMONIA SUPPLY SCENARIO

According to the International Fertilizer Association (IFA; Paris), global ammonia capacity is projected to increase by 19% , from 204.1 million metric tonnes in 2012 to 242.7 million metric tonnes in 2017.

World urea capacity would increase by a net 43 million metric tonnes , to 236 million metric tonnes per year, in 2017. This increase corresponds to a compound annual growth rate of 4.4% over 2012.

Between 2013 and 2017, 55 new urea units are planned to come onstream worldwide, with 20 to be located in China, according to IFA.

Several ammonia plants are planned for Louisiana in USA spurred by access to cheap natural gas, including new plants from Mosaic at St. James Parish and a joint venture between Dyno Nobel and Cornerstone Chemical at Waggaman.

The above subject is further discussed in this article.

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed

  • Aluminum alkyl facility in Saudi Arabia
  • Acrylic monomer facility in Saudi Arabia
  • Meta aramid fiber plant in Thailand
  • Phthalate free plasticizer unit in Germany
  • Argex announces TiO2 purchase agreement with PPG
  • Butanol plant in Saudi Arabia
  • Phenolic resin at Ludwigshafen complex
  • Uruguay’s legal marijuana plan clears first hurdle
  • Special polycarbonate grades for medical device
  • JV to produce synthetic rubbers in Krasnoyarsk, Russia
  • Breakthrough commercial algae production cultivation system
  • Methanol plant at St. Charles,USA
  • Precipitated silica capacity in Thailand
  • Acron goes ahead with ammonia investment in Russia
  • Vegetarian AvestaDHA
  • Chlor-alkali and EDC complex in Saudi Arabia
  • Renewable fuel standard
  • Cellulosic ethanol production at Florida plant in USA
  • Hydrocarbon resins

NEWS ROUND UP – INDIA

PROSPECTS OF LATERITE MINING AS ALTERNATIVE TO BAUXITE

Vedanta Resources has asked the Odisha government to explore the prospects of mining laterite, which with some beneficiation may prove an alternative to bauxite, a crucial input for making aluminium.

The company has suggested that the Odisha state where it claims to have invested Rs.50,000 crore to set up alumina refinery and smelter, could explore the prospects of laterite deposits, which sometimes co-occurs with bauxite.

The company, while it was shut for six months, experimented with laterite from Andhra Pradesh.Deposits occur within 100km of Vedanta's plant, which is equipped to use it as an alternate exigency feed.

The above subject is further discussed in this article.

Following detail is discussed in this article.

  • Import of ammonium nitrate

CHINA NEWS

The recent developments on the following products/events in China are discussed

No provisional EU duty on Chinese solar panels, but probe to continue

Polypropylene spunbond capacity

Myanmar-China gas pipeline

Coal to gas project

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS

MEMBRANE LESS BATTERY – RECENT DEVELOPMENT

The sources of power in the emerging renewable energy economy are intermittent. Wind energy is dependent on winds that are often capricious, and solar power is suboptimal on cloudy days. Such sources cannot be connected directly to the grid but instead to batteries which store power from them and then discharge continuously.

To better make use of renewable sources of power, these batteries must have a higher power density than normal batteries and must be very efficient.

Research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, has now demonstrated a quantum-leap in this arena: a membrane-less hydrogen-bromine fuel cell.

Conventional batteries include a porous membrane between the anode and the cathode to prevent short-circuits, while facilitating charge-carrying ions to move between them. However, such membranes add to the battery’s weight, reduce its efficiency and, depending on their material, bring along their share of structural defects and life cycle limitations.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

SOLVAY’S INNOVATION EFFORTS

Solvay’s innovation is a worldwide effort and its R & I centers are spread across four continents .

About 80% of Solvay’s R&I spending is managed by the company’s global business units (GBUs), and 20% is managed centrally by Solvay’s corporate function. The 80% is day-to-day R&I, and the 20% is more forward-looking.

Solvay spends about € 261 million per year ($339 million) or about 2% of 2012 sales, on R & I . The company has 13 major R & I centers and a total of 1,900 researchers.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

HYDROGEN TO POWER MOBILE TOWERS?

The Indian arm of the Munich-headquartered Linde Group aims to replace part of the diesel required to run the nearly four lakh mobile towers in India with hydrogen.

The company recently carried out a pilot project on six mobile towers in Bihar.

Theoretically, the potential is huge. A third of mobile towers in India depend on diesel generators to keep the cellular network live.The rest, according to Linde, get power from the grid for approximately half a day, meaning they run on generators for nearly 10-12 hours to ensure 98 per cent ‘up-time’.

Above subject is further discussed in this article

AGRO CHEMICAL PAGE

The recent developments on the following products are updated

  • 41 crop varieties developed under nuclear agri programme
  • Ashwagandha gets US patent for vaccine adjuvant
  • Monsanto gives up GM seed in Europe
  • Sprayable coffee
  • Cultivation of iron rich pearl millet
  • Patent for agro chemicals – India’s opportunities

PHARMA PAGE

Following pharmaceutical informations are discussed in this article

  • Allergan’s patents for two eye drugs revoked
  • Biocon unveils biologic drug to treat skin disorder
OTHER ARTICLES

PRICE DETAILS

Global price of iron ore

Iron ore lump

Potash

EX-FACTORY PRICES OF CHINA CHEMICALS (NO FREIGHT) AS OF AUGUST 2,2013

TENDER

CHEMICALS IMPORTED AT THE CHENNAI PORT

DURING THE MONTH OF JULY 2013

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