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Dateline: February 22, 2005

Chemical Industy News from the U.S.
Chemical Industry News from India
Technically Speaking

Chemical Industry News from the U.S.

Dow plans alkanolamines facility
Dow Chemical Company plans to build a new, integrated specialty alkanolamine facility at its Plaquemine, LA location to replace existing amine capacity in Midland, MI and Charleston, WV.  The new plant location will enable better proximity to raw materials as well as include improved product mix flexibility to meet customers' needs and reduce production of by-products that the market no longer demands.  The expansion of the Plaquemine facility is driven by increased demand for isopropanolamine from the gas-treating industry as well as printed circuit board production, particularly from Asia.  Also, the demand for methyldiethanolamine continues to grow because of the gas treating and fabric softener industries.  The new plant is planned to be opened in 2007.

Lockwood Greene awarded PET plant contract
Eastman Chemical Company has awarded Lockwood Greene an engineering, procurement and construction contract for the contract of the first commercial-scale PET plant.  The plant will be based on the patented IntegRex technology, an innovation in the integrated manufacturing of paraxylene (PX) to polyethelene terephthalate (PET) resin.  Eastman plans to expand its existing Columbia, SC facility to produce 350,000 metric tons of PET by the end of 2006.

Plant swap
The Huntsman polyurethane plant in West Deptford, TX is scheduled to close by year end.  The plant's current operations will move to a facility in Woodland, TX.  However, the plant will not remain empty - COIM USA, the American subsidiary of Italian polyester and polyurethane manufacturer COIM S.p.A. of Milan, has bought the plant and plans to begin a start-up manufacturing operation by the end of the year.  COIM is closing an operation in North Kingstown, RI and moving to the facility in West Deptford.

Tight IPA market leads to capacity increase
The global market for isoproponal has tightened because of steady demand and the closure of two world-scale plants.  Dow Chemical Company is responding by adding capacity at an existing facility to help ensure future demands are met.  Dow is planning a state-of-the-art upgrade to its Texas City, TX facility's control systems and process equipment, adding 40 million pounds of IPA capacity via capital improvements through 2007.  The upgrade is focused on rejuvenating existing capacity and the investment will maintain the capabilities of the plant long term.

Chemical Industry News from India

USA and India to cooperate further in biotechnology
American drug makers have been eyeing India as a low-cost manufacturing arena for pharmaceutical production.  With the recent crackdown by the Indian government on patent and copyright infringement, the market is more attractive - laws are tougher for those who previously had an easy time of making cheap versions of expensive Western products.  A delegation of American executives, including those from Merck & Co. and Dow Chemical Co., are exploring life science opportunities in India, specifically in the areas of research and development, population and clinical genomic, clinical field trials and contract manufacturing.  

Growth for petrochemical companies
Dow Chemical Co. is looking heavily at licensing technology to Indian petrochemical companies.  Reliance Industries is currently using Dow's technology, but talks are underway with other leaders including Indian Oil Corporation, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Gas Authority of India Limited.  The growing industrial sector of India will make the country the third largest consumer of petrochemicals by 2010.

Gwalior Chemicals sets up shop and will aim for global market share
Gwalior Chemicals has commissioned a 6,000 ton/year benzyl alcohol plant at Nagda in Madhya Pradesh, with the hopes of capturing 10% of the global market share in the next five years by exporting 70% of its product.  The new facility will feature a unique manufacturing process - a new technique using plain water - for producing benzyl alcohol that should help to cut production costs by about 15%. 

Asian Peroxide Ltd. plans to increase production capacity
In response to growing demand for hydrogen peroxide, the company is looking to increase its output to 25,000 tons/year in 2006 compared to its present 18,000 tons/year.  The plant's current capacity should only be 15,000 tons/year, however debottlenecking enables the company to produce 3,000 tons/year more than it should.  The additional production is planned to come from small investments made in the existing plant.  Asian Peroxide is not alone in its plans to expand production, however they will work to continue to be one of the largest manufacturers in the Indian market. 

Technically Speaking

What are some good methods of avoiding condensation in a compressor suction line?

A twin lobe compressor is suffering repeated failure due to moisture in the suction line. The vapor is coming from a vertical two-phase separator

The liquid may be forming as the result of either:

1. Condensation in the line between the separator and the compressor.

2. Liquid carry over from the separator.

If the suction line is well insulated and/or heat traced
(it probably should be), then begin with the separator.
From generally accepted rules, be sure that the separator is properly sized.  If the separator does not include a mesh pad, consider installing one to see if this helps. You also may want to install a mist eliminator in the line leading to the compressor (and change it at least twice a year).

If your connection into the separator is a straight connection (versus tangential), you may want to install a straight pipe that runs from the inlet to the vessel all of the way to the opposite vessel wall. This pipe should have the bottom 40% cut out.  The downward entry motion will help give additional separation of the vapor from the liquid. You can see such a pipe in the graphic below.


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