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Dateline: March 8, 2005

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

Chemical Industry News from the U.S.

Markland Technologies awarded $2 Million in new orders from U.S. Army
The orders were placed via a five-year omnibus contract for technology products and services by the U.S. Army's Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD).  Markland is working on a range of next-generation technology solutions, including night vision and advanced sensor applications, disposable sensors and other threat-detection systems.  Many of these types of electro-optic and infrared sensor technologies are being used in direct support of U.S. military combat operations in the areas of remote detection of suicide bombers and chemical detection.

Cabot Supermetals opens new business unit
In Etna, OH, Cabot opened a 90,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility Thin Films manufacturing facility that produces tantalum sputtering targets for use in semiconductor, optics, magnetics and flat panel display applications.  The facility took an investment of $12 million and currently employs 20 people.  The facility is a hands-free, "lights out" environment that combines robotic material handling, dynamic scheduling and automated process control - producing a high volume of consistent targets on time and at lower costs.  Processes in this facility include metal joining, shaping, machining and surface finishing steps designed to prepare the materials for use in ultra-clean environments at leading semiconductor and other technology manufacturers around the world.

Solutia plans new Skydrol production unit
Solutia Inc. will construct a new, state-of-the-art facility for the production of its Skydrol aviation hydraulic fluids and SkyKleen aviation cleaning solvents in Anniston, AL.  The construction will be an expansion of the existing Anniston plant that manufactures Therminol, the world's leading brand of high-temperature synthetic heat transfer fluids, as well as HB-40 polymer modifier and other specialty fluids.  The expansion should be operational in late 2005 or early 2006.  The expansion is a result of Solutia's earlier announcement, in December 2004, that it will exit its J.F. Queeny plant in St. Louis because the plant is no longer economically viable. 

Chemical Industry News from India

CiVenti Chem to set up carbohydrates facility
The North Carolina-based company is planning to invest in a new facility that will manufacture carbohydrate derivatives near Hyderabad.  The new facility at the Jeedimetla Industrial Estate will be built in November, with production beginning in 2006.  With a focus on carbohydrate derivatives, the facility will also focus on developing intermediaries and products related to nanotechnology.

BPCL expanding capacity
In its Trombay refinery, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. will raise its capacity to 12 million tons.  The expansion will be commissioned in June.  The expansion will help BPCL focus on the North India market, where today it lacks a refining presence.

Ingenious talking with major Indian pharmaceutical companies
Leading Indian pharmaceutical companies and other chemical manufacturers are being targeted by Ingenious Inc.  Companies like Ranbaxy, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, Sun Pharma, Biocon and Alkyl Amies are of interest to Ingenious as possibilities for its process simulation modules for improving plant performance and supply chain management.  Pro-Online, ProPlan, ProSched and ProDyn are Ingenious' four suites that help in the production, planning, scheduling, process simulation and optimization.  The company currently has 60 clients in India and is looking at adding 15 more this calendar year.

Bio-refinery being set up by Pacific Renewables
U.S.-based Pacific Renewables is planning to setup a bio-refinery in Gujarat.  Talks are underway to gain the various state and civic clearances for construction and raw materials sourcing.  The plant is projected to have capacity of 150 tons per day, using automotive shredder residue, sewage and septic sludge, as well as mixed hotel and apartment wastes as initial feedstock for the refinery.  It is projected that the bio-refinery will be operational in mid to late 2006.

Technically Speaking

How can one determine if a particular solid can be fluidized as in a fluidized bed?

Mr. Alex C. Hoffmann of the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering states:
"Whether a material can be fluidized at all is the question: if it is fine or sticky, the bed will be cohesive. It will then tend to form channels through which the aeration gas will escape rather than being dispersed through the interstices supporting the particles. In the other extreme: if the particles are too large and heavy the bed will not fluidize well either, but tend to be very turbulent and form a spout."

He goes on to present classification of fluidization by Geldart by use of the chart shown below. On this chart, the x-axis is the average particle diameter and the y-axis is the bulk density of the bed.


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