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Dateline: May 2, 2005

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

Chemical Industry News from the U.S.

Intrepid begins construction
Intrepid Technology and Resources, Inc. has begun construction on its second large biogas plant.  This plant, the Westpoint dairy biogas plant, is located near Wendell, Idaho.  The biogas plant will cost $3.5 - $3.7 million with production scheduled to begin during the first quarter of 2006.  Capacity is exceed 140 million cubic feet of gas/year.  Intrepid plans to continue providing solutions to other dairies as it continues its mission of assisting in worldwide energy independence and reducing pollution from renewable agriculture feedstock and industrial and agriculture waste materials.

Martin Midstream announces acquisition and expansion
The operating assets and sulfur inventories of Bay Sulfur Company in Port of Stockton, California were acquired by Martin Midstream for $6 million.  Martin Midstream has also commenced construction on a new $14 million sulfur processing facility at its Port Neches, Texas deep water marine terminal near Beaumont, Texas.  The new facility will include sulfur processing, dry bulk storage and ship loading assets.  Both facilities will process molten sulfur into pellets, which will be stored at the facilities until they are loaded onto ships and barges for delivery to customers.  

Huntsman to pursue expansion
Huntsman Corporation plans to pursue the expansion of its maleic anhydride manufacturing capacity by 100 million pounds.  The new capacity, which could be on line as early as the first quarter of 2008, will increase Huntsman's U.S. production to 335 million pounds.

BP invests
BP will invest more than $130 million on low-sulfur diesel refinery at its Whiting, Indiana refinery.  Using a new distillate hydrotreater, the new unit will have roughly 36,000 barrels/day of ultra-low-sulfur diesel capacity.  Construction is expected to be complete by mid-2006.

Chemical Industry News from India

DuPont announces research agreement
DuPont has signed a research agreement with the National Chemical Laboratory in Pune, India.  Under the agreement, DuPont will have access to the talents and capabilities of the laboratories to grow new market-facing technologies.  The first project will be focused on the DuPont Titanium Technologies business.  This move is in-line with DuPont's efforts to grow and globalize its R&D operations.

Desalination plant under construction
The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre is building a 50,000 liter/day barge-mounted seawater desalination plant in Lakshadweep that is scheduled to deploy in December.

IPCL gains U.S. patent
Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd. (IPCL) has received a U.S. patent for the development of a catalyst and process for alkylation of toluene by methanol to produce p-xylene (PX) selectively.  Critical to the process is a zeolite-based proprietary catalyst that was developed after rigorous research at IPCL.  PX is used extensively as raw material for the production of DMT and PTA, a precursor for the polyester industry.  Producing PX through selective methylation of toluene offers advantage including a negligible quantity of undesired co-product benzene and the use of methanol, a cheaper and more abundant feedstock. 

Alumina project in Orissa
Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Dubai Aluminum Company Ltd. have agreed to set up an alumina refinery in Orissa.  The 1.4 million tons/year alumina refinery will be commissioned in 2009 and will include the creation of bauxite mines and associated infrastructure, including a captive power plant, port facility, township and other utilities. 

Bayer MaterialScience developing polyurethane system house
Bayer MaterialScience AG, a world market leader for polyurethanes, is developing its global network of polyurethane system houses.  Its first integrated system house is planned for near New Delhi.  The new system house will supply the automotive, domestic appliance and footwear industries.  Scheduled go-live for the system house is early 2006.

Technically Speaking

How does a tank blanketing valve work?

According to Protectoseal (a leading supplier of such valves):

"Tank blanketing valves provide an effective means of preventing and controlling fires in flammable liquid storage tanks. Vapors cannot be ignited in the absence of an adequate supply of oxygen. In most instances, this oxygen is provided by air drawn into the tank from the atmosphere during tank emptying operations.

Tank blanketing valves are installed with their inlet connected to a supply of pressurized inert gas (usually Nitrogen), and their outlet piped into the tank's vapor space. When the tank pressure drops below a predetermined level, the blanketing valve opens and allows a flow of inert gas into the vapor space. The blanketing valve reseals when pressure in the tank has returned to an acceptable level. The blanketing gas contains no air. No supply of air (Oxygen) is allowed to enter the tank. The vapors, therefore, never form a flammable mixture."

Source: Protectoseal,


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