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christa.jpg (5628 bytes) Chemical Industry News Editor Christa Semko
Every two weeks, Christa will bring you the latest chemical industry news from the U.S. and India.  If you have a press release that you'd like to share with us, please mail it to us through our online contact form here.

Dateline: July 25, 2006

Technically Speaking

North America

Double production
Olin Chlor Alkali Products is investing $11.8 million to expand its bleach facilities in Augusta, Georgia, Charleston, Tennessee, and Niagara Falls, New York.  The expansion will enable Olin to double production and expand customized manufacturing opportunities for some customers.  In addition, this expansion will convert the Niagara Falls unit from a batch process to a continuous process operation.
Plant purchase
Alexion Pharmaceuticals has purchased Dowís biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Smithfield, Rhode Island.  Alexion will use the 55,000 square-foot facility for Soliris (eculizumab), its lead product candidate for parozysmal nocturnal hemoglubinuria.  Dow acquiried the facility in 2000 with plans to enter the market for mammalian cell culture, but market conditions did not justify further investment and the plant was closed in 2004.
CO2 plant
BOC is building the only CO2 (carbon dioxide) plant in the Northeast in Volney, New York.  The plant should have a capacity of 600 tons/day, capturing byproduct CO2 from the Permolex International/NEB ethanol plant that is being built in a former brewery.  BOC plans to provide CO2 to customers including major food and beverage and chemical companies throughout New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New England.
Unexpected outage
Nova Chemicalsí Corunna, Ontario, Canada facility is up and running again after an unexpected stoppage when a contractor accidentally pressed a stop switch.  The plant was back to normal operations within two weeks and the impact to earnings should be within the companyís $11 million estimate.
Hurricane preps complete
DuPontís project to protect its DeLisle, Mississippi TiO2 (titanium dioxide) plant from hurricanes has been completed ahead of schedule and under budget.  The 300,000 ton/year plant was badly damaged by flooding during Hurricane Katrina in August, 2005.  The company added a 12-foot wall to the plantís existing 20-foot earthen levee, for a cost of approximately $12.5 million.  The site resumed manufacturing operations in January and the force majeure was lifted in April.  The site is running at near capacity.
Plant explosion
Chemturaís plant in Elmira, Ontario, Canada suffered a small explosion.  The explosion was isolated to a single building and the plant was safely shut down after the incident.  The plant came up within a few days.  The plant employs about 230 people and produces polyolefins and crop protection chemicals on its 24 acre campus.


Plastic coating operations
Japanís Cashew Co. plans to set up a representative office in India for plastics coatings within the next two years and subsequently construct its own factory there.  Cashew produces plastic coatings for applications such as cellular phones and electronic-equipment housing.  The company is developing a pan-Asian network under an overseas strategy that is linked with the global development plans of leading cellular-phone makers.  Cashew plans to establish similar operations to its one in China in India to mainly serve cellular phone companies who are setting up their production bases in India.
$20 million orders
Praj Technology has been contracted to supply technology and machinery to two plants being set up in the Cilion Group in California.  Cilion plans to set up a total of eight ethanol plants and has selected Praj for two plants where machinery orders are yet to be released.  The first of two plants with a capacity of more than 55 million gallons/year of corn-based ethanol are scheduled to go on stream by mid 2007.  Cilion projects having a total capacity of 440 million gallons/year in 2008.  Cilion believes it can produce environmentally friendlier ethanol in California at a lower cost than ethanol produced at traditional Midwest corn ethanol plants and delivered to California.

Production begins
Natco Pharma Ltd. has commenced commercial production at its finished dosages pharmaceutical formulations unit in Dehradun.  The unit is planned to achieve a capacity level of 300 million tablets/year, with the project implemented in stages. 
Feasibility study
The United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) will help fund the feasibility study for setting up a $4 billion national gas grid project in India.  USTDA agreed to fund $690,000 for the study.  The feasibility study will be divided into six phases that will evaluate technologies and practices for the construction, operation and management of the proposed natural gas transmission pipeline network project.  The grid will involved constructing approximately 7,900 kilometers of line, a number of compression stations, metering stations, gas storage control systems and communications.

Technically Speaking

What is 'condensate lift'?

This is a term that is usually used to indicate how much pressure is required to 'lift' condensate from a steam trap or other device to it's destination at a condensate return line or condensate vessel.

The first image below shows a situation where a properly sized control valve is used on a steam heater.  During nominal operation, the utility steam undergoes a nominal 10-25 psi pressure loss through the valve.  For typical utility steam (150 psi or higher), this can leave a pressure at the steam trap exit that is often adequate to lift the condensate to it's destination.  For example, if the steam losses 20 psi through the valve and another 15 psi through the heater and piping, that can leave up to 265 ft of head to push the condensate to the header.  In this case, there's little need for a condensate pump.

On the other hand, if the control is too large, it will only be a few percent open during normal operation and the steam can undergo a pressure loss of 50-75 psi or even higher!  In addition to supplying terrible control for the heater, it also reduces the available head for condensate lift.   In this case, or if the steam supply pressure is relatively low, it may be necessary follow the steam trap with a separation vessel and a condensate pump to push the condensate to the return line.


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