Friday, 17 November 2017

Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) - A Future Source for Green Energy

The rise in pollution has forced automobile manufacturers to look for alternative means to reduce carbon footprint. Power utilities and other manufacturers dependent on fossil fuels are looking for viable means to sustain their production. Lithium iron phosphate can be used in rechargeable batteries and for power backup.

Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4)

Lithium iron phosphate is used in many applications that require rapid charging. It is one of the raw materials used in lithium-ion batteries. It is highly preferred by energy generation and automobile sectors due to its high energy density. It can charge lithium-ion based products more rapidly than lithium cobalt oxide batteries. LiFePO4 has a higher installation cost but has higher efficiency and reliability than lead batteries.

The advancements in lithium-ion industry have led to different variations in the iron phosphate cathode which has a higher electric and thermal stability. Nanoparticles have been used to coat the cathode in Li-ion batteries to increase its capacity. The rise in environmental pollution and near-exhaustion of fossil fuels may lead to the adoption of lithium iron phosphate batteries for future applications.

Latest Developments

In January 2017, Intersil, a US based semiconductor company launched a 3.6V charger for the LiFePO4 batteries. It leaks low power and has a fold-back feature that can prevent overheating of the cells. It is used to charge eCell backup systems embedded in electric vehicles (EV). It can be useful in dire need of roadside assistance and other such emergencies.

The shortfall in battery manufacturers has led to strategic collaborations among major EV manufacturers to establish bigger battery manufacturing plants. For instance, Samsung SDI and Lucid Motors have partnered to kickstart such a plant to support the launch of the new EV by the latter.

Market Overview

The worldwide lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) material and battery market may attain USD 25.5 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research, Inc. It is anticipated to display a CAGR close to 21% over the forecast period (2014 to 2025). The market is driven by high demand from consumer electronics and electric vehicles.

Graphite accounted nearly 27% market revenues in 2016. It is expected to exhibit a 26% CAGR over the forecast period. Electric & hybrid electric vehicles held nearly 58% market on account of revenue in 2016. Asia Pacific dominated the overall market in terms of demand during the same year owing to the presence of hybrid vehicle manufacturers. It is expected to grow at a 22% CAGR in the forthcoming years. Key market players are GAIA, BYD Co. Ltd., A123 Systems, LLC, and Optimum Nano Energy.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Carboxymethyl Cellulose Integral to Drug Manufacturing Process

Cellulose fibers have multiple roles as thickening and mixing agents in various sectors. Rising preference for the products made from naturally-derived ingredients is expected to result in immense demand for carboxymethyl cellulose.

What is Carboxymethyl Cellulose?

Carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) is a cellulose derivative used as a thickener or stabilizer. Its sodium salt derivative, sodium carboxymethyl cellulose is utilized as a food additive and is deemed safe by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Sodium CMC finds applications in the ice cream industry as an adhesive to stop the ice creams from separating.

Other significant industries using CMC include paper & pulp, oil & gas, pharmaceutical, and medical. The rise in offshore shale exploration activities in the US is expected to drive the demand for carboxymethyl cellulose in North America. Research into its properties has even led to its usage in thermoplastics.

Injection Molding

Rayonier Performance Fibers collaborated with the USDA Forest Products Laboratory to manufacture thermoplastics using cellulose-based fibers. The company registered a patent for compressing cellulose fibers into pellets. It uses a mixture of wet pulp and sodium CMC to produce pellets. These pellets are then melt compounded to produce pellets for injection molding.

Drug Manufacturing

The medical sector has recognized the benefits of carboxymethyl cellulose as an excipient in the drug manufacturing process. It is added to the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) in drugs to provide moisture during extreme temperatures. In addition, researchers have developed microneedles to deliver drugs for the less invasive drug delivery methods. These dissolvable microneedles are made from CMC and layered double hydroxide nanoparticles.

Market Overview

The worldwide carboxymethyl cellulose market is expected at nearly USD 1.9 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research, Inc. It stood at USD 1.2 billion in 2016. The market is anticipated to grow at a significant CAGR over the forecast period (2014 to 2025). High demand for eco-friendly products is the key market driver. Advances in CMC manufacturing is expected to further support market growth in the forthcoming years.

In 2016, food & beverage led the global market owing to widespread applications as a stabilizer in bakery products. It is expected to display a 5.3% CAGR over the forecast period. Asia Pacific accounted for nearly 41% demand share in 2016. It may continue exhibiting a robust CAGR till 2025. Prominent market players are Daicel FineChem Ltd., The Dow Chemical Company, Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd., and Akzo Nobel N.V.

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Monday, 13 November 2017

Saffron: A Natural Flavoring and Coloring Ingredient

Saffron is a unique and extravagant spice known for its coloring, flavoring, and medicinal properties. These dried threads are extracted from the flowers of crocus sativus plant. Decent saffron yield requires cold and dry climate with enough rainfall or irrigation. The flowers are usually collected in the early-morning hours and their stigma is separated and processed.

Saffron Identification

Fresh saffron is available in spice markets. It is bright reddish golden in color. It releases a pleasing aroma and golden-yellow color, when rubbed between two fingers and when soaked in water or milk. This spice has a unique, pungent bitter-honey taste. Saffron is widely used in food and beverages industry is a fragrant, coloring, and flavoring agent.

Major Applications

Saffron is used in dairy and confectionary to prepare flavored milk, ice-creams, cakes, muffins, baking powder, jellies, jams, teas, and other such products.

Saffron is antiseptic, antioxidant, and anti-depressant. Hence it is found beneficial for treating mild to moderate depression, skin diseases, eye diseases, and other illnesses. It consists of key ingredients such as crocin and safral that can be used in the manufacturing of several antibiotics. Saffron is also used in cosmetic industry to manufacture skin care products such as fairness creams, cleansers, and anti-blemish lotions.

Saffron is used in textile and paint industries owing to its natural colorant properties. It finds applications in dying and perfumes as a replacement of chemical color pigments.

Saffron Green Tea

Bliss Blend Organic Tea, an Australian organic tea manufacturer has recently developed SaffronGreen Tea. It is produced using organic green tea and saffron. This antioxidant tea can improve digestion and eye health. The product is available in Unbleached & Biodegradable Tea Bags.

Market Overview

According to Grand View Research, Inc.; the worldwide saffron market is anticipated to attain USD 2 billion by 2025. Applications in food, medical, cosmetic, textile, and paint industries may propel demand during the forecast period (2014 to 2025).

Europe is predicted to witness significant grown in terms of revenue in the near future. In 2015, it stood at over USD 250 million on account of high demand from food and healthcare sectors. Asia Pacific is expected to remain the second largest market over the forecast period. This growth is attributed to rapid development in food, medical, and cosmetic industries. India is expected to be the major supplier of saffron due to easy availability of skilled labor.

Key companies operating in the global market are Iran Saffron Company; Gohar Saffron; Saffron Business Co.; and Rowhani Saffron Co.

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Friday, 10 November 2017

Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Infrastructure for Superfast Charging

Electric vehicle (EV) charging stations are also known as charging points. These infrastructures supply power to recharge the EVs. Electric vehicles are largely being used for commercial as well as residential sectors. This has encouraged facilitation of more strategically placed infrastructures for quick and convenient charging of EVs.

Battery Basics

Electric vehicles work on either Direct Current (DC) chargers or Alternating Current (Ac) chargers. ACs are available in different types depending upon kilowatt. These include:

Type 1: Range up to 3.7 kW and is capable of charging the vehicle in 6 to 8 hours

Type 2: Range between 3.7 kW to 22 kW and it can charge the EV in 3 to 4 hours

AC Rapid Chargers: Range up to 43 kW and can charge the vehicle within 40 to 50 minutes.

Superchargers: These can recharge the batteries up to 80% in less than 30 minutes.

Upcoming Novelty

Tesla Inc., a major American solar panel manufacturer, energy storage provider, and automaker has come up with super-fast charging stations to charge the Tesla vehicles. These stations are strategically located near WiFi hotspots, restaurants, and shopping centers. Each station is equipped with Supercharger that can recharge electric vehicles in brief amount of time. 

Tesla vehicles have onboard chargers that convert AC from wall chargers to DC, allowing it to be stored in the vehicle’s battery. These chargers can provide up to 120 kW battery power per vehicle in nearly half an hour of charging.

Market Overview

According to a new study by Grand View Research, Inc.; the electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure market is anticipated to escalate at 46.8% CAGR by 2025. The market is projected to attain USD 45.59 billion over the forecast period (2014 to 2025). Rising consumer awareness and government initiatives in the form of subsidies and tax credits can drive the adoption of EVs.

Key Players

Major companies operating in the global EV charging infrastructure market include Schneider Electric SE; SemaConnect, Inc.; Siemens AG; and Tesla Motors, Inc. They partake in strategic mergers & acquisitions, new product developments, and collaborations to expand product portfolio and services.

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Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA): A Vital Material for Food Packaging

Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) is a colorless, water soluble biodegradable synthetic polymer. It is odorless and tasteless and is generally available in cream or white granular powder. PVA is insoluble in organic solvents and is slightly soluble in ethanol. 

Versatile Applications

Polyvinyl alcohol is the primary element used in numerous end-use industries such as construction, packaging, textiles, coating, fibers, films, paper, printing, electronics, medicine, and food & beverages.

PVA is widely used as a moisture barrier film for foods and food supplement tablets. It can protect foods from the exposure to moisture, oxygen, and other environmental components. Polyvinyl alcohol can be used in confectionery products can preserve the quality of the moisture sensitive ingredients and the taste of the high moisture foods.

Different grades of PVA such as high, moderate, and low viscosities are used in paper manufacturing. Polyvinyl alcohol comprises exceptional properties like water resistance and exceptional degree of swelling. Hence, it is very useful in the construction industry.

Flexible Packing Material

Recently, Sekisui Chemical Co., Ltd. has developed a novel product called ‘Selvol Ultiloc Barrier Resin. It consists of gas barrier and greater adhesion properties. This film is thin and offers greater clarity. As a result, it has the potential to replace other existing barrier and packing technologies. This product is used in manufacturing flexible packaging films. 

Market Overview

According to a report by Grand View Research, Inc.; the global polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) market is predicted to gain nearly USD 1.2 billion by 2025. Growing necessity for biocompatible non-toxic packaging in food & beverages is anticipated to drive the market. Construction segment may register a 7.9% CAGR during the forecast period (from 2014 to 2025).

In 2016, food and packaging led the end- user segment in terms of volume. It is anticipated to gain demand of 525.4 kilo tons till 2025. Asia Pacific emerged as the largest region in terms of volume in 2016. It can witness a 5.5% CAGR from 2017 to 2025. North America on the other hand is expected to grow at a CAGR 5.1% in terms of volume during the forecast period. 

Some prominent players operating in the global market are Nippon Synthetic Chemical Industry Co; Sekisui Chemical Co. Ltd; E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company; and Eastman Chemical Company.

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Monday, 6 November 2017

Agar Agar Gum: A Natural Boon for Vegans

Growing number of vegans and vegetarians across the world has encouraged numerous alternatives for animal-based products in the food industry. Gelatine is a highly popular, animal-based key ingredient in desserts, confectionaries, and other such dairy products. It is considered non-vegetarian by many, because it is obtained from animals. This drives the demand for gelatine substitutes. Agar-agar gum is one of the commonly preferred alternatives. 

What is Agar Agar gum?

This natural hydrocolloid is extracted from red seaweed species like Gelidium, Gracilaria, and Pterocladia. These species belong to rhodophyceae class and they grow over the ocean rocks. They are also artificially harvested to meet the growing demand. Agar gum is available in strips, squares, and powder forms and is widely used in dairy products.

Agar Agar Flakes

Recently, Eden Foods introduced their Agar Agar Flakes. These vegetable flakes can be used in preserves, fruit aspics, pie fillings, and other foods products. It is one of the naturally prepared gelatine substitutes that is tasteless and odorless in nature. It is free of fat and contains low amount of sodium. Hence, it can be utilized as a healthy alternative for gelatine.

More than a Gelatine Substitute

Agar gum is basically used for its gelling properties that can be useful in food industry for thickening, binding, stabilizing, and texturizing. Agar gum consist of an outstanding heat resistance and stabilizing abilities. Agar agar gum can be used in many other applications such as pharmaceutical, microbiology, and biotechnology. Agar in its hydrated form can assist in digestion. It is also used in making emulsions and capsules in clinical lubricants. In radiology, agar acts as a suspending agent for Barium Sulphate. Agar is used for preparing dental casts in prosthetic dentistry. In biotechnology, it is used for plant tissue culture. 

Market Overview

According to a report by Grand View Research, Inc.; the global agar agar gum market is predicted to gain nearly USD 345.3 billion by 2025. Changing consumer preference for animal-free products and healthy diets can drive the market during the forecast period (2014 to 2025). Microbiological & molecular applications are expected witness rapid expansion in the forthcoming years. 

Asia Pacific is anticipated to expand at the highest CAGR of around 5.4% till 2025. Key companies operating in the market are Marine Science Co. Ltd.; Myeong Shin Agar; Indoalgas; Central Drug House (P) Ltd.; Able Sales Company, Inc.; and Orient Resources Company.

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Fructose: Naturally Occurring sugar for the Calorie-Conscious

Fructose, generally known as a ‘fruit sugar’; is a naturally occurring sugar. It is found in numerous plants, fruits, vegetables, berries, and honey. Fructose and other sugars are carbohydrates, which are vital source of the energy.

What is Fructose?

Fructose is a monosaccharide with similar chemical formula as glucose, but different molecular structure. It is one of the three dietary monosaccharides including glucose and galactose that are directly absorbed into the blood. Pure dry fructose is white, odourless crystalline solid, which is very sweet and water-soluble. 

Commercially, fructose is extracted from sugar beets, sugar cane, and maize. It is available in the form of crystalline, and syrup. Fructose is extensively used in food and beverages industries to produce several products like moist cookies, nutrition bars, low sugar energy drinks, pourable and frozen juice concentrates, and other such products. 

The low glycemic index of fructose has minimal impact on the blood glucose levels as compared to regular sugar. Both these sugars are used and metabolized in different ways. Glucose is digested, absorbed, and transported to the liver and is then released into the blood. Various tissues receive energy with the help of glucose. Insulin is required for this process. Fructose on the other hand, is metabolized in the liver without the help of insulin.

Corn Sweet Crystalline Fructose

Recently, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) has developed a dry fructose “CornSweet Crystalline”. It has low Glycemic Index and intense sweetness. This fructose can be used in various of applications such as dairy, beverages, frozen products, baked foods, reduced calorie foods, jams & jellies, sauces & toppings, and canned fruits.

Market Overview

According to a report by Grand View Research, Inc.; the global fructose market is anticipated to gain nearly USD 5.6 billion by 2025. Increasing demand for low sugar food products and awareness regarding diabetes can drive the market over the forecast period (2014 to 2025). 

Solid fructose products are made up of crystalline and sweeteners with more than 40% concentration. It is predicted to grow at nearly 4.5% CAGR till 2025. Growing demand from pharmaceutical and confectionaries is the key market driver. Fructose syrup may emerge as the fastest growing product at around 4.7% CAGR from 2017 to 2025. Rising demand from beverage manufacturing can boost the growth in the years to come.

In 2016, North America dominated the worldwide market with around 40% share. Rising population and health concerns are anticipated to propel the regional growth. Asia Pacific is expected to become the fastest growing region over the forecast period due to high demand from confectionaries and processed foods. Preference for sugar free foods due to high prevalence of diabetes can further support the growth by 2025). Some key players operating in the market are Gadot Biochemical Industries Ltd.; Daniels Midland; Tate &Lyle; DuPont, and Galam.

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