About N. G. ASHAR

Consultancy for Sulphonating Agents & Sulphur-Based Chemicals

Sulphuric Acid Industry in India-Prospects and Challenges.

Navin G Ashar
The following brief article by NG Ashar, MD, Navdeep Enviro and Technical (NEAT) Services Pvt Ltd, throw light on the future of sulphuric acid industry in India.

During the past decade the growth of co-product Sulphuric acid from the smelters for non-ferrous metals such as zinc, lead and copper has severely influenced negatively the growth of merchant sulphuric acid plants in India.

To make the things worse the international price of Sulphur has gone up from USD 30-40 per tonne to 220 - 240 per tonne during the last decade.

Since the co-product Sulphuric acid produced in India is almost 4000-5000 TPD, the consumers find it economical to buy the co-product acid from smelter units. The price offered is lower than the raw material price for manufacture by the market sulphuric acid plants.

The world production of Sulphuric acid today is over 200 million tonnes of which 62 per cent is produced from Sulphur, 26 per cent from smelter gases, 8 percent from pyrites and 4 per cent from others. It is estimated that the world voluntary acid production 2006-2015 - consuming an additional 14 million tonnes of sulphur as indicated in the figure above.

The scenario in India will be discouraging till requirement of value added products like oleums, liquid SO3, liquid SO2, CSA, dimethyl sulphate, etc is increased. Due to low cost of sulphur bearing crude oils, India's refineries like Reliance, IOCL, Essar Oil, etc having desulphurisation units which give sulphur output to the tune of 1.2 to 1.5 million tinnes per year.

This is about 1/3 the requirement of the country. Unfortunately, these refineries sell sulphur at the import Price. India has large deposits of gypsum and large output of phosphogypsum from fertiliser units. Recovery of gypsum based on innovative processes can alter the competitiveness since it is estimated that sulphur produced from gypsum will cost half of the import price.

Navinchandra Ashar graduated from the Banaras Hindu University in 1954 and proceeded to study further at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA). He worked under the guidance of the late Dr. H.P. Meissner, (Professor of Thermodynamics at MIT) for "Reduction of Iron Ore in a Fluidised bed" and was later on selected as a Research Associate for Solar energy projects. He made a presentation at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1960 on the data collected on MIT Solar House IV.

He also made a presentation at Rome in 1961 on the "Prospects of Air Conditioning by use of Solar Energy in India and Pakistan".

After returning to India, N.G. Ashar joined Dharamsi Morarjee Chemical Company and was involved in many prestigious projects for Environmental Pollution Control [Recovery of Mercury for Hindustan Zinc at Vizag, Effluent Treatment of Flourides at Hyderabad for Hindustan Organic, Chromium and Nickel removal in liquid effluents at Lucknow for Eveready Batteries etc.] and design, erection, commissioning for conversion of the 360 TPD SCSA sulphuric acid plant at Ambarnath in 1963 and later in 1974 raising it to 4 50 TPD Sulphuric acid plant by DCDA process.

These projects enabled N.G. Ashar-to gain very valuable experience in the fields of Environment Pollution Control. Sulphuric Acid plants, Chloro Sulphonic Acid, Oleums, Cogeneration of Power etc. Also, he made a significant contribution for the drafting of the Environment Protection Act as Chairman of Environment and Safety Committee of Indian Chemical Manufacturer Association which was enacted as a law by the Parliament in 1986.

N.G. Ashar has contributed extensively to dissemination of this experience and his own expertise in the form of Technical Articles written for many prestigious journals in the field of Chemical Engineering.

He established his own engineering and environmental consultancy company in 1987 as NEAT [Navdeep Enviro And Technical] Services Pvt. Ltd and carried out many assignments for improving performance and increasing production capacities of SA plants in India; for cogeneration of Power, development of processes for Liquid SO3, Liquid S02 (which was a great improvement over the existing process of compression and refrigeration, Chiaro Sulphonic Acid etc.) besides promoting use of Solar Energy.

Mr. N G Ashar has recently developed an innovative process, which he calls the "The cold process”, to manufacture Sulphuric acid, oleums, liquid S03 and liquid S02 in an isothermal high pressure reactor using fluidized bed of cesium activated vanadium catalyst with zero emission of S02." This process will be a turning point since it would be requiring half the capital cost and one-third area than conventional DCDA plants.

The various articles in this booklet bear a testimony to the varied experience gained by him. They were presented at various forums in Canada, China, Germany, India, Spain, UK, USA etc. and were very well received by the delegates.

Author acknowledges support of all associates, colleagues and staff of DMCC Ltd (1961- 1987), NEAT Pvt. Ltd. (1987 onwards) and NCPL (1978 - 2008).

  • Shri. N.G. Ashar Has Authored
  • Personal Information

NEAT has invented a new technology to produce Sulphuric Acid and Sulphonating agents without use of conventional double catalysis double absorption (DCDA). This process will be known as "THE COLD PROCESS" of NEAT.

More than 6 month ago, NEAT has already applied for International Patent at Geneva, Switzerland, for protecting its intellectual rights in signatories of 139 countries.

Since six months have already passed and evaluation team of the International Patent Office has already scrutinized NEAT's application and found that it does not infringe earlier patents or violate intellectual rights internationally, has gazetted our application on their website.

NEAT has been approached by a German Company producing catalyst for conversion of SO2 to SO3 to market the above in India and abroad.

In short, "THE COLD PROCESS" will not require a Sulphur Furnace, Air Blower, Drying Tower, Multi-pass Converter, Intermediate absorption tower, CHE, HHE, Economiser, Final Absorption tower, Acid Circulation System, Cooling towers, Alkali Scrubber and Exhaust Stack.

The Sulphuric Acid Plant using NEAT's COLD PROCESS would require, for the same capacity, half the capital cost, one third the plot are, less than half the utility requirements and would yield higher steam generation of 1.3-1.4 tonnes per ton of Sulphuric Acid instead of 1.1-1.2 tonnes produced by the conventional process. Besides, it will have Zero Emission of SO2.

In conclusion, we are confident that this path breaking innovation would reduce acid rains and produce Sulphuric Acid and Sulphonating Agents at a more economical cost.

Shri. N.G. Ashar has authored more than 50 papers on sulfuric acid plant designs at ACHEMA (1964); and holds a patent (details & link below).

More than half of Mr. Ashar's papers address environmental concerns connected to the sulfuric acid industry, including  Pollution Control with Profit, N. G. Ashar, In the Proceedings of the Symposium on Environmental Pollution, Delhi, 1973, which described the change in the process (from SCSA to DCDA) to reduce sulfur dioxide pollution and stack emission from 5,000 to 500 ppm.

The Research and Development work was based on first-hand knowledge gained by visiting various sulfuric acid plants throughout the world in the early 1970s.

Mr. Ashar holds an MS Engineering degree from MIT. Mr. Ashar holds a post graduate degree from MIT (Cambridge, USA) in 1958. He was faculty member of MIT (1958–61) in-charge of Solar Energy Research under Dr. Cabot's Fund.

Information on the Patent:

International Publication Date: 27-Apr 17
International Publication Number: W O 2017/068403 A1
Link :  https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/ee/0a/78/30cfece88a01b3/AU2015412464A1.pdf
Apart from a recent letter from Shri. N.G. Ashar, I have also attached herewith the following for your quick reference:
1. Flyer for 2 of his books (from the Springers website).
2. A presentation on :
Comparative Study of Techno-Economic Evaluation of the Production of Liquid Sulphur Dioxide and, Innovative path-breaking "Cold Process" to manufacture Sulphonating Agents & Sulphur-based Chemicals.

Educational Qualifications :
B.E. Chem. Engg. from Banaras Hindu University (1954)
M.S. Chem. Engg. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA (1958)

Additional Qualifications :
Summer course on Biotechnology at MIT, USA
Auditor's exam for Enviro Audit by Aspects of UK
Diploma in Statistics (BHU) Benaras, India

Technical Papers :

1987 to Present


Managing Director, Navdeep Enviro And Technical Services Pvt. Ltd.

1987 - 2008


Managing Director, Navdeep Chemicals Pvt. Ltd.

1962 - 1986


Worked as General Manager (Projects), Dharamsi Morarji Chemical Co. Ltd., Ambernath, India

1956 - 1961


Research Associate - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge (Mass.) USA

1954 - 1956


Design Engineer APV Engg. Co. Ltd., Calcutta, India

Technical Papers :
More than 50 papers on Sulphuric Acid Plant designs at ACHEMA; Recovery of Sulphur from Gypsum at British Sulphur, New Orleans; DCDA Process at Delhi etc.

50% of the papers were concerned with environment. The paper on Sulphuric Acid was based on the change in the process (from SCSA to DCDA) to reduce Sulphur Dioxide pollution; and the stack emission from 5000 ppm to 500 ppm based on the knowledge obtained by visiting various sulphuric acid plants throughout the world in the early 1970s.

This process was implemented for the first time in India by Dharamsi Morarji Chemical Co. Ltd., Ambernath based on the plant design by the author. Initially the plant capacity was 360 TPD by SCSA. This was raised to 450 TPD by DCDA, later it was raised to 800 TPD along with cogeneration of power. For environmental considerations, the sludge containing 60-70% free-sulphur is considered as hazardous waste because it catches fire when discarded in the dumping site.

In this connection, recently, the author gave a paper on "Recovery of Sulphur from solid and liquid waste with profit" at Barcelona - Spain. British Sulphur had organised International Conference in 2004.

The following papers are on Solar Energy :
Progress in Space Heating with Solar Energy - NY/USA, 1960 sponsored by ASME
Engineering and Economic Study of the use of Solar Energy especially for space cooling in India and Pakistan - Rome, Italy, 1961 organised by UNESCO
Techno Economic Considerations for Electricity Generation using Solar Energy at Micro and Mega Scale in India - IIche, Chemcon – Chandigarh, 2008 at Punjab University.

Social Affiliations :
Honorary member of Rotary Club Ambernath (East) and founder member of Rotary Club of Ambernath (Main) since 1961.
Founder Trustee of Society running a high school in Ambernath known as ‘Sharda Mandir’ since 1971.

Associations :
Environmental Auditors Registration Association, U.K. as Environmental Auditor.
Life Member, Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers.
Life Member, Solar Energy Society of India.
Life Member, Confederation of Indian Industry.
Editorial Board and National Innovation Board, CHEMTECH Foundation.

Awards :
First prize for paper on ‘Techno-economic Consideration for DCDA Process’ by Fertiliser News of FAI, Delhi (1975).