We have developed a specialty product ‘Solar Grade Nitric Acid’ for PV cell manufacturers: Shanmugananth M., President – Industrial Chemical, DFPCL

  • June 02, 2023

Deepak Fertilisers and Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd (DFPCL), the largest manufacturer of isopropyl alcohol (IPA) in India, is planning to introduce other pharmacopeial grade solvents apart from IPA which are being used in the pharma industry.

What is DFPCL's role in India's growth story and sectors that you are focusing on?

Deepak Fertilisers and Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd (DFPCL) plays a significant role in India's growth story, particularly in verticals like petrochemicals, fertilisers, industrial chemicals, specialty chemicals, and solar and semiconductor manufacturing. As a leading producer of industrial chemicals and fertilisers, DFPCL is well aware of the challenges facing these industries. We are a top producer of nitric acid, isopropyl alcohol (IPA), food-grade liquid carbon dioxide, and ammonia. Additionally, as mentioned earlier, we have developed a specialty product called Solar Grade Nitric Acid to be used by the PV cell manufacturers, and are planning to introduce other pharmacopeial grade solvents apart from IPA, which are being used in the pharma industry.

How is DFPCL contributing to the growth of India's pharmaceutical industry?

India is fast emerging as a global pharmaceutical hub, and we showcased our abilities during Covid-19 when the world was looking towards us to meet the vaccine requirements. To secure India’s future as global pharma leader and ensure safety of human health, the need of the hour is to manufacture safe and high-quality drugs. Safety and quality of drugs largely depends on the solvents, excipients, intermediates, and other substances used in manufacturing the formulation and API both, as well as other parameters like stringent quality control, certification, etc. The drug manufacturers must use materials only of recognised pharmacopeial grades (Indian Pharmacopoeia, US Pharmacopeia, EU Pharmacopeia, etc.). In India, as the largest manufacturer of IPA, the most used solvent in the pharma industry, we are capable of supplying any pharmacopeial grade IPA to support the requirement of the pharma industry. We are also planning to introduce other pharmacopeial grade solvents apart from IPA which are being used in the pharma industry. Keeping in mind the importance of safety of the end customer, DFPCL’s increased focus on pharma grade IPA shows its long-term commitment to the wellbeing of the end user.

What is the link between downstream industries (agro, explosives, and specialty chemicals) and India's economic growth, and how does DFPCL aim to contribute to the "Atmanirbhar Bharat" mission through innovative products?

Looking at these downstream industries closely, it is evident that these industries are directly linked to India’s growth story. Agro products are essential for food security of the growing nation. With economic development, both quality and quantity demand for food has increased. To secure this food availability, the role of fertilizers and other value-added products are undeniable.

Explosives are majorly consumed by the mining sector and infrastructure sector. Coal, metals, cement, etc. are the most important sectors for growth of the economy and heavily dependent on mining activity. Increased disposable income and growing urbanization continues to play a role in the growth of the Indian economy. This in turn is one of the key drivers for new solutions and in turn growth for specialty chemicals. India ticks many boxes that are required for growth of specialty chemicals, with the biggest potential being a large market.

The opportunity that the specialty segment offered made it exciting for us to venture into this sector. DFPCL’s legacy of leadership and delivering ‘value to our customer’ ensures that we are always thinking about innovative product ideas which are key to customer value creation. This also resonates well with the government ’Atmanirbhar Bharat’.

Emerging opportunities for DFPCL in solar, stainless steel, pharmaceutical, and semiconductor manufacturing sectors in India? How is DFPCL addressing the specific needs of each sector with its innovative and specialized products?

In the last few years, India has emerged as a solar power leader across the globe. However, despite having a large chunk of solar instalments, India’s presence in PV cell manufacturing is very low. The Indian government recently launched the PLI scheme to attract investment in this sector and launched programs like ‘National Programme on High Efficiency Solar PV (Photovoltaic) Modules’. According to estimates the Indian PV cell manufacturing capacity will soar from 4 GW in FY 2021 to about 35 GW by FY 2026. DFPCL sees a huge opportunity in this sector and to enable the sector to design one-of-its-kind specialty products – Solar Grade Nitric Acid. PV cell manufacturers can use this product to get more efficiency out of PV cells. The stringent quality measures and use of very high-quality materials is helping DFPCL in becoming the preferred supplier for PV cell manufacturers.

Looking at the emerging opportunities at sectors like stainless steel and scope for enhancing customer value, DFPCL is planning to launch one-of-its-kind specialty offering exclusively for the sector. This will be an innovative product for this sector in our country.

Like the solar sector, as India tries to establish its credentials as a hub for semiconductor manufacturing, DFPCL is ready to play a role as a partner to the sector in its growth. The company is working on an array of specialty products which will address the specific needs of this industry and help with our self-sufficiency narrative on a world stage.

The company is planning the demerger of the Mining Chemicals and Fertilizer Business. What's the update on this front?

In December 2022, Smartchem Technologies Limited Board of Directors authorised a corporate restructuring plan to maximise the growth potential of its businesses. The demerger was necessary to significantly improve customer experience, increase market share, and develop a sustainable brand. Both TAN and Crop Nutrition businesses have grown to a strategic size and importance that deserve standalone corporate identities and focused leadership in terms of growth trajectory and value creation. The strategic flexibility needed to promote long-term growth and value creation for the end users, employees, and other stakeholders will be provided by this demerger.

On January 25, 2023, the National Company Law Tribunal, Mumbai Bench (NCLT) admitted the composite scheme of arrangement filed by the company's subsidiaries, Smartchem Technologies Limited, Deepak Mining Services Private Limited, and Mahadhan Farm Technologies Private Limited. The company will abide by the NCLT's directives in due course.

Major CSR initiatives being undertaken by DFPCL in FY2022-23?

Through the Ishanya Foundation (IsFon), DFPCL has been supporting holistic rural development and empowering communities in the areas of dairy development, health, vocational training and income creation initiatives for the past 15 years with a focus on women's empowerment. By acting as an effective catalyst in DFPCL's geographies of operations, Ishanya Foundation is creating a self-reliant and respectable society with a secure and sustained means of livelihood through employment skills and resource support. In FY23 alone, Ishanya Foundation's community development initiatives touched the lives of almost 33,000 people across all locations.