Thursday, January 31, 2008

Cultivating Reading Habit - It is not the best

There is no difference in between illitercy person and person how do not read. Early days reading is limited to printing media but today it is on electronic media. Even from your mobile you can have a good reading on many of web sites. I can remember one day I read my blog using Mahanama's dialog 3G phone. (He is one of my friends and also the president of ChESS).

In almost every lecture, Prof. Ajith de Alwis mention about reading habit and we are provided with lots of reading materials every day. One day he asked us to atleast seperate few minutes to read other than recomended text.

Today I read national geographic and I found some improtant articles on it. Article on E-Waste was very interesting and it showed how most of electronic waste end up in developing countries such as Ghana. Child labouring, exposing to toxic gases while processing e-waste, using cooking pans to process Lead and many tragic situations were on it. This is the world we are living all together.

All most every people who burn copper wire (coated with plastic) to grab the copper metal do not know that this process may emit Dioxin which is one of the deadliest gas in the world. Small scale processing units of secondary Lead which is installed in poor house kichens uses food processing equipments such as pot, pans, spoons for Lead extraction. After Lead processing shift is over equipments and the whole small scale factory permises is handed over for food prcessing shift which is operated by housewife. This is entiled as "Potential Deadly Practice" by National Geographic authors. But as Chemical Engineering student I do not like the word "Potential". I think it is a definelty deadly practice.

You can also come across with many things by reading. But we must remember reading is only one good habit. The best habit is reading and sharing with people around the world. Sharing knowledge with people is not a coslty way or a rocket science. Staring a blog on Blogger plateform is more than enough to share what we think and what we know. Some People can think a blog as a stupid thing. But see the BBC web site. They highlight so many improtant blogs on their main web pages. Recenlty they highlighted Kenyan's blogs (some are blogspot blogs). So do not warry you do not wanted to be web grand master to open up a blog.

Read more, Learn more, blog more .......

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bush to commit $2 billion to climate change fund

World's no. 1 GHG emittor America has decided to contribute $ 2 Billion to climate change fund. In this title has taken into discussion and there was a comment from a person Miyaki Newcastle, Australia saying that " Too little and too late Mr Bush!"
I personally do not undermine the amount of contribution but I aggree that all people in this world are too late on Climate Change Management. World most industrial countires contribution to Montreal protocol is poor. America is asking more contribution from India and China. They comment on each other and not doing their part.
I think rather than rewarding money it is better to contribute on R&D to reduce CO2, CH4 ....etc.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

10 th Volume of the ChEMUNIQUE

The 10 th volume of the ChEMUNIQUE is now in printing and this is the cover page.

you can download it from

Darkest Ever

I am dark in complexion. So some friends of mine say that I am the Darkest Material they have ever seen. But some US scientists from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York have found the darkest material. This is result of nano technology researches. The "Darkest Ever" material has made out of Carbon nano tubes. Carbon nano tubes are made out of carbon sheets just one atom in thickness.

It is the closest substance to the ideal black material. It absorb light wave perfectly from all angel and all wavelengths. Scientists claim that this material will be applied in electronics and solar energy.

By commenting over this discovery Prof.Sir John Pendry who predict that kind of material such as Sri Arthur C. Clerk predict about satellite communication said that "They've made the blackest material known to science,The application will be to things like more efficient solar cells, more efficient solar panels and any application where you need to harvest light"

Following video is related to carbon nano tubes

some uses of nano tech in day to day life

1 - Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) for displays
2 - Photovoltaic film that converts light into electricity
3 - Scratch-proof coated windows that clean themselves with UV
4 - Fabrics coated to resist stains and control temperature
5 - Intelligent clothing measures pulse and respiration
6 - Bucky-tubeframe is light but very strong
7 - Hip-joint made from biocompatible materials
8 - Nano-particle paint to prevent corrosion
9 - Thermo-chromic glass to regulate light
10 - Magnetic layers for compact data memory
11 - Carbon nanotube fuel cells to power electronics and vehicles
12 - Nano-engineered cochlear implant

sources - BBC, youtube

Journey of the ChEMUNIQUE

The official publication of Chemical Engineering society achieved a benchmark with its quality in printing. The 10th volume which is to be launched tomorrow and the Website for Chemical and Process Engineers will be launched tomorrow in Process Day in HNB towers.

The 9th volume

some of other volumes

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Thinovation - A dream laptop from Apple

Apple inc. recently release the world thinest laptop to market and has name it "MacBook Air". MacBook Air is ultrathin, ultraportable, and ultra unlike anything else.It is a dream which come thro' innovation and rethinking. It suddenly make a new standard for mobile computing.

Although it is amazingly thin it has manufactured with full size for comfortability. It is 3.0 pound weight.

A Tour With MAC BOOK Air

ChEMUNIQUE - Now in hand of PRINTER

After 5 - 6 days of hard work on graphic design and proof reading and several sleepless nights we produce the soft copy of the 10th volume of the ChEMUNIQUE magazine. Today we gave advance payment of Printer. Now our responsibility is over and now it depend on the printing press owner and staff hard work to release it within next two days.

Today we purchased a domain for official web site for Chemical and Process Engineering. Kasun Jayasinghe is developing the web site. It is to be launched in the our process day which is to be held on Friday 5.30 PM at HNB towers.

Kasun Jayasinghe - Web Master

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Processing the 10th volume

This week ChEMUNIQE team is very busy on processing its 10th volume. Here some of our team members working day and night over designing and proof reading.

Video of working on ChEMUNIQUE -

Friday, January 11, 2008

Get a free trial to ICIS news

ICIS is commercial breaking news service for the global chemical industry. It is 24 hours-a-day real time news updating service to area which you concern and interested in. It is cover up Comprehensive data range from around the globe, including the emerging markets of Russia, China, India and Latin America.
It also provide you the latest details on plant and project start ups, shout downs, out put and capacity etc. This ICIS news service provide their customer the sort out information so they will not want to brows for information.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Another "Hotel Rwanda"

Many years ago there was genocide in rwanda and "Hotel Rwanda" is one of grate film which is related to that tragic incident. Kenyan post-political election violence which grown to massive civil unrest is damaging every part of economy now.

Kenya's tourism industry, which brings in some $900 million a year and attracts more than 1 million visitors a year will be greatly effected with this tragedy. Many tourist were there to see white beaches and a safari with a chance to view elephants - or perhaps giraffes.

"I have been spending all the time in my hotel room and could not go out on safari or do anything after getting word from my travel agent that all was not safe outside," said Blouza, a German tourist in Mombasa on the Kenyan coast. You can imagine the situation of trapped tourist in that country.

Shops and other commercial activities are closed due to violence. The death toll have been risen upto 486. I think peace keeping army should be sent to there in order to stop more violence . Otherwise another genocide will be there in world.

'Green funerals' , biodegradable coffins

Our natural body which we gain from nature is total environmental friendly but we add cloths, shoes, electronic gadgets, polymeric materials and many more into our life. All of additional things in our life which we continuously added with our life (in civilization progress) have many environmental impacts. Environmental impacts associated with our life style must be eliminated soon before our nature get more worst place.

So Green efforts are taken in many aspects of human activities. "Green funerals" effort make biodegradable coffins to eliminate the environmental risk of decaying process of normal coffins.

The Natural Burial Company manufacture co-friendly burial products including the Ecopod, a kayak-shaped coffin made out of recycled newspapers. This is a product with "Natural" burials trend which require no formaldehyde embalming, cement vaults, chemical lawn treatments or laminated caskets.

Read more

"One Laptop Per Child" loses a partner

Intel has withdrawn its funding and technical help from "One Laptop Per Child" project due to "philosophical" differences.
"OLPC had asked Intel to end our support for non-OLPC platforms, including the Classmate PC, and to focus on the OLPC platform exclusively, At the end of the day, we decided we couldn't accommodate that request. " said Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy (to BBC)
Intel joined with this project in July 2007 and worked on OLPC or OX laptop. OLPC is good initiative to make contribution on poor children education and increase e-literacy in developing countries.

Low energy bulb diposal

Although low energy bulb is contain very small amount of mercury. Mercury is very toxic substance and make short and long term effect on human health. Dr David Ray, toxicologist said to BBC that "If you broke five bulbs in a small unventilated room then you might be in short term danger" . This statement is enough to understand the environmental and health risk associated with the low energy bulb.

The solution is not rejecting low energy bulb because it save energy and electricity bill. But the correct solution is printing proper disposal instruction and safe use advices. Because of small amount of mercury contain low energy bulb is not to be disposal in normal waste bin. It is possible to release mercury to environment when the dispose in landfill or open dump.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Alaska Oil Exploration

US mineral management service will accept bids to issue exploration rights in north-western region of Alaska. This area is on Chukchi Sea. But this area is home for one of two populations of polar bears in the US. The number of this polar bear is depleting due to decrease of habitat with global warming. Environmental groups are protesting on the decision to issue rights of exploration.

The researches says that American sectors of the Chukchi Sea hold 15 billion barrels of recoverable oil and over two trillion cubic metres of natural gas. US mineral management had not issued rights since 1991 due to difficulties & cost involving in extraction in that area and environmental issues. But now they have decided to issue rights.

Fake profile of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on facebook

Facebook is one of the popularized social networking web sites on web 2.0 technology. People have very strong trust on this technology and millions are keep in touch with social networks. With the tragic assassination of Benazir Bhutto her son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, 19 years old Oxford University student became hot topic in world. Some media organization kept trust on facebook social network to grab information and comments from Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, using a profile claim to be his one.

They publish this statement which they found on fake facebook profile of Bilawal.

"I am not a born leader. I am not a politician or a great thinker. I'm merely a student. "I do the things that students do like make mistakes, eat junk food, watch Buffy [the Vampire Slayer] but most importantly of all... learn."

I can remember one or two sri lankan television channel also publish the comment “I am not a born leader. I am not a politician or a great thinker. I'm merely a student”

Now facebook administration has banded that fake profile.

The PPP spokeswoman Sherry Rehman said that “It is not his posting, it is not by him, it is someone else who has done it, and it is a hoax.”

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s information was miss used on social groups and a photo of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari with fancy dress (as a devil) also featured in media.

I think social networking is now great web based technology but to be used with great responsibility. Owners of social networks must be more responsible over their information. Social networks such as facebook are not few bucks earning business. They own very huge profit over these web sites. So they must use proper tracking system (human watching or using AI technology) to track this kind of miss uses. When famous person profile comes into database there must be a method to verify the accuracy.

If owners and users neglect their responsibilities social networks will be useless product.

“1” , “0” or both at same time

With electronic computational world which work thro’ passing electron via conductors allow a bit to be “1” or “0” at one time. But quantum computational approach allow a bit (qubit) to be “1”, “0” or both at same time (the superposition).
“It is a new paradigm for computation, It's doing computation differently” and “It is like massively parallel processing but in one piece of hardware” said Professor Artur Ekert of the University of Oxford.
In electronic computation the smallest unit the bit was made by electron flow passing thro’ semi-conductors. But in quantum computation the smallest unit qubit is being made by caged atoms. The qubit will have three probabilities which are “1”, “0” or both at same time. This allows a quantum computer to work through many problems and arrive at their solutions simultaneously.
This mechanism is still a theoretical one, but limitations of electronic computer system will force this technology to come into real world. In February 2007 the D-wave a Canadian company came with a computer with quantum computation technology, but the problem solved by that machine could have been solved by conventional computers.
This will confirm by Professor Artur Ekert’s statement. “It was not quite what we understand as quantum computing, the demonstrations they showed could have been solved by conventional computers.”
You can imagine the speed of quantum computer with this statement.
"With quantum computing you are able to attack some problems

Anjalika Proud of Sri Lanka

After IV Parakramabahu king regime Sri Lanka succeeded to manufacture a ship in our country. Dockyard is the proud manufacture of this 10 million USD ship, Anjalika. Dockyard undertook this project behalf of an Indian company. Sri Lankan marine, mechanical, electrical and many more engineers make this project really success. Congratulation Dockyard!

Shout for .blog a unique domain dedicated on Blogs

There are more than 70 million blogs world wide. So many bloggers are very interested on blogging and they are doing it passionately and own domain name with .com, .org, .info, .name, etc. But that top level domains never describe the uniqueness of web blogs. The concept of blog has passed its 10th mile stone now. Now blogs are becoming the future of internet. So bloggers join with shouting for .blog

Thushara Subasinghe

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A fuel from waste polythene and plastic

A Sri Lankan from Yatiyanthota area, Mr. Ananda Withanage has found a way to convert polythene and plastic in to Motor vehicle fuel. In this converting process he has been able to produce two by-products, non degradable sheets and Grease. Mr. Ananda Withanage is claiming that he can sell one liter of that fuel to 25 -30 LKR. Presently he is using this fuel with his motor bike.

He is saying that he can convert 1 kg of waste polythene and plastic into 1 lit of fuel. The amount of waste polythene and plastic in Sri Lanka is 180,000 tonnes per annum. So there is huge potential on this kind of innovation.

He said Lankadeepa News paper that the consultation and assistance from Prof. Ajith de Alwis and Dr. Jagath Premachandra of Department of Chemical and Process Engineering, University of Moratuwa was very great help for his innovation.


Automotive service station wastewater has been a heavy environment pollutant and a major topic of environment science fields. The service station wastewater pollutes surface water sources as well as ground water sources. This scenario can be proven with lot of evidence. Environment Policy Authority has sampled wastewater at motor vehicle service stations that use shallow injection wells and found that more than half these samples far exceed the Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) established under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Tests conducted by Environment Policy Authority on fluid samples from service station floor drains indicate that improper disposal of waste generated during vehicle servicing poses the threat of ground water contamination. For 35 of these cases out of hundreds of examinations Environment Policy Authority estimates that a total of more than 1.5 million people could have been affected. We can imagine the tragic situation with these exact numbers.

Automotive service station wastewater may contain several hundred milligrams per liter of benzene and other volatile organic compounds. Waste solvents contain a high percentage of chlorinated hydrocarbons. Some of these chemicals are known or suspected carcinogens. For all of these chemicals, there is Environment Policy Authority standards, Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) established under the authority of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).

In order to comply wastewater which is discharged into environment, with Maximum Contaminant Levels that wastewater must be undergone proper treatment. Design wastewater treatment plant is very important area in environment engineering. It is a responsibility of professional environment engineers to come up with proper solutions for burning issues. Treatment plant should be able to discharge wastewater under Maximum Contaminant Levels those are established by local authorities. It must be capable to cater its service for average capacities and also for possible maximum volumes.

In principles of environment engineering module we were assigned to conduct major wastewater tests such Oil & Grease, Chemical Oxygen Demand, Biological Oxygen Demand and Total Solid & Total Dissolved Solid in selected automotive service station in near by area. After completing the four major tests we were assigned to come up with proper solution for that automotive service station wastewater. By involving with the particle we familiarized with techniques for sampling, preservation, preparation for test …etc. We familiarized with the four common tests for wastewater which are being practiced in field.

Cassava and PLA as raw material for Biodegradable polymer

We selected two raw materials for our final year comprehensive project design which are cassava and polylactic acid. Cassava is locally available raw material but polylactic acid is not locally manufactured. There is an ongoing project in Industrial Technology Institute to form polylactic acid from lactic acid which is extracted from coconut waste and sugar cane. Therefore there is positive potential to obtain all raw materials locally but the presently available option is importing polylactic acid for manufacturer or marketer. Cargill, Minneapolis, MN is one of such manufacturer and the cost of polylactic acid is 1.00 – 3.00 $/lb).

Cassava is traditionally cultivated during the maha season throughout Sri Lanka, except in the southwest coastal districts (Matara, Galle, Kalutara, Colombo and Gampaha) and Kegalle district in the mid-country .Sri Lankan farmers produce considerable amount of cassava yield in large extent of land. Following table will show comprehensive information of overall cassava production of Sri Lanka.


Extent (Hectares)

Total Production (Metric Tons))



















Cassava is a seasonal product which is produce in Yala season (April to September) and Maha season (September to February). In Maha season the production is higher than yala season. The data analyzing according to the season is also important for establishing buying strategy for the proposed industry.


Extent in Maha


Extent in Yala


Production in Maha

Metric Tonnes

Production in


Metric Tonnes































A Dendro Thermal Power Plant

A dendro power project is to be implemented in Prime Polymer – A division of Industrial Clothing Ltd to replace furnace oil powered power plant of the company which uses 15,000 liters of industrial oil. This plant cost 780,780 LKR/Day for fuel and it is non renewable source.

The proposed dendro power plant will consume 45 tonnes of Gliricidia per day. Sonak Lanka (pvt) Ltd is working as main supplier of Gliricidia Saplum to the factory. “Vidatha Centre” – A special unit of ministry of science and technology to popularize science and technology among people give assistance and guidance to small scale land owners to cultivate Gliricidia Saplum cultivation and Sonak Lanka (pvt) Ltd will collect Gliricidia from them.

Now Sri Lanka becoming a heaven for alternative fuel projects. Because privet sector involvement will ensure a bright future on any industrial innovation.

Broilers for Boilers

Various political and natural reasons made fossil fuel the enemy of the development and environment. When we brief that meaning into very compact sentence, fossil fuel is a barrier for sustainable development. So scientists are warring about alternatives and renewable options are greatly appreciated and researched.

Running Boiler using poultry litter is one example of renewable fuel. It is not only a solution for energy crisis but also a good solution for environmental problem. This process called “Thetford Process”

“Thetford Process”

The poultry litter is carried into plant using covered Lorries to prevent moisture increase and odour dispersion. The litter is handle under negative pressure to minimize odour. The litter is screened to remove foreign bodies. And mixed well to ensure homogeneity in fuel. The litter is kept one day before sending into boiler furnace.

The fuel is blow into furnace bid-air to ensure burning majoriy of fuel to get maximum energy using chain grate with spreader stockers. The combustion temperature in the furnace is around 850 0C and the operating pressure of the boiler is 65 bars and operating temperature is 450 0C. The pressurized steam line can be coupled with turbine and can be used to generate electricity.

In Thetford Process particulate emission is controlled by cyclone and bag filters. But electrostatic precipitators can also be used.

My Training Experiences with Mechmar Boilers

There were two boilers in the boiler room in my training plance which were assembled in Machmar Boilers Inc, Malaysia. Although some fabrications have been done by them; burners, flow meters and pressure gauges had been imported from England and Switzerland. The boilers are in size 800/150 and includes CH7-38F type burners. The capacity of each boiler is 8000kg /hour.

The safety is very important than any other operations which should be considered very carefully when handling a boiler. Machmar boilers have been equipped with twin safety valves. One safety valve has been set to blow off at 150 psi which is below to design pressure, while the other has been set to blow off at 152 psi which is below to the design pressure (155 psi). These safety valves have been padlocked to prevent unauthorized adjustments. 155 psi is a somewhat higher pressure which is selected to allow for possible down-rating with age. The boiler is usually operated in a range of 110 – 130 psi.

The Boiler design

The Mechmar boilers are fully automated steam generating units of the three pass fire tube model which can be used for high efficiency operation. The three pass fire tube operation can be described as follows. The burner which consume Furnace Fuel Oil, fires into a large cylindrical combustion chamber which is closed at one end. The unit is so designed that the flame reverses upon itself before entering the convention tubes. This three pass mechanism ensures intimate mixing of the fuel vapour and maximum combustion efficiency.

Within the convention tubes special spirals have been inserted. These are manufactured using heat resisting steel. This feature is used for two purposes.

1. To increase the heat transfer rate in the convention tubes (fire tubes)

2. To allow the flue gas temperature to be controlled by changing the length of spiral.

The three pass mechanism can be describe as the first and second passes take place in combustion chamber while third pass takes place in convention tubes.


Mechmar boilers have been insulated well using glass wool layer. Because of this feature the base and boiler casing will be only slightly above room temperature which prevents convection heat transfer to atmosphere. So the heat loses is very low.

Water level control

The water level is one of critical parameter in boiler operation. The water level of in the boiler is monitored using two water level control (There are two, incase of one fails to function well there is the other to back up the situation) mounted externally on the side of the boiler.

Safety Valves

The safety valve is the most important valve on the boiler. Safety valves prevent dangerous over pressurization of the boiler. This valve is set to lift just above the required operating pressure of the boiler, and will normally come into operation only if the pressure controls fails. The valve is set by the manufacturers and requires no adjustment. But in annual boiler test inspector check the valve and approve for next year. There is a pressure control system in boiler. That system automatically switches between high and low firing status of burner to keep boiler pressure at working pressure. If this system fails there are safety valves to protect boiler and staff. A one safety valve suddenly opens when boiler pressure passed 150 psi. Other safety valve suddenly opens when boiler pressure passed 152 psi. We can keep confidence on boiler safety system because of the proper pressure control system and there are two safety valves in case of pressure control system fails. The last boiler test has been done in 13th of May, 2006.

Feed Water Treatment

The Total dissolved solids (TDS) level of boiler water is another critical parameter Water. If TDS level is exceed its limitations, scaling and pitting are occurred inside the boiler which reduces heat transfer efficiency of boiler. The feed water comes through a softener unit where some chemicals are used. Softening reduces the sedimentation and additional chemicals (e.g.D.M.4.1, Alkatreat) reduce the scaling and pitting.

Lube Oil Manufacturing Plant in Sri Lanka

Lubricant oil processing plant which uses waste oil and furnace oil as raw material will be set up in Puttalama area soon. The Sunchem (pvt) Ltd, Sri Lanka is the investor and the initial environment assessment report has been finished and the Provincial environment authority (North-West) has approved the project proposal.

Another Coal Power Plant in Sri Lanka

The first coal power plant in Sri Lanka is now under construction in Norochchole. It is a project which is sponsored by Chinese Government. The Second coal power plant is to be constructed in Trincomalee under Indian government assistance. Now there is a new plan to set up third coal power plant in Trincomalee. It is a 1000 MW power plant and it will be installed on 350 acre land. This is one of several activities of Sri Lankan government to face energy crisis which will come on our nation in future. Sri Lankan government has planned to add 4200 MW power in 2015 into Sri Lankan national grid.

Malaysian Health Minister Chua Soi Lek is a good example for our politicians

We have seen many occasions that our politicians make many mistakes so cost multi million worth damages to economy or huge black mark on nation. But they are not flexible to ask apology from nation at any cost.

But recently a Malaysian minister who appeared in a widely circulated DVD (adult video, believed to be CCTV recordings) had apologized from prime minister, his wife and children. I do not say that Mr. Chua Soi Lek is good politician, because he is 60 year old man and a responsible minister in Malaysia. But he had strength to accept his fault and ask apology.

The place and cameraman is unknown yet. The copies of the DVDs were initially left at various locations in the town of Muar, in Johor State, on Saturday "for people to pick up and download".