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NCLNational Chemical Laboratory (NCL) is a science and knowledge based research, development and consulting organization. Established in 1950, NCL is internationally known for its excellence in scientific research in chemistry and chemical engineering, and its outstanding track record of industrial research involving partnerships with industry from concept to commercialization.


NCL's mission is to advance knowledge and to serve the industry.


  1. 1. Discover new effects
  2. 2. Understand the underlying science
  3. Develop new processes, products and applications
  4. Protect intellectual property
  5. Transfer skills and technologies to industry.


NCL comprises nine research divisions covering diverse aspects of chemistry, chemical engineering and multiple interfaces between chemistry and biology. Multidisciplinary projects spanning across seamless laboratories within NCL give it a special character.

The People

NCL's 350 scientists of whom 200 are Ph.Ds with post-doctoral and industrial experience, constitute a formidable workforce. Many of them, apart from receiving national and international recognition, have been deeply involved with industry and also the Indian Government in national level planning. Some have consulted for industrial firms, in the US, Europe and Japan. Some have helped in the restructuring of publicly funded research institutions in other countries, like China and Indonesia.


With world-class expertise and facilities in synthesis, characterization, testing, and pilot-plant production of commercial catalysts, NCL is uniquely placed to develop globally competitive technologies.

Core Competencies
  • Zeolite catalysts (ZSM-5, Beta, Ts-1,2), and solid acid catalysts (supported heteropoly acids and solid super acids);
  • Oxidation catalysts based on transition metals (molecular sieves containing titanium, vanadium molybdenum, and chromium as well as mixed oxide catalysts like iron-molybdenum, and vanadium-molybdenum);
  • Homogeneous catalysts for carbonylation catalysts for carbonylation and oxycarbonylation.

Areas of activity

These include petroleum refining, petrochemicals and even fine chemicals.


Catalysts for hydrodewaxing and naphtha reforming, FCC additives, etc. Petrochemicals - isomerization of xylenes, ethylbenzene, styrene, C6/C9 transalkylation, maleic anhydride, methyl ethyl ketone, acetic acid and others.

Fine chemicals - benzofuran, guaiacol, pyridines, m-phenoxybenzaldehyde, hydroquinone/catechol, p-hydroxyanisole, propionic acid, phenyl acetic acid, etc.

Accent on Chemistry

NCL's endeavour is to develop green technologies using clean chemistry. One strategy is to replace hazardous catalysts like hydrofluoric acid and alluminium chloride. Successful examples are alkylation, isomerization, etherification, and oligomerization. The other thrust is on oxidation catalysts like TS-1,2; VS-1,2; Sn-MFI, V-NCL-1 and Fe-zeolites. Solid chlorination catalysts for cleaner processes for p-chloro-o-xylene and chloronaphthalenes also fall into this category.

Commercial successes

NCL's research contributions in polymers have led to the commercialization of many technologies and products. Some examples are:

  • Fibre reinforced plastics for making two-wheeler components.
  • Polyurethane-based water proofing compounds.
  • High performance polyethylene cable compounds produced by reactive compounding.
Superabsorbing polymers
  • Polymer supports for immobilization of enzymes.
  • Polymer processing for low pressure polyurethane foam.
Advanced Materials

The goal of the material programme at NCL is to develop new materials and the improve the reliability, affordability and quality of all materials.

Core Competencies
  • These cover inorganic materials synthesis, characterisation and applications as engineered materials for a wide diversity of industrial applications as engineered materials for a wide diversity of industrial applications.
  • The R&D activities range from fundamental research on materials structures to discovering new effects. The range of materials under study is remarkable.
Organic Chemical Technology

Built on the platform of four decades of rich traditions in organic chemistry, backed by modern tools and methodologies, and inspired by a powerful interdisciplinary environment, NCL is meeting the challenge of the technologies of tommorrow.

Core Competencies
  • These include complex multistep organic synthesis employing homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis, bioorganic chemistry, microbial transformations, and isolation of useful molecules from natural products.

NCL's forays in biotechnology are in tune with the modern-day explosion of knowledge in this area. The multidisciplinary strength in NCL extends from microbial transformations in organic syntesis to polymer immobilization of enzymes. Modern plant biotechnology in NCL's special niche.

Core competencies
  • These lie mainly in four areas: microbial technology, fermentation technology, plant molecular biology and plant tissue culture.


Realizing that the chain of concept to commercialization extends over transnational boundaries, today, NCL decided to become a part of the global network. Today, it has among its clients some of the leading multinationals in the world. NCL made the first export of technologies of high tech materials from India to the western world. NCL considers itself a global R&D platform. Its global interactions are in the from of contract research, joint development, technology licensing and technical and consultance services. NCL's services have now been offered both in the developing world and the developed world. Thus its relationships range from Florafrica in Ivory Coast to General Electric in USA, and from JPCID in China to ICI in Europe. National Chemical Laboratory is already being recognized as an International Chemical Laboratory.

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