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. Discover new effects
- 2. Understand the underlying science
- Develop new processes, products and applications
- Protect intellectual property
- 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
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.
- 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,
- Homogeneous catalysts for carbonylation catalysts for carbonylation and
Areas of activity
These include petroleum refining, petrochemicals and even fine
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.
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.
- Polymer supports for immobilization of enzymes.
- Polymer processing for low pressure polyurethane foam.
The goal of the material programme at NCL is to develop new materials
and the improve the reliability, affordability and quality of all materials.
- 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
- 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.
- 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 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.