The Budget has indicated that green, sustainable and circular economic development will be the strategic pillars for the government. From fuel to mobility, farming to building equipment, green solutions will be leveraged for the benefit of environment and job creation, as noted in the Finance Minister’s speech.
From the chemicals industry perspective, an economic transition from fossil fuel to sustainable energy has translated to a new revenue opportunity in the past and may most likely continue to support the industry. At the same time, there are some areas of concern in agro-chemical applications, but the threat is not significant.
Chemicals in green energy
Chemicals’ applications in the green transition will be widely similar to a fossil-based economy. Electrolytes in batteries, solar films used in solar panels, waste treatment in biogas and biomass, efficient catalysts replacing older chemicals and environment compliant refrigerants — chemicals are used in most green solutions. This should be beneficial for companies which have or are developing solutions in such space. Tatva Chintan for catalysts, Clean Science for environment compliant chemicals and Gujarat Fluorochemicals for green energy solutions are the companies to monitor. SRF, Atul and Navin Fluorine exploring possibilities should be in the next league of players entering the space with a portion of the upcoming capacities earmarked for the same.
Customs duty for fluorospar, a raw material for fluorochemicals which is used in pharma, agro-chem and new age energy solutions, has also been reduced from 5 per cent to 2.5 per cent supporting emerging solutions. The Make-in-India push by the government in the electronics segment spells opportunity for chemicals manufacturers supplying to semiconductor industries as well. On a broader basis, net-zero carbon emission by 2070 will involve solutions engineered by chemicals industries to cap the emissions from industrial processes.
Chemicals industries source a significant portion of revenues from agri-chemical companies and the current Budget speech mentioned a balanced use of chemical fertilizers and alternative fertilizers. The speech also mentioned facilitating 1 crore farmers to adopt natural farming. While this might appear negative to the agro-chem and hence chemicals sector, there is unlikely to be any significant near term impact. The extent of implementation by the government and uptake of alternate chemicals by farmers even over a longer time frame are circumspect at the current juncture.