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Late last year the Institute of Catalysis named after G. Boreskov of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences became the site of an important gathering of R&D experts. At their regular, seventh, meeting they discussed some of the latest projects and achievements ready for broad applications.
The Institute Director, Acad. V. Parmon, presented a report which he described as a review of their achievements-from studies at the molecular level to their industrial uses. He stressed that experts of the Institute have been working for years in the interests of close cooperation with industrial users. The academician cited a number of concrete examples of the tangible results of this work. Apart from that R&D experts from Novosibirsk have three plants of their own-two in Omsk and one in Volgograd - which are used as "testing sites" for new products and ideas.
Acad. V Parmon dwelled in greater details on problems of protection of the environment. He said Institute researchers have pioneered a new highly effective and energy-saving method of "cleaning" of industrial gas discharges, including low- concentration ones, from organic materials and carbon oxide-what they call reverse- process. As different from the existing technologies, it practically fully clears gases (95 - 98 percent) from toxic pollutants while using any oxide catalysts containing no precious metals. This makes it possible to reduce building costs of such units by 1.5 - 3 times. More than 20 such units are already in operation in this and several other countries. The reverse-process can also strip industrial gases from other harmful admixtures.
Links between science and industrial uses were also discussed by other speakers at the conference. Dr. G. Yechevsky of the same Institute reported on non-traditional methods of production of motor fuels and valuable chemical products from medium oil distillators, gas condensates and light hydrocarbon gases. This problem is very important for Russia because of its shrinking sources of inexpensive fuels and more stringent ecological requirements. The authors of the new project have developed a new technology of processing of what are called unstable gas condensates and petroleum distillates of a broad fraction (35 - 360°C), including those with high sulfur levels (without any limitations) in a single stage and without preliminary separation into more "narrow" fractions. The advantages of the new technology include, among others, making the methods of oil refining simpler and less expensive (by 4 and more times). The new technology has been successfully tested in several regimes and a pilot plant on its basis is already in operation in Krasnodar. Researchers are prepared to help build another plant of this kind also in the Novosibirsk Region.
New technology has also been developed for obtaining required combinations of light hydrocarbons C2 -C4 with or without methane. This makes it possible to produce liquid aromatic compounds from gas condensates, compressants of oil fractions, industrial "torch" gases and other hydrocarbon mixtures.
Another speaker at the presentation, Dr. A. Zagoruiko, dwelled on what he
called catalytic methods of environmental protection geared to chemical, oil and gas processing industries, metallurgical and machine-building plants, power plants and other branches. Institute researchers have developed, in cooperation with industrial specialists, methods of environment-friendly incineration of mixed radioactive wastes with organic ingredients in what they call pseudo-liquefied catalytic layers. The main advantage of this technique consists in the absence of radionuclide discharges and low levels of admixtures in the discharged gases. One such pilot unit is successfully functioning at the Novosibirsk Plant of Chemical Concentrates.
Another speaker from the same Institute, Dr. V. Molchanov, discussed new approaches to the manufacture of emulsifiers and water-bitumen emulsions for road construction. Substances of this kind used in different countries show effective performance even in cold and rainy weather. In Russia, unfortunately, progress in this field has been hampered by a number of factors,
such as the high cost of such agents. And now, thanks to the efforts of Siberian researchers, their production has been launched from domestic raws and oriented at applications on limestone gravels. The use of natural water-bitumen emulsions instead of molten bitumen or its mixtures in road asphalting provides for ecological "cleanness", low consumption of energy and better quality of road surfaces. This has been confirmed by tests conducted at the Kuzbass Center of Road Studies and also in Novosibirsk.
And there were also other interesting reports at the presentation. Dr. N. Pavlova of the Novosibirsk Institute of Organic Chemistry named after N. Vorozhtsov of the RAS Siberian Branch described the technique of what she called aluminotypia - a promising method of producing stable images upon aluminium and its alloys. This technique can be applied in a range of fields, including instrument engineering, machine-tool industry and manufacture of different industrial equipment, etc.
Another speaker at the presentation, Dr. E. Avakumov of the Institute of Solid State Chemistry and Mechanical Chemistry of the RAS Siberian Branch described a new method of production of ceramic materials. It is based on mechanical activation of mixtures of solid oxides, acid and base salts in what they call electrically charged grinding machines. The speaker outlined a broad spectrum of such inorganic compounds, including those used in the production of complex alumosili-cates.
The aforesaid list of reports does not exhaust the entire range of studies by Siberian researchers. Their methods and ideas hold out a promise of tangible economic and technical gains for their users.
Nauka v Sibiri (Science in Siberia), 2003
Prepared by Yaroslav RENKAS
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