Tatarstan is to have ‘maize-based’ petrol and catalysts all Russia needs
Tatneftekhiminvest-holding’s Board of Directors discussed innovative projects
The introduction of up-to-date technologies to the economy of Tatarstan was discussed at a meeting of Tatneftekhiminvest-holding’s Board of Directors chaired by President of the republic Rustam Minnikhanov on 28 November. Read in Realnoe Vremya’s report from the Government House on plans for the introduction of new fuel additives and catalysts that use renewable feedstock, use of digital twins of enterprises of the oil and petrochemical complex and development of a circular economy in Tatarstan, which is aimed to minimise waste and environmental pollution.
Profits from waste
Vice Director of Boreskov Institute of Catalysis Aleksandr Noskov presented participants of the meeting a joint project of the institute and Tatneft PJSC whose goal is to provide the republic’s oil industry with its own plant-derived octane boosting additives. The possibility of producing good quality high-octane petrol and jet fuel will allow Tatarstan to occupy a leading position in the segment of plant-derived octane boosters, provide sustainable development of the fuel business of Tatneft PJSC, take the company’s products to the bio-oriented European market and create an integrated production of high-octane additives from its own feedstock in the long term — if the republic produces its levulinic acid and furfural from agricultural wastes.
Aleksandr Noskov stressed that plant-based octane boosting additives have serious advantages over ethanol, which is nowadays almost the only additives used in Russia to increase the octane rating. They don’t dissolve in water, they don’t cause phase-out and have good compatibility and mixture with petrol. Moreover, ethanol-based additives are banned in some European countries.
“It has another advantage, it is an additive, including for diesel fuel with less soot, and this improves its consumer properties,” Noskov noted. “While the yield — furfural — is about 8-10% of feedstock, it can be buckwheat hulls, maize wastes and so on. The approximate value in the market is about a hundred dollars per tonne. The real prime cost is about 2,5 times lower.”
According to Noskov, the creation of a pilot unit with a capacity of 100 tonnes a year will take 12-14 months, consequently, it will be possible to expand the production to 10-15,000 tonnes a year.
“Is the product made of hardwood or maize, leaf vegetables better?” Rustam Minnikhanov asked Noskov.
“Cobs, stems. Wood hasn’t been examined.”
Rustam Minnikhanov noted that low-quality wood is available all year round, while agricultural wastes are a seasonal product.
“The agreement on octane additives has already been signed, and financing sources have been determined,” Director General of Tatneft PJSC Nail Maganov said in turn.
“The Russian market is free”
Aleksandr Noskov also talked about the second joint development of Boreskov Institute and TANECO JSC — a biofunctional catalyst to produce winter and arctic fuel and low-pour-point base oils.
“The topicality for Russia is clear, we are anyway a northern country,” he explained.
“We build the unit that in general is to meet future needs of the Russian Federation and Russian exports,” Nail Maganov joined the discussion. “I think that we will have built it in 2023 and launch.”
“Chevron from the USA is a monopolist in the catalyst market,” Noskov added. “What is offered now is import substitution, import independence. Also, we want to increase productivity with the same capacities by lowering the temperature of processes by 10-20 degrees, which means higher energy effectiveness of processes… There is demand for these catalysts in Russia, all oil refineries are based on imported catalysts. The Russian market is free and ready to welcome Russian catalysts. We can do this in the next 14-16 months.”
“It is a necessary job”
Rector of Kazan Power Engineering University Edvard Abdullazyanov spoke about the introduction of a circular economy in Tatarstan based on zero-waste production whose idea the head of the republic brought from his business trip to Finland.
Earlier, it was said that SITRA fund planned to create a centre in the republic together with interested Tatarstan and Finnish organisations. Development of educational courses for students and schoolchildren and refreshment courses for workers of enterprises and ministries and scientific research on green technologies in the industry must become the centre’s key task.
The energy university’s rector offered Tatneftekhiminvest-holding PJSC as another partner in the creation of the centre.
“It is a necessary job, today the whole world moves in this direction, actually we underestimate the necessity [of such steps],” Rustam Minnikhanov noted after Abdullazyanov’s report on the first steps of the creation of the Centre for Circular Economy in the university. And he added a clause on the preparation of a corresponding decision of the Tatarstan government to the protocol.
What if we haggle?
Director General of RUS Wolftank Energy International Co PLC Sergey Zhukov talked about an innovative smart system that controls the use of full-cycle reservoirs that allows a recovery and enables experts to supervise the state of reservoirs in the industry — from those used in the gas and petrochemical complex to the one used in housing in water treatment.
Having noted that “the republic had a lot of reservoirs”, the president of Tatarstan asked about the cost of the new approach to control their state and guarantees regarding the reliability of the technology. After Rustam Minnikhanov found out that the guarantee or, more precisely, a term a company insures the process safety of reservoirs, which are coated in a special biofilm DOPA in accordance with the technology of the Austrian company Wolftank-Adisa Holding AG is seven years, while the cost of processing one square metre for Serbia is €200-300, he noted:
“We need to find out how to make this technology more competitive in terms of price,” insinuating the necessity to cheapen the works.
Nevertheless, he tasked the minister of construction, housing and utilities of the republic with examining the proposal and supported the idea to implement the project in a special economic zone. While the idea of creating digital twins of enterprises of the gas and petrochemical industry that senior business analyst of Digital Twins project from Nettle company (Skolkovo) Roman Novikov explained seemed to the Tatarstan president attractively, first of all, because it gives a chance to not only manage manufacturing processes, predict emergency situations, control emissions of polluting substances but also illustratively teach students in higher and vocational educational institutions.