Kazanorgsintez: more than 1bn rubles for eco-projects in 3 years

How to develop production facilities and increase capacities while reducing the burden on the environment

Kazanorgsintez PJSC annually allocates hundreds of millions of rubles for the implementation of environmental measures. At the same time, each project for the development, modernisation and creation of new production facilities involves the use of only modern equipment and technologies that minimise the burden on the environment. About what Kazanorgsintez has implemented to take care of the environment in 2021 — read in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

Tatarstan is an ecologically safe region

At the international level, more and more attention is being paid to the issues of environmental well-being, climate conservation and respect for the environment. Russia is also actively working in this direction. At the federal level, back in 2018, the Strategy for socio-economic development with a low level of greenhouse gas emissions was approved. The implementation of the Strategy is planned for the period up to 2050. By this time, without stopping in the development and expansion of industrial potential, the country is to reduce the level of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere by 60% from the level of 2019.

Within the framework of the national Ecology project adopted in 2018, the Clean Air project is being implemented for the most polluted territories (the list includes 12 cities — industrial centres of the country). To the credit of Tatarstan, none of the cities of the republic is included in this list. The region clearly and consistently carries out the work to monitor the state of the environment, including atmospheric air and water bodies, and measures are taken to reduce the level of anthropogenic impact on nature. As a result, by the end of 2020, Tatarstan topped the list of the Russian regions in the ESG rating from the RAEX agency (ESG is the abbreviation of Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance. The ESG principles were first formulated by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. He suggested that the managers of major global companies include these principles in their strategies, primarily to combat climate change — ed.). Tatarstan businesses also have a high level of environmental responsibility: among 155 Russian companies included in the recent November ESG rating from RAEX, six represent Tatarstan, including — Kazanorgsintez PJSC.

It is worth noting that most of the largest business events taking place in the republic have a pronounced environmental orientation. And Kazanorgsintez takes an active part in a significant part of these events. So, at the previous Tatarstan Energy Forum that took place in April 2021, following the results of the competition “Energy Efficient Equipment and Technologies”, the petrochemical company was awarded the Grand Prix in the nomination “Energy Efficient Developments”. The company was awarded for the project of modernisation of flare units. The works were implemented in the period from 2018 to 2020.

“Instead of supplying steam, we have designed an air supply, and thus we reduce the amount of harmful emissions, save fuel gas. The annual savings amount to about 50 million rubles," Farid Minigulov, CEO of Kazanorgsintez PJSC, presented the project to the president of Tatarstan during the tour of the exposition.

Until 2018, steam with a pressure of 30 ata supplied by Kazanskaya CHPP-3 (branch of TGC-16 JSC) was used at three flare units of Kazanorgsintez for smokeless gas combustion. In winter, freezing steam covered the flare towers and heads with an icy crust. Then compressed air from the factory network was supplied to individual flares instead of steam. The amount of air supplied was limited by the cross-section of the pipeline and the performance of compressors, which did not allow for simultaneous and uninterrupted air supply to all flares, and this prevented the complete combustion of waste gases, and Kazan residents sometimes saw dark smoke.

To solve the problem, a new scheme has been developed with the installation of local blowers specially mounted near each flare unit. The first year of operation of the upgraded flare systems showed high efficiency of gas utilisation. Kazanorgsintez refused to use steam 30 ata, eventually receiving savings of thermal energy in steam of 51,800 Gcal, and fuel gas — 1,520 tonnes. Most importantly, completely smokeless combustion of gases is ensured and the impact on the environment is significantly reduced.

In November, the same project became the winner of the prestigious federal award in the field of environmental solutions — ECOTECH-LEADER 2021.

More than a billion for environmental protection in 3 years

The amounts allocated by Kazanorgsintez PJSC for environmental protection measures are impressive. Over the past three years alone, including the not yet finished 2021, the company has allocated over a billion rubles for these noble goals. This year, more than 40 measures aimed at monitoring the state of the environment, protection of soils and land resources, energy conservation, waste management of production and consumption, protection of water resources and atmospheric air are planned and have already been implemented.

Thanks to the installation of a special separator that removes liquid from the air flow in the feed system of the raw material in the ethylene polycarbonate synthesis department, it was possible to exclude the issuance of incorrect analyzer readings and production shutdown because of this. Each shutdown and start-up of the synthesis department previously led to an increase in the release of gases containing CO2 and ethylene oxides. Thanks to the modernisation, the load on the environment has been reduced.

In 2021, Kazanorgsintez PJSC is implementing more than 40 environmental measures. Photo: realnoevremya.ru

The return of gases discharged during the switching of the adsorbers to the technological process is also organised.

“The work on the return of vented gases to the technological process at Kazanorgsintez PJSC has been purposefully carried out for more than 5 years. In the production of ethylene, all such adsorbers are already equipped with return nodes. The separator unit will eliminate the loss of 13 tonnes of valuable raw materials — propane-propylene fraction — to the flare and will prevent the formation of almost 40 tonnes of CO2 generated by flaring such volume of gas," Roman Yemelyushin, the deputy head of the Ecology Department at Kazanorgsintez PJSC, explained to the journalist of Realnoe Vremya.

“I would like to note that reducing the specific quantity of emissions, discharges of pollutants and waste, organising the rational use of raw materials, as well as reducing environmental risks and their negative impact on the environment by improving the reliability of technological equipment, ensuring its safe and trouble-free operation are part of the Environmental Policy of Kazanorgsintez PJSC," Yemelyushin also stressed.

At the end of the modernisation started in 2018, the tubular aeration system was replaced with a more efficient membrane system and oxygen analyzers were installed at the bio-treatment facilities of the neutralisation and treatment of industrial wastewater. This increased both the safety and efficiency of activated sludge and the efficiency of chemically contaminated water treatment.

Replacing mercury-containing lamps with LED ones would seem to be a trifle. However, due to the scale of the approach — the replacement was made in indoor and outdoor lighting networks, warehouses and buildings — it was possible to achieve electricity savings of 64% in the first month, and in addition, significantly reduce the amount of mercury-containing waste related to hazard class 1, that is, extra hazardous.

“The main condition for collecting spent mercury-containing lamps is to preserve their tightness. One broken lamp containing 0,1 g of mercury makes the air in a room with a volume of 5,000 square metres unsuitable for breathing. Only licensed organisations are allowed to recycle such lamps. In 2020, Kazanorgsintez PJSC transferred about 5 tonnes of mercury-containing lamps (21,500 pieces) for neutralisation, in 2018 — 9 tonnes. The work on replacing lamps with LED lamps will reduce the formation of hazard class 1 waste and reduce the corresponding costs of neutralisation, which amount to 252,000 rubles per tonne," said the deputy head of the Ecology Department of Kazanorgsintez PJSC.

Thanks to the replacement of the rotary valves in the production of polyethylene, the removal of dusty pneumatic transport air is ensured. Polyethylene dust that previously remained in the production cycle, as well as entering the atmosphere, is now completely forcibly collected in a special container. The impact of the modification introduction is up to 20 tonnes a year. The collected polyethylene dust is sent for further processing.

Maximum attention is paid to environmental monitoring processes

The constant expansion of the determinable indicators, as well as the tightening of the requirements of environmental legislation, lead companies to the need for timely development and certification of new measurement methods for monitoring environmental objects.

At Kazanorgsintez PJSC, specialists of the central laboratory are engaged in the development and preparation of new measurement methods for subsequent inclusion in the Federal Information Fund for Ensuring the Uniformity of Measurements.

“The complexity of developing the measurement methods is determined by the object of control, the number of indicators simultaneously controlled in the developed methodology, the presence of the influence of impurities interfering with the measurement method used. The certification of measurement methods is carried out by a specialised organization," Roman Yemelyushin explained.

The results obtained during the monitoring of environmental objects are in demand by the Department of Ecology, Labour Protection Service and the service of the chief power engineer of Kazanorgsintez PJSC. The key parameters are published in the corporate media, as well as on the outdoor electronic scoreboard of the complex.

This year, the new equipment designed to determine the presence and volume of aluminum, barium, beryllium, iron, calcium, cadmium, cobalt, lithium, magnesium, manganese, copper, molybdenum, nickel, lead, selenium, strontium, chromium, zinc in drinking, natural, surface and process waters is being purchased at the Central Laboratory for Ecological and Analytical Monitoring. The same equipment will help to determine the presence of aluminum, titanium, palladium, silver in the catalysts for the production of ethylene-propylene, polyethylene, polycarbonate, in order to assess the degree of their production.

Ecotechnologies — into production

The modernisation of existing and construction of new production facilities in Kazanorgsintez PJSC is carried out taking into account the strictest requirements in the field of environmental protection. By increasing capacity, the company does everything to reduce the burden on the environment.

For example, in February 2021, it was announced about the plans for the construction and commissioning of the production of polyethylene vinyl acetate by 2025. The product produced under the brand name “savilen” looks similar to polyethylene, while it has greater transparency, elasticity, durability and resistance to external influences. The range of use of savilen is very wide — from agriculture to medicine.

At the moment, Kazanorgsintez is the only producer of polyethylene vinyl acetate in the post-Soviet space. The current production facility, commissioned in 1980, is already obsolete. With a design maximum capacity of 13 thousand tonnes a year, it does not cope with the needs of the market. The new production, with a capacity of already 100 thousand tonnes a year, will not only replace outdated equipment and fully satisfy the Russian market, but also features a more efficient use of both raw materials and energy resources, and also incorporates the most modern solutions to minimise the negative impact on the environment.

Currently, Kazanorgsintez is building the combined-cycle gas plant CCGT-282, which will use, among other things, swept-off gas as fuel — the so-called synthesis gas, that is, a by-product of petrochemical production. In addition to annual savings of about 2 billion rubles by reducing the cost of energy resources, the commissioning of the CCGT will have a huge environmental effect. Synthesis gas, which used to burn uselessly on flares, will completely burn in the furnace of the combined-cycle gas plant, producing energy, saving natural gas and thereby reducing CO2 emissions.

The reconstruction of Reactor B of the high-density polyethylene plant with a threefold increase in production capacity (from the previous 70 thousand tonnes a year to 220 thousand tonnes) will halve the amount of environmental burden.

“After the reconstruction, Reactor B will have an upgraded vent vessel, in which all gases leaving the reactor will be stripped. After that, these gases will flow into the previously designed waste gas recovery system, which will reduce emissions of hydrocarbon gas combustion products into the atmosphere at the flare plant," Dmitry Lukyanov, the representative of the HDPE Production and Processing Plant, explained at the public hearing on the project implementation in June this year.

He was also supported by Elena Fomina, an environmental engineer from St. Petersburg. She, as part of the team of specialists of the project organisation, worked both at the site of the preparation of the object and at Kazanorgsintez as a whole. Based on the results of the research, in her speech at the public hearings, the expert summarised:

“Since the reconstruction of the reactor on the territory of the industrial site of Kazanorgsintez PJSC will not entail an increase in the load on the environment, the implementation of this project is permissible. And it is not advisable to reject the project. Including by environmental regulation.

In the near future, Kazanorgsintez PJSC plans to complete the modernisation of polycarbonate production. The only one in Russia.

“The initial licensed capacity of polycarbonate production was 65,000 tonnes a year. We have brought it to 77,000 tonnes. And then it became possible to modernise this capacity with an increase to 100 thousand tonnes per year. We have been doing this since 2018," Farid Minigulov said at the Tatarstan Petrochemical Forum in September 2021. By the way, one of the polycarbonate brands — PC-008UL1 — was awarded the Grand Prix of the competition “For the best exhibit, project or technical solution” in the nomination “New products”.

The scope of application of polycarbonates is from the creation of greenhouse structures to its use as high-strength optical systems on deep-sea vehicles or in space, and even as bulletproof glass. As a raw material, the plant uses its own bisphenol, as well as carbon dioxide, more than 20 thousand tonnes of which the company itself allocates from the exhaust flue gases of production, thereby solving two important tasks at once: it provides itself with the necessary raw materials and significantly reduces the burden on the environment

In November of this year, this project of Kazanorgsintez PJSC to create an environmentally safe production of polycarbonates of a wide range was also appreciated at the federal level: Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin signed an order awarding the honorary prize of the Government of the Russian Federation in the field of science and technology.

Kazanorgsintez PJSC does not intend to be satisfied with what has already been achieved. The programme of environmental measures for the next 2022 has already been carefully worked out and adopted. Moreover, it is known which key projects and solutions in the field of protection and careful handling of the environment will be implemented in the coming years. The state of atmospheric air and water is monitored in a constant, working mode. Without stopping for a single day, work is in full swing, which, it would seem, is invisible at first glance, but is extremely important and necessary. Work for the future.

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Arseny Favstritsky