By the most conservative estimates in Russia burned more than 20 billion cubic meters of associated gas, causing considerable environmental damage and irreversibly wasting raw materials of the country.
In this regard, since 2012 fines for gas flaring will increase tenfold, and ordered the companies to utilize up to 95% of the product. After all the associated gas can be processed to obtain such important components of the industry, as carbon nanotubes and hydrogen, not to mention the plastics and synthetic liquid fuel. His method of processing, and quite simple and inexpensive, offering scientists TSU.
— Another Mendeleev said that heat the furnace gas is equivalent to burning in the furnace of notes, — The director of REC TSU "Conversion" Y. Medvedev, — and even more so when it comes to burning it in the atmosphere. Imagine that in the Tomsk region in the year burned nearly a billion cubic meters of associated gas, whose price in the international market, a total of $ 400 million. Feature fields in the Tomsk region — here in one ton of crude oil contains up to 300 cubic meters of gas, which is a lot. So to find ways to recycle this gas, not burn it — an urgent task for our scientists.
The method proposed by Tomsk scientists, gives a product, the cost of which is ten times less than its value in the international market. Principle technology is that using microwave energy to decompose the gas molecules to carbon and hydrogen. Interestingly, when the experiment was performed first, expecting to receive a liquid and got a jet black soot, which is the study of the electron microscope it was nothing more than a carbon nanotube, with virtually no impurities. This material is widely used today as an additive in various products. For example, nano-structured carbon is added to the tennis rackets and skis, giving them strength. With it, you can do and mortars, paints with unique characteristics. Asphalt surface by adding carbon nanotubes into it withstands high temperatures, will not crack in the cold. And all this — with a slight increase in the cost of the product.
Simple and effective
The peculiarity of the technology developed by Tomsk scientists — very low power consumption. To obtain one kilogram of carbon spent about 100 kilowatt-hours. For industry the cost per kilowatt is five rubles, that is the price of one kilogram of carbon nanotubes — 500 rubles, while the market price is close to a thousand dollars.
— There are many scientific papers on the production of nanostructured carbon — Says the manager. Laboratory of Electronics SFTI VB Antipov. — There are special conditions — low pressure, the use of noble gases, expensive catalysts. The productivity is low and the cost, conversely, is high. If we are seriously talking about recycling on a large scale, you need a cheap way that does not require the importation on the same field of some exotic materials. So we try to plant operated at atmospheric pressure, without blowing the noble and inert gas, no catalyst. For industry, it is important to make it work simply and effectively.
The installation called "Version" is made based on the conventional magnetron used in microwave ovens. It is based, by the way, on the other design, made sometime in the SPTI — microwave electric field concentrator, which is used to measure the parameters of semiconductors. It is assumed that in the test module for the conversion of associated gas can be tapped 2-4 magnetron. Of course, the performance of one such installation is low, the output of one module — a few kilowatts. But the advantage of it is that in order to increase the power plant can be simply replicated, that is, to gather on one platform modules 10-20. That would be enough for a gas processing field.
— Simpler and cheaper production on site converted into carbon dioxide and hydrogen than transporting it through the tubes, — Says Vladimir Borisovich. — Carbon can be stored in sacks, and use hydrogen to generate electricity in the same gas turbine.
In search of an investor
The idea of creating a simple and effective method of treatment of associated natural gas arose when the UV Medvedev worked as chief of Scientific and Technical Department "Tomskgazproma." Initially, therefore, the work funded NIRovskuyu "Vostokgazprom" and the performers were the Institute of Nuclear Physics and SPTI. But since 2009, funding was cut, and now scientists are looking for an investor. In 2009, TSU was established REC "Conversion", in which, and continued research on the topic. At the same team are now working scientists TSU, TSU, ISE SB RAS. But if at the Institute of Nuclear Physics, TPU uses powerful magnetrons, the scientists are experimenting on TSU they created a low-power installation, which has its advantages — it is more "mobile" in the work, it is easier to simulate, to change the modes of research. Cheaper costs and maintenance. In addition to easily increase capacity by combining multiple modules. This is being undertaken senior fellow SPTI YI Roma women. And the results are passed to colleagues at the Research Institute of Nuclear Physics, for approval of a large installation. Hope that this method will still find their investors, gives the following fact. Took place in the summer of Youth Innovation Forum "Seliger" where undergraduate RFF Sergey Firsov (supervisor YV Medvedev) showed a portable installation work, allowing to obtain nanocarbon of gas cans for tourist tiles. It made a big impact, a young scientist even recommended to submit the project to the innovation center "Skolkovo". — I believe that the modernization of the country’s economy is inextricably linked with the downstream processing of associated gas — Says Yuri, — And the technology we are developing jointly with the Institute of Nuclear Physics, by far the most effective utilization not only of associated and natural gas in general. And I think that in the future with the help of this technology we will learn how to get not only carbon nanotubes but also of polypropylene pellets — another important product for the industry.