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Rocket Fuels Components


Development of Technology of Catalytic Fluidized Bed Destruction of Components of Rocket Fuels

Tech Area / Field

  • CHE-OTH/Other/Chemistry

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Nietzold D

Leading Institute
Boreskov Institute of Catalysis, Russia, Novosibirsk reg., Akademgorodok

Supporting institutes

  • Makeyev Design Bureau of State Rocket Center, Russia, Chelyabinsk reg., Miass\nVNIPIET (Novosibirsk Branch), Russia, Novosibirsk reg., Novosibirsk


  • Netherlands Energy Research Foundation, The Netherlands, Petten\nUniversité Louis Pasteur, France, Strasbourg

Project summary

The objective of this project is development and demonstration of a new, efficient and environmentally safe technology of destruction of rocket fuel components (RFC) in a fluidized catalyst bed. The final result of the work will be creation of a prototype demonstration mobile plant with a capacity of 100 t per year at State Rocket Center "Academician V.P.Makeyev Design Bureau".

Reduction and conversion of weapons productions in Russia have made extremely urgent the problems of development and implementation of efficient and environmentally safe processes of utilization of components of rocket fuels. One of the most pressing problems is the development of the process for utilization of extremely toxic asymmetric dimethyl hydrazine (ADMH). There are no industrial facilities for ADMH treatment in Russia and CIS, as well as developed treatment technologies that meet economical and ecological requirements. Therefore solution of problems of utilization of substandard or excessive ADMH and other RFC, industrial wastes containing RFC, spillings of RFC on soil, etc., is a very urgent task. It should be clearly noted that ADMH is mostly stored at extremely isolated bases, at variety of local storage sites and at testing facilities.

Conventional thermal methods: incineration in flame and plasma method consume much power (e.g. destruction of 1 t of ADMH requires 50 t of kerosene) and lead to the formation of large amount of nitrogen oxides and other secondary atmosphere pollutants. Purification of exhaust gas from NOX and other toxic gaseous products complicates the technology and requires additional capital and operational costs. The recently proposed method of ADMH liquid phase hydrogenation requires creation of hydrogen production, compressor facilities and expensive large-sized equipment working under high pressure. The problems of economical transportation and marketing of the products of hydrogenation (ammonia and dimethylamine) are not solved. On the whole methods of processing of ADMH and other RFC to useful products are not promoted to the state of industrial application and cannot solve the problem of RFC utilization due to the lack of interest of enterprises to deal with such hazardous, toxic and inflammable chemicals as RFC.

In this project we plan to develop a new, efficient and environmentally safe technology of destruction of rocket fuel components by total oxidation in a fluidized catalyst bed. The final result of the work will be creation of a prototype demonstration mobile plant with a capacity of 100 t per year at State Rocket Center "Academician V.P.Makeyev Design Bureau". This plant will allow: l) destraction of RFC directly at rocket bases; 2) destruction of wastes containing RFC, e.g. contaminated water after rinsing fuel storage tanks; 3) liquidation of spilled RFC in emergency cases. After termination of plant operation for RFC destruction it can be used as water heating unit for heat supply, using local fuels.

In this project we propose to use the method of total catalytic oxidation for RFC destruction.

Catalytic total oxidation (or catalytic combustion) is different from traditional flame combustion because organic compounds are oxidized flamelessly on the surface of solid catalysts at relatively low temperatures. The unique feature of the proposed method of fuel and waste combustion developed in BIC is the possibility of totally oxidizing organic compounds in close to stoichiometric ratio with oxygen at low temperatures (600-750°C) which ensures practically no formation of thermal NOX. This is achieved by the use of highly active catalysts in a fluidized bed, which also allows the efficient removal, and use of reaction heat.

We propose to develop basing on this method environmentally clean technology of destruction of RFC of hydrazine and organic amine types. The problem of catalytic oxidation of such components is complicated by the large content of bound nitrogen (up to 50%). Because of that the main task in the project will be development and selection of new highly selective combustion catalysts and design of technological scheme providing minimum emission of nitrogen oxides by means of preferential transformation of fixed nitrogen to molecular nitrogen. In the course of the work under the project the processes of catalytic oxidation of organic N-containing compounds of various types (hydrazine derivatives, aliphatic and aromatic amines) will be studied and optimized, and flow diagram of the process including exhaust gas purification system reducing toxic emissions below maximum allowable values will be worked out. For purification of scrubbing liquids from admixtures of ADMH efficient catalysts for ADMH destruction in aqueous solutions will be developed.

The specialists of SRC together with Russian Applied Chemistry Research Center and Research&Production Corporation "ALTAI" will make an inventory of RFC, study their composition and properties and prepare Technical Task Plans for research and development work.

Boreskov Institute of Catalysis together with NGPII VNIPIET and Russian Applied Chemistry Research Center will study processes of catalytic oxidation of model compounds in experimental and bench setups and develop efficient catalysts.

SRC together with BIC will optimize the process with real RFC in a bench setup.

NGPII VNIPIET will work out the technological scheme of the process, design the component units of the prototype plant and prepare conceptual design of the plant.

SRC with cooperation of other participants will prepare detailed design of the mobile plant of 100 t/year capacity with heat utilization. BIC will oversee the preparation of catalysts for use in the demonstration plant. The demonstration mobile plant will be constructed at State Rocket Center "Academician V.P.Makeyev Design Bureau". Tests of the plant will be conducted with the participation of all Russian and foreign project participants. The tests will provide data on efficiency and environmental safety of the process and lifetime and performance of the catalysts. Resulting experience will assist in the industrial implementation of the improved destruction process for isolated storage sites and submarine bases.

The program thus proposed will allow a number of weapons scientists, engineers and technicians in Russia to redirect their talents to the solution of international environmental problems and to solve the particular problem of treating hazardous toxic rocket fuel components.

This technology will also find other applications for example in the elimination of toxic wastes from chemical industry (such as pesticides) and possibly, of special significance, destruction of the components of chemical weapons. The participation of Western Scientists in this program (SAIC, Defense Research Agency, University of Bath, et al.) will consist in consulting on the implementation of the technology, characterization of RFC, joint testing of catalysts and general assistance during the demonstration plant startup.


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