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Fuel Production from Organic Raw Materials


Development of Complex Technique of High-Energy Fuel Production from Low-Calorie Organic Raw Material

Tech Area / Field

  • NNE-FCN/Fuel Conversion/Non-Nuclear Energy
  • ENV-SPC/Solid Waste Pollution and Control/Environment
  • ENV-WPC/Water Pollution and Control/Environment

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Tver Technical University, Russia, Tver reg., Tver


  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden, Uppsala\nMcGill University / Department of Chemistry, Canada, QC, Montreal

Project summary

The purpose of the project is the development of the complex technique of high-energy fuel production from low-calorie organic raw material, including organic waste. Various organic raw materials can be used as a raw-material base for the production of high-energy fuel. Polymeric wastes, lignin-containing wastes, waste products of cellulose, household wastes, etc. can be such raw material.

The complex approach to organic waste processing includes the pretreatment by various physicochemical methods (treatment with steam, solvents, high pressure, etc.), conversion of organic raw material with obtaining of effective fuels or commodity products. Now the promising method of lignin-containing vegetative material pretreatment is the ultrasound. The basic advantage of this method is its sufficient rapidity, economy and ecological harmlessness, it allows destroying lignin-cellulosic matrix, while cellulose remains almost in the constant form. Ultrasonic treatment makes cellulose accessible to biological objects, reduces its shielding with lignin. It in turn results in the increase of sugars in the reaction medium and involving of lignin in microbiological synthesis in bioethanol production. The use of lignin-cellulosic waste products, ultrasonic treatment, microbiological destruction will allow developing ecologically safe technology of biofuel production.

The fuel industry represents the largest market for the chemical substances received via fermentation: its share is approximately 82% of volume and 36% of market turnover of fermentation products. Until recently the demand for fuel ethanol was determined more likely by political reasons, namely – attempts to limit carbon dioxide emission in the atmosphere. However the increase in prices on food raw material in ethanol production (wheat, potato, corn, sugar beet) creates quite real economic bases for the wide application of bioethanol from vegetative biomass. One more stimulus to the production and consumption of industrial ethanol is cheap raw material: sunflower husks, sawdust, wood chips and other vegetative waste products.

The application of biofuel will provide steady development, reliability of deliveries, positive influence on rural areas and an agricultural policy as a whole.

The goal of the development of scientific bases of bioethanol production is to decrease the dependence on combustible minerals and to proceed to cheap fuel from agricultural wastes that will allow supporting farmers.

One of prospective directions in biofuel technology is the replacement of raw material. The plant biomass will be used instead of food raw material for the transformation into ethanol. Basically the dry plant biomass is cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin. The use of such nonconventional material makes raw-material base for fuel ethanol production practically inexhaustible. The application of certain ligneous (for example, sawdust) and grassy (in particular, boon) plants in ethanol production could decrease the use of food raw material and promotes creation of ecologically safe enterprise.

The developed technique of vegetative raw material pretreatment and conver-sion is directed at the increase of biofuel yield. The results of the project should provide carrying out of pretreatment processes in bioethanol production at an ambient pressure, in an aqueous solution and the observance of principles of continuity, universality (an opportunity of application of wide range of vegetative raw material) of pretreatment and conversion of lignin-cellulosic material.

The important source of organic raw material is polymeric wastes. Despite the significant energy potential of this kind of waste products, the energy production from them is not practically used. It is due to the low ecological compatibility of thermal processing of polymers. Thermal processing of industrial polymeric wastes results in the increase in the emissions of decomposition products (monomers and other substances) having various classes of danger in the atmosphere. Polymeric waste products burning causes the release of chlorine, nitrogen oxides, phenols and other dangerous substances. The complexity of the processing of modern plastic is aggravated by the presence of antipyrenes in their structure, i.e. the substances intended for giving nonflammable properties to plastics. These substances are on the basis of fluorine, chlorine, antimonies, etc. They not only slow down the oxidizing processes, but also are independent pollu-tants.

Technologies of gasification and pyrolysis are alternative to burning. Pyrolysis is the process at which the grinded organic material is thermally decomposed under the conditions of oxygen lack. Catalysts application allow to decrease polymer waste pyrolysis temperature, to decrease hazard surges and to increase pyrolysis gases heat of combustion.

The second task of this project is the development of thermal conversion stage of the organic substrate. The application of catalysts allows decreasing the temperature of the polymeric waste pyrolysis as well as harmful emissions and significantly increasing the calorific value of pyrolysis gases. The investigation of catalytic pyrolysis process of polymers will be directed at the optimization of its modes and the development of the most effective way of processing with obtaining of gaseous and liquid fuel. Chlorides of VIII group transition metals will be used as the catalysts for the pyrolysis process of polymeric cord enriched with rubber fraction,.

The third stage of the processing is the refining of the obtained biofuel and the increase of its calorific value. The authors of the project suggest the investigation of the hydrogenation process of polyunsaturated acids as one of the ways of diesel biofuel stabilization. The use of various catalysts as well as variation of process conditions (hydrogen pressure, intensity of shaking, temperature) determine the selectivity of hydrogenation process. The stability of biodiesel to oxidation directly depends on the degree of unsaturation of fatty acid residues in its structure. At the same time temperature characteristics of biodiesel, such, as the temperature of turbidity and pour point, depend on the amount of unsaturated components and trans-isomers. The selective hydrogenation catalyst will allow decreasing the degree of unsaturation without the increase of completely saturated components of content and will limit cis-trans and position isomerisation (more selective reaction will decrease the formation of trans-isomers which freeze at higher temperatures and have destructive influence on biodiesel quality). The development of the technology of selective hydrogenation of fatty acid methyl ethers allows not only increasing the stability and quality of biodiesel, but also expanding the raw-material base due to the involvement of derivatives of easily oxidized oils and fats obtained via pyrolysis at the second stage of polymeric waste processing.

The collaborators are leading experts in the field of biotechnology and chemistry from Sweden and Canada. Cooperation with them means meetings, seminars and consultations on such questions as the development of systems of organic raw material processing, treatment and transformation of biomass, physicochemical and analytical investigations of materials of artificial and natural origin.

The scientists and experts of TSTU having unique experience on the development of nanocatalytic systems for chemical-technological processes are involved in the work under the project, including the field of weapon technologies. Thus the project answers the purposes of ISTC.


  1. Development of peat gasification methods at a low temperature / А.Е. Afanasjev, E.М. Sulman, А.Е. Usanov, О.S. Misnikov // Mining informational-analytical bulletin. 2002, №1. P. 168-172 (in Russian).
  2. Sulman E.М., Sulman М.G., Semagina N.V. Reaction technologies, catalysis and kinetics // Catalysis in industry 2003, №1. P. 53-56 (in Russian).
  3. Obtaining of combustible gases via catalytic destruction of crosslinked rubber-like polymers waste / О.V. Kislitsa, V.V. Alfyorov, А.Е. Usanov, E.М. Sulman // Catalysis in industry. 2004, №1. P. 35-39 (in Russian).
  4. Low-temperature gasification of peat-mineral compounds / А.Е. Afanasjev, E.М. Sulman, О.S. Misnikov, V.V. Alfyorov // Mining journal. 2004, special issue. P. 121-124 (in Russian).
  5. Catalysis in energy-saving technologies of fuel obtaining on the base of biomass and organic wastes / E.М. Sulman, О.V. Kislitsa, V.V. Alfyorov, О.S. Misnikov, А.Е. Afanasjev, М.G. Sulman, А.Е. Usanov // Catalysis in industry. 2004, №1. P. 43-49 (in Russian).
  6. Ultrasonic modification of plant raw material in the synthesis of humic acids / Prutenskaja Е.А, Ozhimkova Е.V., Sulman М.G.// Proceedings of V All-Russian scientific conference “Chemistry and technology of vegetative materials”. Ufa.-2008.-243 p. (in Russian).
  7. Tsvetkova I., Sulman E., Matveeva V., Doluda V., Nikoshvili L., Bronstein L., Valetsky P., Nanostructured catalysts for the synthesis of vitamin intermediate products, Topics in Catalysis. 2006. V.39. №3-4. P.187-190
  8. I.B. Tsvetkova, L.M. Bronstein, S.N. Sidorov, O.L. Lependina, M.G. Sulman, P.M. Valetsky, B. Stein, L.Zh. Nikoshvili, V.G. Matveeva, A.I. Sidorov, B.B. Tikhonov, G.N. Demidenko, L. Kiwi-Minsker, E.M. Sulman, Structure and behavior of nanoparticulate catalysts based on ultrathin chitosan layers, Journal of Molecular Catalysis A: Chemical, V. 276, Iss. 1-2, 2007, P. 116-129
  9. Nikoshvili L.Zh., Demidenko G.N., Bykov A.V., Gavrilova S.А., Opportunities of application of hypercrosslinked polymeric supports for the control nucleation and growth of catalytically active noble metal nanoparticles, Bulletin of TSTU, Iss. 11, Tver, 2007. P. 99-104 (in Russian).
  10. Sulman E.М., Matveeva V.G., Sulman М.G., Kosivtsov Yu.Yu., Demidenko G.N., Doluda V.Yu., Bykov A.V., Bronstein L.M., Valetsky P.M., Chernishov D.М., Investigation of kinetics of the acetylene alcohol selective hydrogenation using metal-polymer colloids, News of high schools, Chemistry and chemical technology, ISUCT, 2005, Vol.48 (1), p.70-73 (in Russian)


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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