Production Accounts

Burning Lignin Extinguishment

In 2005 works on extinguishing of burning lignin on the storage facility of Ziminsky Hydrolytic Plant started with the use of ash waste of JSC Irkutskenergo under the technology developed by scientists of Limnology Institute of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Science. 10 000 tons of ash-and-slad from the ash disposal area of Zima site of Novo-Ziminskaya TPS were used for extinguishing of the test site, the total amount of stored material is 262 000 tons.

This project has the big ecological and social value. The work on extinguishing of lignin and the importance of the project was reflected in Vostocno-Sibirskaya Pravda newspaper in the article "Rescued Fuel" by Georgy Kuznetsov, the text of the article is given below:

The first stage of the scheduled experiment on the burning lignin extinguishing is successfully finished on the industrial waste site, which is widely known as the place of long-term fires, which remained after bankruptcy of Ziminsky Hydrolytic Plant.

The test field of 1 ha was allocated from the total area of 25 ha of lignin storage. This time under general management of Service for the Civil Defence and Emergency Situations Regional State Institution, the technology proposed by scientists of the Limnology Institute of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Science was tested. Results of the experiment confirmed its sufficient efficiency, and experts made a decision from now on to start large-scale liquidation of emergency situation in the Zima area, which was caused by the burning lignin.

Reclamated site, according to Anatoly Malevsky, Chief of the Department for preservation of the environment of the Administration of Governor of the Irkutsk area, now represents ideally flat platform, suitable "even for tennis courts". The fertile substance will be additionally put on it, and meadow grasses will be sown in spring. Making a speech in the presence of the deputies of the Legislative Assembly at the previous session, A. Malevsky declared, “Results of the experiment have shown correctness of the chosen technique of liquidation of the burning lignin, which forms the basis of the project developed by the Limnology Institute of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Science.

If there are no new unforeseen circumstances and complications, in this case, by calculations of experts, already by the middle of the next year all 25 hectares of the storage representing smoking craters as yet, and numerous burnt spots, will turn into flat, picturesque field covered with the green. All these actions including cover crop requires approximately RUR 22,5 million.

Lignin stored on the site in the Zima area had fired before almost annually. But at that time its extinguishing was the responsibility of the waste proprietor - JSC Ziminsky Hydrolytic Plant, it did not allow large fire spreading. In 2003, after declaration of the enterprise a bankrupt, the industrial waste site, where there were about 11 million (! ) tons of hydrolytic lignin, was transferred under the jurisdiction of the Administration of the Zima area. But the Zima area adverse budget simply could not provide means for protection and due maintenance of the site. As a result, the situation became aggravated even to be called an emergency situation.

Last years, especially in winter, parents did not let their children go out even to school due to the smog, Anatoly Malevsky reports. The regional administration was actively engaged in this problem solving. But the problem is that there are no reliable technologies of extinguishing of such substances in Russia, as well as in the foreign countries. Various variants and technologies were tested. Last year, for example, the regional budget assigned a large sum for extinguishing of lignin with the help of water. The team of 305 people was created; it was formed by the staff if Main Administration of the Civil Defence and Emergency Situations of the area, authorized Governmental body for the Emergency Situations of the Zima, Angarsk areas, Bratsk city, the fuel cycle enterprise. Using 18 units of fire equipment, the group during one and a half month continuously, round the clock watered lignin storage. They managed to extinguish the area of 13,3 hectares, but for a time, and only two meters depth. The fire started again. Thus, work of the team trying within one and a half months to water the centers of burning appeared non-productive.

The Department for preservation of the environment of Governor's Administration of the Irkutsk area again created the working group for solving the problem of preservation and recycling of stored lignin. Its structure included representatives of Administration of the Zima area, Rosprirodnadzor (the Federal Service for Supervision of the Natural Resources Usage), Limnology Institute, Institute of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Irkutsk State Technical University. And on June 29, 2005, having studied new developments of experts, the Commission for emergency situations and maintenance of fire safety of administration of the area approved the project of liquidation of burning lignin as a basic project. It was proposed by the Limnology Institute. Its essence consists in filling of the lignin storage with ash from the ash disposal area of Thermal Power Station-3. "It is not ordinary ash, Anatoly Malevsky explains, it is the so-called flue ash formed in pulverized-coal-fired furnace.

It is as fine as powder. Limnologists proved expediency of use of such ash by virtue of its specific physical and chemical properties. Besides, this technology partially has already been tested at reclamation of the lignin storage on the Selengin Pulp and Paper Plant. Lignin formed at manufacture of cellulose differs from hydrolytic lignin. Besides, both the conditions and tasks differed a little bit.

The regional budget allocated funds for carrying out of the Zima experiment. A part of expenses was taken up by Irkutskenergo; it was interested in reclamation of ash stopped by Thermal Power Station-3.

It took less than a month to suppress and reclamate the test site of the Zima lignin site. Now, according to A. Malevsky, the schedule of assignment of funds from the regional budget and Irkutskenergo's own means is under development, and ash from the ash disposal area of Thermal Power Station-3 will be moved here by the end of June of the next year to protect deposits of lignin from new ignitions.

Nevertheless, there were opponents to the technology of lignin suppression by ash. The matter is that hydrolytic lignin is not only waste, but also raw material for manufacture of good alternative fuel. Opponents of this technology are afraid that million tons of valuable raw material may be spoiled at the storage filling with ash. But Anatoly Malevsky does not share such fears. "Certainly lignin will not be spoiled”, he assures, “because operation, which is carried out now, is not simply suppression and reclamation of the storage, but also preservation of lignin deposits, their protection against destruction by fire. Capacity of the layer of this really valuable raw material on the Zima test site reaches 15-18 meters. And thickness of the top reclamated layer will be not more than one and a half meters. Thus, we preserve lignin, and we will extract it, when there is an opportunity of involving lignin in industrial production of alternative fuel, which, according to the experiments, with regard to heat output, exceeds coal, but has very low ash content and a low output of other harmful substances”.

Anatoly Malevsky believes that the use of hydrolytic lignin as raw material is just the good opportunity, when economic and ecological interests of our area coincide completely. According to A. Malevsky, it is one of perspective directions of development of our area, capable to involve investments for the organization of manufacture of alternative economically effective and ecologically safe kinds of fuel. Here we kill two, even three birds with one stone: we extinguish the burning storage and improve the ecological situation in the Zima area, we protect valuable raw material from its destruction by fire and simultaneously reclamate not only the lignin site, but also the ash map of Thermal Power Station-3.

According to A. Malevsky, if calculations of scientists and hopes of executives of the project are met in full in addition to everything, it will also become our contribution to the practical realization of Kiot Protocol at the regional level, which was ratified by Russia last year. But it is a topic of another publication.

Photo: the most part of lignin storage in the Zima area continues to smoke, and reclamation is being finished on the experimental site.

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