Scientists from Tomsk Polytechnic University and Ural Federal University (UrFU) have demonstrated the high environmental efficiency of fuel for thermal power plants based on a mixture of various types of waste. According to the authors, the use of such fuel compositions instead of coal can reduce harmful oxide air pollution by 70%.
The use of fossil fuels in the ever-increasing global energy demand generates large amounts of gas and solid emissions into the environment, the TPU scientists said. According to the International Energy Agency, the combustion of fossil fuels causes over 90% of the world’s pollution with sulphur and nitrogen oxides, which cause acute diseases of humans, animals and plants. Moreover, 60% of this amount accounts for coal.
One solution to address this crisis is the introduction of water-containing slurry fuels based on coal and oil by-products, municipal solid waste, wood waste and other biomass, the scientists said. According to the researchers, such compositions could be used at thermal power plants instead of conventional energy sources such as coal and fuel oil.
The research conducted by TPU and UrFU scientists showed that sulphur and nitrogen oxide concentrations during the combustion of fuel compositions can be reduced by 70% compared to coal combustion.
“The use of fuel, based on waste and industrial by-products, not only reduces the load on the environment but also enables to recycle large volumes of accumulated waste, involving unused but energetically promising raw materials. Moreover, it helps to conserve non-renewable fossil fuels,” Galina Nyashina, Teaching Assistant of the TPU Research School of High-Energy Physics, told Sputnik news agency.
The scientists also determined the presence of water vapour in the combustion zone of the thermal installation contributes to the conversion of some sulphur and nitrogen into inactive forms incapable of forming oxides, which further reduces the pollution level.
The research findings were published in the Science of The Total Environment academic journal.
The research team intends to continue studying the chemical and physical combustion processes of fuel compositions based on hydrocarbon raw materials and waste to further improve them.