TPU develop an efficient strategy for waste disposal

Scientists of Tomsk Polytechnic University have developed a strategy for simultaneous utilization of industrial and municipal waste by burning them as part of composite fuel. This will save at least 1.5 times more money compared to traditional coal. The results were published in the Energies journal.


Composite fuel is a modern perspective energy resource for thermal power plants (TPPs), used instead of coal to generate electric and thermal energy. It tends to be a mixture of different components (low-grade coal, combustible solid municipal waste, waste oils, waste water, and biomass), the content of which varies widely depending on specific tasks.

Unlike coal, composite fuel has a low cost (the main expenses are related to transportation of components and preparation of the fuel) and lower emissions of sulfur and nitrogen oxides with flue gases into the atmosphere.

Unclaimed waste involved as new energy resources in fuel-power complex will reduce coal consumption, especially considering the fact that its energy potential is used by less than 30% and it is much more efficient, for instance, in metallurgy and chemical industry.

“To develop a technology for burning composite fuel, we analyzed economic effect to arise from transferring coal TPPs to a new energy resource. We carried out the study within the strategy that encourages several neighboring regions (Tomsk, Novosibirsk, and Kemerovo regions) towards joint utilization of combustible industrial and municipal waste by burning composite fuel at local TPPs,”

Dmitry Glushkov, associate professor of the TPU Research School of High Energy Physics, says.

In most countries, regions with a developed primary sector surround those with a high level of industrial and social development. Such neighborhood creates enabling conditions for extraction of raw materials and energy resources, development of enterprises, and growth of population.


Meanwhile, in regions with high living standards, the processing and disposal of municipal solid waste (MSW) is extremely important. Its annual generation volume is comparable to that of industrial waste (millions of tons per year).

Once added to composite fuels, MSW will reduce the growth rate of landfill areas and prevent deterioration of agricultural land.

“Our strategy of joint recycling includes the transfer of three coal TPPs to composite fuel (at least one in each of the regions). They will fully generate thermal and electric energy during the combustion of composite fuel.

The preparation of fuel compositions can be carried out at both TPPs and centrally, at a specialized plant, subsequently redirected through pipelines,” Dmitry Glushkov adds.

According to preliminary calculations, a positive economic effect of the technology will be up to $ 6.9 billion, or 78% of the main costs compared with the operating conditions of three typical coal-fired TPPs over 25 years.

For the further development of industrial technology and its application, it is necessary to address a number of engineering challenges and conduct full-scale field experiments at TPPs.