Late in 2003 the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences sponsored an exhibit of brand new custom-fitted hardware and instruments. "Ecology and Safety"- such was the guiding theme of the exhibition.
Exhibitions like that are now a tradition. This one was organized by the Novosibirsk - based Department of Industry and Science jointly with the R&D Institute of Geophysical and Ecological Instrument Making set up under the auspices of the RAS Siberian Branch, the sponsor of the display. In his opening address Academician Gennady Kulipanov said that only a small part of what Siberian scientists had accomplished was picked for the presentation. The scope of their work was much broader in fact. And tight cooperation between research institutes and industrial enterprises was a warranty of success.
Leading research scientists spoke on behalf of their collectives. Thus Vladimir Gruznov, director of the Institute of Geophysical and Ecological Instrument Making, told guests about the instruments developed by his colleagues and brought to the exhibit. For one, he spoke of portable gas chromatographs of the ECHO trademark (the size of an ordinary briefcase). And among other novelties he named mass chromatography spectrometers designed for on-the-spot proximate analysis of ultralow concentrations of organic substances. Such spectrometers can be used in ecological monitoring of air, water and foodstuffs, in customs inspection and so forth.
The Mining Institute developed an innovative sewage-treatment technology based on bracite-effected absorption (brucite is a native mineral, Mg(OH) 2 ); this method is also good for cleaning underground potable waters of iron and manganese, for extracting ions of heavy metals from natural and technogenic waters, and - just as important - it can be used in household water filters, too.
Energy- and resource-saving technologies likewise figured prominently. The S. S. Kutateladze Institute of Thermal Physics demonstrated absorption pumps as an alternative to urban boiler rooms or houses. These pumps utilize the heat of waste steam and water as fuel. Besides, they can be used at fuel-burning power utilities for heat economy. Such pumps have performed well at power-generating plants, specifically, at the Novosibirsk Heat-and-Power Plant-4. The S. S. Kutateladze Institute also developed a technology for plasma-initiated ignition of pulverized coal fuel (good at enterprises that substituted costly fuel oil for coal). The coal is ignited by a jet from a plasma generator, a procedure that allows to save as much as 3.5 thousand rubles per ton of fuel oil. The combustion efficiency is up, which means a slash in harmful discharges of nitrogen oxides, sulfur and cancerogenic vanadium pentoxide. This technology pays off within one or two years, and requires common, not high- grade, coal.
In its turn, the Institute of Semiconductor Physics exhibited a compact Fourier spectrometer, Infralum FT-801, meant for identification of solid, liquid and gaseous substances, including narcotics, varnishes, dyes, petroleum products and pharmacological preparations. It also enables qualitative and quantitative assays of multicomponent mixtures. This device can be used, too, by criminal investigation and forensic medicine experts.
The Geophysics Institute came up with a computer-aided complex for the electromagnetic sounding of ground; customized (11 kg), it is designed for round-the- year studies to a depth of 7 meters. It can be used in the utilities, construction, the soil science, ecology and archeology. This
apparatus is controlled by a keyboard and a liquid-crystal monitor. Its electronic memory can store data on as many as 4,000 stakes in 10 hours of nonstop work. This data array is computer-processed and displayed on the monitor in the form of maps or cross sections showing subterranean relief features. The electromagnetic sounding complex does without galvanic contact and is resistant to electrical interferences.
The Institute of Inorganic Chemistry brought in some of its novelties. One, the automated small-size setup EDS-0.5, can produce as much as 1 m 3 /h of drinking water (by European standards) from salty and mineralized sources. Its prototype had shown good performance in more than six months of work. EDS- 0.5 needs no chemical reagents, it is launched in a mere two or three minutes and is stopped just as quickly. No toxic waste! This water-treatment apparatus eliminates all cations and anions, and thus removes hardness of water. Operating in a flow/circulation mode, it enables water desalination in a wide range.
Those were but only some of the latest devices and technologies presented in Novosibirsk. Both our industry and ecology will certainly stand to gain with their adoption.
Nauka v Sibiri (Science in Siberia), 2003
Prepared by Yaroslav RENKAS