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Continued growth of demand for liquid fuel is mainly caused by development of all means of transport for which it is required and will be having no alternative for a long time to go. Some types of liquid fuels are also used by power plants producing heat and electricity.

Traditional raw material for these fuels is oil. In the long term, due to the relative scarcity of oil reserves in Russia and its significant supply to foreign markets, provision our country with motor fuel based on oil refining may become problematic. In this regard, a problem of increasing liquid fuel resources grows currently important. Firstly, it is necessary to increase the coefficient of light oil recovery from crude oil.

Liquid fuel resources can also be increased by involvement of non-traditional sources of raw materials. In Russia oil shale, tar sands, and various grades of coal can be used as such sources. Based on the balance reserves of these raw materials, the construction of industrial enterprises seems to be possible.

The largest source of raw material for production of synthetic liquid fuel is black and brown coal, reserves of which is 202 205 million tons in Russia. The experts recognize the Kansk-Achinsk brown coal as first-ranking raw material; a power facility of any capacity may be constructed for a long-term operation on their basis. For these coals a new technology of liquid fuels production have been developed, based on the method of hydrogenation.

Production of synthetic liquid fuels from coal on an industrial scale enjoyed relatively extensive development before World War II. Thus, in Germany there was a whole industry, which consisted of sixteen plants, including twelve of them produced fuel on the basis of direct coal liquefaction by hydrogenation, and four — by coal gasification and gas synthesis. In 1944, these plants produced 5 million tons of motor fuel.

In the Soviet Union during the Great Patriotic War and the postwar period 3 coal devolatilization plants were commissioned  in Cheremkhovo, Leninsk-Kuznetsky and Angrsk, where liquid fuels were produced by hydrogenation of tar obtained by devolatilization of coals of Cheremkhovo and Kuznetsk.

Industrial enterprises built in USSR, as well as in other countries, were intended mainly to produce  synthetic liquid fuel that would meet the requirements of the motor park and able to compete with similar products from petroleum in the context of economic indicators. For domestic plants the task set was impossible to complete either in terms of the qualitative characteristics of the fuel obtained, or in the field of economics of production.

Currently, in RSA there is an enterprise producing liquid fuels and chemicals from coal, in which the technology is based on a combination of two methods: coal gasification and gas synthesis into liquid products according to Fischer-Tropsch method. The first phase of this enterprise (Sasol-1) with capacity of 0.4 million tons of liquid products was introduced in 1955; the second (Sasol-2) with capacity of 2 million tons — in 1981; and the third (Sasol-3) with the same volume of production (2 million tons) — in 1983. This company uses more than 30 million tons of lignite per year and ensures more than half of the country’s demand for liquid fuels.

The Russian organizations of the Ministry of Energy (FFI, Sibgiproshakht, Tula’s branch of Giproshakht, VNIINeftemash) has developed a new technology to produce liquid fuels and chemical products from brown coal, based on the method of hydrogenation [1, 3]. According to this technology, the mixture consisting of 50% of micronized coal and 50% of the heavy liquid residue own production is subjected to the hydrogenation. The active catalyst and the inhibitor, controlling the speed of the reactions, are added to this mixture. As a result, the hydrogenation is carried out at relatively low hydrogen pressure (10 MPa instead of 30-70 MPa in other countries’ technologies) with large organic mass transfer of coal into liquid products (85-92%) and low hydrogen consumption (1.5-2.7). This is the fundamental benefits of domestic technology compared to the technologies developed and prepared for implementation in the United States and Germany. Domestic technology was implemented on a pilot plant ST-5, built in 1981-1984 at the mine «Belkovsky» of Moscow Basin. As a result of its operation it was revealed that the processing of coal from the Kansk-Achinsk basin enabled to obtain the following products: petrol (23%), diesel fuel (62%), fuel T-8v — jet fuel (8%) and others (8%). To produce 1 ton of liquid (non-specific) products the consumption of coal with calorific value of 3,500 kcal / kg is about 5 m.

Construction of a second larger installation PT-75 with capacity of 75 tons of coal was launched in the Kansk-Achinsk basin. Necessary equipment was delivered to the construction site. In following years, the work on the construction of the installation is almost not conducted due to lack of funding [2].

Economic evaluation of the production of liquid fuel is made with respect of the following conditions:

— Industrial plant is located in the area of extraction of raw materials, which is brown coal Kansk-Achinsk basin (Berezovsky deposit);

— Consumption of coal for the production of 1 ton of all kinds (non-specified) of products in the absence of thermal power station as part of the company will amount to 3.5 tons with a calorific value of 3500 kcal / kg;

— The annual capacity of the plant in terms of production of all types of products assumed is 0.5 million tons (Table 1):

Table  1.

The liquid fuels and chemical products derived from coal

Type of product Volume, thousands of tons %
Petrol 115 22,9
Diesel fuel 311 62,2
Aviation kerosene 35 6,9
Benzene and other chemical products 39 8,0

— Performance indicators are capital investments to build the company of assumed capacity, the operating costs for the processing of coal to the trust products, the profit, the payback period of capital investment and the level of profitability (Table 2).

Table 2.

Efficiency of producing liquid fuels and chemicals from lignite


Indicators Units Value
Production volume Tons 500 000
Distribution cost thousand rubles 5 098 715
Operating costs thousand rubles 3 007 984





thousand rubles

thousand rubles


2 090 731

1 672 584

Capital investment thousand rubles 4 501 500
The payback period of capital investment for profit:





thousand rubles

thousand rubles





The level of profit margins:









Based on the data stipulated in Table 1 it can be argued that the processing plant of brown coal (such as Kansk-Achinsk) into liquid fuels on the basis of domestic technology will have a satisfactory economic performance.


  1. Zamanov V.V., Krichko A.A., Maloletnev A.S. O proizvodstve produkcii na Opytnom zavode ST-5. / Sb. dokl. Sessii nauch. soveta.- Zvenigorod.-1998.
  2. Krapchin I.P., Kuz’mina T.I. Tehnicheskie vozmozhnosti i jekonomicheskaja jeffektivnost’ rasshirenija sfer i napravlenij ispol’zovanija uglej v obozrimoj perspektive//Ugol’. — №6. Moskva, 2011.
  3. Maloletnev A.S. Sovremennoe sostojanie problemy gidrogenizacii uglej.// Himija tverdogo topliva, №3. — 2009.
    The article justifies the urgency of consideration of alternative sources of raw materials for production of liquid fuel for transport and other power facilities. The economic evaluation of the production of liquid fuels from coal is given as well. The evaluation results indicate the feasibility of using coal as raw material for production of liquid fuels.
    Written by: Kuzmina Tatiana Ivanovna
    Date Published: 12/20/2016
    Edition: euroasia-science_28.04.2016_4(25)
    Available in: Ebook