Replacing oil-fired boilers is one of the first steps in the development of small-scale power generation that could generate real benefits

15 september 2015

The Analytical Center has hosted a Round Table on ways to replace petroleum products with bio fuels and other renewable resources in thermal power generation, during which experts discussed the prospects of using renewable sources of energy and locally sourced fuels in thermal power generation, taking into account the economic efficiency of projects and ensuring energy security. The experts also looked at what economically advisable measures could be implemented by the state to stimulate this process.

“Today we need to figure out whether oil-fired boilers should be replaced with other types of energy sources, whether it would be an effective and beneficial solution,” an Adviser to the Minister of Construction of Russia Mikhail Sandalov said at the event. The expert believes that replacing oil-fired boilers is one of the first steps in the development of small-scale power generation that could generate real benefits.

“Replacing mazut and oil-fired boilers would certainly be most beneficial as the level of customs tariffs on exports and imports of mazut and the fact that the average wear and tear for oil-fired boilers in use today is 68% tell us that fuel oil is a very expensive fuel,” believes Vera Myasoyedova, a Senior Researcher of N. Sevenov Chemical Physics institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences  In addition, a oil-fired boiler has an efficiency of less than 30% while a boiler running on pellets has an efficiency of over 90%, the expert noted. However, Ms. Myasoyedova does not think that all petroleum products used in thermal power generation should be replaced. “We need to replace mazut and oil-fired boilers, however, some pulp industry waste such as acid sludge can be used,” the specialist believes.

Vladilen Prokofyev, a Director of Urban Economics at the Institute of Urban Economy, believes that the current state of the Russian economy is holding back development in the industry. According to him, problem number one that needs to be addressed is recouping investments. Investments in Russia are made by the state and by private business, the expert explained. Mr. Prokofyev also talked about international experience. “In other countries the money the state invests gets recouped not from the treasury but from utility bills, in other words, the consumers pay for it. In Russia, we do not have such mechanisms yet,” the specialist said.

Rashid Khudai-Berdyevich Artikov, a Director General of the Association of Energy Companies talked about the support the Russian companies are getting under import substitution programs. According to him, a favorable investment environment needs to be created in the region while companies should use their own experience and competencies to develop technology. The expert noted that today Russia does not have data on the most accessible technologies. “We do not have a single document that would describe the standards of the industry. We need to create a database of technologies we are implementing,” Mr. Artikov said.

The Round Table Discussion also included a presentation on the implementation of pilot projects in Arkhangelsk and Vladimir oblasts.