Historical background

The progress of the laboratory of catalytic research (LCR) is closely connected with the chair of physical chemistry of Tomsk State University (TSU) which has been established in 1927. Since 1938 till 1941 the chair was headed by senior lecturer Sergey M. Petrov who together with his wife Lyudmila G. Majdanovskaya came from Siberian Physical-Technical Institute. Scientific research developed in their works was connected with adsorption of simple gases (hydrogen, oxygen) over metal oxides. Since 1941 till 1971 the chair was headed by L.G. Majdanovskaya. Significant development of scientific research carried out at the chair was tied with the opening of postgraduate education at the faculty and chair of physical chemistry. In 1959 the first 10 students entered the post-graduate course. Among them was Larisa N. Kurina, the graduate of 1955. After that the postgraduate course under supervision of L.G. Maydanovskaya was taken by the following students: I.A. Kirov, T.S. Minakova, V.S. Larichev, N.N. Sudakova, V.N. Belousova, T.V. Skripko, N.I. Petrova, O.I. Korobkova, L.P. Shilyaeva. The accumulated experimental material was generalized by L.G. Majdanovsky in 1967 inher thesis for Doctor of Sciences Degree entitled “About interrelation adsorption and catalytic and other physical and chemical properties of some catalysts in reactions of decomposition and oxidation of alcohols”. The work summarized the material on adsorption of Н2, О2, CO over oxides, sulphides, germanium isoelectronic series semiconductors. An influence of the adsorbed gases on electric and semi-conducting properties of compounds was studied. The interrelation between electrophysical and catalytic properties of compounds was investigated. Scientific research in the area of catalysis and adsorption built up by L.G. Maydanovskaya has been developing at the laboratory to the present time. The students of L.G. Maydanovskaya developed two basic directions: adsorption of gases and steams (I.A. Kirov, T.S. Minakova, O.S. Larichev and others) and the catalytic oxidation issues (L.N. Kurina, N.I. Petrova, N.N. Sudakova and others).
Since 1965 the research of significant scientific and applied importance in the field of catalytic oxidation of alcohols over oxide and metal catalysts have been started at the chair of physical chemistry of TSU under the supervision of L.N. Kurina. The Order No. 116 of the Minister for higher and specialized secondary education of the USSR dated from April 23rd, 1965 confirmed the organization of branch research laboratory. The branch research laboratory was organized in a higher educational institution with the purpose to involve the faculty in solving the vital tasks in R&D problems which were set by the government, industrial committees, ministries, and council of national economy. Traditionally students and post-graduates at the chair of physical and colloidal chemistry conducted the research at the laboratory of catalytic research. The subject matter of research was connected with the issues of physical and chemical investigation of oxide and metal catalysts in the oxidation of the lowest alcohols, wide range of questions regarding the mechanism, kinetics, carbon deposition and nature of interaction of products with a catalyst surface.
Since1965 till1980 a large number of vanadium-containing oxide catalysts have been studied in the process of methanol oxidation to formaldehyde. Since1967 theresearch on selection of supports for silver catalyst of methanol oxidation capable to replace pumice-supported silver catalyst were conducted. The research was conducted in cooperation with the Azerbaijan Institute of Oil and Chemistry, Novosibirsk branch of “Plastpolymer” enterprise, etc. Since 1976 the developed catalyst Ag/FN has been recommended to be implemented to country’s chemical plants after state commission control. For a number of years the research of carbon deposition processes, accompanying alcohol oxidation over metal catalysts and leading to reduction of the catalyst service period were conducted at the LCR. The recommendations on catalyst application were given to a number of plants of the country.
Since1973inlaboratory research on development of pentaerythritol synthesis comprising the combination of three processes in one technological line was conducted over Fe-Mo catalysts. The proposed way is simultaneous synthesis of formaldehyde and acetaldehyde by joint oxidation of a mixture of methanol and ethanol over silver catalyst and the combined technological step of pentaerythritol synthesis by alkaline condensation of acetaldehyde with formaldehyde. Since1975 according to the queryof Nizhnetagilsky factory the research on new polymer synthesis based on copolymerization of aldehydes were conducted, and new promising polymers have been obtained.
A wide range of the questions connected with development and physical-chemical investigation of the process of methane oxidative dimerization was studied. This allowed synthesizing the major product of the chemical industry, ethylene. The studies of thermal and oxidative transformations of some hydrocarbons resulting in formation of unsaturated hydrocarbons were carried out. The scientific research carried out at the laboratory was performed on the basis of contracts with chemical industry enterprises. The results of the research in the field of catalytic oxidation of alcohols were also defended in dissertation works. Under the supervision of Prof. L.N. Kurina more than 50 PhDs and 4 Doctor of Sciences dissertations have been defended.

Today the laboratory of catalytic research is a fast-growing division of the chemical department under the guidance of Irina A. Kurzina. 70 specialists work at the LCR, including 4 doctors of sciences, 13 candidates of sciences, 7 post-graduate students, 5 students working on their Master’s degrees, and 18 students.

The main R&D activities:

- Scientific research in state priority areas in the field of chemistry, chemical technology and catalysis.
- Development of synthesis methods of new and import substituting substances and materials for chemical, pharmaceutical, agricultural and defense industry.
- Methodical management of personnel retraining at TSU in the field of chemical kinetics and catalysis, development and introduction of special courses in the field of physical chemistry and catalysis, the organization of refresher courses.
- Organization of symposiums, seminars, conferences in the field of catalysis, chemical kinetics, and new materials.
- Development of new catalytic materials and technologies on the basis thereof, technologies for catalyst production as well as improvement of existing catalytic systems.
- Development of specialized test units for synthesis of catalysts, catalytic activity studies of various materials, development of pilot scale catalytic units.
- International cooperation with world leading scientific and educational centers.
- Organization of exhibitions, meetings, competitions and presentations.
- Implementation of the obtained results into industry using wide opportunities provided by innovative infrastructure of TSU and the Tomsk Region.
- Specialist training (students, master of sciences, post-graduate students, post-doc students) using the up-to-date scientific equipment.
Scientific research at the LCR is carried out in close cooperation with institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences and higher educational institutions: Boreskov Catalysis Institute of SB RAS, Novosibirsk; Institute of problems of chemistry of high-energy technologies, Biysk; Joint Stock Company “Federal research-and-production center” Altai”, Biysk; Siberian State Medical University; Catalysis Institute (Lyon, France), etc.

The LCR employees take part in organization of symposiums, seminars, conferences in the field of catalysis (“Catalysis: from science to industry”, “Prospects of development in fundamental sciences”, etc.). During the last five years more than 250 scientific works have been published by the LCR employees. One doctor of sciences dissertation (I.A. Kurzina), 7 candidate of sciences dissertations (V.S. Malkov, O.V. Magaev, L.V. Galaktionova, M.A. Salaev, N.I. Kosova, N.V. Dorofeyeva, T.S. Kharlamova) as well as 10 Master’s dissertations have been defended.
In 2005-2011 high academic achievements of the laboratory employees have been awarded with more than 30 honourable awards, medals and diplomas of regional and All-Russian levels: A. Nobel medal “For achievements in invention” (L.N. Kurina,2007); the winner of competition of Administration of the Tomsk Region in education and science (O.I. Sidorova,2005; O.V. Vodyankina,2009; O.V. Magaev,2009, V.S. Malkov,2009); Potanin’s Fund Scholarship winner (M.A. Salaev,2007); grant of Fund of Promotion of Development of Small Enterprises in Scientific and Technical Sphere (“START” program, 2008-2010); winner of “The Best Young Inventor” awarded by World Organization of Intellectual Property (A.S. Knyazev,2009); winner of the Award of the State Duma of the Tomsk Region for young scientists and gifted youth,2009and the State Award of the Russian Federation for young scientists for outstanding works in the field of a science and innovations,2009; the Tomsk Region Administration grant for professors (L.N. Kurina,2010); the winner of the competition “Person of year” A.S. Knyazev  (nominated in “Leadership” in 2010 and 2011).
In 2006 the Collective Use Center of sorption and catalytic research has been established on the basis of the laboratory of catalytic research. The center is equipped with unique research and analytical equipment and possesses several unique analysis techniques. Scientific research of students, post-graduates and post-docs is conducted using the CUC equipment. In the refresher courses developed by the LCR employees for students and master students consider modern physical and chemical methods of analysis. The center carries out multilevel training of the equipment operators and experts of industrial research laboratories and organizations.

One of priority direction of the laboratory activity is industrial implementation of the obtained scientific results and developed technologies. In 1970-1985 with the assistance of the LCR an introduction of the catalyst of methanol oxidation to formaldehyde took place at five plants of the USSR, including those in Severo-Donetsk, Tomsk, etc. In 2008 the catalyst of glyoxal synthesis developed at the LCR was introduced by the Glyoxal-T LLC. In 2009 Newchem LLC enterprise has started glyoxal manufacturing with annual production capacity of 1000 tons. The production is based on the LCR developed technology. In 2010-2012 the JSC “FSPC” Altai” have constructed the crystalline glyoxal manufacturing facilities to produce high-energy materials on the basis of the LCR technology. Based on the developments of the laboratory issued in the form of patents and a know-hows, 6 innovative business enterprises have been established, including Novochem LLC (www.novochem.ru), Glyoxal-T LLC, Aldo-Pharm LLC, Compachem LLC, Sibchem LLC, CJSC “Aldomed” (aldomed.org).
High achievements of the laboratory employees in the field of science and education were marked by diplomas and medals of international and the All-Russian events. In 2008-2011 18 medals and diplomas were received, including bronze medal of the XIth Moscow International Salon of Innovations of Investments (2009); Grand prix and gold medal of the XIth Moscow International Salon of Innovations and Investments (2009); gold medal of the XIth Moscow International Salon of Innovations and Investments (2009); medal of the “Oil. Gas. Geology” exhibition and diploma of the “Siberian Athenes” competition (2009); the Ist degree diploma and gold medal in the nomination “Effectiveness of introduction of new developments, production modernization” (2010); the Ist degree diploma and gold medal for development of the technology for recycling of caprolactame manufacturing wastes to complex esters (2010); the Ist degree diploma and gold medal for the best innovative project in the field of new materials and chemical products (2010); diploma and gold medal of the 5th biotechnological exhibition-fair “RosBioTeh-2011” (2011); the diploma and small gold medal in competition “ITE the Siberian fair” (2011), etc.

The laboratory of catalytic research welcomes manufacturers and distributors of the analytical and research equipment, employees of higher institutions, researchers, business enterprises, organizers of exhibitions, meetings and competitions to cooperate with us.