Gazprom Neft’s anti-COVID-19 programme

Read more
  • Main page
  • Newsroom
  • News
  • Biological “Biosphere” water treatment facilities are boosting energy efficiency at Gazprom Neft’s Moscow Refinery

Biological “Biosphere” water treatment facilities are boosting energy efficiency at Gazprom Neft’s Moscow Refinery

Gazprom Neft’s Moscow Refinery has further improved the operation of its “Biosphere” biological water treatment facilities, with water — now reaching 99.9% purity — being used for steam generation in line with the plant’s requirements. This technological solution — unique to oil refining in Russia — will further reduce heat and electricity consumption. The economic benefit from these initiatives is expected to reach more than RUB120 million per year. The Biosphere is one of the key projects in the second phase of upgrading and modernising the Moscow Refinery, under implementation by Gazprom Neft since 2011.

Producing steam for production facilities is a crucial component in oil refining — steam is used for heating feedstock, is used directly in technological processes, and is integral to fire safety systems. Steam was previously sourced from a city combined heat and power (CHP) plant, meaning water and energy had to be used in producing it. The Biosphere’s technology ensures optimum cleansing of the Moscow Refinery’s wastewater, meaning this can then be used to produce steam. Additional infrastructure has been put in place as part of this project, involving the laying of more than 1.5 kilometres of pipelines, and the construction of a new pumping station.

“Increasing energy efficiency and reducing resources consumption is an important element in developing the Moscow Refinery. Even in its initial design, the possibility of further reducing resources consumption has been integral to these innovative Biosphere biological treatment facilities. Thanks to this complex now being in operation, more than 80% of water is now returned to the production cycle. Generating steam from this water means the production cycle can be optimised, and the number of operations reduced — cutting heat and energy consumption.”
Vitaly Zuber
Vitaly Zuber Director General, Gazprom Neft Moscow Refinery

The Moscow Refinery’s Biosphere project was among the key initiatives in Russia’s “Year of Ecology”, allowing the Moscow Refinery to cut water consumption more than five-fold in the space of two years, and saving four million cubic metres of water — equivalent to half the capacity of the Khimkinsky reservoir (the main city reservoir, in north—east Moscow). The Biosphere has received a number of industry awards, including the Moscow City Administration Award for Environmental Protection. A larger complex is now being built at Gazprom Neft’s Omsk Refinery, with work expected to reach completion in 2021. The company’s total investment in Biosophere systems at its Moscow and Omsk Refineries currently stands at more than RUB28 billion.

Notes for editors
All wastewater from the plant undergoes full processing at the Moscow Refinery’s biological treatment facilities. The innovative Biosphere project has allowed wastewater treatment efficiency to reach 99.9%, with 80% being returned to the production cycle – thanks to which, the plant has moved to almost complete “closed-cycle” water usage, significantly reducing water consumption and reducing the burden on city water-treatment systems. The complex’s unique technology received the Moscow City Administration 2020 Award for Environmental Protection, having previously been among the finalists at the international Platts Global Energy Awards 2018. The “Biosphere” is a multi-stage wastewater treatment system into which industrial effluents flow following preliminary treatment at the Moscow Refinery’s existing mechanical treatment facilities. At the first stage, water penetrates a pressure-flotation (induced-air flotation) block, with air being used to dispel all remaining mechanical contaminants and oil products. After passing through the flotation units, the water travels into the main part of the facility — the membrane bioreactor. Here, wastewater is mixed with silt containing microorganisms able to absorb and process oil residues. Adapted for this environment, these have been cultivated specifically for the Biosphere at the Lyuberetskiy Vodokanal sewage treatment plant. Once the silt has fulfilled that function, it is filtered through thousands of membranes with a pore-diameter less than that of a human hair. This is the most modern water treatment solution currently available. The reservoir is completely waterproofed and sealed. The purified water is then, finally, forced through 200 tonnes of activated carbon, followed by 1,440 reverse osmosis membranes, in succession — the cells of the latter being no larger than a molecule of water. Only after this is the purified water returned to production, and filtered oil products sent for processing. Part of the purified water is piped directly to municipal wastewater treatment facilities. No open sewage flows into the Moscow River: even rainwater is collected in a storm drainage system and subject to purification.