by Sergei POPOV, journalist
What can be done by science to help modernize our chemical industry? This was one of the problems on the agenda of the First International Chemical Summit held in Moscow in July, 2004. The participants included senior officials of RF ministries and agencies, biggest domestic and foreign concerns represented on our home market, representatives of research and teaching institutes and of different structures of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Russia's chemical and petrochemical industry today comprises over 600 big and medium enterprises, some 100 R&D organizations and plants which employ over 800 thous. people. The range of their products includes plastics and tyres, chemical fibers and paint-and-varnish materials, mineral fertilizers and synthetic detergents. The President of the Russian Union of Chemists, Prof. Viktor Ivanov, stressed in his presentation that what he called the technological base of the industry needs cardinal modernization. This is dictated by many internal factors and mounting competition on the world markets.
So, what is to be done so that our chemical and petrochemical industries were not only able to survive, but to participate in this acute economic struggle as equals? One of the key measures in this respect is the introduction of innovations, modernization of the equipment, technologies and of the range of products. The Russian Academy of Sciences is prepared to take an active part in these activities. In April 2004, for example, the Academy signed an agreement with the government of Tatarstan on joint activities in the fields of chemistry, petrochemistry and ecology. The republic possesses considerable oil reserves (explored - 870 mn tons) and the required industrial potential for its processing (the volume of its production of tyres, polyethylene and synthetic rubber amounts to 64 percent of Russia's total). While assessing the importance of modern science as an economic factor, experts are doing their be ... Read more