INSTITUTE OF CHEMISTRY: SELF-FINANCING AND INNOVATION
All laboratories and departments of the Institute of Chemistry, the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan have begun to operate on a self-supporting basis since the start of the new year. It is the first scientific research institution whose expenditures will not be financed from the State Budget, but wholly from own resources.
It took the Institute several years to make the transition to a financially self-sufficient organizational scheme, and in accordance with the Presidential Resolution it shall be complete in 2022. However, the successful adaptation to the market-based environment allowed the research institution to make more efficient use of scientific achievements, to actively cooperate with production teams, businesses and investors, to diversify research and design work and technological developments, and to start functioning on a self-sustaining basis one year earlier than had been planned.
Oriented on practical application, the Institute’s self-financing laboratories have become a generator of innovative ideas, proposals and groundbreaking projects. Over the last six years the institution’s revenues have increased fourfold. In 2020 alone, the State Intellectual Property Service of the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Turkmenistan issued patents for six inventions designed by research scientists of the Institute of Chemistry, the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan. The Ylym-published edition contains 50-plus research papers authored by its chemists. They focus on the use of economically efficient research findings in import-substituting production, the adoption of leading-age technologies and innovative solutions, and the manufacture of products able to compete in world markets.
The Institute of Chemistry has been carrying out scientific research activities for more than seven years, working closely on a contractual basis with enterprises in the leading sectors of the national economy: Turkmenhimiya, Turkmengaz and Turkmenneft State Concerns, Turkmengeology State Corporation, enterprises of the Ministry of Industry and Construction, agricultural producers, and private entrepreneurs.
The research work has significantly contributed to enhancing the quality of petroleum products, preventing corrosion of oil production equipment, as well as tackling other issues related to oil and gas processing. The Institute’s staff members also conduct studies on rational use of natural resources and environmental conservation, and tackle many challenges of technical and technological progress and innovation in sectors of the economy.
In particular, the Institute’s laboratories have devised methods of using iron ore, locally available in Kyzylkala deposits in the production of cement with a modified cementing component containing additives of finely ground basalt powder. This allows enterprises to produce new cement brands: M-400-D-20 and M-500-D-20 with considerably improved properties such as strength, density and frost resistance.
Research studies have also been undertaken on the recovery of biological surface active compounds from wine-making wastes as part of import substitution policies. At present, the chemists are working to create new substances with antibacterial properties and corrosion inhibitors for metal pipes at cement plants. They are also seeking ways to replace imports of coco peat substrates for greenhouse farming. Efforts are being made to produce compound mineral fertilizers containing balanced quantities of minerals, given biological characteristics of crops and water-saving irrigation methods.
The scientists believe that studies on the use of locally sourced basalt in the production of continuous basalt fibers open up ample scope as they can be used to manufacture reinforcing materials, shaped tubes, and fiber reinforced foam concrete wall panels. According to the researchers, thanks to higher chemical durability continuous basalt fibers are used for concrete and asphalt-concrete reinforcement to add extra strength.
As part of the 2021-2025 Comprehensive Development Program for the Chemical Industry, a new industrial chemistry laboratory has been established at the Institute of Chemistry. Starting from January, the technological projects laboratory was given a wider scope of responsibilities. Not only will it create project designs, it will also introduce projects into production systems.
According to the scientists at the Institute, investments have an instrumental role to play in an innovation-driven economy as they contribute to the continuous qualitative improvement of all its processes and segments. And applied research institutions are an integral component of the innovation infrastructure.