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2019-11-07 03:06

Hydrogen batteries can become indispensable for robots and drones

During the Open Innovations Forum held at the end of October in Skolkovo, Russia's first hydrogen car based on Lada was presented to the public. It was created by the company "Electric Transport Technologies" with the participation of the Center of competence of STI on technologies of new and mobile energy sources and "Energy" company. It was the latter company, which is a part of Inenergy Group, that provided hydrogen fuel cells for the car - theoretically, this innovative energy source can transform the entire Russian power industry and motor transport.

Alexei Kashin, the founder of Inenergy Group, says that he was a "computer geek" from a young age and knew that he would be engaged in computers when he was still in school. And indeed: he was able to make a fast, one might say, dizzying career in the field of information technologies. He wasn't even 30 when he took over the IT department of the Russian Pension Fund and sat at the same table with officials who were much older than him. Later, after leaving the civil service, he was involved in the IT business.

However, a certain upheaval in the entrepreneur's life strategy took place when he went to Germany for an internship during his MBA studies. There, while communicating with representatives of various sectors, he came to the conclusion that the energy industry today needs innovative ideas more than anybody else. The opportunities for developing almost all traditional energy technologies have been exhausted.

Alexei Kashin says that he had the opportunity to tour leading European companies engaged in energy technologies, and he understood that the most advanced idea in this market is hydrogen energy, i.e. hydrogen electrochemical generators.

Returning to Russia, Kashin tried to start his own business here, which is related to the production of hydrogen fuel cells. However, there was no experience - and, as the entrepreneur admits, in a series of unsuccessful projects, he was able to spend almost all his savings, which were left from previous business. But he was able to get acquainted with Professor Yuri Dobrovolsky from the Institute of Chemical Physics Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences (now Professor Dobrovolsky is the head of the STI Competence Center on New and Mobile Energy Sources Technologies established at the Institute).

Fully understanding the prospects of new directions of development, the scientist offered the businessman cooperation. Alexey Kashin's new company appeared on the basis of the Institute of Problems of Chemical Physics in Chernogolovka near Moscow, its first employees were researchers of this institute.

For 5 years business has reached impressive scale: annual turnover of the company is about 1 billion rubles. Following the fuel cells the products included power supply systems for various purposes, specialized case and assembly products. The company has production sites in Orenburg, a laboratory in Ekaterinburg, and offices in Kazan, St. Petersburg, China and Germany. Inenergy Group employs about 300 people, 65 of them are engaged in scientific research.

The paradox of the business created by Alexei Kashin is that he "exploits" the general interest in hydrogen energy - at the same time the interest available in the society sometimes exceeds the real use of hydrogen energy sources. The main purchaser of Inenergy Group products are educational institutions: universities, schools and colleges, for which the company makes educational installations where students can study hydrogen energy. The practical use of hydrogen electrochemical energy generators is more narrow, but, in particular, now Kashina company is working with telecom operators - in a project to provide autonomous energy sources for cellular towers, as well as with gas generators - the idea of this project is that similar energy sources feed telemechanics that serve gas pipelines. In general, Alexei Kashin believes that hydrogen batteries will be useful (electrochemical generators) in all technical devices that need autonomous energy sources - except for very tiny, such as mobile phones and other portable gadgets.

On dimensions hydrogen batteries lose lithium-ion, however Alexey Kashin is sure, that in due course they will become irreplaceable for any robots, and also driving and flying drones - a power reserve in the electric car with the hydrogen generator is more, than at similar cars with other types of power sources.

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