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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chubais Says Rusnano Making Progress

RIA-NovostiPutin discussing the work of Rusnano with Chubais at the prime minister's Novo-Ogaryovo residence on Friday.
Russia is making a good progress toward the "dizzying" prospect of becoming a global nanotechnology leader despite the economic downturn, Anatoly Chubais, head of the State Nanotechnology Corporation, said Friday.

An Irkutsk region company supported by the state corporation has already begun making a nanotechnology-based product used in the solar energy industry, competing with international rivals, Chubais said in a meeting with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to sum his company's work in the recent months.

The government expects that Russia will capture 3 percent of the global nanotechnology market by 2015 and has set aside at least 130 billion rubles ($3.9 billion) for the state corporation, also known as Rusnano, to invest. The corporation was established in July 2007, and Chubais, the former head of the state electricity monopoly, was named its director in September 2008.

Nanotechnology broadly refers to any innovations that work on a scale of nanometers, or one-billionth of a meter.

Asked about the most promising projects, Chubais said, "You know, the prospects here are simply dizzying," according to a transcript of the meeting on the Cabinet's web site.

The three sectors where Rusnano will apply most focus will be solar energy; materials for the building, aerospace and other industries; and medical equipment.

The Irkutsk region plant, in the town of Usoliye-Sibirskoye, began producing polysilicon -- used in solar panels -- in December to supply panel makers, chiefly in Europe and Southeast Asia. Rusnano is investing 4.5 billion rubles in the Nitol Solar plant, whose minority shareholders are the International Finance Corporation, the investment arm of the World Bank, and Suntech Power, a Chinese solar panel producer. Nitol's chairman is Tim Eggar, president of the Russian-British Chamber of Commerce.

Chubais said one of Rusnano's potential start-ups would assemble solar panels in Russia.

Rusnano has also teamed up with billionaire investor Mikhail Prokhorov and the Uralsky Optics and Mechanics Plant in Yekaterinburg to make light diodes using polysilicon. The investors already built a new facility in the city and will soon bring in the equipment to start production, Chubais said.

One of the projects to produce nano materials is in conjunction with the United Aircraft Corporation, another of Russia's seven state corporations, Chubais said.

Rusnano is also supporting construction of a facility in Dubna, in the Moscow region, where a group of researchers with the Dubna Nuclear Research Institute wants to make blood-cleansing filters, Chubais said. Charged particles, accelerated in the facility, would punch minuscule holes in special membranes to create the filters, he said.

"This technology doesn't exist in Europe, or the United States, or Japan," Chubais said proudly. "They have different technology -- less effective than this."

Chubais reiterated that Rusnano would return to the federal budget some of the state funds that it previously received -- without any harm to its plans for this year. The government has asked several state corporations to give the some of their money back temporarily to help plug gaps in the budget.