The technology developed by the project team – the finalist of GenerationS-2014 "Plazma konversiya", will allow small tonnage oil and gas and petrochemical companies to cut the energy cost of the process twice, as well as to reduce capital costs by an order. Alexey Lavrin who represented the team in the competition told about the prospects of the project and explained why it is sometimes difficult to tell the important things in simple words.
Our company, "Plazma konversiya" LLC, was established in December 2013. But by that time I have already been participating in the promotion of our project "Non-catalytic conversion of methane in the microwave plasma torch" as a manager of innovation activities. Now I am involved in the promotion of innovative projects, development of international relations and represent the company at public events.
We have a very strong team of professionals with huge experience in the field. Igor Kossyy, the scientific supervisor of the project, who is responsible for the development of international scientific cooperation in our company, for many years have been involved in scientific researches in the fields of plasma physics, gas discharge physics, plasma chemistry, interaction of electromagnetic field with plasma and other scientific activities. Alexey Davydov, the researcher of the project, is working on preparation and carrying out experimental work, is responsible for the preparation of RTE. Earlier, Alexey conducted research in the field of low-temperature plasma and plasma-chemical and gas dynamic phenomena associated with the microwave discharge in various gases. Renat Khabeev, CEO of multifunctional industrial holding "NAVIGATOR Management Company" LLC, the project coordinator. At the same time he is a consultant on business processes, marketing and development of the project. Renat has huge and successful experience in managing various assets of industrial enterprises.
The company "Plazma konversiya" appeared thanks to the personal enthusiasm and commitment of Renat Khabeev. This project is an innovative branch of activities of the holding. Our team collected the necessary information, assessed the prospects of the project, and then established contacts and partnerships with leading scientists, experts in the field of plasma physics of the GPI RAS. For the implementation of the first project there was established the first innovative company – LLC "Plasma-pro". The holding "NAVIGATOR Management Company" provided it with the opportunity to develop the technology of non-catalytic conversion of methane using plasma-chemical methods. It was logical, since the activities of the holding company are associated with oil and gas industry: the production plant "Neftegazmash" - the manufacturer of oil field and oil and gas equipment - is a part of the holding company. As a result, we have developed a process of non-catalytic conversion of methane in the microwave plasma torch. Specially for the project, we established an independent company – "Plazma konversiya", and our project got the status of a participant of the "Skolkovo" Foundation. We strive to provide domestic and worldwide specialized companies with highly efficient, accessible, cost-effective technologies of production of synthesis gas, including small-capacity gas-chemical technologies.
Work in innovative business develops the skills related to the complex of business disciplines. Among them are analyses of large amounts of information, negotiating, establishing contacts with foreign colleagues, attracting new customers and presentation of the project to investors. I believe that innovative business is one of the most promising businesses; the demand for it will only increase in the future.
One of the projects of our holding participated in the competition CleantechOpen, and based on its results we were invited to the GenerationS. Before the acceleration program we analysed Russian and global markets, introduced some modifications to our project, prepared the answers to possible questions about our work. We also tried to structure our information material so that the presentation would be understandable for any audience.
The most difficult part for us was to simplify information – to tell about the development and its benefits for the market so that it would be understandable to a broad audience not familiar with the technologies of gas processing. Our project falls into the hi-tech category: it involves high technologies, oriented at specialists in the field of oil and gas and gas chemicals, so it was difficult to change the structure of presentation material to convey the essence of our project to everyone present in the audience. For me it was also difficult to change my view of our project and of the way it should be seen by the audience – investors, experts, members of the jury.
But participation in the competition, including communication with experts and investors, helped me to develop a new understanding. I realized how to present the project and how to organize presentation materials, learned a lot about how the innovative activities are implemented abroad, and how venture companies work there. I also remember training in communications in the API Moscow, namely the indifferent attitude of coaches to the projects of the participants, their important tips and exercises.
We are encouraged by the fact that our project became one of the finalists of the GenerationS and entered the top 5 industrial projects in Russia. Now we, as a finalist of the competition, are waiting for receiving a mini-grant from the Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises in Science and Technology to conduct the necessary research. The main question we are facing today is confirmation of the feasibility of scaling of the technology to the declared level. Our development has already attracted interest of four investment funds, and we are looking forward to further cooperation. In the next two years, our team is planning to create a working prototype of the reactor with a power of 600 kW and a capacity of 10 million m3 / year.