NOVOSIBIRSK, February 11. /TASS/. Graphetron 50, the largest nanotube synthesis installation in the world, was launched in Novosibirsk.
The installation, developed by OCSiAl company (a Rusnano portfolio company), will produce graphene nanotubes - a modifier that enhances properties of many materials.
"Following the one-ton machine, deployed and launched here in 2013, we launch the 50-ton installation today," Rusnano Chairman Anatoly Chubais said, adding that this is "an event of an international importance."
"There is nothing comparable to this on the Earth. We are talking industrial installation that can produce material that no one can produce in such volumes. The material itself is 150 times stronger than steel," the official underscored.
When added to almost any other material, carbon nanotubes have multiplied its strength and electric conductivity.
"I can say responsibly that it is here, in Novosibirsk Region, in Akademgorodok, in OCSiAl company, that we create the new era of mankind’s materials. Nobody can truly comprehend the scale of its importance yet," Chubais concluded.
The new installation is OCSiAl's second. It’s production capability is 50 tons of graphene nanotubes per year. The first installation, Graphetron 1.0, has been launched in 2014 and is currently capable of producing 25 tonnes per year.
About Rusnano and OCSiAl
Rusnano JSC was created on March 11, 2011, during reorganization of Russian Nanotechnology Corporation, with part of the state-owned corporation property being transferred to Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs (FIEP), tasked with development of innovative infrastructure in nanotech sphere.
Currently, Rusnano Group, which includes JSC, Rusnano Management Company and the FIEP, is a part of Russian system of innovative development institutions. It invests primarily in high-tech companies past the venture stage and in need of additional funding to increase production and sales. The assets of Rusnano JSC are controlled by Rusnano Management Company, created in 2013, and headed by Anatoly Chubais.
OCSiAl is the first company in Rusnano portfolio with net worth of $ 1 billion, recognized as a "unicorn" (a startup company valued at over $1 bln). In 2019, the company was included in two unicorn lists at the same time: The Crunchbase Unicorn Leaderboard and the CBInsights’s The Global Unicorn Club. OCSiAl was the only Russian unicorn in the Industrial category.
The first carbon nanotubes were created and studied in 1991. The first experiments revealed that the new material has a number of useful properties. In particular, nanotubes are great at conducting heat and electric current; they are mechanically strong and stable. However, it was later discovered that nanotubes’ practical use is limited due to their small size and difficulties in binding them into continuous tissues.
Despite this, it was relatively recently discovered that the nanotubes present great interest if added to other materials or even "inserted" into living cells. For example, three years ago, the US scientists managed to convert plants into ultra-sensitive explosives detectors that glow in presence of explosives’ molecules in the air. They also managed to triple the effectiveness of photosynthesis using nanotubes.