New hydrogen technologies in Russia

The Russian Academy of Sciences has summed up the results of the first stage of the comprehensive hydrogen-energy program that got underway this spring.

This program's main aim is to develop, finance and implement top-priority high-tech projects, create competitive import-substituting equipment and materials in the field of hydrogen energy and fuel elements.

Production can be begun of 70% of all recent national hydrogen-energy projects. Russian experts have developed fuel elements with solid-polymer electrolyte and the methods required to produce them.

Intensive work is under way on hydrogen-energy programs. The United States, Germany, Japan and Russia have developed experimental hydrogen-powered cars. Some companies, such as Daimler-Chrysler, are considering mass-producing these vehicles in 2006.

What opportunities does Russia have in this sphere? Russian scientists now synthesize cation-conducting polymers that are in no way inferior to their foreign equivalents. The potential of our military-industrial sector means state-of-the-art equipment can be developed. The Norilsk Nickel ore-processing factory, the world's leading platinum and palladium producer, can provide enough strategic feedstock for all the required catalysts. Russia therefore has every chance to launch serial production of hydrogen cars in the next few years.

It has been decided to establish the New Energy Project national innovation company. This company will work with institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences to develop a pilot production process for making fuel elements and hydrogen electro-chemical generators. Production will be mostly sited at the Energia Rocket and Space Corporation, which became famous for its Salyut and Mir orbital stations, as well as Soyuz and Progress spacecraft.

Russian industry and major private companies have become interested in the Academy's fundamental research programs in the last few years and want to develop competitive products using them, which would see Russia become a leading high-tech country. And this is vital, because fundamental research is the only way to achieve a technological leap for mankind.

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