Many times discussed with our academics, why their ideas do not turn into product. Say, our job is to generate ideas and innovation need a different talent. It turns out that you are an exception? Are you academician or innovator?
Michael Baptist: Perhaps both equally. But seriously, you ask a very important, even a fundamental question for every scientist. You know, when you spend some research, and even more so when there is a light at the end of the tunnel, you see a lot of applications. And go here and here… But not accidentally innovative business called the most risky. Here hundreds of seemingly breakthrough ideas in the best until the market reach a dozen.
here is an example from my own experience. When I headed the Institute of physics laboratory of high-temperature superconductivity. The theme was very fashionable, for the discovery of this phenomenon were awarded the Nobel prize. And in six months we went to the international level, received the film with record properties. By the way, is still the result of no one has surpassed. I saw the obvious applications of our developments, for example, various sensors. Was full of hope, was sure that they line up, will be covered with money. But none of the wallet did not come.
I Wonder what’s the matter? And then realized, to do only what you need right here and now. It seems to be the obvious thought. But how to find a niche seemingly limitless on the world market? Here, too, need a special talent. When you start to study the market, it turns out that all the seats are occupied, everywhere tens of thousands of competitors.
And nanotubes from graphene you just guessing? By the way, for the method of obtaining this material, Russian scientists Andrei Geim and Konstantin Novoselov were awarded the Nobel prize.
Michael Baptist: I Admit, not immediately felt, not seen prospects who need these nanotubes. Although at one time engaged in the nanocrystals. And here, we can say, helped the case. On one of the shows I saw that, in imposing a paltry fraction of carbon nanotubes in different materials, it is possible to obtain striking effects, for example, to make different materials significantly more durable and easier to transform insulators into conductors to make asphalt, which will stand for longer times. The scope is simply endless.
in short, here it is the material that will be able to change the face of civilization, as they did bronze and iron.
Michael Baptist: Absolutely. But why isn’t there a boom of nanotubes? It turned out, it’s all about the price: it exceeded 150 thousand dollars per kilogram. Where such an incredible figure? The fact that nanotubes is one thing: to possess amazing qualities, they must be single-walled, having a thickness of one of at��M. as soon As the number of layers increases, all the advantages of graphene, “fading”, in fact it turns into the usual graphite. But to establish an industrial production of “single wall” did not succeed, although this race was attended by major companies from different countries. And then I thought, right this is the breakthrough idea that is needed here and now.
And so it was that I was invited to a birthday party a friend of the businessman Yury Koropachinsky, who was then in Australia. He and his partners were looking for ideas for investment. And here we sit on a distant continent, discussing different projects, and I suggested that nanotubes. The idea interested. So our project was born – the company OCSiAl.
how do you convince them that sitting on a gold mine? Because the business on the lasso not to get to invested in ideas. Their only ready-made sample can convince. He have you had?
Michael Baptist: No. But it was a unique plasma reactor. Why unique? The thing is, torch has long been known, they are applied in various technologies. But the electrodes that create the electric arc, working all hours and even minutes, and are then destroyed. It is necessary to stop the process and set new ones, and they are quite expensive. I thought of easy solution: to make the electrodes of the liquid from the molten metals. Then they will be actually eternal. This reactor became the basis of our technology incubator, where we started to grow nanotubes by the kilo. On the creation of industrial installation took about five years.
Tell me more about it. What’s the point?
Michael Baptist: First of all, it must be emphasized that single-walled nanotubes are typically produced on the surface, and we grow in volume. How? In order for something to grow, you need grain. Our grain is nanocatalysts. Create it in a reactor, where the temperature is over 1000, here the injected hydrocarbon, say methane. It starts to decompose on the surface of nano-catalysts, releasing carbon. And then most importantly our know-how: it is necessary to create such conditions that the carbon atoms began to grow nanotubes with a wall thickness of one atom. That’s the technology.
She has more than five years. All competitors know about the liquid electrodes, and about the volume, but can not repeat. Academician Fortov, commenting on your work, said that it collected a whole bunch of different Sciences, unravelling which competitors will be extremely difficult.
Michael Baptist: Vladimir is right. If I tell you everything about this technology to synthesize nanotube will not work. There really concentrated a lot of knowledge. Once we have evaluated the gap of three years, but it’s a lot more, and the competition is not close vdno.
But the nanotubes themselves are few interesting, they must learn to enter in the different materials where they perform miracles, in order to improve the quality. And this is another technology, for example, pipes must be very evenly distributed.
Michael Baptist: You’re right. The customer need to show the goods, show that nanotubes will transform its material. And for this we had to develop special technology for different materials, enriched nanotubes. But it’s worth it: this campaign is valid is much more effective.
However, nanotubes not only can you enter in different materials, one can create a brand new, not previously existed. For example, we made “paper” super-tough and high electrical conductivity. Replacing its copper braided shield for high frequency cables can reduce cable weight by 40 percent, to make it flexible. For example, in an airliner a few tons of such cables.
How now you make nanotubes? What are the prospects?
Michael Baptist: Perhaps at this moment we produce 50 tons per year. While the market size equal to our production, which have been doubling every year. According to experts, over 25 years nanotubes will change more than 75 percent of all known materials, the annual volume of production will reach a thousand tons, which is equivalent to several trillion dollars.
Your success is impressive. Especially in the background of one percent of our high technologies on the world market. How much are we talking about implementation, commercialization ideas, but nothing happens. Once the media was heading, “If I were the CEO…” That you have done, becoming so powerful Director?
Michael Baptist: I have traveled the world, worked with different companies and studied their experience. What first of all? Russia has been and remains a country rich in creative scientists. But they must create the conditions, and, above all, properly motivate. The priority of our scientific publications and patents. But it has a very indirect importance for the problems of the economy. And implementation of innovation no incentives. Therefore the scientist will be life to write articles and patents.
Scientists say they have ideas the full portfolios. Let the business comes in and chooses what he wants. It happens abroad, where the ideas of the firm are chasing.
Michael Baptist: it’s All illusions. Anywhere business does not go anywhere, for anything not chasing. Especially for risky innovation. It must convince, and even to impose new items. And then he, maybe, will hear you and move forward. But, believe me, hard work.
you Have quite a rare surname. Know her roots?
Michael Baptist: know Something. My great-grandfather was Stjasenica. For this reason, my grandfather’s brother emigrated to Poland. We recently found out about it. His granddaughter found me on scientific articles. It turned out that in Europe there are distant relatives.
Michael R. Baptist was born in 1957 in the town of Gusinoozersk, Buryat ASSR. After graduating from the Novosibirsk electrotechnical Institute and came to work at Institute of Thermophysics SB RAS. This record remained the only one in his workbook. Here he became the youngest head of laboratory, leading it in 30 years. They received priority results in molecular physics, plasma physics, thermal physics, high-temperature superconductivity, etc. the Scientist – author and co-author of 303 scientific papers, 51 autarchoglossa and patents. He created the world’s only industrial technology of production of single-walled carbon nanotubes. This work was awarded the State prize of 2019.