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Skolkovo’s economical sea-borne generator draws overseas investors

4 Dec '12

A new sea-borne electrical generator developed by a Skolkovo resident is “25% more economical” than a diesel one and has export potential.

Vert Labs, an international Russo-Irish-Swiss-Japanese company working in Skolkovo, Russia’s largest innovation hub outside Moscow, has developed and tested its sea-borne electrical generator, which is “25% more economical” than a diesel one and has export potential.

With the new system, residents of coastal areas and fishermen are said to already be able to generate electricity that costs $0.2 per kilowatt-hour – a rate comparable with generating conventional energy.

According to Oleg Dmitriev, one of Vert Labs’ top managers, “comparing the cost of our kilowatt-hour to that of a hydroelectric power station or a coal power station won’t be in favor of our unit; but if we compare our unit with a diesel one out at sea, we will surely beat it.” In his estimate, the Vert Labs innovation is “25% more economical” than a diesel generator and is capable of generating electricity with a projected per-kilowatt-hour cost of about $0.17.

The developers have plans to set up commercial production of its sea-borne generators as Chinese and Japanese investors are already showing interest. In so doing, the Skolkovo resident wants to nearly halve both the cost of a unit and the cost of ‘green’ energy itself.

In the United States and the European Union, ‘green’ energy accounts for about 10% of overall energy production. According to Russian projections, this country won’t reach the level until 20 years from now. The Russian government is ready to shell out less than $310m to finance the effort; another $20+bn is expected to come from private investors and ‘deep-pocket’ state-controlled companies.

The average cost of building a ‘green’ power station is over $3,000 per future kilowatt—nearly twice the cost of a conventional thermal station.
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