It’s that time of year: RusNano is holding its annual nanotechnology conference.
This year, Dmitry Medvedev, instead of offering up a keynote address, has convened the 27th meeting of his modernization committee.
The committee, whose charge it is “to monitor and promote the technological modernization of the economy at the executive level,” will review the status of the nanotechnology sector.
One of the first bits of interesting news to come out of the meeting is that: “In 2011, RusNano has earned about 10 billion rubles (US $312 million) on manufacturing products using nanotechnology—nearly half of the state corporation's total turnover."
I take the phrase “earned” as meaning revenues rather than profits. Taking RusNano's market estimates with a grain of salt has made sense in the past.
We should expect these estimates to be fairly conservative, however, ever since Anatoly Chubais, RusNano's chief, got fed up with bogus market numbers he was seeing and decided that RusNano was going to track its own development.
There is no doubt that this year RusNano loosened its purse strings and made a number of investments that may, or may not, be accounting for the $312 million this year.
But if, as the Moscow Times article indicates, much of the revenue came from “specialized coatings to protect aluminum,” it does sound tantalizingly close to what we might expect from the memorandum of understandings RusNano and Toyota Tsusho and Alcoa signed earlier this year.
I have to say though, no matter how you look at it, over $300 million in revenues is pretty impressive for a project that has really only existed for three years.
Dexter Johnson is a contributing editor at IEEE Spectrum, with a focus on nanotechnology.