Rybolovlev invested in batteries

The former owner of Uralkali Dmitry Rybolovlev invested 35 million Swiss francs in the startup Alevo, engaged in the development of industrial electricity storage technologies.
Vladislav Baumgertner was appointed general director of Swiss Alevo, which is engaged in the development of power storage technologies, the company said. Baumgertner is one of the most distinguished and respected top managers who successfully led the world-famous companies, the words of the chairman of the board of directors of the company Jostein Eikland are quoted in the message. Baumgertner became known as the general director of Uralkali. He headed the company under Dmitriy Rybolovlev in 2005 and managed it until 2010. Baumgertner returned to Uralkali in 2011, a year after Rybolovlev had sold the company to Suleyman Kerimov, Alexander Nesis and Zelimkhan Mutsoyev, and managed it to 2013

This time, Rybolovlev was also involved. Swiss L'Hebdo writes that the businessman invested 35 million Swiss francs in Alevo and became the second-largest shareholder of the company. As the newspaper writes, investors' money was attracted at a price of 120 francs per share, but Rybolovlev got them by "friendly agreement" for 112 francs for a paper. Also, Alevo invited former financial director of Uralkali Kuzma Marchuk. The size of Rybolovlev's package isn't indicated. All attepmpts to contact the representative of the businessman yesterday failed.

Alevo is engaged in the development, production and supply of energy storage solutions, according to its website. Now the company is in the stage of launching industrial production, which will be located in Switzerland, and the main market will be in the US. Its main product will be powerful batteries for power systems and industrial consumers. The company is ready to become an industry leader with its GridBank technology, Baumgertner said in the message.

Alevo was founded in 2009 by Norwegian businessman Jostein Eikland, with its headquarters in Switzerland. As L'Hebdo wrote, Eikland has already invested about 400-500 million Swiss francs in the company. The publication calls Alevo "Swiss Tesla" and notes that the company can revolutionize the industry. Swiss journalists estimate the company's total of 1.4 billion Swiss francs.

The simultaneous appearance of Rybolovlev and Baumgertner in a new project is not accidental. In an interview with Vedomosti in 2011, the top manager told that during his years of working together he and Rybolovlev had had good relations: "It's probably wrong when a shareholder and a hired manager become friends. We have a good relationship."

Cooperation with Kerimov and his partners turned out badly for Baumgertner. In the summer of 2013, Uralkali withdrew from the trade agreement with Belaruskali - since 2005 they had sold potassium through the parity JV Belorussian Potash Company. This enraged the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko. In August, the top manager was arrested at the Minsk airport when he arrived at a meeting with the Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich. He spent several months under arrest in Minsk and a year in Russia under house arrest. As a result, all charges against him were dropped. In August 2015, Baumgertner headed Global Ports, and last week resigned for the sake of an offer from an industry not related to the port business.

The technologies that Alevo is working on are not even the future, but, in some countries, part of the present: many companies are already engaged in the production of such batteries, says Alexander Starchenko, the head of the energy consumers' community. Slightly less offers there are in the industrial segment. The meaning of such technologies is that an enterprise can use its own generation, energy storage, and from a centralized network to feed only during periods of peak loads, he explains. This allows us to reduce not only the load on the energy system, but also the energy costs, Starchenko notes.

The only way to store electricity on an industrial scale is pumped storage power plants, says Natalia Porokhova, head of the ACRA research and forecasting group. However, their installed capacity is less than 2% of the total in the world, this is incomparably small with a change in the load during the day (an average of 30%), she notes. But the technology of energy storage, or rather, its lower and lower costs, are one of the key areas of development in the energy sector, says Porokhova. If the cheaper process continues, it will have a strong impact on the development of the industry - the need for new capacities will decrease, and there will be more opportunities for the development of renewable energy sources, Porokhova describes.