''How can 150,000 tonnes of waste make such a profit?'': president charged with checking out Detroit waste disposal technology

And promised exporters to examine old subsidies

''How can 150,000 tonnes of waste make such a profit?'': president charged with checking out Detroit waste disposal technology Photo: tatarstan.ru

''Yes, Rafinat, you've overslept a bit… You should have sent us there earlier,'' Rustam Minnikhanov responded to a tardy presentation of an alternative project of solid waste disposal excluding waste segregation with gentle irony. At the meeting of the board of directors of Tatneftekhiminvest-holding, ASKA Technologies from Petersburg surprised the distrustful head of the Ministry of Construction Irek Fayzullin with fantastic profitability from solid waste disposal in autoclave, while director of POZIS Radik Khasanov asked a representative of the Russian Export Centre (REC) a loaded question without hesitation: why are exporters cut off from subsidies to compensate travel expenses? Realnoe Vremya's report tells the details.

REC backs Tatarstan exporters by $500m

The next meeting of the board of directors of Tatneftekhiminvest-holding was on the threshold of a meeting of the Russian-Czech working group scheduled for early March in Prague. It's expected that head of the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov and President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov will become the key speakers from the Russian side, while the opening of the first Russian factory manufacturing flexible film abroad by Danaflex will be the major event. Obviously, board member and managing director of the Russian Export Centre (REC) JSC Maksim Kobin delivered a speech at the meeting of the Tatneftekhiminvest-holding on 27 February in relation to this event. He presented state tools to support Russian exporters, which are represented by Roseximbank and EXIAR insurance company.

To start with, Kobin reminded that on 25 September last year the national project International Cooperation and Export Support, which presupposes a rise in non-commodity exports 2,2 times by 2024, was approved. In 2018, non-commodity exports totalled $150bn, or 33% of all Russian exports. The REC supports large and small companies when entering export markets. ''In 2018, Roseximbank gave $1,2bn to support exports, while EXIAR signed export contract insurance agreements at $16,7bn,'' he enumerated the key supporting parameters. According to him, the geography of Russian export contracts includes 158 countries. ''EXIAR offers to insure a supplier's credits and investments, credits taken out to create export companies, and Roseximbank offers concessionary credits,'' he said.

''In 2018, Roseximbank gave $1,2bn to support exports, while EXIAR signed export contract insurance agreements at $16,7bn,'' Kobin enumerated the key supporting parameters

According to the REC managing director, the support of Tatarstan exporters was equal to $500m. Moreover, half of this sum was at KAMAZ PJSC, the other half – in petrochemical enterprises exporting plastics and mineral fertilisers, Kobin said. It goes without saying that energy companies are cut off from the systematic state support, as the development of export non-commodity mechanical engineering products is a priority. And it's hard to question it.

''Kozak was confused, though probably not deliberately''

However, as ''export'' subsidies were under a threat of sequestration for manufacturers of Russian equipment. Radik Khasanov, head of POZIS PJSC annually exporting a quarter of manufactured fridges and medical equipment, expressed discontent at it.

''We have never gone to 'far abroad' countries. Thanks to it we've gone to India, Taiwan, Europe for the first time, it's a very good mechanism,'' told the POZIS director to the Moscow guest. ''Thanks to it we provided 60% sales growth, 50% for two months. It's an awesome project. Unfortunately, conditions are changing. The amendment of the Decree No. 496 of the Government of Russia wasn't for the better,'' he pronounced with reproof.

We're talking about the reduction in the size of export subsidies to transport products by contracts. The changes in the Russian government's decree were prepared on Vice-Premier Dmitry Kozak's instruction who required to ''increase the efficiency of budget money's expenditure''. In answer, the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade offered to decrease the limit of export costs from 25-27,5% to 7-8% and restrict the cap of subsidies for one company.

''We have never gone to 'far abroad' countries. Thanks to it we've gone to India, Taiwan, Europe for the first time, it's a very good mechanism,'' told the POZIS director to the Moscow guest

The president reacted to the indignation of the oldest exporter faster than the guest from the REC. ''I know that Kozak was confused, though probably not deliberately. A new team came. It always seems that you will come and begin a revolution, while, in fact, people who worked before you worked better than you. Some hurried actions are risky. I'm ready to join it,'' Minnikhanov promised. According to him, a reason for a personal meeting with Denis Manturov will be very soon in Prague.

''I will turn to you,'' the president turned to Kobin, ''I will turn to the Russian government, too. We will push! You also suggest us what to do and how.''

Later Radik Khasanov himself explained to Realnoe Vremya that in his enterprise's case the subsidies were reduced by 60m rubles.

''How can 150,000 tonnes of waste make such a profit?''

However, a presentation of an alternative incineration technology to recycle municipal solid waste by ARSKA Technologies (ARSKA Tech PLC) from Petersburg became the main event of the board meeting. Though the presentation was a bit tardy, it sparked serious interest in board members. Director of ARSKA Technologies Artyom Volovikov offered to build an unusual and profitable MSW recycling complex in the republic. Its distinctive feature is that it accepts all waste without prior segregation, while its division into types is inside the factory. ''This allows to recycle immediately, without additional social transformations,'' Volovikov stressed.

The recycling technology consists of several stages: MSW is broken up, then it's sterilised, deodorised and cleared of food remains at 150 degrees and under high steam pressure in autoclaves. Biomass, broken glass, a mixture of plastic, non-ferrous metals and other semi-products are automatically sorted out in the end. Gas is accumulated, all organic remains come out with water that goes through membrane purification.

''How can a factory with a capacity of 150,000 tonnes make such a profit?'' Minister of Construction of Tatarstan Irek Fayzullin waved. ''How much gas do you consume?'' he tried to trap Volovikov

Fantastic commercial effectiveness is the main thing. ''The factory is able to recycle 150,000 tonnes of MSW. Investments are evaluated at 2,7bn rubles. The investments might pay back 2-3 years after launching the factory. Anticipated gross revenue of the enterprise is 1,1bn rubles a year, profit is 750m rubles,'' Volovikov provided business parameters. This factory ''absorbs'' everything: plastics, car tyres. A factory outside Detroit (USA, Michigan) uses this technology.

''Metal has been sorted out, plastic has been sorted out, where has food gone to? Are purified water products sold to anyone then or not? Oh, it would be good to sell it,'' Rustam Minnikhanov didn't believe. ''What if is he telling the truth?'' ''How can a factory with a capacity of 150,000 tonnes make such a profit?'' Minister of Construction of Tatarstan Irek Fayzullin brushed off. ''How much gas do you consume?'' he tried to trap Volovikov.

It seems that the president anyway believed in the possibility of this technology and charged the minister with going to Detroit and check out everything personally. ''Irek, take it immediately. Can we go there? We will be allowed to go in,'' he continued humorously. ''Come on, Irek, make up a delegation and chair it. It's a big serious theme. It will take us 10 years to teach the people how to sort waste out,'' Minnikhanov concluded.

By Luiza Ignatyeva. Photo: tatarstan.ru
Tatarstan