Fully Charged: How a Skolkovo Resident Got the Better of Elon Musk

PHOTO by sachkov / Depositphotos
The innovative WATTS modular energy accumulation and storage system developed by a Skolkovo resident to be revealed at the Slush 2016 startup conference

The one-of-a-kind invention is ready for mass production, so Lenta.ru charted the progress of the bold project.

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, shows off a solar roof with an integrated battery to anyone who's interested, but avoids answering the question of when the product will actually be available to customers. Meanwhile, Watts Battery, part of Skolkovo’s Energy-Efficient Technologies cluster, has created an industrial prototype of a modular energy storage system. Not only is this system unique, but it is also ready for sale on the mass market. The invention will be unveiled at the Slush 2016 international startup conference, which will be held in Helsinki between Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 of 2016.

The amazing breakthrough took just a year to achieve. It all started during the summer of 2015, when the Watts Battery founders Yuriy Vlasov and Vladimir Mlynchik decided to create an energy storage device. Within a few months, they designed and constructed WATTS based on innovative lithium-ion technologies. The first industrial prototype of WATTS was completed in May 2016, less than a year after the ambitious project was initiated.

From the very beginning the team decided that WATTS had to be flexible and scalable. The device was supposed to work as both an autonomous portable energy source or as part of a modular system, capable of supplying a whole building with electricity. Individual modules can work as separate storage and energy management systems and are as easy to put together as Lego pieces.

Watts Battery’s journey to success began in the Startup Village in Skolkovo, where they presented their WATTS prototype in June 2016. Five months later, in October 2016, WATTS received the first prize at the national Energy Breakthrough competition for young innovators.

Their success was certain. WATTS is the first ever powerful battery that can charge using sunlight, wind or power grid to supply electricity to users at home or in outdoor locations where access to the mains is unavailable. This approach enables a wide application of the product and sharpens its competitive edge.

According to Ilya Kiselev, Project Manager of Energy Technology Innovation Projects at Skolkovo Foundation, the product created by Watts Battery is oriented to the needs of the distributed generation market.

“WATTS can become an important element of modern energy supply systems for residential and public buildings which uses renewable energy sources effectively. The modular design ensures wide-range power distribution scalability. We are confident that WATTS will be in demand on both the Russian and international markets,” Kiselev added.

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The founders of Watts Battery agree. Although, according to Vladimir Mlynchik, the Russian market of home energy storage systems is still in its formative stages, WATTS has many advantages to attract potential users. For example, the device can store power at nighttime when electricity is cheaper, and be used as an energy source during the day, resulting in considerable cost savings for homeowners, says Yuriy Vlasov.

A WATTS module weighs just 8 kg and has a 1.2 kW capacity, while offering a 1.5 kW output. It takes less than 90 minutes to charge from a one-kilowatt home solar power station; the module can usually charge from a standard power socket in under an hour. A fully charged portable WATTS module can operate for over 24 hours, depending on the type of devices being powered.

WATTS does not need petrol or diesel, nor does it generate harmful emissions into the atmosphere. It enhances the performance of solar panels and wind turbines, while significantly reducing fuel consumption by generators. Last but not least, the device is highly reliable and noise-free.

“Our device is one of a kind. Today, it has no competitors on the world market. WATTS can be charged from the electrical grid, solar batteries or wind turbines and supply energy to any place on the globe. We want to start a revolution in the modern, cable-dependent world. We intend to launch our project on the Russian and global markets, bring foreign investment into the Russian economy and contribute to technological advancement. See you at Slush!” summarized Yuriy Vlasov, CEO of Watts Battery.

The presentation of the WATTS industrial prototype will take place in Helsinki on Nov. 30, 2016, during the SLUSH forum for startups and investors.