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2017-01-27

Joint Venture to bring sodium nickel battery to market




Chinese battery maker Chaowei Group has established a Joint Venture (JV) company with General Electric to bring to market a sodium-nickel-chloride battery.
The JV sees Chowei’s subsidiary Chaowei Lvna and US firm GE’s subsidiary General Electric Technology Development (GETD) joining forces to develop the technology.
The new firm, called Zhejiang Lvming Energy Co., is preparing to build a new factory in Chaowei’s headquarters-Changxing, Zhejiang, China.
The JV plans to start manufacturing and commercialising the battery, named Durathon™, at the factory by June 2018.
Chief scientist of Chaowei, Dr. Guiping Dai, told BBB that Chaowei would contribute $35million to establish the JV, with 85.71% equity interest, while GETD would share 14.29% of the new company.
Chaowei paid $14million for the Durathon™ technology transfer and the licences granted by GETD to the JV company.
First commercialised by GE in the US in 2012, Durathon™ has an operating temperature of -40? to 65? for 3,500 cycles at 80% depth-of-discharge.
However, GETD’s plant in Schenectady, New York, was closed down in 2015 due to the high cost of manufacturing the technology, which led to operating losses of around $400 per KWh, according to an insider BBB spoke to.
GE has established pilot projects in relation to Durathon™ in Canada and California, US.
Dr. Dai said: “The new factory in China is expected to start production in June 2018 and GE Group will have right of first refusal of Durathon™.
“The JV company has two-years buffering period from now, which will allow the energy storage market the grow further.”