Na-ion batteries have come under increasing attention inside and outside the battery industry due to high prices for the raw materials used in Li-ion batteries. On December 27, 2022, Transimage announced that its sub-subsidiary has entered into a cooperation agreement with Zhongxiang Aviation Industry. Together, they will be developing Na-ion batteries for NEV powertrain systems and energy storage systems.
Under the agreement, both parties will consolidate their respective resources and competitive advantages to create new energy solutions for specialty vehicles that support the civilian aviation industry. Na-ion battery is chosen because it potentially offers a better cost-to-performance ratio than does Li-ion battery for the aforementioned applications.
The agreement also guarantees that Transimage will be the exclusive supplier for the Na-ion batteries used in the energy storage systems sold by Zhongxiang. Furthermore, Zhongxiang will procure at least 1.3GWh of battery cells from Transimage or another specifically assigned supplier for the year 2023.
Zhongxiang is a holding subsidiary of Air China. Partially owned by investors in the private sector, Zhongxiang focuses on the provisioning of aviation safety solutions. It develops, transfers, and promotes technologies related to safety and communication systems. It also sells related hardware (e.g., parts and equipment) and services.
Transimage stated that the cooperation agreement aligns with its development strategy for the medium to long term. Collaborating with Zhongxiang will drive the growth of Transimage’s Na-ion battery business and thus be beneficial to Transimage’s shareholders. Transimage also noted that the agreement will not have a significant effect on its financial performance for the current year. Furthermore, the agreement will not affect Transimage’s independence with respect to its operation.
Established on November 5, 2007, Transimage has been mainly a manufacturer for laptop computer keyboards, PCBs, and other electronic peripherals. The Chinese company was listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange on April 26, 2017. Currently, Transimage holds a global market share of 20.56% and a domestic market share of 40% for laptop computer keyboards. The company is also regarded as a “national-level high-tech enterprise”.
According to the information provided by various Chinese sources, Transimage formally pivoted to the field of Na-ion battery on August 9, 2022, when it formed a sub-subsidiary dedicated to the development of this technology. On August 31, 2022, Transimage disclosed that it was ready to begin the production of Na-ion batteries as it had finished the construction of a battery manufacturing facility and the deployment of related equipment. Then, on October 24 of the same year, Transimage said the immediate target for capacity expansion had been raised. Specifically, the planned production capacity of the first-phase expansion had been raised significantly from 2GWh per year to 4.5GWh per year.
A few days later on October 27, Transimage unveiled its Na-ion battery products and disclosed that the pilot production line already entered operation. It also said that its Na-ion battery cells have an energy density of 150-160Wh per kilogram and a lifespan of at least 4,000 cycles.
On November 8, 2022, Transimage announced that it will serve as a guarantor for Zhiwei Electronic, which will take out a loan of no more than RMB 2 billion in order to strengthen the manufacturing capability pertaining to computer parts and Na-ion batteries. This loan is expected to support the first-phase expansion.
Shortly later, on December 25, Transimage opened its Na-ion battery business for evaluation. Around 130 financial and research entities participated in the evaluation. Examples include Harvest Fund Management, Soochow Asset Management, China Post Fund, and Caitong Securities. At the same time, Transimage released the performance results of the samples from its pilot production lines. The performance results of the samples had been determined by third-party testers. Moreover, Transimage revealed the latest progress in the development of its Na-ion battery technology.
According to the information provided by third-party testers, Transimage’s Na-ion battery cell (i.e., 18650 cylindrical cell) has an energy density of 157Wh per kilogram. It can retain as much as 93% of its stored energy at minus 20 degrees Celsius. In terms of lifespan, Transimage’s Na-ion battery cell now has more than 5,000 cycles.
In its latest announcement, Transimage stated its first-phase expansion is now in the equipment calibration phase. As for the second-phase expansion, the company said planning will commence in the second half of 2023, and the amount of new production capacity will be based on the sales performance of its Na-ion battery products.
This article is a translation of a Chinese article posted by Wendy at TrendForce. It contains information that is either sourced from other news outlets or accessible in the public domain. Some Chinese names are transcribed into English using Hanyu Pinyin.