Chinese start-up Zoolnasm, founded in January 2021, has initiated the construction of a sizable factory in Guangde, Anhui province, for the production of sodium-ion batteries. This move follows recent announcements by BYD and Huaihai regarding their own sodium-ion battery plans, marking an industry-wide shift towards alternative battery technologies.
Designed with an ambitious annual capacity of 20 gigawatt-hours for sodium-ion battery cells and an additional 10 GWh for corresponding battery systems, Zoolnasm's facility is set to become a key player in the burgeoning sector. The first construction phase, slated for completion in August 2024, targets an annual capacity of 10 GWh for sodium-ion battery cells. The company, also known as Zhong Na Energy, has not yet disclosed a timeline for the subsequent phase.
With a committed investment of 10 billion yuan ($1.4 billion), the 600-acre factory site in Guangde provides access to the Yangtze River. The initial phase, estimated to cost 4 billion yuan, is expected to be funded by Zoolnasm's principal investor, Country Garden Venture Capital, the capital arm of real estate giant Country Garden.
Founded by Xia Gang in January 2021 and headquartered in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, Zoolnasm boasts the expertise of head scientist Zhao Jianqing, who claims fifteen years of research in sodium-ion batteries. The company has developed three cathode material preparation technologies for sodium-ion batteries and has had its soft-pack battery samples tested by an unnamed third party.
During the groundbreaking ceremony, Xia Gang emphasized Zoolnasm's commitment to accumulating full-stack technical capabilities and building full-chain mass production capabilities. The company prides itself on the integration of technology, team, and organizational capabilities, positioning itself as a leader in bringing sodium-ion battery products to the market.
While Zoolnasm forges ahead with its sodium-ion battery ambitions, other major players in the industry, such as BYD and CATL, are also exploring sodium-ion technology. The sodium-ion batteries are seen as a viable alternative to lithium-ion technology, offering potential advantages in cost and resource availability. The global interest in sodium-ion batteries is further evidenced by Northvolt's recent announcement of its exploration into sodium-ion battery technology, particularly for battery energy storage applications.