RusNano and Thunder Sky Form Joint Venture Company Lithium-Ion Technology; Battery Production Begins in 2011
The Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies (RusNano) and Thunder Sky Group Limited (China) have signed an agreement establish the joint venture Lithium-ion Technology for the first Russia-based production of high-capacity lithium-ion batteries. (Earlier post.) The Russian plant will produce batteries which will be primarily used in electric buses and minibuses. The batteries will also be used in uninterrupted power supply units in IT, telecommunications and renewable energy.
Battery production will begin in 2011. The annual production capacity will reach 400 million ampere-hours by 2012, enough to power 12,000 electric vehicles a year. The guaranteed demand for major part of batteries produced in first four years is ensured by the Thunder Sky contracts with Chinese producers of electric vehicles.
The Russian market sales are expected to grow along with the demand generated by the production of new and re-equipment of existing model such as GAZelle mini-trucks. The sales of the project’s production are expected to reach 13.1 billion rubles (US$450 million) in 2015.
The total budget of the Lithium-Ion Technology venture is estimated at 13.580 billion rubles (US$466 million). RusNano will invest 2.090 billion rubles (US$72 million) in cash in project’s equity and provide a loan of 5.500 billion rubles (US$189 million). Thunder Sky Group Limited will invest 2.090 billion rubles in cash, technologies and the intellectual property in project’s equity and provide a loan of 3.900 billion rubles (US$134 million).
The high-end lithium-ion battery project will build a plant in Novosibirsk (Russia) with four fully automated production lines from Thunder Sky. The flexible modular production process can be reconfigured depending on the customer’s demand and the new technology emergence. Along with production and research units, a sales and marketing division will be established to advance the Thunder Sky technology on Russian and East European markets.
The Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrate Plant will supply the cathode material and lithium compounds for batteries production. Other imported ingredients will be gradually replaced by domestic production, give an impetus for the emergence of new cluster of high technology industries in Russia.
The project’s Science and Technology center will adapt the nanotechnology developments of Russian scientists that will considerably improve characteristics of the Thunder Sky batteries and create new market niches for their application. The Russian production unit will ensure faster commercialization and implementation of the scientific developments.
The RusNano Supervisory Council approved the Corporation’s participation in the project in December 2009. Since that time, RusNano and Thunder Sky prepared all documentation necessary to establish the joint Russian-Chinese venture.