OXIS Energy Lithium-Sulfur Batteries To Be Produced In Brazil

FEB 16 2019 BY MARK KANE 23

OXIS Energy attracted $60 million investment to build small production facility

OXIS Energy is progressing on the way to commercialize its  lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery, which already offers energy density of more than 400 Wh/kg and by the end of 2019 are expected to improve to 500 Wh/kg.

The company signed contract with CODEMGE PARTICIPACOES SA, a public company incorporated in the city of Belo Horizonte in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil to establish lithium-sulfur cells plant.

The facility will be managed by OXIS Energy Brazil Holdings, and according to press release, production capacity to be 2 million cells per year in 2022 (first phase) with further expansion plan to 5 million cells.

“CODEMGE’s US$60m investment will go towards the building of the plant in Belo Horizonte with Phase 1 having a cell capacity of 2 million cells per annum. Collaborating with Siemens Digital Factory, among others, the aim is to design a plant that will produce around 5m cells by the mid 2020s.  OXIS expects to complete Phase 1 in 2022.

The OXIS Li-S cells will be developed, designed and produced to meet the demands of three sectors – aviation, defence and electric vehicles such as buses, trucks and light commercial vehicles, reflecting the clients currently in partnership with OXIS.

This round of funding is in addition to the £6.3 million investment from the Brazilian private equity fund Aerotec completed in 2018.”

We guess that the 2 million cells will translate to no more than 100 MWh, which is equivalent to 1,000 Tesla Model S with 100 kWh packs. At relatively low scale, few years from now, it seems that the promise of lithium-sulfur batteries for electric cars are misty. Lack of investments from car manufacturers indicates that Li-S are not suitable for cars, despite high energy density. Whether it’s because the price per kWh, too short cycle-life or too low power output?

Those high-energy cells will be probably used mostly in aviation we believe – drones, light electric aircrafts, High Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS) and Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircrafts.

Huw Hampson-Jones, CEO OXIS Energy said:

“The decision made by CODEMGE to invest alongside OXIS to develop and build the first ever Lithium Sulfur cell technology manufacturing plant is of great significance to the widespread adoption of pure electric vehicles for worldwide consumption. It also displays the foresight of the State Government of Minas Gerais in moving away from its dependency on North American or Asian cell manufacturing capabilities. Brazil will emerge as being a major future supplier of re-chargeable lithium batteries, whilst at the same time exploiting its natural mineral reserves of lithium in the state of Minas Gerais.”

According to Marco Antonio Castello Branco, CEO of CODEMGE:

“This collaboration with OXIS Energy illustrates the diversification of the Minas Gerais industrial structure. Its entry into the high technology sector will increase its scientific and business relationships with the UK. The lithium  sulfur cell plant represents a strategic downstream integration of CODEMGE’s engagement in lithium mining and chemicals production.”

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23 Comments on "OXIS Energy Lithium-Sulfur Batteries To Be Produced In Brazil"

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I have been peeking at LiS news time by time, for a few years now! This sounds like another good start, down a long road to commercial production, even if relatively modest Volume, at the start!

If it has stabilized energy, the Professional Drone Market could be a good commercial play for users! Also, emerging Electric Personal Drones and eSTOL Electric Aircraft.

As they demonstrate this new Chemistry, and grow Production, Electric Vehicles may also become uses of it, too! Maybe by 2022-2025?

I was also interested in it, but today i realize it won’t change much for EVs. The current technology has proven to be good enough, and now what is important is durability and price. For flying, it’s a totally different story.

** The current technology has proven to be good enough, and now what is important is durability and price. **

And also size, weight, and – as anyone who has anything to do with EV’s would know – the cold weather performance and the charging speed 🙂

Their brochure lists some car makers as customers: Daimler, Porsche, Nissan, Renault.

Also of interest is that the nominal cell voltage is 2.1V, much lower than the normal 3.6V for lithium-ion. That would require significantly more cells in series to achieve the 400V pack voltage we are accustomed to.

And last time I checked their specs they had really low volumetric energy density which will be a challenge in packaging even though they have a high gravametric density.

Just looked on their site. They are claiming 300 Wh/L. Tesla/Panasonic 2170 cells are over 700 Wh/L.

There is a data sheet for two of their cells:
The high power cell has energy density of 300Wh/kg and can discharge at up to 6C, but the cycle life is only 200 at 80% DoD. Also the operating temperature is a disappointing 0°C to 30°C.

Thankyou for the link, should have been included in the article.
Yes, the main problem with LiS is cycle life. Totally unsuitable for the auto market but worth while for drones, just replace the batteries every few months. The other issue is the operating voltage 2.6V to 1.9V, L-ion is typically 4.2V to 3.5V so same voltage drop, but a higher percentage of the range 32% vs 19%. This makes it more difficult for the load to extract all the useable power. Not impossible, but does require extra complexity and cost.

What the marketing brochure giveth, the data sheet taketh away 🙂

This is why I can’t stand people who latch onto a single spec and start talking about 500 mile Model Xs and such.

We see the same thing with Maxwell. Everybody getting excited about 300 Wh/kg with a path to 500, nobody asking questions. Their 300 going to 500 claim is probably based on testing their coating process with a Li-S battery like this one!

I will bet you a bag of scooby snacks Elon and JB knew what to ask.

Scooby snacks?

Elon and JB aren’t the ones out there talking about 500 mile Model Xs.

I’ve posted my thoughts on Maxwell’s DBE. It sounds good if it scales up. But 300-500 Wh/kg is just marketing fluff. It has nothing to do with DBE.

Doggydogworld – quote: “But 300-500 Wh/kg is just marketing fluff. It has nothing to do with DBE.”
Well, I haven’t been talking about 500 mile Model X’s ( 🙂 ), but I’ve no problem with believing 300-500Wh/kg is technically possible….. The real question is when……?

If anyone expects next year, I think they’re in for a shock, but in ten years, maybe even five……? Dare one hope for less?

For cars, I’d also think cheaper batteries/kWh, and which charge quicker, are more important than energy density anyway?

Tunny – Chemistries can do 450 Wh/kg today. SolidEnergy sells small volumes of one such cell for solar drones and such. Cycle life and cost keep it out of cars, at least for now.

Maxwell’s SEC filings say their DBE process is compatible with many chemistries, including advanced ones that can achieve 300+ Wh/kg. Kind of like me saying the socks I make are “compatible with a 4 minute mile”. As long as the right person wears them….

So there is nothing new then, problem with those type of battery was the short cycle life.

Actually that low operating temperature is a real feature. This would for most of the year not require any battery conditioning in moderate climates.

Car manufacturers need to guarantee reliability. This is an absolute killer for innovation. It will be used once it has been tested in some low lifecycle products (consumer electronics like cell phones etc)

>” Whether it’s because the price per kWh, too short cycle-life or too low power output? “<

The price of Sulfur is very low compared to NiMnCo, so material cost is much lower than NCA, NMC ….

Point 2 'low lifespan' is nailing it : under heavy use and low discharge, the life cycle of LiS is currently below 100 !!

Power output can be 2C continuous and more than 4C at short surge power, sufficient for EV.

Reminds me at the 2015 NMC chemistry reaching 250 Wh/kg for the first time but on the expense of 100-200 cycles lifespan and low discharge with was solved finally.
So hopefully LiS can be improved for lifespan and Volume density in the next few years.

Per yours and other comments above: at 2.1 V per cell, this Chemistry might fit more as a 1:1 Replacement for Lead Acid Batteries, in a variety of uses. 0°C to 30°C, means just Fine for Hundreds of Thousands of Forklift Batteries, operating in inside Building environments. Now, as to cycle life … Again, Lead Acid (PbA, for short), has Awful Life Cycle Life, when Used in 100% Depth of Discharge (DoD, for short) Cycles, but does better at less deep, or Shallower cycles. So, it comes to this: What is the Cycle Life Grid? Cycles at Consistent % Discharge, as in, how many cycles at 5% DoD? 10%? 15%? Etc., In 5% increments, from just 5% to 100% DoD? Combined with Operating Temps, as in 30°C to 0°C in 2°C intervals? So many Battery Data Sheets seem to lack any comprehensive presentation of Loads, vs. Temps vs. age vs. cycles, as well! As in, it might be able to deliver 2C, 4C, 6C, or even 10C or 20C, but, to how long or what DoD? At What Temps? Over both, How Many Run Cycles, and as well as How Many Calendar Years? Sometimes, calendar years are as much, if… Read more »

Excellent news, excellent energy density of 400 Wh/kg. Slowly electric vehicle will close the gap with gasmobiles.

Just for reference gasoline is about 12,300 Wh/kg. That’s thermal of course, so you must reduce by the thermal efficiency of the heat engine compared to a battery, inverter and electric motor and the higher than EV drive train losses and you have the extra (compared to EV) mass of the engine/drive train.

Still this roughly 50 fold difference in energy density for battery cells vs. hydrocarbon fuel is why aircraft, where mass is almost the whole deal, won’t become electric except for certain specialized and short range operations.

As far as EV batteries that are affordable and durable enough to be used in ground vehicles we can expect to see steady but fairly slow improvements in energy density which will eventually approach some limit. Any guesses (or knowledge based thoughts) what that limit might be.

Lithium air batteries have theoretical energy density around 10-11 kWh/kg and research cells have demonstrated close to 2 kWh/kg.

Unfortunately this cells has low volumetric energy density, meaning more space for a pack, more than double the volume of state of the art Li-ion cells. The price and gravimetric energy density, and safety ( this cells don’t explode if pubctured and are stable at high temperature) are really good!