Sion Power To Supply Airbus DS With 350 Wh/kg Li-S Batteries

JUN 29 2015 BY MARK KANE 16

Li-S Technology Overview by Sion Power

Li-S Technology Overview by Sion Power

Airbus Defense and Space continues to use 350 Wh/kg energy dense lithium sulfur (Li-S) batteries supplied from Sion Power in its new project.

They are developing a successor for Zephyr 7, the High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) aircraft, which can stay in the air many days.

In the press release, Sion Power is still stating 350 Wh/kg as the highest value for rechargeable batteries. The company website indicates the possibility of 600 Wh/kg in the near future, but we saw this statement in the past and would like to see some progress, like at least 400 Wh/kg.

If this technology matures and will enable for high power, long lasting pack, it could change the automotive industry.

“This agreement extends the previously successful Zephyr 7 program in which Sion Power batteries were employed during the night, along with solar power during the day, to achieve record-breaking flights of more than 14 days without refueling or landing. The Zephyr 7 aircraft had a wing span of 70 ft (22.5 m).

The Zephyr 8 aircraft is larger, with increased payload capacity, and will employ custom Li-S battery packs designed and assembled in Tucson Arizona. The Zephyr aircraft is at the forefront of the HAPS arena, holding 3 world records. Zephyr aircraft have already flown in a number of different airspaces under challenging winter conditions. Airbus Defence and Space has obtained permissions to fly these aircraft in both commercial and military situations alike. No other HAPS system has as many flight hours, reliability and flexibility of operation.”

John Kopera, Sion Power’s Vice President, Commercial Operations said:

“We are extremely pleased and honored to collaborate with Airbus on advancing its strategically important HAPS program while building on the Airbus/Sion Power relationship established several years ago. Our experience working together has gained important momentum as Airbus Defence and Space program continues to lead the industry supplying advanced HAPS aircraft.”

Dr. Dennis Mangino, Sion Power CEO, added:

“We are excited to be working with Airbus on this transformational program.”

Thomas Keupp, Vice President and Head of Portfolio Management at Airbus, stated:

“Our collaboration with Sion Power will enhance Airbus Unmanned Aerial Pseudo-Satellite vehicles important to our extensive portfolio of aircraft products. Sion Power is a world leader in light weight, high energy Li-S battery technology. Combining Airbus and Sion Power engineering expertise has proven to be a successful platform for our on-going success.”

Categories: Battery Tech


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16 Comments on "Sion Power To Supply Airbus DS With 350 Wh/kg Li-S Batteries"

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Already 350 Wh/kg. Cool.

They are 350Wh/kg, but they’re also only about 350Wh/l – about half the volumetric capacity of the Panasonic cells in the Tesla Model S (700Wh/l). So you’d have to double the volume of the battery pack to get the equivalent kWh storage.

I imagine volume is not such a big issue as weight with aircraft, with all the space in the wings and no need to carry fuel.

You are absolutely right, but in electric vehicle is the volumetric energy density issue no.1 in these days.

It is sad, that even carmakers talking about weight of electric vehicles, but they are already producing much more heavier ICE vehicles than Tesla with its 85 kWh battery pack.

Not right that volumetric capacity (KWh/L) is what counts on cars, actually both are important, mass capacity (KWh/Kg) as well. In fact it will depend on the car. If it is a compact car, volume constrained, the volumetric capacity will play an important role, but if it is an SUV or a pick-up truck, which are mass constrained, the mass capacity will be main factor.

Today we have problem with insufficient drive range in all vehicle categories. The volumetric density is the only key to solve the problem. Improving the gravimetric density twice of Leaf battery pack will give you only additional ~25 km more range. And you spare only 150kg of vehicle mass. After we will get to at least 1000Wh/l at cell level (now we are sitting at 700 Wh/l for the best cells). Then it will make sense to start talking about gravimetric density of cells used in vehicles.

You should realize, that todays gravimetric density of cells is not bad at all (150Wh/kg at pack level of Tesla and Audi). That mean 560kg for 85kWh pack and 800kg for 120kWh. Even with 800kg pack you are still able to built a sedan or SUV in the range of 2300-2500kg. And you have still enough space to 3500kg weight limit of the M1 vehicle category. But this vehicle will be useless without sufficient range.

…on a somewhat related topic, the solar impulse is currently in flight over the pacific traveling from japan to hawaii.

My air induction charging and storage system could charge battery packs.

I don’t get it. I thought Li-Sulfur batteries are still in the lab stage and 10 years in the future?

Simple because that what it is.
Those thing are still lab ready and hope ready to open market in 10 years.
As for now, it’s just possible to use it in those highly experimental project.
It’s still testing 1, 2, 1,2.

Not really, cells are being produced, they’ll likely hit wide-spread commercial use before 2020. The question is what usage will work? Drones/aviation are a good application of Li-S batteries, not quite for EVs or consumer electronics.

Lithium-silicon batteries are probably 5-10 years away from commercial production, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make a small number at high cost to be used in a prototype vehicle like this one.

The “SolarTaxi” is powered by “hot salt” batteries. Again, not something you can buy off the shelf.

I don’t think that has changed in over 10 years. Sion has always advertised 350kwh batteries. Back then the problem was rapid degradation with each charge cycle. After 50 cycles the battery was completely useless. Have they resolved that problem?

No error correction capability? 350 wh/kg.

We’ve seen various articles (one is linked below) indicating successful laboratory approaches to eliminating the problem with extremely fast degradation of li-S batteries when cycled. But I don’t know if any of those solutions has been developed to the point that reliably operating cells can be produced in even the limited numbers needed for this type of prototype.

It may be that they just replace the battery pack frequently.

I think that if we suppose to use Li-S in drones and UAV, or military applications like batteries in military radios, personal thermovision, sights, laptops and other stuff. The cycle life is not a big issue, especially if the soldier can carry a few kilos less. Another benefit for Li-S should be a possibility of charging in below zero temperatures.

But I heard about another issue with Li-S and that was high self-discharge rate, which should be much more significant issue than cycle life. But I do not check this information, so it should be only a misunderstanding.