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.”