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Cell makers hit lithium-sulfur energy goals

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 11:39 -- Xuan Zhong

Lithium-sulfur cell makers are pushing the technology’s boundaries with two firms reaching a milestone just weeks apart.

US firm Sion Power and UK company Oxis Energy have both reached the coveted 400 Wh/kg goal— opening up the possibilities of longer range electric vehicles.

Sion used its patented Licerion®-Ion system technology in its 20 Ahr cell design batteries to hit 700 Wh/L and 350 cycles under 1C discharge conditions.

Meanwhile across the water Oxis were collaborating with European corporations specialising in conductive carbons, polymer binders and electrolyte additives to hit their target, with the firm hoping to reach 500wh/kg by 2019.

Huw Hampson-Jones, CEO of OXIS Energy lithium-sulfur technology was advancing at a pace that was hard to envisage only a short time ago thanks to the chemical industry and European manufacturers.

He added: “The cells are already being deployed for testing for vehicle demonstration and development. Subject to continuing scientific progress, the significance of 400Wh-kg means that the ability to eliminate distance anxiety for consumers will become a reality as well as the eventual replacement of fossilized fuel vehicles."

Licerion® technology came from Sion Power’s technical collaboration with chemical company BASF.

The key to the technology lays in its high energy lithium anodes that use thin, ceramic barriers to reduce parasitic reactions, unique electrolyte formulations and engineered cathodes.

Sion Power’s Licerion®-Sulfur products are being commercialised via its partnership with Airbus Defence and Space. 

Sion Power is in the process of expanding its facilities in Tucson, AZ for the production of prototype large format Licerion® Ion cells.  The cells will be available by December 2017. 

In the interim, Sion Power is evaluating potential volume manufacturing partners to supplement in-house capacities.

Read more about lithium-sulfur technology in our archives feature: http://www.bestmag.co.uk/emags/BESTMAG52-Spring2016/