UK lithium-sulfur cells maker OXIS Energy has secured a GBP3.7 million ($5.17m) capital boost to expand its battery business in Brazil.
Oxis said it plans to use funding from Brazilian private equity fund, Aerotec, to open a subsidiary and an R&D centre in southeast Brazil as it eyes increasing demand for batteries in the electric heavy vehicles market.
The cash boost marks the first international venture for Aerotec, which is centred on investment in aerospace and advanced manufacturing and is anchored by Codemig, which is managed by Confrapar— a pioneer in the Brazilian venture capital and private equity market.
Under the terms of the investment deal, OXIS will work with Codemig in the mining of lithium deposits in the state of Minas Gerais and evaluate the use of Codemig’s graphene products in the composition of Li-S chemistry.
OXIS will train its Brazilian team at its base in Oxford ahead of the launch of the R&D centre in Belo Horizonte, the state capital of Minas Gerais
OXIS CEO Huw Hampson-Jones said: “This is a huge step forward in the development and the commercialisation of our Li-S battery systems technology. Brazil has a very high concentration of buses, of which a significant proportion is over 15 years old. The transition to electric heavy vehicles will, to a great extent, eliminate the polluting effects of both the internal combustion engine and the toxic pollutants of current lithium-ion battery systems technology.”
Confrapar MD Rodrigo Esteves said: “This is our first overseas investment with the intention of bringing new technological advances into Brazil, whereby the state of Minas Gerais builds up its competencies and skills in the market for rechargeable lithium batteries, with an estimated value in excess of $100 billion.”
In addition to Aerotec’s investment, OXIS said it has received funding from an unnamed South Korean electronics company and a European battery materials firm.