On its web site, the company boasts, “OXIS Energy is leading the World with its latest cell Energy Density and Capacity,” and proceeds to announce that it’s “developed its largest Lithium Sulfur cell achieving in excess of 300 [Watt-hours per kilogram]. This outperforms Lithium ion technology that has dominated the performance battery market for many years. In addition OXIS has achieved an increase in cell capacity to a 25 Amp-hour (Ah) cell – a world first.” They’re working toward a 33Ah cell.
Claiming a twelve-fold improvement in the last 18 months, OXIS, a British battery manufacturer, says it has the confidence to “achieve a cell capacity of 33Ah by mid 2015.” The firm has hopes of energy densities “in excess of 400Wh/kg by the end of 2016 and in excess of 500Wh/kg by the end of 2018.” This doubling of energy density over the best of available lithium-ion batteries now would make the 175-mile-range Nissan Leaf a reality, and bring an end to most instances of “range anxiety.” These would be admirable achievements for the nine-year-old company, which has 19 families of patents, with 60 patents granted and 55 pending.
Capable of almost 100-percent discharge with no ill effects, the batteries make allowances for ham-handed owners. Perhaps more important, OXIS offers a battery not prone to sudden meltdowns. Thermal runaways in lithium-ion cells is always a possibility, but OXIS is able to demonstrate freedom from that fear, first with a nail puncture test and second with a bullet test (in case you’re flying your electric airplane in a war zone – some of OXIS’s work is with defense companies).
Since there seems to be no thermal runway even in extreme circumstances, the batteries would work well in zero-tolerance for failure situations such as flying. The firm explains, “The cells continue to display the enhanced safety features that characterise Li-S with superior safety performance attained in a barrage of industry-standard tests. “ A literal barrage, one might add.
According to OXIS, vehicle manufacturers are already reviewing and evaluating the cell technology. According to OXIS’ CEO, Huw Hampson-Jones, “OXIS Energy is set to remain at the forefront of the world’s leading battery technology with these significant improvement gains. They are being made in partnerships with British and European academic and research institutions such as LEITAT of Spain, TNO of the Netherlands and the Foundation for Research and Technology in Greece. OXIS is on schedule to release commercial cells for use in applications in the USA and Europe in 2015.” Lead partner in a three-year project to develop a “revolutionary Lithium Sulfur (Li-S) vehicle battery and Energy System Controller (ESC),” OXIS is working with Imperial College London, Lotus Engineering and others as part of the Revolutionary Electric Vehicle Battery (REVB) project, with the aims of creating batteries with greater range and safety at lower costs.
Perhaps overstating a bit, OXIS Energy CEO Huw Hampson-Jones says, “This program is significant in allowing OXIS to speed up the deployment of Li-S automotive battery systems for use in vehicles. The objective defined by the program will allow us to prove our ability to replace the petrol/diesel engine by 2016.” Possible hyperbole aside, OXIS seems like a company to follow as they continue to make progress toward a better, safer, lighter, cheaper battery.