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Lightweight OXIS lithium sulfur batteries a step closer for UK forces

In the UK, battery technology company OXIS Energy has delivered the third phase of a research programme to improve its lithium sulfur cells for the Ministry of Defence, which wants to lighten the load on army personnel who have to carry several kilogrammes of batteries while on patrol.

OXIS Energy recently delivered the third phase of a research programme to improve its lithium sulfur cells for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and Lincad Ltd, which designs and manufactures batteries, chargers, and power management systems for military and other specialist applications.

The project is part of a wider research programme at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

Improving lihtium sulfur cell capacity

In Phase 3 OXIS developed an advanced prototype cell and pioneering chemistry that provides a 60% increase in capacity over that delivered in Phase 2 in 2013, increasing the specific energy of a cell to just under 300 Wh/kg. Over the coming months, it expects to achieve a further 20% increase in capacity using enhanced materials in the OXIS cells.

Lithium sulfur cells have the potential to significantly reduce the weight of batteries that are currently in service, reducing the weight burden on soldiers on patrol.

Safety under extreme conditions, and long shelf life

OXIS’s lithium sulfur cells can also easily handle a wide variety of abuse conditions, including extreme temperatures, short-circuits, nail and bullet penetration. Even when the cells are penetrated by metal nails, the cells continue to function safely.

The OXIS lithium sulfur cells do not contain any heavy metals or toxic components, and the sulfur used is a recycled product. The cells have a long shelf life, and do not require charging during prolonged storage periods, which will reduce the MOD’s annual operational costs.

From military communications to renewable energy storage

‘The OXIS team has made considerable progress in developing the cell technology for use in mobile military communications systems,’ says Huw Hampson-Jones, CEO of OXIS Energy. ‘The next stage is to make further improvements so that the Ministry of Defence can phase in the technology and achieve significant costs savings.’

Since 2004, OXIS Energy has been involved in the design, development, and now the move towards commercial production of lithium sulfur cells. The company’s target markets are electric vehicles, renewable energy storage, and defence applications.

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