Breakthrough in Battery Technology Fits E-Bikes
ABINGDON, UK – About 35 years ago the first useable Lithium-Ion battery was presented in the UK. But it took another ten years before it came into production. Now a new breakthrough in battery technology looks to present itself. The British company Oxis Energy Ltd. is developing an innovative Lithium Sulfur battery chemistry which is to revolutionize the rechargeable battery market.
At Oxis it is all about Research & Development; partners need to realize the production. The major gain with Lithium Sulfur (Li-S) batteries would be the energy density. Oxis patented Li-S technology has, as the company claims, “A theoretical energy density 5 times greater than Li-ion. The Oxis patented Li-S technology is lighter, safer and maintenance free, and ready to meet the demands of tomorrow.” The fact that Li-S batteries are lighter and possibly cheaper than the lithium batteries used now makes them a perfect fit for e-bikes. But they have more very interesting features for electric bicycles.
Oxis claims that its technology is to achieve 300 to 400 watt-hours per kilogram in 2016. That would be 50 to 100% more currently reached with the state-of-the-art lithium-phosphate technique. Oxis mentions two battery types. Of these, only the ‘Ultra-Light’ reaches the said 300 Wh/kg. The ‘Long Life’ version, which should go into production this year, comes at 165 Wh/kg, and could be charged and discharged 1500 times.
That’s not much better than existing lithium-phosphate or lithium-polymer batteries. In 2016 the next step is planned which is to make 400 Wh/kg ready for production.
According to Oxis current types of lithium batteries cannot be developed much further developed. Therefore progress is to come from their lithium-sulfur technology.
A lower battery weight is obviously an advantage for any electric bikes. But there’s more as sulfur is a by-product of oil refining. This could make Li-S battery types less expensive than batteries that have rare metals like cobalt. Another promise is in the Oxis claim that the Li-S battery can be fully discharged without damage. This is not possible with conventional lithium batteries, which have to be stored with a 30 to 80% charge. Otherwise their storage capacity quickly diminishes.
Oxis says further, “Lithium Sulfur cells are the next generation of battery technology, surpassing Lithium-ion which is reaching the limit of its potential.”
Source: AMT Magazine, Oxis