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Energy Storage

Lithium-sulfur batteries go commercial

by Alex Scott
June 15, 2019 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 97, Issue 24


Oxis Energy, a UK battery materials start-up, says it is fitting out a factory in Port Talbot, Wales, so it can begin the world’s first mass production of electrolyte and cathode materials for lithium-sulfur batteries. Products made at the Port Talbot plant will supply a Li-S battery-cell facility in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais that Oxis is building jointly with the state’s government. Oxis has taken a 15-year lease on the Port Talbot facility. Activity at the site will create several hundred jobs within the next 10 years, the company says. On June 6—the same day Oxis announced its plans—Ford confirmed that in 2020 it will close its car engine plant just 22 km away in Bridgend, Wales, with the loss of over 1,700 jobs. Lithium-sulfur batteries have a higher theoretical energy density than lithium-ion batteries and thus could be suited to powering electric vehicles. Oxis says it has ironed out safety and performance fade issues with Li-S batteries by developing a ceramic passivation layer and a nonflammable liquid electrolyte.


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