Aerotec, a Brazilian Private Equity fund, will invest £3.75 million (US$5.2 million) in Li-Sulfur battery company OXIS Energy. The investment is Aerotec’s first international venture.
Established in 2005, OXIS Energy has developed, and continues to advance, an innovative Lithium Sulfur (Li-S) battery chemistry. With considerably higher energy density, OXIS’ batteries are lighter, safer and as they do not comprise any rare earth metals, OXIS Energy battery systems are more eco-friendly than current Lithium-ion alternatives.
OXIS says that it has achieved 400 Wh/kg at the cell level; the company is targeting 500 Wh/kg for 2019. OXIS says it has also achieved an excellent cycle life; its cells can be cycled approximately 1500 times (80% Beginning-of-Life). In the next 2 years, its expects this to reach 2500 cycles before the capacity reduces to 80% BoL.
The Aerotec Fund is centred on Aerospace and advanced manufacturing and is anchored by CODEMIG, the Economic Development Company in the state of Minas Gerais in south-eastern Brazil. The fund is managed by Confrapar—a pioneer in the Brazilian Venture Capital and private equity market.
The Aerotec investment paves the way for OXIS Energy to open a subsidiary in Brazil. The Brazilian team will be trained at OXIS Energy’s headquarters in Oxford in the UK, prior to creating a Research and Development Center in Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais. The company will initially focus on commercial expansion throughout Latin America, and will soon address the aviation, defence and heavy electric vehicle markets worldwide. OXIS Energy will also explore the lithium deposits in Minas Gerais, and is currently evaluating the composition of the Li-S chemistry of the graphene products available in the state.
Besides Aerotec’s £3.75 million investment, the company has also received funding from a Korean electronics company and a European battery materials company.
This is a huge step forward for OXIS Energy in the development and the commercialisation of its Li-S battery systems technology. Brazil has a very high concentration of buses, of which a significant proportion are 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.—Huw W. Hampson-Jones, CEO of OXIS Energy