Electronic vehicle systems developer Hyperdrive Innovation Ltd and Li-sulfur battery developer OXIS Energy Ltd are working together on an Ultra-Low Temperature Battery (ULTB) project, supported by Innovate UK’s energy catalyst, to explore the feasibility of a high energy density battery chemistry with innovative packaging and control electronics that will be capable of operating in the Antarctic.
Such a battery would allow British Antarctic Survey (BAS) to increase autonomous scientific measurements made in the Antarctic significantly without increasing transport costs or emissions. OXIS Energy will develop a low temperature electrolyte for Lithium Sulfur (Li-S) rechargeable battery chemistry and Hyperdrive Innovation Ltd will develop a chemistry-agnostic battery management system and packaging that will withstand and outperform the current lead-acid battery solutions.
It is very difficult to secure the effective utilization of battery systems in extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold. OXIS Li-S cell technology can operate at up to 80 ˚C, but to do so at the other extreme of -80 ˚C is very challenging. The program will have an important impact on vehicles operating in cold climates such as North America and Northern European countries.—Huw Hampson-Jones, CEO OXIS Energy
This project will be led by Hyperdrive Innovation with an advisory input from BAS as they will be the first customer for the project output. The resulting technology will lead to a follow-on mid-stage program to develop a high energy density rechargeable battery that will operate at -80 °C. OXIS and Hyperdrive will then look to expand the use of this technology to adjacent markets.
The superior energy density offered by lithium sulfur makes it well suited for portability, especially in vast, remote locations like the Antarctic where flight is the only method of transport and operations are restricted by resources and weather windows. We’re particularly excited to have the opportunity to prove our Battery Management System (BMS) technology for use with this emerging cell chemistry working with BAS to tackle the challenges of designing an energy system capable of withstanding extremely cold temperatures.—Hyperdrive’s Managing Director Stephen Irish
The use of Lithium Sulfur chemistry is innovative as it is a next-generation battery technology that has a theoretical energy density far higher than any Li-ion solution. OXIS has been developing Li-S cells for more than ten years, and has already managed to build pouch cells that offer 300Wh/kg—more than any Li-ion chemistry can practically achieve.
Hyperdrive Innovation specializes in lithium-ion energy storage systems and associated electronics for automotive, industrial, offshore and subsea applications.
Hyperdrive opened a new lithium-ion battery production facility in 2015 to complement prototyping and vehicle development capabilities on the same site at the Future Technology Centre in Washington, Tyne and Wear. The flexible factory can accommodate modular and custom designed packs for electric and hybrid vehicles, portable power and off-grid energy storage.
Hyperdrive’s batteries include its in-house developed Battery Management System (BMS) technology to provide automated cell balancing, pack health monitoring and protection. The BMS controls charging and will automatically switch off the charger for safe operation while an inbuilt Battery Fuel Gauge provides continuous state of charge and state-of-health data.