Culham Science Centre, Abingdon-based OXIS Energy UK Ltd is in the process of opening a battery production plant in the state of Minas Gerais in south eastern Brazil. OXIS Energy has received a substantial investment from Aerotec, a Brazilian Private Equity fund.
This £3.7 million investment is Aerotec’s first international venture. The Aerotec Fund is centred on Aerospace and advanced manufacturing and is anchored by CODEMIG, the Economic Development Company. The fund is managed by Confrapar – a pioneer in the Brazilian Venture Capital and private equity market.
Although OXIS Energy will still continue its research and development programme in the UK, it says it is excited to be moving into the manufacturing end and sees this venture in Brazil as a huge step towards its quest to be at the forefront of revolutionising city transport across the world.
The manufacturing plant will be capable eventually of producing millions of cells annually. A cell is the smallest energy storage units of a battery and several of them placed together form a battery. The new manufacturing plant will initially focus on commercial expansion throughout Latin America and will also address the aviation, defence and heavy electric vehicle markets worldwide.
Established in 2005, OXIS Energy has developed, and continues to advance innovative Lithium Sulfur (Li-S) battery chemistry, cells and systems that will revolutionise the worldwide rechargeable battery market. 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 Lithium-ion alternatives. Because of those characteristics, OXIS’ technologies are very suitable for the aerospace and electric bus industries.
Huw W. Hampson-Jones, CEO of OXIS Energy, said: “ Buses tend to use 30 times more fuel than an electric car, and for every 1,000 carbon fuelled buses, we save 500 barrels of diesel fuel a day. The OXIS technology is ideally suited for electric aircraft; it is light and extends significantly the flight times of aircraft. These are key factors in the deployment of OXIS Lithium Sulfur (Li-S) battery systems technology for electric buses and aviation vehicles.”
Rodrigo Esteves, Managing Partner at Confrapar, added, “This overseas investment will bring new technological advances into Brazil, whereby the State of Minas Gerais builds up its competencies and skills in the market for rechargeable lithium batteries, with an estimated value in excess of US$100 billion.”