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The 20,000 square meter Oxis Energy factory highlighted is currently an idled facility on a larger Mercedes Benz Brazil base. Image: Oxis Energy


Lithium-Sulfur Batteries To Help Electrify Brazil’s Bus Fleets

Lithium-sulfur batteries are getting more competitive with cobalt driven lithium-ion batteries. The use of lithium-sulfur chemistries can actually bring down costs.

Lithium-sulfur batteries are getting more competitive with cobalt driven lithium-ion batteries. The use of lithium-sulfur chemistries can actually bring down costs and improve the ability to procure minerals needed for very high-volume production of electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

An earlier study by the Rocky Mountain Institute mentioned that lithium-sulfur batteries, in particular, can help electrify heavier mobility applications. CleanTechnica also reported that sulfur is a more plentiful material compared to that of cobalt that could expand EV driving ranges considerably and yet cost less. Lithium-sulfur batteries are also more energy dense, expected to produce around a twofold increase in the battery pack level by the time they reach the market.

So, it is not surprising to find that British lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery manufacturer Oxis Energy has explained how this technology can help Brazil’s public bus fleet electrify, and cut costs in the process. “Huw Hampson-Jones, CEO of the Oxford-based company, told pv magazine in February the company was planning to ramp up production of its Li-S battery cells in planned factories in Brazil and Wales,” pv magazine writes.

An idled production facility on the Mercedes-Benz Brazil campus will be a new 20,000 square meter Oxis Energy factory. Image courtesy of Oxis Energy.

Oxis Energy announced this past week that it had negotiated a 15-year lease with Mercedes-Benz Brazil to use an idled production site in the state of Minas Gerais in southeastern Brazil for its new factory. In February, Oxis stated the Brazilian facility would be operational next year.

“NORDIKA Pharmaceutical of Brazil will undertake the design and engineering associated with the plant and machinery layout. Upgrading the site will begin immediately and will involve an investment in excess of US $50m. The target is to have the fully digitalised plant commissioned and operating by 2023.

“Phase 1 will be to lease circa 20,000 sq meters to enable the production of 5 million Lithium Sulfur (Li-S) cells per annum with the option to extend and double the estate and cell capacity.”

Target — Electric Buses

The big industry target for these batteries is buses, new electric buses. In China, electric buses have taken over the market. Even by the end of 2017, the city of Shenzhen had electrified 100% of its bus fleet, 16,359 buses. That’s more buses than in the bus fleets of NYC, Los Angeles County, New Jersey Transit, suburban Chicago, and Toronto combined.

“Our aim is to aid the Brazilian government to eliminate all ICE (internal combustion engine) buses over a period of 25 years, equating to the production of over 4 billion cells,” said Hampson Jones. “Brazil has the third largest bus market in the world, with 700,000 ICE buses currently in circulation.”

The batteries could also be used in electric aircraft, electric trucks, or electric boats.

Related stories:

Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Could Be Cheaper & More Energy Dense

Wiesbaden Orders 56 Electric Buses From Mercedes-Benz

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Cynthia Shahan started writing after previously doing research and publishing work on natural birth practices. (Several unrelated publications) She is a licensed health care provider. She studied and practiced both Waldorf education, and Montessori education, mother of four unconditionally loving spirits.


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