CPI collaborating with OXIS Energy on lithium innovations

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The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) is collaborating on the Lithium Innovations for Future Electric vehicles (LIFE) project with lead-partner OXIS Energy, a company that is focused on the development of Lithium-Sulfur battery chemistry in a move designed to help develop the next generation of batteries capable of extending electric vehicles' mileage range.

The Innovate UK-Faraday Challenge-funded project aims to develop a lithium-metal cell with improved longevity and a higher energy density than conventional lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, by investigating the scale-up of lithium-metal coatings.

CPI will use its expertise in this research and development area to provide support. This will include applying coating technologies developed at OXIS and performing larger-scale trials to assess the feasibility of scaling protective coatings on lithium-metal cells.

OXIS will then use the project outcomes to scale-up manufacturing of the lithium foil process in the construction of a pilot coating line.

The LIFE project is seen as potentially helping to make the UK a leader in advanced electric transport battery production, by developing competitive lithium-metal battery alternatives to Li-ion batteries for automotive applications.

The lithium-metal battery supply chain for the automotive sector is anticipated to grow substantially over the next decade, with technological advances in the industry expected to create a significant number of highly-skilled jobs and safeguard existing positions.

Commenting Dr Sam Chan, Senior Scientist at CPI and LIFE Project Manager, said: "CPI's team will provide our extensive knowledge in vacuum deposition technologies and will utilise our specialist facilities to deposit protective coatings on lithium metal foil aiming to enhance its battery life cycle.

"CPI will use gained know-how in lithium metal foil handling and cell manufacture to further build and disseminate manufacturing knowledge within the UK's High Value Manufacturing community."

Lisset Urrutia, Project Manager, said: “OXIS’ main value chain and business models in operation consist of scaling up the technology in smaller, high-value niche markets, such as defence and unmanned aerial vehicles. Scaling manufacturing in these smaller, high-value markets will allow OXIS to build a supply chain at volumes in the hundreds of thousands of cells per year.”