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Safran acquires stake in OXIS Energy
Safran hybrid electric propulsion test. © Remy Bertrand / Safran

Safran acquires stake in OXIS Energy

OXIS Energy is a leader in lithium-sulfur cell technology for high-energy-density battery systems.

Safran has acquired an equity interest in OXIS Energy through its Safran Corporate Ventures subsidiary, which invests in disruptive technology businesses. The move comes as Safran continues to pursue the development of hybrid propulsion solutions.

OXIS Energy — based in Abingdon, near Oxford, UK — is a leader in lithium-sulfur cell technology for high-energy-density battery systems. Following more than 15 years of R&D in the field of lithium-sulfur chemistry, the company has been granted 173 patents with 96 pending. The Li-S cell patented by OXIS is claimed to be light, safe and maintenance-free.

Safran Corporate Ventures is participating in a £7m round of fresh funding alongside Aerotec and new investors, including Arkema, a French chemicals and advanced materials company. The investments made by these companies take the total capital raised to just under £24m and include Samsung Ventures which contributed to the fund in December 2016.

The capital raised will be used to commercialise and automate the process of mass production of rechargeable lithium-sulfur cells/modules, using state of the art digital manufacturing machinery for worldwide distribution to manufacturers of vehicles. OXIS intends to focus on the aviation, defence and heavy electric vehicle markets.

Simultaneously, OXIS has announced the signature of two Joint Development Agreements with its partners. Firstly, Safran and OXIS will cooperate on high energy density battery cells for the aviation industry. Secondly, Arkema and OXIS have defined a common roadmap to further improve battery lifetime and energy density.

OXIS Energy is also a partner in the Airbus-led Eclipse (European Consortium for Lithium-Sulphur Power for Space Environments) project to develop next-generation battery technology for space applications. Airbus uses Li-S batteries on its solar-powered Zephyr S remotely piloted aircraft.

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