Lithium-sulphur battery player claims to have nailed safety standards


Brisbane-based Li-S Energy has announced that its GEN3 semi-solid-state lithium sulfur (Li-S) battery cells have successfully passed a series of nail penetration tests with the results exceeding performance standards laid out by the company’s aerospace partners.

Li-S said it had conducted a program of nail penetration tests on multi-layer semi-solid-state 2.5 Ah lithium sulfur cells built at its production facility at Geelong in Victoria.

The company said 28 cells were tested with the results exceeding both the civilian and United States military performance standards.

Nail penetration tests involve penetrating the battery cell with a steel nail under precise conditions in a blast-proof test chamber.

Li-S Chief Executive Officer Lee Finniear said the purpose of the test is to determine what happens to a battery cell if it is damaged.

“Amid growing public concern about the safety of lithium-ion batteries and battery fires, delivering a safe battery is vitally important,” he said.

“In our target markets of drones, electric aircraft and defence, a battery fire could be catastrophic, and these results show our partners that Li-S Energy battery cells are safe when penetrated and continue to work even after being damaged.”

Li-S said nail penetration is one of a suite of safety tests that are scheduled to be undertaken as its $10 million Phase 3 production facility comes online, and these early results from the smaller Phase 2, 2.5Ah cells illustrate one of the key safety benefits of its technology.

Lithium-sulphur batteries offer an alternative to lithium-ion batteries for energy uses, including electric vehicles and stationary energy storage. Li-S has however indicated its initial focus will be on using them in drones.

Mark Xavier, chief executive of Queensland-headquartered drone provider, said the test results will have a major impact on the civilian and military drone industry.

“The ability to safely and reliably operate and transport drone technology is heavily reliant on battery stability,” he said.

“The Li-S Energy GEN3 cell nail penetration test results indicate a far better risk profile than current battery technology.”

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