Bye Aerospace and Oxis Energy have begun a 12-month collaborative program to develop lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries they believe will allow electric aircraft to fly between 50 to 100 percent longer on a single charge. Development work will involve both ground and flight testing of Oxis’ Li-S batteries on Bye’s existing eFlyer prototype aircraft.
According to UK-based Oxis, its Li-S technology will deliver a two-fold decrease in the weight of batteries due to having a higher gravimetric energy density (in excess of 500 Wh/kg at 20Ah capacity) than lithium-ion batteries. This will result in the increased flight durations possible, it maintains.
In an announcement on November 6, the partners said that Oxis energy cells and modules will be evaluated against the projected performance of both Bye’s existing eFlyer 2 and 4 aircraft, but also new models that the U.S. manufacturer intends to announce “soon.” The eFlyer aircraft are both fixed-wing, single-motor designs being developed for certification under FAR Part 23 rules.
The development agreement that Oxis has with Bye does not prevent it from working with other aircraft developers. It says that it is already in contact with developers of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft and expects to make further announcements “in the coming weeks.”
“Oxis is focusing its research and development on the transformation of piston and turboprop aircraft that is required for regional flight transportation,” commented Oxis CEO Huw Hampson-Jones. “We believe this to be the first phase for the electrification of air taxis, with additional requirements for regional aircraft.”