Sion Power Corporation, a manufacturer of high-energy, rechargeable batteries, and Airbus Defence and Space have announced the signing of a three-year collaborative agreement. The agreement provides for Sion Power to enhance and supply proprietary lithium sulfur (Li-S) batteries for use in Airbus Defence and Space’s unmanned Zephyr High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) aircraft.
This agreement extends the previously successful Zephyr 7 program in which Sion Power batteries were employed during the night, along with solar power during the day, to achieve record-breaking flights of more than 14 days without refueling or landing. The Zephyr 7 aircraft had a wing span of 70 ft (22.5 m).
The Zephyr 8 aircraft is larger, with increased payload capacity, and will employ custom Li-S battery packs. The Zephyr aircraft is at the forefront of the HAPS arena, holding 3 world records. Zephyr aircraft have already flown in a number of different airspaces under challenging winter conditions. Airbus Defence and Space has obtained permissions to fly these aircraft in both commercial and military situations alike.
The battery packs utilize Sion’s unique, high specific energy Li-S technology and provide 350 Wh/kg. The Li-S battery packs are engineered to minimize total pack weight. Advanced electronic controls maintain battery conditions throughout the flights.
“We are extremely pleased and honored to collaborate with Airbus on advancing its strategically important HAPS program while building on the Airbus/Sion Power relationship established several years ago. Our experience working together has gained important momentum as Airbus Defence and Space program continues to lead the industry supplying advanced HAPS aircraft.” said John Kopera, Sion Power’s Vice President, Commercial Operations. Dr. Dennis Mangino, Sion Power CEO, added, “We are excited to be working with Airbus on this transformational program.”
Thomas Keupp, Vice President and Head of Portfolio Management at Airbus, stated, “Our collaboration with Sion Power will enhance Airbus Unmanned Aerial Pseudo-Satellite vehicles important to our extensive portfolio of aircraft products. Sion Power is a world leader in light weight, high energy Li-S battery technology. Combining Airbus and Sion Power engineering expertise has proven to be a successful platform for our on-going success.”