Sion Power’s proprietary lithium sulfur (Li-S) batteries played a critical role in the QinetiQ Zephyr smashing the world record for the longest duration unmanned flight (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)). A result of an intensive joint development effort between Sion Power and QinetiQ, the Zephyr flight exceeded 336 hours (14 days) of continuous flight, significantly surpassing the previous official record of 30 hours 24 minutes set by Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4A Global Hawk in March 2001. The Zephyr’s world record flight was completed on July 23, 2010 at the US Army’s Yuma Proving Grounds in Yuma, Arizona.

Unmanned Electric AeroplaneThe Zephyr, a solar/battery powered all electric Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) with a wing span of 70 feet (22.5 m) and a weight of just over 110 lbs. (50 kg), achieved this remarkable record using a combination of solar power during the day and Sion Power’s Lithium-Sulfur batteries at night. After a ground launch, the Zephyr flew to altitudes of up to 70,000 feet, where the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) encountered external temperatures as low as minus 75ºC.

The custom built Lithium-Sulfur battery pack was designed and assembled by Sion Power in Tucson Arizona. The battery utilized Sion’s unique, high specific energy Lithium-Sulfur (Li-S) cells which provide 350 Wh/kg, the highest available for a rechargeable battery. The Li-S battery pack was carefully engineered to minimize total pack weight. Advanced electronic controls maintained the battery condition throughout the flight.

Once launched, Zephyr can remain above a general area for weeks, if not months, at a time delivering vital capability at a fraction of the cost of satellites and significantly more cost effectively than other ‘conventionally powered’ manned or unmanned aircraft. Zephyr also does not need to return to base at regular intervals for re-fuelling or servicing which helps minimize the logistical supply chain, extending its operational capability and appeal. Its zero emissions also make it exceptionally environmentally friendly.

About Sion Power: Privately held Sion Power Corporation is the global leader in the development of a new generation of high-energy, rechargeable lithium sulfur batteries for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), military, portable power and electric vehicle markets. Sion Power has assembled a world class team of 62 employees dedicated to advancing Lithium-Sulfur battery technology. The company has more than 100 U.S. and international patents and is headquartered in Tucson, Arizona.

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