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German chemical giant invests $50 million in Tucson battery maker

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Sion Power

German chemical giant invests $50 million in Tucson battery maker

A German chemical company has invested $50 million in Tucson-based Sion Power Corp., a manufacturer of lithium-sulfur batteries.

The investment expands an existing joint agreement between worldwide chemical manufacturer BASF and the Tucson tech company, a Friday news release from Sion said.

"The progress of the technical collaboration between Sion Power and BASF for more than two years now has led BASF to take a significant financial stake in Sion. We are proud to announce this expanded partnership and look forward to realizing the benefits of our synergistic relationship," said Sion CEO Dennis Mangino in the release.

"Through our investment and collaboration with Sion, we are positioned to take a leadership role in developing next-generation battery material solutions, further supporting the effort to make electric cars affordable, environmentally friendly and sustainable," said Ralf Meixner, senior vice president of BASF's battery division.

A technology spin-off from Brookhaven National Laboratories, the company was founded as Moltech Corporation in 1994. It changed its name in 2002 to reflect its focus on research and development of sulfur ion-based technology.

In July, a Sion battery helped smash the record for the longest unmanned flight. The QinetiQ Zephyr aircraft stayed aloft for over 336 hours — 14 days — breaking the previous record of just over 30 hours.

The flight from the U.S. Army Proving Grounds in Yuma was powered by a combination of solar panels and a Sion lithium sulfur battery pack.

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