Redflow hits straps overseas, says Australia still proving case for battery storage | RenewEconomy

Redflow hits straps overseas, says Australia still proving case for battery storage

Brisbane-based zinc-bromine flow battery maker says overseas markets providing growing pipeline of “significant opportunities” while Australia continues to weigh the benefits of energy storage.

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Brisbane-based zinc-bromine flow battery maker Redflow says its focus on key overseas markets is starting to pay off, providing a growing pipeline of “significant opportunities” while the Australian market continues to weigh the case for energy storage.

The ASX-listed company told investors in a results call on Thursday that the company was at a key inflection point of growth, particularly in markets like South Africa where areas of poor or limited grid connection made battery storage solutions like Redflow’s an obvious choice.

Revenue for the company was up 282 per cent to $1.4 million for the first half of the 2020 financial year (compared to H1 FY2019) bolstered by orders from international telecommunications customers, in particular, including Vodacom in South Africa.

A key driver of this growth in revenue was the order and delivery of 68 zinc-bromine flow batteries for at least 20 mobile phone tower sites in South Africa, owned by leading telecommunication company Vodacom. Redflow says the batteries will reduce operational costs for Vodacom through decreased diesel use, lower fuel delivery costs to remote locations and less frequent generator servicing.

“The record half year revenue significantly exceeded the total revenue achieved over FY19, and we are encouraged by the recent orders from world class telecommunications companies,” said Redflow CEO and managing director Tim Harris.

“All of these customers have a critical business need that our unique battery can address and have the ability to order Redflow batteries in material volumes.”

Harris said the company’s zinc bromine flow batteries – which can withstand high temperatures – worked really well in harsh conditions, and remote places where batteries were required for deep cycling and not just stand-by power.

He said that the key difference for Redflow of working in the overseas markets it had targeted was that customers had a “critical business need” for the company’s unique battery solution.

“[In those markets] we’re not trying to prove the case for energy storage,” he said during a conference call on Thursday morning.

“Governments and companies already have a budget set aside for energy storage and we’re simply offering a superior solution.”

In Australia, on the other hand, Harris said the market was still focused on making the case for energy storage, and this, combined with ongoing policy uncertainty and complex regulatory hurdles, often translated into long wait times on projects.

But Harris says the company is maintaining a focus on the local microgrid market, with its “very proudly Australia developed” technology offering unique solutions in the wake of the recent bushfire crisis.

“Our batteries are directly linked to power resilience and productivity,” Harris said. “They are fundamentally designed to operate in harsh conditions,” he added, noting not only their resistance to heat and theft or tampering, but their recyclability.

“We’re in discussions about how we can support the bushfire recovery effort. We would love to get more involved with government and business in the Australian microgrid sector, and we’re actively pursuing that,” Harris said.

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