ASX-listed energy storage company Redflow has secured a deal to supply at least 56 zinc-bromine flow batteries for installation at remote and regional Optus mobile base stations around Australia, in an initiative backed by the federal government’s bushfire relief package.
The significant battery rolllout, which has already installed one system at a “black spot” in Victoria’s Lexton, is being funded by under the Morrison government’s $13.2 million Strengthening Telecommunications Against Natural Disasters (STAND) program.
The STAND program aims to help ensure Australia’s major telcos, including Telstra and TPG, can extend the battery backup at 467 mobile phone towers for a minimum of 12 hours in the case of grid outages caused by emergencies.
Redflow’s zinc-bromine batteries fit the bill for this job, nicely, with a design and chemistry that can tolerate harsh conditions – such as extreme heat – and run on a daily 100 per cent Depth of Discharge usage cycle without degrading storage capacity or lifetime.
Indeed, the Brisbane-based company has already had considerable success with telco companies abroad, including a 2019 order for 68 ZBM2 zinc-bromine flow batteries for at least 20 mobile phone tower sites in South Africa owned by one of Africa’s leading telecommunication companies.
Despite the company’s success in international markets – including in Asia – the technology has been slower to take off in Australia, making the Optus deal an important filip.
“We are a proudly Australian company with world leading technology developed right here in Brisbane, so are delighted our batteries will help make some regional and remote communities safer by providing longer backup power for mobile network towers,” said Redflow CEO Tim Harris.
“[Our] solution is suited to warm climates, has lower fire risk than other battery chemistries, is easily integrated with existing batteries, has an energy-saving standby power mode and carries strong environmental credentials,” he said.
“Redflow batteries will play an important role in improving the resiliency of networks, particularly in bushfire-prone areas.”
Redflow said it would now work with Optus to determine how many Redflow batteries would be required per site, as well as on a rollout schedule.