Redflow targets 40% cut in battery storage costs by 2015

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Redflow says unique “flow battery” could cut energy storage costs by 40% within first year of major manufacturing deal.

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Redflow, a Brisbane-based developer of unique zinc-bromine “flow” batteries, says it is targeting a 40 per cent cut in the capital cost of energy storage systems by the end of next year.

In a market presentation released on Thursday, Redflow says it estimates the capital cost of its technology – developed originally at the University of Queensland – at $875/kWh.

This, it says, is comparable with some lithium-ion batteries, half the price of vanadium, and while more expensive than some lead acid batteries, it will have greater applications.

However, full-scale manufacturing will commence later this year in a previously announced deal with global group Flextronics, and Redflow says this will lead to a cost reduction of 40 per cent by 2015.

“The combination of lower costs and longer life could result in a compelling proposition,” it says.

So far, about $38 million has been spent on R&D in the past 9 years, and the company says it is finally on the cusp of major commercial deals.

Redflow’s core product is a “flow battery” that avoids some of the charging issues and limitations that affect other battery technologies, such as lead acid and lithium-ion.

redflow 1The company says the daily deep charge and discharge capability makes it ideal for storage and shifting of intermittent renewable energy, and managing peak load or supporting off-grid systems.

RedFlow batteries are to be used by Emerson Network Power for providing storage and electricity for its telecommunications network, and it is currently working with an un-named US conglomerate to develop a storage system for military and commercial applications.

A trial with Sprint in Arizona resulted in solar charging of the ZBM during the day and discharging in the evening. It allowed all PV energy to be stored until discharged during peak demand>

It says its modular design allows for sizing suited to the application, cheaper manufacturing costs than single large bespoke systems and in-built redundancy and backup for repairs and maintenance.

Its core product, the Redflow ZMB, will deliver 8kWh of energy with a continuous power rating of 3kW. It will have a life of more than 1000 cycles, and at least 2 years of 100% depth of discharge, daily charging and discharging available.

It will be used in the powering of off‐grid, micro grid or fringe‐of‐grid areas, integration of renewables, reducing need for diesel generation, and to shift electricity from off‐peak to peak periods, deferring the need for expensive upgrades of expensive grid infrastructure.



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