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Redflow to offer ‘plug and play’ home battery storage, after cutting costs by 50%

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ASX-listed battery technology developer Reflow looks set to expand into the small-scale energy storage market within months, after announcing it would deliver a plug and play version of its unique zinc bromide flow battery for households and small businesses by early 2016.

The Brisbane-based company, which is now chaired by Australian tech guru Simon Hackett, said on Wednesday that the batteries would be developed with a companion Battery Management System (BMS) that would simplify their installation and management, essentially making it a “plug and play” device, not unlike the Tesla Powerwall.

Simon Hackett

Simon Hackett

Development of the BMS would be guided by Hackett – the founder of Internode and a director of NBNco (he also owns a Tesla Model S) – with the first version of the device expected to hit the market early in the first quarter of 2016. (It will use inverter/charger products from European manufacturer, Victron Energy.)

And the battery units could be quite cost-competitive, too. Redflow’s ASX release also advised that the company had managed to cut the nominal levelised cost of energy (LCOE) of its zinc bromide batteries by more than 50 per cent – to around $US0.20c/kWh – as a result of outsourcing its manufacturing to Flextronics, and improved performance and reduced prices of the batteries’ core components.

Redflow, which has previously focused on commercial large-scale storage systems, said the new product offerings would expand the business into the right market at just the right time.

“The residential and SME markets are currently hot sectors for power storage which Redflow is well equipped to supply,” said Hackett, who has one of the company’s larger-scale systems installed at his renovated office complex in Adelaide.

“Redflow has received substantial direct interest from potential customers asking us to enter these market segments with our products. Our decision to build a ‘plug and play’ BMS unit will enable the simple integration of our batteries into multiple energy storage systems, allowing us to supply this much broader market.”

Hackett said the market for residential and SME customers would also create a new revenue stream to augment the longer sales cycles of Redflow’s existing telco and grid-scale energy storage markets.

So far, Redflow has sold trial quantities of batteries in various world markets, and is now conducting ongoing field trials in Africa, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Its ZBM batteries are distinguished by their ability to be 100 per cent charged and discharged each day – a function that would damage most other battery technologies. ZBMs also have the benefit of being able to be placed on indefinite standby while fully charged, or to be fully discharged for extended periods, at no cost to battery performance or life.  

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  • Wonderful. Now we need some good info on the Redflow web site. For instance, what capacities for domestic application, costs including installation, compatibility with existing solar, etc.

    • john

      Jeff

      I have a copy of the (ZBM) installation manual from 2012 so this is not more than likely the battery however some information on that offering which I think was $8k at the time however I expect the new offering is less.

      This may give you some idea about the type of storage device.

      I notice that the model mentioned may be different to this one so there
      will be differences Sandia have done tests on a 5 Kw/10 KwH Redflow Battery.

      Sandia National Laboratories Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185 and Livermore, California 94550

      Model: Gen 2.8 Zinc-Bromide flowing electrolyte battery (ZBM)

      Rating: 3 kW / 8 kWh

      Power Range 0kW to 2.5kW during charge

      0kW to 3kW during discharge

      Net Energy Range 0kWh (0% SOC) to 8kWh (100% SOC)

      Dimensions

      830 L x 823 H x 400 W (mm)

      32.7 L x 32.4 H x 15.7 W (in)

      Weight

      239 kg (526 lb) with electrolyte

      88 kg (194 lb) without electrolyte

      • Thanks John.

        I read most of that info some time ago. I will keep my eye on their web site for up to date news.

        I currently use 12v X 135AH gel batteries in a 24v off grid system. Good retail is $240 so $150 per kWh and $300 per kWh usable at 50% DOD. This is my starting point for future expansion, replacement and recommendation for other wannabe off-gridders.

        • john

          Jeff check your website contact

      • kevin mills

        This ZMB technology is new to me but I’m guessing to increase the capacity for a given power capability, you just need to increase the tank size?

    • john

      I will check the link I have to Redflow Brisbane Jeff
      http://redflow.com/
      Under products you should find the information

  • Chris Fraser

    Great news. Watching with interest.

  • Interesting news indeed.

  • Phil

    Wet multiple 2 volt 1000ah (C100) traction batteries still best bang for buck and low maintenance with auto water level options. You just need a decent and temperature protected battery box. I’ve got an off grid DIY system of 3kw output( 9 peak) and it costs $2.20 a day with 6 x 9’s uptime for $8k upfront. And the cost is fully maintained with 5% interest on the capital and all but the panels having scheduled replacements.Prices will only drop , not go up , unlike grid networks.

    • Stephen Hutson

      Hi Phil what brand are the 2 volt C100 traction batteries – at present I am running 12 x 2v Exide RP2200 FLA batteries working well for 7 years so far – on 3KW solar panels

      • Phil

        Hi Stephen , i got mine from Ceil motive power./ Ceil battery systems. They come out of the Exide factory out of India i believe , so possibly similar to yours. They have branches in all the capitals. Mine have been going for 3 years and seem to be better than when i got them. The SG i checked recently and all were at 1270 OR 1275 . I’ve never had to do an Equalise as the charge current of 100- 125 amps seems to keep the chemistry going well. I’m using a 14.6V Bulk / Absorb for 2 hours and 13.8 float and find this seems to work best . And my night use is about 20-30 % d.o.d each day. I’m running 4.5kw of panels because we get a lot of cloud and fog here at times.

  • See RRP US$ for ZBM1, 2 & 3 without Battery Management System
    http://www.asx.com.au/asxpdf/20150826/pdf/430t3zt7rtzx1q.pdf