Australia’s Redflow to fast-track rollout of ‘flow batteries’ for homes, businesses and mining operations

Australian energy storage company Redflow says it is fast-tracking the rollout of its battery products to the residential and mining sector, in yet another sign that storage costs are falling faster than most imagined.

Brisbane-based Redflow, which is bringing its zinc-bromide flow battery to market, says its new products are 40 per cent cheaper than its first generation products, and are now approaching grid tariffs in some markets.

The two new batteries – the ZBM2 and ZBM3 – are set to be released in April, targeting the residential, commercial and mining sectors.

ZBM2 is a a 5kW/10kWh battery, also producing 48V with twice the total warranted energy throughput at 20MzWh. The nominal delivery cost is $US0.48 (€0.42) per kWh.

The ZBM3 is a 5kW/11kWh product producing 53V and a 220 per cent increase in energy throughput capacity. Total energy throughput is warranted at 22MWh at a cost only 39% above the base price of the ZBM. But its energy delivery cost per kWh f is 37% better at $US0.44 (€0.38).

According to Redflow CEO Stuart Smith, battery technology at prices like this could mean the grid will soon be relegated to the role of mere “back-up”.

“We believe we have a disruptive, scalable technology whose applications are continually expanding,” Smith says.

“The future where the grid progressively becomes a backup rather than the primary source of energy is fast approaching by integrating our products with renewables such as solar and wind at a residential and commercial level.”

Smith says that initial markets will be in Europe, in countries such as Germany which has high electricity prices and lots of solar. But it will also become compelling in Australia.

“We believe these cost reductions make our product cost competitive in initial markets targeted and also open other markets such as residential and mining which we now intend entering earlier than previously planned,” Smith says.

Smith says the mining sector is an obvious target, with some paying up to $A2.50/kWh for diesel.

He says the zinc bromide batteries lend themselves to “energy use” rather than “power use”, meaning over a longer time frame rather than the short, sharp bursts required of, say, lithium ion batteries in the recently announced solar plus storage plan for Sandfire Resource’s deGrussa copper mine.

This will also suit the residential sector, which can use the storage to provide electricity in the evening hours, and depending on needs, overnight as well.

Top image via Redflow

© 2015 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson

Giles Parkinson regularly contributes unique content to Solar Choice News. Giles is the founder and editor of clean energy industry news service RenewEconomy. He is a journalist of 30 years experience, a former Business Editor and Deputy Editor of the Financial Review, a columnist for The Bulletin magazine and The Australian, and the founding editor of Climate Spectator.
Giles Parkinson

Comments

  1. These energy storage systems will make the greedy energy retailers think twice about those three energy rate exchange reviews planned for this year alone, which I believe the agenda is to lower the Solar Energy exchange rate along with increases to their respective administration charges.

    It’s a no brainer, the more unfair the exchange rates are, the more house holders will be willing to jump ship and go solar and or if they have already done so, go ahead and install a storage system, essentially having most of them able to completely go off the grid – after all why pay twice for infrastructure?

    Thus forcing an ever more unfair energy exchange rate to those who unwisely installed systems that don’t cover all their energy needs, to which, they too will be forced to jump ship and upgrade their solar along with enough storage, and thus the death spiral to those greedy energy companies continues..

    Current energy rates calculated with the energy retailers administration charges are now almost inline, to what’s available now and that’s without those new cheap, longer lasting, deeper cycling batteries, which are about to flood the market..

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