New York state has signed a deal to procure a new 100 kW/1 MWh zinc-air battery from Canadian company Zinc8 Energy Storage. The energy storage facility will be installed behind-the-meter in an undetermined western New York site that can benefit from the hardware — such as a “municipal building or a building on a college campus or university.”
Zinc8’s CEO sees this system as being potentially upgraded to 1 MW in power over the next couple of years.
The company’s website claims it is aiming for an installation cost of $45/kWh. For comparison’s sake, Bloomerg NEF recently reported that battery prices have fallen 87%, from $1,100/kWh in 2010 to $156/kWh in 2019, with an expectation of nearing $100/kWh by 2023. Zinc8 stated that to reach those $45/kWh prices, the product needs to be sized with more than eight hours of capacity relative to its instantaneous power.
pv magazine USA has reached out to the company for details, however it has yet to respond.
The company’s website illustrates its three-part process of making/storing/delivering electricity:
- Power from the grid or a renewable source is used to generate zinc particles in the Zinc Regenerator. Oxygen is released to the atmosphere as a by-product.
- The zinc particles flow to the Storage Tank and are maintained in a potassium hydroxide electrolyte until required.
- When power is needed, the zinc particles are delivered to the Power Stack, and recombined with oxygen to generate electricity. The zinc oxide by-product is returned to the storage tank for later regeneration.
There is no reference to the electrical efficiency of the system — the amount of electricity needed to generate each kilowatt-hour of electricity that can later be extracted.
The company raised $500,000 last year. Days after its New York announcement, the firm announced an additional $3 million cash infusion. Zinc8 is not the only Canadian zinc-based energy storage firm raising cash — e-Zn just announced a $2.6 million seed round and a $1.5 million grant.
Zinc8 had produced 300 cathodes by September of last year, with each 5 kW-stack using 50 cathodes — and plans a scale-up of cathode production to 36 MW/year with a minimum storage of 8 hours of capacity. The company claims development work has begun on a 20 kW/160 kWh unit. Documents suggest a containerized unit “may be easily scaled to megawatt storage and output capacities.”
Zinc8’s website claims that $45/kWh is a viable potential cost for its hardware.
A smaller residential community system was announced in September of 2019. The 40 kW/160 kWh system is to be deployed in an award-winning architecturally designed home in South Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. Construction at the home is ongoing, with the energy storage system to begin its installation and commissioning in Q2/Q3 of this year. The below image is something very different than any home I’ve lived in — and the under-construction image on Instagram by the architect, is something to see.
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Interesting but a lot of moving parts.
I like the kind that they replace the plates or better, whole battery every month or so, reformed using excess power.
That would make most metal/air batteries viable with capacities of 4kwh/lb, good enough for aircraft and doable now at 60% efficient.
But they are so set on recharging they can’t see
the gem in front of them.
I see them sold at the corner store, 100kwh in 80lbs on rollers to power apartments, EVs, businesses, etc.
it would be useful if you could return them to be recharged, “re-plated” z-air, like aluminium cans.
you should only be paying the return re-imbursement, and the cost of electricity, atm its 5snt/kwh.
They need to announce the efficiency, self discharge, and expected life. I can see replacing my l6kWh lead acid battery with l00 kWh ‘flow battery’ at $4500 (less than 2x the difference). but it would have to have reasonable efficiency even at low draws (my guess is the output efficiency varies wildly)
Hopefully they will be long lived (herd they re expected to be) and have an efficiency above that of NiFe (60-65%) and approaching flooded led acid (80-85%)
…also like to see temperature range, as my led acid currently lives outside.
Interesting: “The company’s website claims it is aiming for an installation cost of $45/kWh. For comparison’s sake, Bloomerg NEF recently reported that battery prices have fallen 87%, from $1,100/kWh in 2010 to $156/kWh in 2019, with an expectation of nearing $100/kWh by 2023. Zinc8 stated that to reach those $45/kWh prices, the product needs to be sized with more than eight hours of capacity relative to its instantaneous power.”
It is also mentioned a system that would be used in the South Surrey home of 40kW/160kWh construction? The article says better at 8 plus hours of storage and yet this seems to be a 4 hour storage solution. No real information available for system sizing of this unit. The Zn8 site is not particularly explicit of how large a “system module” is, just the announcement that a larger zinc tank makes for a larger storage system. By one of the pictures with a guy standing by the three part system, it looks like a 12 foot by long, by 3 foot deep and maybe 8 foot tall. This might fit into a typical home garage, but may not be enough for the home’s average requirements each day. At $45/kWh of storage, it may catch on anyway. They do claim 20,000 hours of operation at 8 hours, about 2500 charge/discharge cycles and about 7 years use. It is in the lead/acid battery longevity range at what seems to be a cheaper price point.
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