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Williams Burton Leopardi director David BurtonRedflow’s ZBM2 zinc-bromine flow batteries have solved the problem of insufficient energy supply that was holding back a $4 million renovation of a heritage-listed building in central Adelaide.

After architectural firm Williams Burton Leopardi bought the derelict 1916 Darling Building, largely neglected since the 1960s, they learned that the planned peak energy demand for the renovated building would require more electricity than the local power grid could supply. The peak power draw during summer was calculated at 290 amps - whereas SA Power Networks could initially supply only 150 amps, although this was later revised upwards to 200 amps.

Williams Burton Leopardi director David Burton said many solutions were so expensive they would have made the renovated building commercially unviable. “We didn’t have the space in the building for a transformer; gas would cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars and ‘winging it’ was not an option,” he said.

Hitech Solutions Chief Technology Officer Derek GaethAustralian energy storage company Redflow Limited has shipped zinc-bromine flow batteries made at its new factory in Thailand to fulfil its largest-ever order for use in a digital television network in Fiji.

New Zealand-based telecommunications infrastructure specialist Hitech Solutions last year chose Redflow’s ZBM2 batteries to provide energy storage for Fiji’s new digital television network which it is deploying for the Fiji Government throughout the Pacific nation, including remote islands.

Hitech Solutions ordered US$1.2 million worth of Redflow ZBM2 batteries to store and supply renewable energy to power the Fijian digital TV network. The company, which has operated a five-battery trial site in Fiji during the past year, intends to scale up its deployment of solar panels and Redflow batteries during the next six months. Hitech will install from five to 60 ZBM2 batteries at more than 10 sites in Fiji, many of which are on hills with no access to the country’s electricity grid.

Unveiled in December last year, the digital TV network will provide Fijians, even in the most remote parts of the country, with access to eight free-to-air television channels through a set top box, plus an option for catch-up TV. Digital television will also provide a platform to telecast important messages to people in maritime zones and rural areas in times of disaster, such as cyclones.

Hitech Solutions selected Redflow’s zinc-bromine flow batteries for the challenging project because of their robustness, long life, safety, temperature tolerance and straightforward recycling process. Hitech saved 40 tonnes of battery weight by choosing Redflow batteries over lead-acid batteries - the typical choice for telecommunication network energy storage.

Hitech Solutions Chief Technology Officer Derek Gaeth said Redflow batteries offered many benefits for the Fijian deployment. “The primary need was for a robust design with a long service life,” he said.

Redflow CEO Tim Harris with ZBM2 4 WRedflow CEO Tim Harris with completed ZBM2 batteriesAustralian energy storage company Redflow Ltd last month began manufacturing complete zinc-bromine flow batteries at its new factory in Thailand, which it is now shipping to customers in Australia and internationally.

Redflow reports the factory now has the capacity to consistently produce as many as 90 ZBM2 batteries per month. The company will synchronise production volumes with customer demand.

Redflow CEO Tim Harris said manufacturing complete batteries from the factory marked an important milestone for the company. “This achievement is underpinned by our ongoing focus on ensuring the consistent supply of quality batteries from this new facility,” he said.

Pottinger executive chair Nigel Lake will present at this week's Myriad Festival in Brisbane

The Australian dream run of economic prosperity is at risk unless the nation supports start-ups to drive a new wave of innovation warns Nigel Lake, executive chair of global advisory firm Pottinger

Mr Lake, who will speak at this week’s Myriad start-up festival in Brisbane, said creating new businesses and new jobs was of paramount importance to “the future of everything”. “In Australia, the canary in the employment coal mine is wobbling on her perch,” he said. 

“Though unemployment is low, real wage growth is stubbornly slow and is further imperilled by an imminent wave of technology. The threat to the Australian dream is severe. More than 90 per cent of the value of our top 100 companies is in old economy industries, with the top four all banks.

“In the US, the four largest companies are Microsoft, Apple, Google and Amazon. So far this century, Australia has created just two tech start-ups worth more than A$1bn - Atlassian and Canva, collectively valued at about A$20bn. In contrast, the 10 largest US tech companies have created more than A$4 trillion during the same period.  Australia doesn’t even feature on some world tech start-up maps.