Australian company Redflow is charged up to meet growing demand for robust long-life batteries that enable both homes and businesses to store electricity generated by their solar panels.
A recent report by the Climate Council states that Australia is predicted to become one of the world’s largest markets for battery storage due to its high cost of electricity, the large number of households with solar panels and Australia’s excellent solar resources. The research by Morgan Stanley says that half of surveyed households were interested in solar systems with battery storage on the basis of $10,000 battery systems with a payback of 10 years, creating a market potentially worth $24 billion.
This means Australia is becoming a battery battleground with global giants such as Tesla and Enphase targeting it as an early market for their respective batteries.
Redflow, an Australian Stock Exchange-listed company (ASX:RFX) which has commercialised its innovative flow battery for use by enterprise, business and residential customers, welcomed this global focus on Australia as the sign of a market that is taking off.
Redflow Chairman Simon Hackett said Tesla’s entry into the market in mid 2015 had made the energy storage market “sexy”. “I believe that, in future years, 2015 will be seen as the year that the renewable-energy storage sector hit its inflection point,” he said.
“Converting the world energy grid to becoming majority renewable-sourced is now entirely achievable by using batteries to time-shift electricity. But it will take more than just Tesla to do it.”
Redflow is poised to play an important role in the emerging power storage market with its innovative Zinc-Bromide Module (ZBM) flow batteries. During the past two years, Redflow has completed a decade-long research and commercialisation program to transform flow batteries from a pioneering idea to a proven product.
Today, Redflow has its senior management and R&D operations in Brisbane and partners with one of the world’s largest manufacturing companies, Flextronics, to produce Redflow batteries from North America. This scalable manufacturing model enables Redflow to ramp up production rapidly as demand grows.
Redflow batteries are already installed around the world, from supplying power-deprived entities in South Africa to Australia’s Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland. Redflow batteries are also installed in New Zealand, Asia, North and Central America and Europe.
Redflow CEO Stuart Smith is confident that the company’s flow battery provides a compelling alternative to legacy battery chemistries such as lithium ion and lead-acid. “Redflow has designed a battery with unique technical attributes that is ideally suited for time-shifting energy on a daily, full-cycle basis," he said.
“Our flow batteries combine with renewables to emulate the long-term, relatively constant power draw that comes from a baseload power generation plant. Affordable power storage solves the problem of intermittency that has until now plagued renewable power sources such as wind and solar.”
With the growing global demand for power storage by homes and small businesses, Redflow has broadened its product range to tailor batteries for residential energy storage while maintaining its long-term focus on providing batteries for telcos and grid-scale storage.
Redflow is currently making its flow batteries even easier to install and operate by developing a Redflow-branded battery management system that will make it a compelling solution to the energy storage challenges faced by Australian households.
Redflow batteries stand out in this new market because they are robust and reliable ‘workhorses’. They tolerate temperatures as hot as 50 degrees Celsius without any ancillary cooling. Unlike lithium-based batteries, the flow battery is not at risk of thermal runaway as the Zinc-Bromine electrolyte is an intrinsically fire-retardant material.
Most importantly, Redflow batteries can charge and discharge 100 per cent of their energy capacity each day, avoiding the damage that such performance would cause to traditional battery technologies. Redflow batteries are backed by a warranty for as long as 10 years.
Simon Hackett believes energy storage is now at the tipping point to reframe renewable energy as a genuine zero-carbon replacement for today’s fossil-fueled energy grid. “I look forward to Redflow, along with many other companies, contributing to the global-scale task of transforming our electricity supply systems into using renewable energy as the primary generation source,” he said.
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Redflow is a market leader, as one of the first companies to install fully operational and functional Zinc-Bromide Module (ZBM) batteries into a range of stationary energy applications. Redflow ensures continuous product innovation in our flagship R&D centre in Brisbane, which is part of our global presence, including Redflow offices in the US and Europe. Redflow batteries are manufactured by the world’s second largest manufacturing company, Flextronics. Our flow battery is sold, installed and maintained through our global network of system integrators. For more about Redflow, visit www.redflow.com.
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