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MGX Renewables, soon to be Zinc8 Energy Solutions, is advancing battery technology in a changing landscape

Snapshot

The company believes the name change to Zinc8 better highlights its Zinc-Air energy storage system

MGX Renewables -

Quick facts: MGX Renewables

Price: 0.195 CAD

CSE:MGXR
Market: CSE
Market Cap: $7.56 m
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  • Unique zinc-air flow battery technology, which can be scaled up

  • Experienced management team

  • Technology protected with many patents already issued

What MGX Renewables/Zinc8 Energy Solutions does?

MGX Renewables Inc (CSE:MGXR) was spun-out from MGX Minerals Inc (CSE:XMG) (OTCMKTS:MGXMF) where it was a subsidiary previously known as ZincNyx Energy Solutions. It began trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange on July 22, 2019 

On September 19, a new shift was announced as it announced a name change to Zinc8 Energy Solutions and brought on a new chief executive to advance the company.

The name Zinc8 better highlights the company’s Zinc-Air energy storage system, which offers eight hours of energy storage. The company said it would make the change official and update its stock ticker in coming weeks.

The new man at the helm is Ron MacDonald, who becomes both president and CEO. He has served as a director since February and brings over 35 years' experience from both the private and public sectors.

Zinc8 Energy Solutions has developed zinc-air flow batteries as an alternative to lithium-ion batteries to be used in applications that require 'long duration, high-capacity' storage. The mission is to: "Provide longest duration, low cost energy storage for markets in renewables, peak power shaving, and diesel generator replacement for backup power."

Its batteries are said to meet a need in both renewables storage and in industry and grid scale opportunities in power acquisition and distribution. They are also a cleaner and steadier way of providing and acquiring power.

Potential uses include storing current from renewable energy sources such as wind or solar; commercial, industrial backup to replace diesel generators; industrial scale, on-demand power for peak shaving services to save grid costs; and grid scale energy storage for energy trading

Put simply, the regeneration component of the system requires the passing of electric current across the opposing electrodes - cathode and anode - of each regeneration cell.

Particles of zinc are "grown" on the cathode, while oxygen comes off the anode. Zinc particles are periodically washed off the cathode using the same electrolyte in which they were produced and stored in the fuel tank. The oxygen is released into the atmosphere.

When the system is delivering power, zinc particles are combined with oxygen drawn from the surrounding air, but when the system is recharging, zinc particles are regenerated, and oxygen is returned to the surrounding air.

The technology, which has 20 issued US patents with six more under way, can be used in a wide-range of ways, including in renewable sources such as wind and solar, but also to replace diesel generators and for grid-scale storage. The system is designed to deliver power in the range of between 20kW and 50MW and energy storage in the range of between 120kWh and 1GWh over extended periods.

To underline potential advantages, compared to a lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery system, the firm has said that the cost per additional kilowatt hour is US$10 for the MGX system compared to around US$400  for Li-ion.

Energy in the MGX system is also stored in electrolytes, which is limited only by the size of the tank and the amount of fuel provided, whereas in lithium batteries, storage within electrodes is limited by the size and number of electrodes. The system also has no fire hazard but the lithium-ion one does.

How is it doing:

On September 3, the firm told investors it had begun production of next-generation carbon-based cathode for its patented zinc-air fuel-cell battery technology. So far, it has produced 300 cathodes for use in its initial mass storage battery systems.

Each 5-kilowatt fuel-cell stack uses 50 cathodes, and the company said it plans to scale-up cathode production to 36 megawatts of annual equivalent capacity with a minimum storage of 8 hours.

A week later the group said it was set to  raise total gross proceeds of up to C$3 million in a non-brokered placing to be used for general working capital. And that was a day after it brought in C$500,000 gross for working capital after closing a previously announced placing.

On July 29, the group said it had hired a highly experienced energy executive, Fabio Fontana as director of its European operations. The former British Gas employee, will supervise the upgrading and certification of the zinc battery to EU Standards and negotiate manufacturing, distribution and capital relationships within the bloc

What the boss says:

Former CEO Jared Lazerson told Proactive earlier this month: "The patents are strong. We have 20 issued patents. I believe another five patents are pending and we will continue to apply for patents as appropriate. We like to patent the system as a whole, the battery as a whole, but also the individual subsystems".

On scaling up manufacturing, Lazerson added: "Now that we have some confidence - as we discussed, we have our own cathode production machinery. We've now decided on the scale at which we're going to ramp up. We're looking to ramp  up to about 36MW of output on an annualized basis. This is equivalent  to about 360,000 cathodes per year."

 

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Full interview: MGX Renewables begins next generation cathode production for...

MGX Renewables (CSE:MGXR) CEO Jared Lazerson sat down with Steve Darling from Proactive Vancouver to talk about the company starting to produce cathodes. Lazerson discusses what that means for the company and also for the industry in general.  Lazerson also told Proactive how important...

on 3/9/19

5 min read