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Zinc8 Energy Solutions is developing a unique low-cost battery and gaining traction amid changing energy landscape

Snapshot

The global rise in electricity sourced from renewables has led to increased demand for advanced batteries

Zinc8 Energy Solutions -

Quick facts: Zinc8 Energy Solutions

Price: 0.23 CAD

CSE:ZAIR
Market: CSE
Market Cap: $18.09 m
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  • Redefining long-duration energy storage
  • Extensive partner network
  • Experienced management

What Zinc Energy Solutions does:

Zinc8 Energy Solutions (CSE:ZAIR) says it is redefining long-duration energy storage, with its low-cost Zinc-Air battery offering a 20,000-hour operating life and over eight hours of storage.

The global rise in electricity sourced from renewables has led to increased demand for advanced batteries that can be used to stabilize intermittent supply.

The company has developed zinc-air flow batteries as an alternative to lithium-ion batteries, which can be used in applications that require 'long duration, high-capacity' storage.

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

The batteries can store current from wind or solar and can be deployed in commercial settings, or as an industrial backup to replace diesel generators. The firm says the total addressable market in the commercial and industrial space in the US alone is US$350 billion.

There are three components to the system: Power from the grid or a renewable source comes into the 'zinc regenerator', where oxygen is released as a by-product; zinc particles are then flowed to the 'storage tank' and maintained in potassium hydroxide (KOH) electrolyte until required.

Whenever power is needed, zinc particles are then sent to the 'power stack', recombining them with oxygen to generate electricity. The zinc oxide (ZnO) by-product is returned to the storage tank for later regeneration.

The technology already has 20 issued US patents with four more pending. 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 battery system, the firm has said the cost per additional kilowatt hour is US$10 for the MGX system compared to around US$400 for lithium-ion.

Energy in the 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.

In September, 2019 the group appointed a new CEO and president, Ron MacDonald. He had served as a director of the company since February last year and brought over 35 years' experience from both the private and public sectors. The appointment followed the company's name change from MGX Renewables Inc.

How is it doing:

In August this year,  Zinc8 Energy announced it was raising up to C$1.4 million to support its strategy to develop and commercialize its batteries via a private placing of 8.75 million units at C$.16 each.

Two months earlier, the group reported that it had established a wholly-owned US subsidiary, named Zinc8 Energy Solutions (USA) Inc, following two New York project wins.

At the beginning of 2020, Zinc8 struck a major deal with the huge New York Power Authority (NYPA) to install a 100 kilowatt, or one-megawatt hour, zinc-air battery energy storage system in the western part of the state.

It came after the company's battery was selected as a winner after the utility called for partnerships with early-stage cleantech startups to modernize the power system with more distributed energy resources and grid edge solutions. NYPA will contribute US$2.55 million to the project over three years.

The second project was a private partnership project with New York-based Digital Energy backed by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) for a 100 kilowatt, or 1.5-megawatt hour zinc-air battery energy storage system to be deployed in Brooklyn.

And in May this year, Zinc8 was accepted in the ACRE Incubator Program at Urban Future Lab, Brooklyn. The Urban Future Lab at NYU Tandon School of Engineering is New York City's leading innovation hub for clean energy, smart grid, and smart cities.

Inflection points:

  • More deals and projects
  • Progress on New York activities
  • Impact from coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

What the boss says:

In June this year, Zinc8 Energy CEO Ronald MacDonald said in a statement about the new US subsidiary: "Our decision to establish our US presence in New York State is a logical next step as we advance towards full commercialization over the next 24 months."

Earlier in January, MacDonald had spoken about the changing landscape: "There is a fundamental shift in how energy is generated, moved and stored," he said, citing the example of the rapid rise of electric vehicles, which are a green creation, but still need to be charged up by energy.

"Moving the energy from the gas tank over to the wires is creating a huge problem and it's global,"  the company boss said, adding that his firm helps to address this issue: "It's (the New York deal) validating what I've been saying for about a year now, that we're forging a new market that currently does not exist and it's because of our technology."

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