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Redflow welcomes Tesla's entry into advanced energy storage sector

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Redflow (ASX:RFX) has welcomed the enhanced attention electric car company Tesla's (NASDAQ:TSLA) entry into the advanced energy storage sector has attracted.
   
This has raised the public profile of affordable energy storage as a disruptive technology that enables renewable generation sources to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, increase distributed generation and deliver energy independence.

In response to enquiries from stakeholders about the commercial implications of Tesla's entry, the company said it currently delivers the world’s only currently available commercial modular flow batteries.   

Alongside Lithium-ion and Lead-Acid based batteries, the Redflow Zinc Bromide Module represents a genuine ’third way’ in the energy storage realm, delivering distinct technical and application advantages relative to these traditional battery technologies.

Redflow’s ZBM DC battery module and its grid-scale LSB (Large Scale Battery) storage systems are in commercial production today via North American manufacturer Flextronics (NASDAQ:FLEX) and the company is on course to make significant commercial sales during this calendar year.

The company’s strategy includes constructing and deploying large-scale demonstration systems for key international markets, and bringing additional staff and technical resources onboard in key operational areas, as it moves into the volume delivery phase of our operations.

Its systems are already well integrated with a variety of key energy system and inverters in its major current market segments, including Telco/Data Centre 48V DC deployments, remote area DC and AC micro-grid systems and grid-scale energy storage, generation and delivery.

However, the technology advantages of flow batteries are also highly applicable to the emerging home energy storage market with the company developing a set of ‘turn-key’ exemplar solutions in conjunction with selected major brands of DC/AC battery inverter products that demonstrate the advantages of its batteries.

The company recently raised $16 million to fund a higher level of inventory, place demonstration systems and invest in new machinery.


ZBM advantages


Redflow’s ZBM batteries are available now and that they offer substantial technical and environmental advantages over Lithium-ion and Lead-Acid batteries especially when paired with renewable energy sources.

Redflow’s 48V DC modules are also easily and rapidly integrated into Telco and off-grid DC based micro-grid applications.

A key differentiator of Redflow’s ZBM is its capability to operate as a daily full-discharge, full-power workhorse that thrives upon being fully cycled each day.

The maintenance-free lifetime energy throughput of a flow battery is insensitive to variations in daily cycle depth.

In contrast, conventional Lithium-ion and Lead-Acid batteries are highly sensitive to discharge depth.

The overall lifetime of traditional batteries is also a complex function of the depth of discharge that is engaged by the energy application. A large proportion of their battery capacity must be reserved simply to ensure an adequate operating lifetime.

Further, these traditional cell types are temperature sensitive, requiring complex thermal control mechanisms and risking damage due to overheating or thermal runaway should the control mechanisms fail or the environmental conditions become unexpectedly worse.

In contrast, Redflow’s ZBM flow battery offers unique technical and robustness advantages:

- Operating in harsh environmental conditions, including running in ambient temperatures up to 50 degrees celsius without external cooling systems;
- Intrinsically safe, as their internal chemistry is naturally fire-retardant;
- ‘Smart’ batteries that self-protect when required. They cannot be overcharged;
- Can be charged and disconnected for extended periods, maintaining a 100% state of charge indefinitely, ready for later use;
- Can also be fully discharged and disconnected for storage purposes with no battery condition damage or degradation. By contrast, long-term storage of traditional batteries without an ongoing energy “trickle charge” input will render them into a ‘brick’;
- The internal modular construction of the Redflow ZBM, based on a separation of electrode, electrolyte and control systems and constructed without rare-earth metals, produces a battery that can be recycled cost effectively and in an environmentally friendly manner. The Redflow ZBM is also capable of in-field renewal to full operating capacity in the future via an electrode ‘stack swap’.

The Redflow LSB assembles and integrates up to 60 Redflow ZBM batteries into an intrinsically safe, high availability, grid-scale energy storage and delivery system with a capacity of up to 660 kWh per energy delivery cycle.

Any number of LSBs can be deployed together in order to scale energy storage and delivery to any required grid-scale requirement.


Analysis

The entry of Elon Musk’s Tesla into the advanced energy storage sector marks a milestone in its public recognition as a disruptive technology that enables renewable generation sources to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

Redflow is positioned to capitalise on this increased interest with its commercially available ZBM batteries that deliver distinct technical and application advantages over traditional Lithium-ion and Lead-Acid batteries.



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