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Zinc Air Inc. (ZAI) is a low key battery company that believes it may finally be ready to release a technology that will completely change the energy storage sector. Their zinc-iron redox flow battery technology promises to be reliable, durable, safe, and cheap to produce and maintain.
One of the company advisors, Greg Hayes, stated that they “have been able to raise a lot of capital through private, high-net-worth individuals,” which has enabled the avoidance of any marketing campaigns normally needed to attract investors. Instead ZAI has managed to stay under the radar, quietly developing its technology.
The patience has paid off and ZAI is now just six months or so from using its technology in its first commercial project. Having received all funding from individuals involved in the company, there is no debt, and this, combined with the predicted sales of $16 million in 2013, and $115 million in follow on projects, makes for a very attractive model.
Designed to be used as conventional grid storage, ZAI is hoping to market its technology to micro-grid developments, catering for projects with a capacity in the tens of megawatts.as well as the US, Germany is one of the target markets due to its relatively large volume of renewable energy generation. India is another likely destination. Solar power is now cheaper than fossil fuels in India, and this energy storage could prove vital to the government’s plans to increase solar and wind capacity.
Following the recent debacle with lithium ion batteries bursting into flame, safety is an important issue for energy storage technologies. ZAI claim that they chose to research zinc-iron redox flow technology due to its safe nature compared to other energy storage technologies. The ZAI batteries operate at room temperature, are not pressurised, and pose no risk for the release of hazardous gas or waste by-products. Then, even in the case of any natural or man-made disaster compromising the integrity of the battery, it can be de-energised in 15 seconds.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com