Zinc batteries: Redflow teams with Stanwell on 400 MWh project, e-Zinc secures $31m commercialization funding

Australian zinc bromide flow battery specialist Redflow has struck a partnership with Queensland state-owned generation company Stanwell to work together on the development of a non-lithium long-duration battery energy storage solution for use in a 400 MWh project. Meanwhile, Toronto long duration energy storage specialist e-Zinc has secured $31 million which will go towards developement and completion of its pilot manufacturing facility in Mississauga, Ontario.  
Image: e-Zinc

Queensland-based battery company Redflow has signed a memorandum of understanding with publicly owned energy company Stanwell to collaborate on the development and deployment of its next generation zinc bromide flow battery for use in large-scale projects.

A feasibility study will conduct technical and commercial due diligence for an initial 5 MWh project using Redflow’s new X10 battery solution at Stanwell’s Future Energy and Innovation Training Hub being built at the coal-fired Stanwell power station site near Rockhampton in central Queensland.

The two parties intend to then deploy Redflow’s X10 battery for use in a 400 MWh large-scale project at a site that has yet to be revealed.

Redflow said the X10 is the “natural evolution” of its current zinc-bromine battery systems and designed for larger-scale projects. The system utilises the core stack technology that was developed for the company’s ZBM3 battery unit but in a new form designed for large-scale deployments.

“Redflow has taken the core chemistry and technology IP from the Pod200 and scaled this up and optimised it to provide better performance, higher energy density and lower cost,” the company said, adding that the X10 retains its modular approach so system design is bespoke, however each 20ft container equivalent is initially about 150 kW / 725 kWh with a target to increase this to 200 kW / 1 MWh.

The feasibility study is scheduled to be completed later this year. If the results are positive, the initial 5 MWh battery energy storage system is expected to be installed in the first half of 2025.

Stanwell Chief Executive Officer Michael (CEO) O’Rourke said the agreement and proposed projects with Redflow form part of the utility’s strategy to build a renewables portfolio including 9-10 GW of generation and 5 GW of storage by 2035 to support the Queensland government’s renewable energy targets.

“Stanwell has ambitious targets for energy storage within our portfolio, and we see longer-duration energy storage solutions such as Redflow’s as being crucial to meeting our customer demand for firmed renewable solutions,” he said.

“We already have a number of battery storage projects in the pipeline, and this new partnership will ensure the battery technologies deployed in the future are the best fit to serve our communities and customers through our renewable transformation.”

Redflow CEO and Managing Director Tim Harris said the study with Stanwell is being conducted in parallel with the company’s own feasibility study into the establishment of a battery manufacturing facility in Queensland.

Redflow, which currently manufactures its batteries at a factory in Thailand, has been exploring the viability of establishing a factory on home soil in response to accelerating demand for its technology in Australia and key global markets such as the United States.

Harris said the agreement with Stanwell could serve as a potential anchor order for the planned factory which is targeted for a 2026 launch.

“This announcement reinforces the incredibly critical role that energy storage and more specifically long-duration energy storage, will play in Australia becoming a renewable energy superpower,” he said.

Redflow’s ambition ties in with the Queensland and Australian governments’ separate battery strategies which raim to supercharge the nation’s battery industry and create jobs.

e-Zinc’s shot in the arm

Toronto-based e-Zinc has secured $31 million which will go towards developement and completion of its 42,000 sq. ft pilot manufacturing facility in Mississauga, Ontario.  

The fresh funding comes on top of a previous Series A funding round of $25 million raised in April 2022.  

e-Zinc will also collaborate with Toyota Tsusho Cananda Inc. and the California Energy Commission on a series of pilot demonstrations of its long duration energy storage technology. The tests will attempt to prove that the company’s zinc-air batteries have the capability to store 24 hours of energy, which is approximately 10x that of traditional batteries. If the pilot is successful, it will pave the way for commercial validation of the technology. 

For the past few years, e-Zinc has been making a name for itself thanks to its zinc-air battery technology, which offers durable, long duration energy storage services. Its storage system claims to have 100% depth of discharge (DoD), which allows for full capacity use. The company has received multiple awards, including World Economic Forum’s 2023 Technology Pioneer, Canada’s Charging the Future Challenge, and recognition by Global Cleantech 100.  

e-Zinc’s follow-on Series A round was oversubscribed. It was led by Evok Innovations, with additional investments from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Export Development Canada, and Ultratech Capital Partners. The company’s existing shareholders also participated, including Toyota Ventures, Eni Next, Anzu Partners, BDC, and Graphite Ventures. 

“e-Zinc has the potential to revolutionize the long duration energy storage market,” said Jane Kearns, partner at Evok Innovations. “The company’s ability to scale durations at very low cost sets it apart from competitors and makes it an extremely attractive solution for both off- and on-grid applications,” she added. 

“With this new investment, we are well positioned to transition to a production-oriented stage and focus on our operational excellence,” said e-Zinc CEO, James Larsen.  

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