Zinc-Air Regenerative Fuel Cell System (ZRS) is a patented technology that stores energy in the form of zinc particles, similar in size to grains of sand. In order to release energy, the zinc particles are combined with oxygen drawn from the surrounding air. The system then recharges, by returning oxygen to the surrounding air using power from the grid or renewable sources.
ZRS decouples the linkage between energy and power and unlike lithium-ion batteries, it does not require new stacks in order to scale. Instead, increasing the size of the fuel tank and quantity of recharged zinc fuel will allow the system to store more energy. As a result, ZRS is expected to have a much lower capital cost per installed kilowatts per hour (kWh) compared to lithium-ion batteries.
This technology also has several other advantages over conventional Li-ion batteries, with zero capacity fade over the battery’s long life and the batteries are non-flammable and non-toxic.
Zinc8 Energy Solutions, a CSE listed energy storage company, has 21 US patents, with 5 pending, for its ZRS technology. In order to commercialise its product, the company is collaborating and partnering with large project developers to offer a build-own-operate solution to energy storage.
The company has already received acclaim from New York City Department of Buildings (NYC DOB), which regulates more than one million buildings and the Real Estate Board of New York (REB NY), New York’s leading real estate trading association, winning of NYC DOB’s 2020 Innovation Challenge and REB NY’s 2022 PropTech Challenge.
Zinc8 has been awarded a grant from the Empire State Development of up to US$9 million in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits to incentivize the company to locate and establish its first US-based production facility in New York State.
Alongside this, the company was issued tax-exempt revenue bonds for up to US$10 million to undertake the buildout and completion of Zinc8's first commercial manufacturing facility within Ulster County, New York. The proceeds from the US$10 million are expected to be utilized for the acquisition of machinery, equipment, fit-up and improvements to the facility.
Zinc8 has successfully demonstrated its technology at the pilot plant scale with a 10kW zinc-air battery energy storage system for a Global Cloud Provider. The company is now constructing much larger and longer duration systems, with two demonstration projects underway:
- A 10-year agreement with the Power Authority of the State of New York for the installation of a 100kW 10-hour duration storage system and;
- Another 100kW and 15-hour duration storage system for a New York City housing complex commissioned by the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency (NYSERDA).
These projects will commence between 2023 and 2024, with Zinc8 targeting commercial production from 2024.