Zinc Technology Advances Across Energy Storage Markets – And Not Just Our Own

October 6, 2021
Nickel Zinc Cylindrical Cells

It’s an exciting time to be in the energy storage business!

In a prior blog post, A New Initiative Celebrates Performance, Safety and Sustainability of Zinc Batteries, we talked about our membership in the Zinc Battery Initiative (ZBI), an initiative created by the International Zinc Association to educate about the advantages and uses of rechargeable zinc batteries across a variety of applications.

Today we want to celebrate some good news from another ZBI company, Eos Energy Enterprises. Eos recently announced a $100 million investment to support its strategic growth initiatives. That’s quite a show of support!

Eos Znyth® technology is an excellent choice for long duration (3-12 hour) energy storage. Long-duration batteries can smooth out the variability of renewable energy by providing reliable power to entities throughout the electricity ecosystem: from utilities to industrial and commercial sites. Their zinc technology helps to lower the levelized cost of storage and increase the amount of renewable energy that electric grids and power uses can access around the clock.

Zinc’s strategic advantages for energy storage

Eos is not the only player in the long-duration energy storage market. What’s behind their momentum and this big new investment? It’s the strategic advantages that zinc brings to Eos batteries – and to ZincFive’s nickel-zinc battery solutions designed for data centers, intelligent transportation and more.

Safety

With energy storage becoming more widely used and energy dense, safety of personnel and facilities is a top concern. Eos technology uses aqueous technology that is less flammable than lithium-ion chemistries, reducing the risks to store and provide power in hot, dense places. Being nonflammable and free of thermal runaway risk, they do not require fire suppression systems, and there are lower restrictions for ship and installation.

NiZn technology is inherently safer than lithium-ion and lead-acid in applications such as data centers. NiZn batteries do not exhibit thermal runaway, as proven through testing at the cell level using the Underwriters Laboratories UL 9540A test method[1]. These batteries are also non-flammable and exhibit a reduced volume of out-gassing in abusive situations.

Efficiency

Since the Eos product is less complex than other long-duration systems, it is inherently more efficient. It is fast to install, easy to maintain, and cost-effective to run across a wide temperature range. In addition, it is designed for 100% depth of discharge, allowing use of the full rating of the system.

ZincFive’s NiZn batteries improve efficiency in similar ways. To start, ZincFive NiZn batteries have the highest operating temperature of available data center technologies which reduces the need for cooling equipment and power. In addition, ZincFive’s NiZn batteries have twice the power density of lead-acid batteries, and so can reduce battery footprint and weight by as much as 50%. These and other advantages reduce up-front and ongoing costs associated with energy storage.

“These are the start of a long list of reasons why zinc technology is very competitive in today’s energy storage markets.”

Sustainability

Sustainability is becoming a requirement across many large industries, so the growth of energy storage must reflect this priority. ZincFive’s NiZn chemistry is easier on the environment than the alternatives for data centers. In a recent Climate Impact Report performed by Boundless Impact Research & Analysis, ZincFive’s NiZn batteries ranked higher than lead-acid and lithium-ion chemistries in several criteria including avoided greenhouse gases (GHGs), carbon return on purchase and carbon payback time.

Eos technology is a much more eco-friendly option than lithium-ion systems. No toxic materials are used in manufacture, and all components are fully recyclable. According to Eos, the residual value from recycling covers all end-of-life costs, an important economic consideration for some public utilities.

Scalability

Interestingly, using a sustainable supply chain also makes a technology more scalable. As Eos puts it, “Less precious materials = more scalability.” Its systems use off-the shelf components with no precious or conflict materials. As a result, Eos claims its manufacturing process can scale up deployment of a gigawatt-scale factory in just six to nine months.

ZincFive’s NiZn battery technology is also based on highly available materials, so it avoids concerns around finding reliable, conflict-free sources. The technology can be produced using manufacturing lines already producing similar chemistries. The sky’s the limit for ZincFive NiZn.

These are the start of a long list of reasons why zinc technology is very competitive in today’s energy storage markets. As you can see in Eos and ZincFive, zinc is often the best battery choice for the criteria that matters most. Now there’s an exciting business to be in!

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