ZBB invents battery that stores solar energy


Menomonee Falls-based ZBB Energy Corp., a developer of energy management systems solutions serving the utility, commercial and industrial building markets, announced the introduction of a breakthrough ZnBr flow battery specifically designed for behind-the-meter energy storage applications in the commercial and industrial building market.

The Agile Flow Battery has been engineered based upon ZBB’s flow battery design expertise, its breadth of real world application data derived from dozens of installations and stringent lab testing at ZBB and Meineng Energy, ZBB’s China joint venture company.

The Agile Flow Battery enables a large amount of energy to be deployed from a relatively small “footprint” within a building, for applications requiring up to eight hours of discharged energy.

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The distributed energy generation market for commercial and industrial buildings is in the early stages of what is predicted to be phenomenal growth. While implementation of solar PV is now common in many regions, the implementation of energy storage into the distributed generation system is in its nascent stage and can enable the owner of the building to perform many more applications that can both reduce electricity expense and generate cash for the stakeholders.

The building owner can now utilize the Agile Flow Battery to consume hours’ worth of energy stored during low rate time periods for use during high rate time periods.

“The Agile Flow Battery was designed from the start for commercial and industrial building applications, and the performance and safety of the product is ideal for this emerging market. Advanced storage technology, in conjunction with ZBB’s leading behind the meter energy management system products, position us to lead the transition towards full connectivity between the building level power plants and the utilities that want to utilize that electricity in the grid,” said Brad Hansen, president and chief operating officer of ZBB Energy. “The Agile Flow Battery also represents a paradigm shift in product development at ZBB, as the cycle time from start of concept design to completion of prototype build was less than five months. The quick time from concept to data validated prototype completion is attributable to leveraging the complementary capabilities between ZBB Energy and Meineng Energy, including engineering, supply chain, assembly and testing. The Agile battery has been undergoing reliability cycling almost continuously since initial powering on of the system in early December at Meineng’s test center. The battery has performed very well, demonstrating high efficiency and solid reliability.”

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In the United States alone, there are more than 5.5 million commercial, industrial and occupied multi-tenant buildings that spend more than $200 billion on electricity every year, offering a huge potential savings pool from which to draw.

The Agile Flow Battery is available for configurations of up to 1.0MWh, with shipments beginning in the second half of 2015.

Wall Street took little notice of the breakthrough the day it was announced, as ZBB’s stock continued to trade for just 54 cents per share on the New York Stock Exchange.

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