Redflow adds virtual power plant functionality to zinc-bromine flow batteries

Australian energy storage company Redflow Limited announced on Wednesday that it was teaming up with Victorian-based smart energy system company carbonTRACK to incorporate Virtual Power Plant functionality into its Redflow zinc-bromine flow batteries.

The new partnership will incorporate carbonTRACK’s energy management system into Redflow battery systems, enabling customers to make use of carbonTRACK’s intelligent control algorithms so as to optimise their batteries by tailoring the total power system to their own needs.

According to Redflow’s CEO Tim Harris, the collaboration with carbonTRACK adds value for customers by providing Virtual Power Plant capabilities to its own unique battery solution.

Redflow’s ZBM2 battery, the smallest production zinc-bromine flow battery in the world, delivers significant advantages including a long operating life, heat tolerance, and no degradation of energy storage capacity with heavy cycling use.

In turn, this makes Redflow’s ZBM2 battery a perfect companion for frequent and regular dispatching by carbonTRACK’s energy dispatching algorithms.

Despite the fact that both companies are based in Australia, the two companies will in fact begin exploring the opportunities of their new collaboration in the South African market where both companies have built a presence over the past few years.

Specifically beneficial to the new partnership, South Africa’s famously unreliable national electricity grid will provide a perfect proving ground for the new collaboration.

The two companies will begin by looking at ways Redflow’s energy storage solution and carbonTRACK’s intelligent energy utilisation software can benefit South African commercial and large residential deployments as well as off-grid energy systems.

“Redflow’s plug-and-play energy storage system, based on its robust zinc-bromine flow batteries, can shift and manage large volumes of energy,” said carbonTRACK Managing Director Spiros Livadaras.

“Our technology complements Redflow’s ability to self-manage, protect and monitor their batteries 24/7.”

“This delivers an important strategic capability by enabling Redflow batteries to become a part of a broader suite of energy assets that can be efficiently monitored, coordinated and controlled,” said Redflow Managing Director and CEO Tim Harris.

“The investment we have made in our Battery Management System (BMS) is a critical enabler which will allow us to deliver VPP capability with carbonTRACK. We see great opportunities to work with carbonTRACK in South Africa and the potential to then target other markets like off-grid deployments in Australia.”

This is not the first time this year that Redflow has been in the news, following news earlier this year that the company’s focus on key overseas markets was beginning to provide a growing pipeline of “significant opportunities”.

This was ably highlighted in April as Redflow announced that it’s ZBM2 battery had been chosen as the “energy storage backbone” of a UK solar mini-grid, as well as an order to provide 10 more of its ZBM2 flow batteries to New Zealand’s Rural Connectivity Group JV designed to provide mobile and broadband coverage for off-grid areas.

Redflow’s third generation zinc-bromine flow battery is also under continued development, with recent tests showing that the next-gen battery will deliver cost reductions of at least 30% compared to the second-generation version.

“Gen 3 is all about putting Redflow on the pathway towards a sustainable, vibrant volume manufacturing business,” said Tim Harris in a video presentation.

“We do expect this engineering work to deliver at least 30% cost reductions versus our current model at reasonable volumes.”

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