A solar and hybrid storage microgrid including the zinc-bromine batteries of Australian company Redflow is being used to power a remote Thai village, stranded from the national grid in the middle of a wildlife reserve.
ASX-listed Redflow, which recently established a battery manufacturing plant in Thailand, said on Wednesday that 10 of its ZBM2 batteries were being used, alongside three lithium batteries, to provide power to the village of Ban Pha Dan in Lamphun province.
Ban Pha Dan, which lies 70km south of the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai, has lacked access to electricity because it is surrounded by a wildlife reserve where power poles are not allowed to be installed.
The microgrid project, backed by the Thai government, will supply solar energy for the town without the need to turn to heavy polluting and costly diesel generators, and in line with the country’s target of 35 per cent renewables by 2037.
Redflow’s local Thai partner, TSUS Group, installed the ZBM2 batteries in a small concrete building next to the village town hall, which will be powered by solar energy stored in the batteries, alongside the community school and temple.
The lithium batteries – which, unlike the Redflow batteries, require an airconditioned room to ensure they operate at a safe temperature – are being used to store and supply power for the town’s individual houses.
The locally-produced solar energy will also allow the villagers to power water-supply systems for drinking and agriculture.
Redflow managing director and CEO Tim Harris said the Ban Pha Dan deployment provided a compelling model for remote communities in both developing and developed countries.
“Just like mobile telephony leapfrogged fixed-line telecommunications in developing countries, microgrids can deliver the benefits of modern technology without the massive infrastructure spend required by grid-based energy utilities,” Harris said in comments on Wednesday.
“Redflow believes microgrids present a strong market opportunity for our zinc-bromine flow batteries.”
The off-grid and remote power market has so far provided steady business for the Brisbane-based company – and it also has experience installing storage systems in protected wildlife parks.
Last November, Redflow announced a new supply deal with major telco Optus, to supply six of its ZBM2 battery units for energy storage at a remote communications tower in the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest.
The Optus project followed Redflow’s largest-ever order of zinc-bromine flow batteries, shipped in July last year, to provide energy storage for Fiji’s digital television network.
That $US1.2 million order from New Zealand-based Hitech Solutions saw between five and 60 ZBM2 batteries installed at more than 10 sites in Fiji, many of which had no access to the country’s electricity grid.
“Our batteries thrive on heat and hard work and are not prone to thermal runaway like other battery chemistries,” said Redflow’s Harris in comments at the time.