Zinc-bromine battery manufacturer, Redflow (ASX:RFX), has just signed its largest global battery sale to supply energy storage in California.

In the agreement, Redflow is to supply 2MWh energy storage system comprising 192 zinc-bromine flow batteries to global waste recovery leader Anaergia for its Rialto Bioenergy Facility in California. This represents the largest single deployment of Redflow batteries globally – a deal for which it stands to receive US$1.2 million (excluding taxes).

The storage system is meant to reduce peak energy usage at the Rialto Facility as part of its micro-grid.

The facility itself, located 80km north of Los Angeles, is an ongoing project developed by Anaergia. When fully operational, it will become North America’s largest landfill diverted organic waste digester facility, and will convert 700 tons per day of organic waste as well as 300 tons per day of biosolids into renewable natural gas and Class A fertiliser. It aims to service the organic waste recycling needs of Los Angeles and the Southern California region.

Redflow said that its zinc-bromine batteries were chosen specifically to meet the demands for the Rialto site.

“The Rialto Bioenergy Facility provides the ideal use case for Redflow zinc-bromine flow batteries. Our batteries thrive on heat and hard work, which is exactly what Anaergia requires from them,” commented Redflow CEO, Tim Harris.

Harris said the deal is the first step towards establishing Redflow’s presence in California, and to offer “commercially-proven zinc-bromine flow battery solutions to the broader Californian and US energy market” – adding that the US market is expected to rapidly transition to renewable energy.

Redflow’s Optus deal

In February, Redflow announced a crucial agreement with telco giant Optus to deploy Redlow batteries as part of the Morrison Government’s Strengthening Telecommunications Against Natural Disasters (STAND) program.

The program is aimed at improving the resilience of Australian telco networks in dealing with power outages during emergencies such as bushfires, through a $13.2 million funding to upgrade backup power at 467 base stations to at least 12 hours.

Redflow’s initial task for Optus was to install its batteries at a black spot site in Lexton, Victoria, with further plans to deploy in at least 56 other black spot sites. The deal, the company said, will underpin near-term growth outlook for the company.

It’s not all about lithium batteries

Redflow is unique amongst a pack of lithium battery stocks listed on the ASX. The company has pointed to the fact that zinc bromine flow batteries have 100 per cent daily depth discharge capabilities and high energy density relative to lead-acid batteries.

In addition, the company said that only 2 per cent of Australia’s annual 3,300 tonnes of lithium-ion battery waste is currently recycled – a waste problem which is growing rapidly by 20 per cent per year and could exceed 100,000 tonnes by 2036.

Although there is a high potential value in lithium batteries, a viable technical and financial pathway remains challenging with disposal costs of lithium-ion battery waste predicted to be as high US$60/kWh.

The zinc-bromine flow battery, on the other hand, is made from easily recycled or reused components. At its end of life, the battery’s zinc-bromide electrolyte solution can be purified and used for new batteries. The company said it has validated its environmental credentials with a leading Brisbane based recycling company.

Crucial achievements in the last six months

Apart from the Optus deal, the company has inked other major deals in the last six months. It received an order from Semini Custom Feeds in WA for a 600 kWh Large Scale Battery, and completed battery installations under the NSW State Government’s Primary Industry Grant Scheme.

The company has also commenced its initial Gen3 battery customer trial, providing valuable data into the performance of the new Gen3 stack design, tank and new Mk12 electronics. New innovations were also launched, including an Industrial Battery House enclosure to allow Redflow batteries to work seamlessly alongside lead acid batteries in a single system – which is core to the Optus project.

Redflow delivered $431k revenue for the first half, despite the impact of COVID-19. Loss after income tax was $2.9 million in H1 FY21, down from $3.9 million in H1 FY20. The company stated that improved financials were a result of a cost reduction in raw materials, and ongoing cost management measures.

What’s ahead for Redflow?

The company said it will continue to focus on its major markets in Australia, North America, Southern Africa, and China. It will also accelerate the development and testing for Gen3 batteries, with a target production for the first half of FY22.

The Redflow share price has rocketed by around 150% over the past 12 months, including a jump of more than 50 per cent today on the announcement to 9.3c a share.

Redflow’s share price chart: