March 12, 2020: Zinc air storage company Zinc8 Energy Solutions has been awarded its first commercial contract with private company Digital Energy to install a 1MW/1.5MWh energy storage system in New York City, the company said on March 11.
The choice is interesting in that Zinc8 was chosen above the more commonplace lead and lithium alternatives.
The installation will support and enhance the economics of a CHP (combined heat and power) system at Brooklyn, New York, and could be the first of many since Digital develops CHP plants, solar systems and microgrids.
It is the second contract to be awarded to Zinc8 within two months, both of them in New York State. The first project — which will get a contribution of $2.55 million over three years from the New York Power Authority, the largest state public power utility — will install a 100kW/1MWh behind-the-meter storage system. This will be at a demonstration site for an unnamed commercial and industrial customer.
The project was a winner through the NYPA Innovation Challenge under New York state governor’s Andrew Cuomo ‘Green New Deal’, which aims to have 3GW of energy storage installed by 2030.
“This opens a brand new market where there is no competition except for pumped hydro, for which you need a lake — it’s very location specific,” said Zinc8 president and CEO Ron MacDonald.
“We are the first company to use zinc air and separate the power and the energy capacity components. Our approach was to start with long duration storage, which lithium-ion cannot reach because it’s simply too expensive.
“Utilities are looking for safe technology, with long duration and competitive cost — we are way cheaper than any equivalent technology, and offer a 20-year life span.
“As storage capacity increases there is no need to increase power capacity. Adding on capacity would cost between $300-350/kWh for a vanadium flow battery. With our system it’s $45/kWh.”