June 18, 2020: ZAF Energy, the nickel-zinc and zinc air battery technology company, said on June 10 it has signed a $2.5 million deal with the US Department of Defense to supply large batteries for potential marine applications.
While a competitive technology to lead-acid batteries, Kirk Plautz, VP sales & marketing with ZAF, said it could benefit lead battery makers because they could easily adopt the technology themselves as a response to lithium-ion battery technology.
“We will be licensing out the technology in 2021, and lead battery manufacturers will be some of the licensees because it will be an enhancement for them,” Plautz said.
“Some 70% of the process involved in making nickel-zinc batteries is the same as in making lead-acid batteries so they could easily make it themselves.
“Lead battery manufacturers are seeing an erosion in their business due to lithium, so as NiZn will compete with lithium in applications such as data centres, industrial and marine, where safety and cost are the driving factors, lead battery makers can also use this as an option to compete.”
The contract was signed with ACI Technologies, a scientific research body that operates the US Navy’s Center of Excellence in Electronics Manufacturing Productivity Facility. This focuses on developing and applying new electronics technology at the lowest possible cost.
The contract comes six weeks after ZAF completed a $22 million capital raising to speed up the commercialization of nickel-zinc batteries in data storage, industrial equipment, transport, healthcare and defence markets.
The company is going to focus on nickel-zinc technology for transport and data centre applications, while its new subsidiary, Æsir, will develop the zinc-air battery technology and concentrate on military, medical, aircraft and speciality batteries.
ZAF Energy was incorporated in 2011. It claims its technology can replace lead acid batteries in data centre UPSs and reduce the footprint by 40% because NiZn batteries last twice as long and yield twice the energy density at a quarter of the cost.
In February 2019, battery equipment manufacturer Wirtz invested in ZAF Energy, with a view to increasing manufacturing capacity in ZAF’s Joplin facility.