ZBB Energy plans advanced energy storage manufacturing facility

Battery manufacturer seeks federal funds to aid in development of new manufacturing facility dedicated to zinc bromide advanced flow battery energy storage.


ZBB Energy Corporation has applied for $47,047,415 of cost share financial assistance under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to enable the ultimate investment of $94,094,831 into its zinc bromide advanced flow battery energy storage manufacturing facility. Proceeds from the award will be invested into ZBB's production-ready existing plant and a proposed new facility, as well as into ZBB's strategic partners' existing operations, Soft Switching Technologies Inc. and Colonial Chemical Company. ZBB's application for the funding also contains letters of support from partners the Wisconsin Governor's Office, Eaton Corporation, Skyline Developments, and MGS MFG Group.
ZBB's advanced flow battery facility currently manufactures zinc bromide batteries primarily for the transmission and distribution utilities markets and the renewable power industry. The batteries are part of ZBB’s Zinc Energy Storage System (ZESS) , a proprietary and patented regenerative fuel cell based on zinc bromide technology. These batteries recharge during off peak and renewable generation times and discharge power as needed.
With the funds it has applied for, ZBB's advanced flow battery facility will also be able to manufacture the batteries to store energy from renewable sources and from the grid to charge plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and electric drive vehicles (EDV).
According to ZBB, existing studies have confirmed that the current electrical transmission grid is not competent to absorb the growing EDV market. Using batteries to store energy, ideally from renewable sources such as solar, for applications like the charging of electric vehicles will enable the existing electrical transmission grid to manage the demand of these vehicles and avoid the construction of an estimated 300MW of fossil fuel energy production capacity.
ZBB's chairman, Bill Mundell, said, "ZBB's current production capacity is approximately 20 MWh/year. We propose to increase production capacity to 300 MWh/year, or fifteen times the size of our existing operation. Such production volumes would create the capacity, on an aggregate yearly basis, to enable the recharge of approximately 187,750 PHEVs per day, based on a minimum 4 kWh capacity of a plug-in electric drive vehicle. ZBB strongly believes that a reliable and proven recharge system will be critical to the United States' electrical energy management and the successful penetration of the EDV industry into American commerce."
The company proposes to attain the 300 MWh/year production through the expansion of its existing 75,000 sq ft plant and the addition of a 363,000 sq ft new, automated manufacturing plant. ZBB estimates that more than 500 "green jobs" will be leveraged by the proposed activities at ZBB and at its strategic partners, as well as numerous construction jobs and related opportunities.

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