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Mass Production of ZincNyx Zinc-Air Flow Batteries Begins, Demo in NYC on Track

ZincNyx Energy Solutions recently announced it took delivery of the first shipment of components for its 20-kW/120-kWh zinc-air flow batteries. The shipment is a milestone for the Vancouver, Canada start-up in that it marks the start of mass production of its flow batteries, which may offer a more attractive alternative to the lithium-ion batteries that currently dominate the fast-growing stationary energy storage market.

Utilities, as well as a variety of investors and energy storage start-ups, continue their search for innovative battery, flow battery and fuel cell technology that may outdo lithium-ion battery-based systems in terms of cost and performance, particularly when it comes to stationary energy storage applications at the commercial, industrial, campus/community and utility-grid scales. That's the case with ZincNyx and its zinc-air flow battery-based energy storage system. 

ZincNyx's flow battery technology offers several advantages as compared to lithium-ion batteries, as well as other flow batteries or fuel cells that make use of different chemistry. In addition to using less costly, less volatile and less toxic zinc as opposed to lithium, vanadium or cobalt, the components that make up ZincNyx's flow batteries can be mass manufactured easily via common industrial injection molding, die casting and extrusion processes,  management highlights.

A new zinc-air flow battery design

Flow batteries are essentially rechargeable fuel cells. In contrast to batteries, the capacity of flow batteries is flexible – it can be scaled up simply by adding to the volume of the electrolytic solutions contained in fuel tanks.

In addition, ZincNyx's flow battery charge and discharge circuits are independent, which means the system can charge and discharge simultaneously, and at different maximum rates, ZincNyx explains. “Other types of standard and flow batteries are limited to a maximum charge and discharge by the total number of cells as there is no separation of the charge, discharge and storage components,” company management points out.

The newly designed regenerator and fuel cell parts that form the core of ZincNyx's energy storage technology provide four times the capacity of earlier versions, making it more attractive for medium and large-scale, long-duration applications. Manufacturing designs for these components was completed in June and implementation of tooling and production processes has proceeded smoothly, according to management. 

ZincNyx's flow battery systems are modular and hence scalable. They can be installed in free-standing racks in a warehouse or utility-closet environment, or housed in standard shipping containers. That has become the industry norm for lithium-ion battery, fuel cell and flow battery-based energy storage systems used at remote locations in that it makes for easier transportation and on-site configuration and installation. 

UL certification, a field test and a spin-off

ZincNyx management on Aug. 21 announced it has employed the CSA Group to test, inspect and certify its 20-kW/120-kWh Zinc-Air Fuel Cell Battery in order to obtain regulatory approval as per the UL 1973 standard, “Standard for Batteries for Use in Light Electric Rail (LER) Applications and Stationary Applications.” Obtaining the certification would pave the way for systems to be installed in North America and overseas.  

ZincNyx's technology will soon be put to the test in actual, real-world conditions. In partnership with Digital Energy Corp., a New York-based systems integrator, ZincNyx is working to deploy its zinc-air flow battery system at an undisclosed site in New York City. The demonstration project is part and parcel of a broader-based project development and distribution agreement as set out in a letter of intent signed by ZincNyx and Digital Energy Corp. in April.

ZincNyx is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vancouver-based MGX Minerals, a corporation whose shares trade on the Canadian Stock Exchange, the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and the US OTC market. Management has been acquiring and developing primary and secondary, recycled lithium resources in Canada, the US and South America, as well as investing selectively in clean-tech start-ups, such as ZincNyx, that are developing promising, new clean energy technologies.  

MGX is in the midst of a partial spin-off of ZincNyx that entails public listing of ZincNyx shares and the opportunity to raise additional capital. A financial audit of ZincNyx has been completed and management expects to complete and file a preliminary prospectus shortly. As a result, MGX Minerals will own 66.6 percent of ZincNyx's outstanding shares. One-third will paid as a dividend to MGX shareholders.

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