With more households projected to adopt battery-connected solar PV systems, demand for energy storage batteries is expected to surge, giving rise to concerns about the environmental impact of more lithium-ion batteries ending up in waste. (According to the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative, 8000 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries are thrown out every year).
Redflow, an Australian company, has developed a battery that has good options for refurbishment or recycling at end-of-life and doesn’t use lithium. The ZCell is a ‘flow battery’ and has different characteristics to other household batteries. It is made witha reusable liquid electrolyte component that can be cleaned and reused, and offers full usage of battery capacity (100% depth of discharge), and high tolerance of temperature extremes and periods of disuse. The efficiency of the battery over a full cycle is 80 per cent compared to approximately 90 per cent for lithium batteries. The ZCell stores 10kWhof electricity and the battery stack has a 10-year warranty. Available from mid 2016. RRP $17,500 to $19,500 (depending on installer), and includes the battery enclosure, inverter/ charger and installation.
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