Home Technology ‘Real beacon’: Australian company developing zinc-bromide battery technology lists for $285m | Renewable energy

‘Real beacon’: Australian company developing zinc-bromide battery technology lists for $285m | Renewable energy


A developer of latest low-cost, fire-resistant battery technology spun out of the University of Sydney is about to checklist on the London Stock Exchange.

The company, Gelion plc, would be the college’s first market itemizing wherever when it’s scheduled to start buying and selling on the bourse’s Alternative Investment Market on November 30. It raised £16m ($30m), giving the company a market capitalisation of £154m ($A285m), and permitting Gelion to speed up the analysis and manufacturing of latest storage merchandise, primarily zinc-bromide batteries.

While the mixture was initially patented in 1889, the college staff led by Prof Thomas Maschmeyer created a zinc-bromide gel that they declare is a safer, longer-lasting and cheaper type of storage than the dominant lithium batteries.

“It is not going to catch fireplace. If something, it places it out,” Maschmeyer mentioned, detailing a few of Gelion’s benefits. “It has that top temperature operation window [up to 50C] and it’s actually tremendous protected, recyclable and has a extremely low environmental footprint.”

By distinction, lithium batteries are extra of a fire hazard and carry out much less effectively in warmth, requiring temperature controls and different engineering work, he mentioned.

Lithium now dominates the battery market due to its comparatively excessive energy density, making it appropriate for cell functions from smartphones to electrical autos.

Other types of storage, akin to thermal energy or compressed air, are additionally vying for a share of a market that Bloomberg New Energy Finance this month predicted would develop from 17 gigawatts in 2020 to a cumulative 358GW by the last decade’s finish.

So far, Gelion’s complete gross sales have totalled about $1m because it ready demonstration merchandise utilizing its Endure-branded battery. The company plans to make use of the funds raised from itemizing to increase its manufacturing website in Fairfield in Sydney’s west, and to start out producing batteries in India.

“I can see that Australian manufacturing truly being very considerably upgraded into probably a gigawatt-hour a yr functionality,” Maschmeyer mentioned.

Gelion’s technique hinges largely on convincing current makers of lead-acid batteries to retrofit their operations to make use of zinc-bromide as an alternative. Such a conversion to provide a 1GW-hour annual output would value about $US16m ($22m), in contrast with an estimated $US76m for a rival EOS Energy to start out a zinc-bromide plant from scratch, or $US135m for a similar-sized lithium plant, he mentioned.

Once zinc-bromide batteries might be produced at even a modest scale, their value of operation will show to be 25% lower than lithium as a result of they don’t want fire-suppression programs or airconditioning, Maschmeyer predicted.

“The system prices go down, down, down, and so already at a low stage of producing, we’re aggressive,” he mentioned “We don’t want 10GW hours [of scale] to get the manufacturing value down.”

Maschmeyer, who will step down as Gelion’s govt chairman, however stay its principal technology adviser, mentioned the agency had chosen London over a Sydney itemizing partially due to tax incentives within the UK.

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Australia can also be a extra risk-averse market with traders nonetheless spooked by the polarised debate over climate action unleashed throughout Tony Abbott’s election in 2013.

“The local weather wars of the Coalition have, you already know, actually harm that complete funding local weather and led to funding uncertainty, and everyone hates uncertainty,” he mentioned. “It wasn’t an enormous distinction on the finish of the day, however it was sufficient of a distinction for us to go to the UK.”

Li Daixin, a China-based storage analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance based mostly, mentioned a zinc-bromide battery “intrinsically has a decrease energy density and decrease charging/discharging fee [than lithium batteries] and thus has a a lot narrower utility state of affairs”.

“Also its additional value discount is tougher due to the dearth of economies of scale,” Li mentioned. “It primarily targets some stationary storage functions that require long-duration programs. So I don’t suppose it may be taken as a rival to lithium and as an alternative may very well be complementary within the storage market for some utility situations.”

Other applied sciences in Gelion’s pipeline embrace developing silicon and sulfur components that may enhance lithium battery efficiency. This technology can be licensed to current battery markers somewhat than the company attempting to provide them.

“We’re simply making the lithium ion and lithium sulfur batteries extra energy dense and fewer vulnerable to thermal runaway waste,” Maschmeyer mentioned. “So we’re not consuming into the identical markets [as zinc-bromide]. They’re fully separate markets.”

The company expects to interrupt even by early 2024. The itemizing will assist enhance present employees in Australia from 30 to 45.

The University of Sydney’s 5% share in Gelion will probably be decreased to three% after the itemizing dilutes its holding.

The college’s assist confirmed “what’s needed for a startup to go all the best way to itemizing they usually’re placing their cash the place their mouth is,” Maschmeyer mentioned “They’ve simply been an actual beacon.”

  • This story was amended on 25 November 2021. The headline beforehand acknowledged the company had listed. It is because of checklist on 30 November 2021. It additionally acknowledged the company raised £154m ($A285m) when the proper determine was £16m, with the University of Sydney’s share decreased from 5% to three%.


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