Gelion Endure – A Non-Flow Zinc Bromine Battery

Gelion Endure battery

Gelion Endure – still early days for the aesthetics

A new type of energy storage platform was put to work at the University of Sydney last night by Gelion Technologies.

A Gelion Endure battery is providing energy storage for a solar powered mobile light tower at the University and over the next year other towers will be rolled out across the campus.

Gelion Technologies, spun-out of the University, is led by Professor Thomas Maschmeyer, winner of the 2018 Eureka Prize for Leadership in Innovation and Science. Professor Maschmeyer believes the Gelion Endure will be a serious challenger for lithium-ion batteries.

The technology is based on zinc-bromine, which traditionally has been used in flow batteries. In terms of home solar storage, the only commercially available zinc-bromine battery on the market currently is Redflow’s Zcell, specifications of which are listed on SQ’s solar battery comparison table.

The big difference with Gelion Endure is that it’s a non-flow battery that uses, as the name suggests, a gel approach.

Professor Maschmeyer says it’s not economical to produce the amount of lithium-ion batteries that will be required as the world moves towards a renewable energy future and zinc is 9 times cheaper per electron transfer than lithium (but there’s a lot more to a battery than just these materials).

Cheaper, Safer, Easier To Scale

Cheaper, safer and using readily available materials – these are the major attributes that put Gelion technology ahead of lithium-ion says the professor. The battery doesn’t require active cooling, can be discharged 100% and its electrode surfaces can be rejuvenated remotely without the need for on-site servicing. As well as being non-flammable, the gel has proven to be a fire retardant in a laboratory setting.

Gelion Endure will have applications for micro devices through to home, commercial and utility-scale energy storage.

“One of the really cool things about the gel approach is that I can go from a capacitive type performance to very fast power discharge to very slow and steady discharge, based on thickness of the gel,” says Professor Maschmeyer.

Professor Maschmeyer states Gelion Technologies has hit its milestones 14 months early and is in discussions with construction companies with view to the company’s technology being used in building-integrated energy storage.

According to RenewEconomy, the company expects to be mass producing batteries for applications ranging from residential to grid at a cost of below $100/kWh by the end of 2021.

In terms of its home energy storage product, it will be interesting to see if Gelion is able to match the size of the ZCell for the same capacity.

Companies can tend to be a little optimistic when forecasting capabilities, costs and market releases of products still being developed. But it’s great to see technology of Australian origin creating excitement in the energy storage sector – here’s hoping it delivers.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. Daniel Debreceny says

    Fantastic news.

    Also, lithium is mined (an environmental nightmare), and it’s unhealthy (environmental nightmare), and we haven’t quite figured out how to recycle / extract it from old batteries yet (but we’re working on it).

    Multiple options is always great, because different products, have different characteristics and suit different uses.

    • @Daniel… can’t be any worse than gold mining, which uses cyanide washing to extract gold from mud/crushed slurries. This cyanide washing is then discharged into rivers destroying and killing the downstream ecosystem. There was a recent episode in central NSW (near Orange) where a tailings dam containing toxic materials failed and mining had to be halted. Don’t know what the current state is of that gold mine.

      Any mining is an environmental hazard for all metals and fossil fuels being extracted.

      Lithium is a fairly rare element, so its mining operations are very limited in size and scope compared to other mining operations. The big locations are Australia (hard rock mines), Chile (brine deposits) and Argentina (brine) with sizeable deposits last I heard. Whereas if you look at the coal mining operations in the Hunter Valley near Muswellbrook and the amount of earth shifting that goes on there is just staggering, they are literally shifting mountains and creating new landscapes. Not to mention the release of sulphur dioxide and coal dust caused from mining and burning the coal.

      Lithium can be extracted from seawater but at the moment it is not economic to do so. Of course, the cleanest solutions are always the most expensive way until somebody can perfect a cheap system to do so.

      I’m sure lithium would rate at the low end of the environmental impact scale when you consider ore, precious metals, uranium, coal, oil and gas mining is taken into account. Fracking is one of the most serious one because of its potential to contaminate groundwater. Crazy world!

    • Have a read of this article about the impact of coal mining has on the Hunter Valley and then tell me if lithium mining is a problem.

      http://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/caha/legacy_url/61/CAHA.CoalHunterValley.Report.FINAL_.Approvedforprint.pdf?1439938124

      The figures in the report are quite staggering and scary to say the least what we are doing with mining.

  2. it’s not economical to produce the amount of lithium-ion batteries that will be required as the world moves towards a renewable energy future and zinc is 9 times cheaper per electron transfer than lithium

    It’s a pity the Reflow zinc bromide can’t compete with Lithium on price.

    https://reneweconomy.com.au/redflow-cant-compete-with-lithium-batteries-on-price-in-home-market-77290/

    It would be great to see these Gelion batteries succeed.
    I wouldn’t bet the house on it though.
    I would like to see the basic electrical specifications like efficiency.

  3. Keith Whitehouse says

    Daniel,
    Lithium is mined, yes, so is zinc and so is bromine.

  4. Kathryn Martin says

    Any innovation in solar/wind generated “battery power” is to be applauded. I live on 12v solar/wind power in my “mobile home”, as do thousands of other “gypsies”. We are a ready-made market, the perfect “provers” of this technology!!!
    If this battery system works for us, it will work in any application!!!

  5. David Lockett says

    My ten-year solar contract with the WA State Government for a 2.5kw home rooftop system expires in 2020. Following which I will be in the market for an upgrade to a 10kw rooftop system with a suitable storage battery (plus ideally an autonomous EV). So bring it on.

  6. Ronald. Trade in Tonto for one of these batteries!. Then give us your lowdown on how many I should buy.

    Anyone know how many kWh per cubic metre?

  7. If they could make it so you don’t need a small crane or other heavy lifting machinery to install like the ZCell perhaps it can compete. Those cylinders inside look pluggable. A Big fat plug and play wall rack of those things would be perfect for my garage.

  8. Dr Chris Kear says

    Price is one thing, but size and mass are important, too.
    It’s nice that these can be remotely serviced, which the other bromine batteries can’t

    Anyone know the expected mass and volume per kWh?

    Chris

  9. Emailed an hour ago to ask out put per unit and cost at present day. Will return with answer when provided. This unit has to be the answer for all our needs. If it can provide continuous power as red flow does without the cumbersome flow then this will be the new battery which is affordable, environmentally viable and cost affordable. Let’s hope it gets to sale and not bought out like the best innovations do.
    Graham, any news on Orange mine? I’m in Bathurst and a bit worried about the water ways if there’s been a leak.
    Cheers

  10. “In terms of its home energy storage product, it will be interesting to see if Gelion is able to match the size of the ZCell for the same capacity.”

    Within reason of course size isn’t a big factor in home energy storage

    For cars, sure

  11. Proff. Tom said the other day in a radio interview on the ABC, one can expect 1kWh per 125kg of Gelion Battery.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Assuming it has the same density as water it would take up as much space as a 123 kilogram person per kilowatt-hour of storage.

  12. Ed Soniat says

    Over a year now and I’m not finding any big stories about the results.

  13. They just had a 5 minute section on the Great Acceleration. Good documentary about renewable technologies. We definitely need a battery that is cheaper and doesn’t deteriorate. Redflow’s flow battery seems to have problems as a home battery if the Canberra battery testing is any guide.

  14. SHEREE A HARVEY says

    any up to date technical data?
    will the big players allow this technology if it wipes out the value in lithium mines etc.

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