Researchers at the University of Sydney have launched a scalable zinc-bromide battery under the brand Gelion Technologies, a company spun-out of work by Professor Thomas Maschmeyer, winner of the 2018 Eureka Prize for Leadership in Innovation and Science.

The platform, Gelion Endure, is based on safe, low-cost zinc-bromide technology developed by Professor Maschmeyer. The system will provide a scalable method to store renewable energy. The company plans to launch the system into the $70 billion global energy storage market.

Professor Maschmeyer puts his new technology into action at the University of Sydney.

Professor Maschmeyer and his team started developing the technology in 2014 and the university will be incorporating Gelion battery cells on campus to power mobile light towers to improve safety after dark.

Gelion batteries use zinc-bromide, a much cheaper and safer technology that lithium ion batteries, as the workhorse to store renewable energy.

“As the global economy switches from fossil fuels to renewable energy, storage systems will become increasingly important,” Professor Maschmeyer said. “And Gelion’s battery storage platform can help provide capacity for a post-carbon economy.”

Gelion’s chief executive, Rob Fitzpatrick, said that storage is the key element enabling widespread adoption of renewable power. Innovative battery storage solutions at scale are required for renewable energy to reach its full potential.

“The global battery market is currently valued at $60 billion to $70 billion and yet, if we were to take all current batteries produced in one year, they would only have the capability to store around 11 minutes of annual electrical power use. Gelion has set out to fill the overwhelming market need with an inexpensive, robust, safe, fully recyclable and scalable battery – the Gelion Endure system.”

The zinc-bromide chemistry used by Gelion operates without the need for active cooling and uses 100% of the battery’s capacity, the company says. Its electrode surfaces can be rejuvenated remotely using battery management systems, making it suitable for stationary energy storage applications in remote sites.