Nanalyze

Primus Power’s Zinc Flow Battery Offering

The energy storage market has tremendous growth potential given the rise of intermittent renewable energy sources such solar and wind. Flow batteries are an especially attractive solution given their quick response times, environmentally friendly composition, and long lifetimes. In previous articles, we highlighted companies that are developing flow battery solutions to target the lucrative energy storage market such as ZBB Energy, 24M Technologies, Aquion Energy, and Ambri. The large number of recent entrants in this space is understandable given that the potential of the energy storage market is estimated to grow to as large as $120 billion by 2017 according to the below chat from Lux Research: Lux_Energy_Storage_Chart

One private company looking to take advantage of this growth is Primus Power.

Founded in 2006, Hayward California based Primus Power has taken in over $30 million so far in funding from the likes of DBL Investors, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Chrysalix Energy and its biggest investor, Anglo American. With 35 employees on staff, Primus is developing and selling a stackable zinc-flow battery, the EnergyPod, and claims to be the only company to receive government grants from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E), and the California Energy Commission (CEC).

Technology

The Primus Power zinc flow battery is different from other traditional flow battery designs. According to a recent article on Techcrunch, the CEO stated:

“What differentiates Primus from other batteries is its design. Unlike other flow batteries Primus’ batteries don’t have a membrane. The company uses a metal electrode which has twice the cost but can handle ten times the power density of other batteries”

In another article on Windpower Engineering and Development, the CEO goes on to state further competitive advantages of Primus Power’s battery storage technology:

Primus Power’s advantages are that its battery only has one tank, one flow loop, one pump, and no separator so the system is more efficient than others on the market that use two tanks and a seperator.

According to a recent article on Forbes, Primus Power recently won a $14 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for a $46.7 million project to install 25 megawatts of batteries at the Modesto Irrigation District in central California in order to store wind power when demand is low. Primus expects to deliver this project in 2015.

While the potential market growth is an attractive proposition for emerging battery technology companies, moving to profitability is not easy. Battery startup Xtreme Power, which was recently ranked as the 15th fastest-growing private company in the U.S. by Inc. Magazine, raised over $4o million from investors before declaring bankruptcy last month. However, Primus Power seems to have overcome the major technology hurdles and has demonstrated commercial viability of their technology through strong investor backing, government grants, and commercial projects to deliver on.

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