Redflow batteries to add VPP capabilities
As digitalization continues to grow within generation, distribution and transmission, Brisbane-based battery supplier Redflow has upped the ante on its smart grid capabilities. Under a new collaboration with Melbourne-based smart energy system company carbonTRACK, Redflow zinc-bromine flow batteries will be beefed with virtual power plant (VPP) capabilities to deliver added value for customers.
Redflow zinc-bromine flow batteries will work with carbonTRACK’s energy management system that will allow battery owners to manage, distribute and trade energy generated within an aggregated network of distributed energy resources, allowing each customer to tailor their energy consumption according to their needs and leverage a system that already has a sunk cost.
“This delivers an important strategic capability by enabling Redflow batteries to become a part of a broader suite of energy assets that can be efficiently monitored, coordinated and controlled,” Redflow Managing Director and CEO Tim Harris said. “The investment we have made in our Battery Management System (BMS) is a critical enabler which will allow us to deliver VPP capability with carbonTRACK.”
carbonTRACK and Redflow will initially explore opportunities to collaborate in the South African market where both companies have built a presence over the past few years. For instance, Redflow won a contract last year with one of Africa’s largest telecommunications companies to provide 68 ZBM2 zinc-bromine flow batteries for at least 20 mobile phone tower sites throughout harsh rural South African conditions. 
The companies believe the challenges caused by the notorious unreliability of South Africa’s national electricity grid will provide multiple opportunities for Redflow’s energy storage solution to work with carbonTRACK’s intelligent energy utilization software. Their potential South African target customers include commercial and large residential deployments as well as off-grid energy systems. Their plan is to later target other markets like off-grid deployments in Australia.
Marketed as ZCell and ZBM2, Redflow zinc-bromine flow batteries are designed for high cycle-rate, long time-base stationary energy storage applications in the residential, commercial and industrial and telecommunications sectors, and are scalable from a single battery installation through to grid-scale deployments. According to the Melbourne-based smart grid specialist, this makes Redflow an excellent partner for frequent and regular dispatching enabled by carbonTRACK’s energy dispatching algorithms.
“Redflow’s plug-and-play energy storage system, based on its robust zinc-bromine flow batteries, can shift and manage large volumes of energy,” carbonTRACK Managing Director Spiros Livadaras said. “Our technology complements Redflow’s ability to self-manage, protect and monitor their batteries 24/7.”