Silicon Valley-based energy storage firm Primus Power could see its zinc bromide flow batteries also produced in South Africa— with the backing of one of the world’s biggest mining firms.
Johannesburg-based Anglo American Platinum (AAP), a key investor in privately held Primus, is considering supporting the project, BBB can reveal.
The move came to light after it was announced Primus would be installing eight of its EnergyPod battery systems at AAP’s Amandelbult mine, in South Africa’s Limpopo province.
The CEO of AAP’s Platinum Group Metals (PGM) Investment Programme, Andrew Hinkly, said the project “will also lay the groundwork to define future local South African manufacturing and assembly opportunities for the technology”.
An AAP spokesperson told BBB the proposal to manufacture EnergyPods in South Africa was “in the very early stages” and no formal decision had been taken.
According to AAP, the EnergyPods at Amandelbult will allow the mine “to realise an immediate monthly reduction in electricity costs and an improvement in energy security”.
The EnergyPods will provide Amandelbult with 200kW of power and 1,000kWh of energy, AAP said. “These batteries are charged when demand for, and cost of grid electricity, is low. During times of peak, high cost electricity, the charged batteries release stored energy and reduce the mine’s draw from the grid.”
AAP said the Amandelbult project “complements recent support received from the US Trade and Development Agency to demonstrate EnergyPod performance, reliability and durability” at national power utility Eskom.
AAP, Primus and Johannesburg’s SolAfrica are “closely cooperating on testing four EnergyPods at Eskom’s large-scale energy storage test facility in Rosherville, Johannesburg”, AAP said.
AAP first invested in Primus through the PGN Development Fund in 2014 and is a supplier of platinum group metals used as a catalyst on the titanium electrodes inside the EnergyPods.
Primus CEO Tom Stepien said: “South Africa represents an important growth area for Primus. Our long duration batteries will save Anglo American money and support their energy security, environmental and socio-economic goals. We look forward to deepening our relationship with them and our other partners in this vital market.”
Founded in 2009, Primus said it ships its flow batteries across the US and internationally to support datacentres, microgrids, commercial/industrial and military customers.
Last year, Primus said it had teamed up with a Taiwanese manufacturer to help the march of its flow batteries into China’s energy storage market under an agreement with Foxsemicon Integrated Technology Inc.