US lead-acid battery equipment company Wirtz Manufacturing has made an undisclosed investment in nickel-zinc developer ZAF Energy Systems.
Wirtz said the move would allow ZAF to build a full production line at its facility in Joplin, in the US state of Missouri— “expanding its manufacturing capacity to thousands of batteries per month”.
Funds and equipment from the investment will be used to expand ZAF’s nickel-zinc batteries globally and demonstrate the first ever prismatic high-volume nickel-zinc (NiZn) process, Wirtz said.
The boost will also “allow licensing and joint venture partners to validate the quality and throughput of the technology for commercially-scaled factories that are expected to begin build-outs in 2019”, Wirtz said.
Wirtz CEO John Wirtz said the backing came after the company experimented with ZAF electrodes “and found that we could produce plates at similar production rates as lead-acid technology after seeing the performance improvements and cost savings being delivered by nickel-zinc battery technologies”.
The Wirtz support follows a US$600,000 investment commitment ZAF received last year from Missouri’s Department of Economic Development Fund. ZAF is using those investments to “hire employees, expand production, and forge strategic partnerships”.
According to ZAF, NiZn batteries “are poised to disrupt the US$50 billion conventional lead-acid battery market with their ability to provide twice the storage capacity and three times the power of legacy lead-acid batteries in a smaller, lighter package”.