Redflow battery plant under construction in Thailand

Redflow battery plant under construction in Thailand

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Redflow says Thai factory will be rolling out zinc-bromine flow batteries by end 2017, after work on the plant started this week.

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Australian battery maker Redflow says it is on track to start producing its zinc-bromine flow batteries at its Thailand factory by the end of this year, after starting work on the new plant’s production line equipment this week.

Redflow recently revealed plans to set up the new manufacturing plant at an industrial estate southeast of Bangkok, as part of its strategic focus on the  “massive potential demand” in south-east Asia’s telecommunications sector.

In a statement on Thursday, Redflow said it had obtained all required Thai regulatory approvals to operate its factory within the free trade zone, and had this week sent an engineering team from its Brisbane office to Thailand to assist its manufacturing partner MPTS with installing and commissioning the necessary equipment.

Redflow CEO Richard Aird – who filled the role after it was vacated, last month, by Simon Hackett – has reportedly visited the plant to finalise the company’s three-year lease for the 1500 square metre building.

As we reported here, Hackett – who is the company’s biggest shareholder – took on the twin roles more than a year ago, when Redflow was struggling to bring its technology to market and get access to capital.

“During the past year, Redflow has completed a major strategic redirection,” the company said in a statement at the time of the leadership change.

“It is transitioning battery production from Mexico to Thailand, refocusing its sales and marketing on lead-acid replacement cycles in the telecommunications, commercial, industrial and off-grid residential sectors, and has raised an additional $14.5 million in equity – including $4 million from Simon Hackett.”

Its focus now would be on the new manufacturing operations and bringing costs down to ensure that they product is profitable and competitive.

Hackett, who made his fortune in internet software, will continue to help develop the company’s Battery Management System (BMS) that he designed, and simplify and document the interface.

As we reported here, Redflow spent much of 2016 positioning itself as a contender for Australia’s burgeoning residential battery storage market, with its ZCell range – touted for its safety and environmental credentials.

This proved to be somewhat of an uphill battle, with early adopters favouring a growing number of increasingly cheap and well tested lithium-ion batteries, including the much-hyped Tesla Powerwall.

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  1. George Michaelson 3 years ago

    I love this stuff. I wish them well, I think it deserves every success. Seriously, I think flow batteries are something we should be getting behind, and the decision to focus on markets willing to buy into the tech, rather than beat their heads against a brick wall of aussie price-conscious indifference says more about “us” as a market, than “them” as a technology.

  2. Robert Westinghouse 3 years ago

    If Elon Musk can make batteries in the USA, why can we not make batteries here in Australia…what is wrong with Australia, or is it Australian business????

    • Joe 3 years ago

      Robert you read my mind. After the close down of car making we have the factory sites available and we have retrenched car workers available to be retrained and build what is the coming boom of batteries.

      • Robert Westinghouse 3 years ago

        Hi Joe…Agreed. I said to our Federal member, that they should buy the Toyota factory (before the last day) to retain the skills and the jobs….Not interested…no “brown paper bags”…. I am with you…Use what we have before it goes….We need to be inspired by people like Elon Musk…instead Australia is “on sale” to the lowest bidder….makes me sad to say I am Australian….

    • George Michaelson 3 years ago

      Without a strong domestic market, production of anything here demands the profit come solely from lying behind an export barrier of time and distance. Ships are well suited to goods you make long in advance, or which appear at predictable seasonal times. Otherwise, its aircraft for anything which is not a continuum of construction. Redflow batteries are currently bespoke. By building them in BFTZ close to BKK airport, they have a low or zero tarrif location for export, direct to aircraft holds for the componentry which is highly modular and I believe is safe to transport by air with noted hazard risks. If you did that here in Australia you’d be adding a price component. In an alternate reality, we’d have state and federal governments funding redflow to replace batteries in telstra exchanges, building out the power for the NBN, deployed at every Solar and Wind generation site, as giant dispatchable power banks.. But no. Thats not on offer. I am really not surprised they went offshore.

      I would not blame the unions or the cost of labour. Its entirely possible to use a unionized workforce, here in Australia and make valuable, exportable product. Its just a huge ask to do that solely aimed at an export market.

      Unless you’re in the extraction business of course.. Seems if you want to dig it out of a hole, there is offset cash a-plenty to spare. (and mines are possibly the biggest potential market for Redflow after telcos)

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