Data centre batteries: ZAF retrofits nickel-zinc solution in Atlanta

ZAF Energy Systems also has an agreement with defense and aerospace company Aerojet Rocketdyne to develop battery management systems (BMS) around ZiZn batteries for space-age applications. Image: Aerojet Rocketdyne.

ZAF Energy Systems, a maker of nickel-zinc (NiZn) batteries which in 2019 claimed a “breakthrough in cycle life” has netted a contract to outfit a data centre in the Southern US for integrator Capitol Power Group (CPG).

“The deployment into a global data center operator with a respected partner such as CPG will send a message to the market that NiZn is a viable solution for this application because of the economic and technical advantages it offers,” Kirk Plautz, ZAF Energy Systems’ VP of business development, said.

Energy-Storage.news reported on the company last in October 2019 as it was awarded a contract by the US military to deploy batteries to support the Air Force’s Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) facility. ZAF claims its batteries use non-toxic materials and can be “safely and easily” recycled, also claiming that both its nickel-zinc and zinc-air chemistry batteries deliver the “highest power and energy density of any battery system in their class”.

This week, ZAF said data centre integrator CPG has ordered the retrofit of a data centre in Atlanta, Georgia, with NiZn batteries to replace existing valve-regulated lead acid (VRLA) batteries. Provider ZAF said this was the result of several years’ investigation into “leading edge battery technology”, with the company considering the fast-growing data centre space to be a primary target market for its nickel-zinc batteries.

CPG’s vice president Jim Marsh said the NiZn batteries’ advantages include reduced capital and operating expenditure requirements.

“The replacement of VRLA with NiZn batteries was made seamless with ZAF providing front terminals to match the original form factor. In addition to reducing weight by over 65 percent, ZAF’s NiZn batteries have exhibited proven top-of-class performance through extensive testing. CPG anticipates broad future opportunities to apply ZAF nickel-zinc battery technology based on favourable CapEx, OpEx, lifespan, and minimal environmental impact,” Marsh said.

Stay up to date with the latest news, analysis and opinions. Sign up here to the Energy-Storage.news Newsletter.