02/02/2015 - 11:02

ZBB lays down marker on hybrid power

02/02/2015 - 11:02

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Perth-founded energy company ZBB Energy Corporation is banking its future on business and industry worldwide adopting hybrid energy systems.

 ZBB lays down marker on hybrid power
OPPORTUNITIES: Nathan Coad at ZBB Energy’s R&D base in Bibra Lake. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Perth-founded energy company ZBB Energy Corporation is banking its future on business and industry worldwide adopting hybrid energy systems.

In the process, it has (to this point) accumulated a debt of almost $US90 million since its incorporation in 1998.

ZBB has 58 staff in Wisconsin and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. It recently decided to hit pause on having a WA presence, and has set in motion plans to temporarily close its research and development office in Bibra Lake.

The company operates in a niche market sector, developing and installing scalable systems that link renewable energy, battery storage and backup devices for business.

It counts the University of Technology Sydney among its Australian customers.

Earlier this year, ZBB signed up a 350-unit apartment block in Hawaii for a hybrid system, which, via a power purchase agreement, will reportedly save the building’s investors $2 million in energy costs over 20 years.

ZBB Energy is also involved in joint ventures with South Korea’s Meineng Energy and China’s Lotte Chemical to develop a utility scale 500-kilowatt hour battery module.

ZBB’s share price has proved extremely volatile since its 2007 listing on the NYSE, fluctuating between a low of 40 US cents and a high of $US30.

Since the beginning of this year it has traded between 51 and 83 US cents.

President and chief operating officer Bradley Hanson told Business News ZBB was introducing products and exploring new markets with new business models to drive company growth and break-even on its cash flow.

One target market is island dwellers, for whom Mr Hanson said ZBB was able to offer cheaper and more flexible power compared with diesel.

The company is also focused on the commercial and industrial sector, which Mr Hanson said was a good match for its more established scalable turnkey products; and it’s trying to crack into the power utility sector, through the development of a battery product that can be integrated into systems providing up to 12MWh.

After a presence in WA since the late 1980s ZBB is now set to shut its doors temporarily on its Bibra Lake facility for an unspecified period of time.

For now Perth based battery product development manager Nathan Coad will relocate to Wisconsin where the business will continue to pursue a global market.

“Our most lucrative markets are definitely the US, the Caribbean, and Pacific Islands,” Mr Coad said.

 

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