Clean energy storage solutions provider Fluidic Energy has completed the five year warranty period at one of its first Zinc-air long duration energy storage system installations and has proven the capabilities of the technology to overcome barriers of theft, reliability and cost that have historically slowed feasibility and uptake of renewables. Owned by Indonesian Telecom customer, Indostat, these initial Fluidic Energy systems continue to achieve more than 99.5 percent uptimes, zero incidences of theft, two times longer battery life than lead acid and lowest cost of energy.
In addition, Fluidic systems have been replacing environmentally damaging diesel gensets for more than five years, equating to 4,900+ metric tons CO2 reduction worldwide. Performance has been tracked continuously by FluidicIQ, the company’s vertical intelligence platform and places Fluidic’s proprietary technology years ahead of other new electrochemical energy storage technologies in terms of proven real-world experience and global commercialization.
As demand for renewables continues to grow, the company has deployed more than 100,000 batteries in 10 countries, impacting nearly four million people and thousands of communities. Installations extend across rural electrification, telecom, critical power and residential and light commercial applications.
“We have accomplished a lot in the past five years,” said Fluidic Energy CEO Steve Scharnhorst. “Not only have we proven the technology time and time again, we have refined our delivery. With FluidicIQ, there were times we had identified a problem, fixed it and had an update to the customer before they even realized there was a problem,” said Scharnhorst.
Telecom operators in particular have long been challenged with the logistical difficulties and cost burden of theft due to the value of raw materials found in incumbent technologies. At the same time, the fast-paced adoption of mobile technology in developing economies is spurring demand for off-grid reliable power and in return, increased renewable and energy storage capabilities. According to Alex Rusli, CEO of PT Indosat TBK, one of the early indicators of success identified by the company was solving the theft issue. “We have some cases where they took the battery out but then they left it. So apparently, Fluidic is burglar free in a way,” said Rusli.
Competing primarily against lead acid batteries and diesel generators, Fluidic Energy’s Zinc-air long duration energy storage technology has been disrupting the market without subsidies, leveraging its real world experience to hone a delivery model that looks beyond the technology itself to ensure deployments remain sustainable for the long term. For example, Fluidic’s facility in Bogor, Indonesia employs over 200 people and the company estimates that there are an additional 200-300 locals employed indirectly through vendors.
Not only does this approach keep down manufacturing costs, it ensures a locally trained workforce to maintain systems, keeping them available while boosting the economy to help keep them affordable. Fluidic Energy has even instituted a self-imposed quota of hiring individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who are encouraged to further their education while earning an income at the plant.
According to Rusli, this locally-focused deployment approach is a key partnership benefit. “I think it’s an excellent move not only to open the factory here as a base for serving customers but also as a base for serving the region,” said Rusli.
According to Scharnhorst, the real world experiences of the past five years have provided unexpected lessons beyond technology and product refinements. “Delivering reliable and affordable electricity in areas of the world where the traditional grid system either was never implemented and/or was not reliable has required us to look beyond ourselves and our product offering. For any solution to be sustainable, you need a workforce trained to manage it over time, an economy that supports extended and growing energy demands, a payment and maintenance plan suitable for a remote population with strained financial resources, a mix of the right partnerships and leaders to deliver locally and you also have to deliver within the context and challenges of each local culture. That’s why we often talk about ‘whole product solutions’ rather than energy storage,” said Scharnhorst.
Fluidic Energy was formed in 2006 with the goal of enabling widespread adoptions of renewables through the lowest cost clean energy storage technology. The company has raised nearly $200 million in funding, secured over 100 patents, replaced 1,470 diesel generators and delivered long-duration intelligent energy storage solutions to large commercial customers in over 2,000 installations worldwide as it pursues its aggressive commitment to bring low cost reliable electricity to 100 million people by 2025.
“Observing this five year anniversary with our partners at Indostat is significant for several reasons. Not only does it signal a major success in terms of serving a customer over the long term, it proves without a doubt that both our technology and our whole solution approach to customer partnerships works. That means that long duration energy storage that is clean, affordable and reliable is no longer a ‘someday’, it’s here today,” said Fluidic Energy CEO, Steve Scharnhorst.