Redflow batteries deployed as telecoms backup in Australian project

by Margaret Lau
From left: Optus Retail's Cameron Penfold, federal communications minister Paul Fletcher and Redflow CEO Tim Harris. Photo: Redflow
Flow battery maker Redflow has joined an Australian government-backed initiative to strengthen mobile communications networks in emergency situations.

Redflow has partnered with telecoms firm Optus to deploy Redflow’s ‘Generation 3’ ZBM2 zinc-bromine flow batteries, as part of the federal government’s ‘strengthening telecommunications against natural disasters’ (STAND) programme.

Earlier this month, Optus installed its first ZBM2 battery system under the programme at a 'blackspot' site in Lexton, in the state of Victoria.

Optus plans to deploy Redflow batteries in at least 56 blackspot sites as part of the programme. Optus has also used Redflow batteries in the environmentally-sensitive Daintree Forest in Queensland since 2019.

Bushfire recovery relief

The government announced the AUD 13.2m (£7.4m) STAND programme last December, to enable telecoms companies to extend the battery backup at 467 mobile phone towers for a minimum of 12 hours.

Recognising that most power outages occur during emergencies, this investment is part of the AUD 650m bushfire recovery relief package announced in May 2020, Redflow said.

Redflow MD and CEO Tim Harris said the company’s battery design was ideally suited for the programme. It is "suited to warm climates, has lower fire risk than other battery chemistries, is easily integrated with existing batteries, has an energy-saving standby power mode and carries strong environmental credentials”.

Redflow said telecoms companies including Optus in Australia, Vodafone in New Zealand and Mobax in South Africa already use Redflow batteries to store power at remote telecommunications sites.

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