Revolutionizing Energy Storage Systems Across the Globe
This MGX Renewables profile is part of a paid investor education campaign.*
MGX Renewables Inc. (CSE:MGXR) is a leader in the development of zinc-air flow batteries. The company has developed a patented modular energy storage system that is designed to store from 20kW to 100MW of power over long periods. MGX Renewables technology has the power to disrupt the hydrocarbon industry, which has been struggling under the rise of the green energy movement. MGX Renewables has been granted over 20 patents for its zinc-air flow battery technology.
The modular system is modular and scalable and able to support a wide range of discharge power, recharge power and duty cycle requirements. It can also handle long discharge periods by increasing the size of the fuel tank which combines zinc particles with the oxygen from the air to produce energy, providing a cost-effective and reliable energy storage system. Short duty cycles, meanwhile, do not adversely affect the reliability and durability of the system. As a result, the MGX Renewables’ zinc-air flow battery has numerous applications in renewable energy storage, grid energy systems and other major industries due to its scalability.
The system is currently in its final phases of testing before becoming a commercially-viable product. Once testing is complete, the company will be building a demonstration facility in New York City with its partner Digital Energy Corporation, a New York-based systems integrator. MGX Renewables also intends to roll out its systems to systems integrators in the US, Canada and Europe.
MGX Renewables Director Ron MacDonald has over 35 years of both public and private sector experience. He has been a Member of Parliament and brings a wealth of knowledge to MGX Renewables as the company rolls out its technology.
MGX Renewables Highlights
- Over 20 patents have been granted for the zinc-air fuel cell technology.
- The system is designed to deliver between 20kW and 100MW of power over long periods.
- Zinc-air fuel cell technology is modular and easily scalable
- Oxygen and zinc are readily available materials which keep costs of the system low.
- Final commercialization and scale-up to mass production is underway.
- UL and CSA certification for most modules has been obtained
MGX Renewables’ Zinc-Air Battery Technology
MGX Renewables has developed a patented modular energy storage system that is designed to deliver backup power in the range of five kilowatts to 100 kilowatts over long periods. The zinc-air battery technology contains an intellectual property portfolio with over 20 granted patents.
The system utilizes rechargeable zinc-air fuel cell technology which allows the system to support a wide range of discharge power, recharge power and duty cycle requirements. An independent battery management system allows the system to be configured for any alternative current, direct current, load or source environment.
MGX Renewables’ modular energy storage system has been designed to scale with ease, allowing it to deal with long discharge periods by increasing the size of the fuel tank. Short duty cycles, meanwhile, do not adversely affect the reliability and durability of the system.
How it works
MGX Renewables’ system uses zinc and air for fuel, two resources that are abundant, accessible, inexpensive and safe to use. The system obtains the air from the atmosphere making the solution compact. The power and energy can be scaled separately for different service applications.
MGX Renewables’ patented zinc-air fuel cell technology stabilizes the power grid which makes energy sources more predictable and reliable. Energy is stored within zinc particles about the size of a grain of sand. The zinc particles combine with the oxygen in the surrounding air and facilitate the discharge of power from the system. As the system recharges the zinc particles are regenerated and oxygen is returned to the atmosphere.
The advantages of zinc-air fuel cells
Lithium-ion battery systems provide a linear power-to-storage ratio which limits flexibility and increases the cost of storage, which is where MGX Renewables’ zinc-air fuel cell has a distinct advantage. The cell has a high-capacity and long-duration time that enables both industrial and grid-scale applications. The cell is also cost-effective because it doesn’t contain expensive commodities such as lithium or cobalt. The zinc-air batteryl has a much lower cost of storage because the cell does not follow a fixed power-to-storage ratio, which allows for scalability that is limited only by the physical parameters of the fuel tanks.
The battery has decoupled power and storage subsystems with flexible ratios between 1:8 (8 hours) to 1:72 (3 days) of storage. Conceptually the zinc-air fuel system has the potential to reach any ratio, providing MGX Renewables a significant advantage in any scenario that requires more than a few hours of storage. This scalability allows for direct applications in renewable energy storage, energy-grid storage, backup power systems and other enterprise energy systems.
Charging the fuel cell system is also flexible and scalable. The charging portion of the cell is another subsystem that can be scaled to match supply markets, allowing for longer and shorter power acquisition windows. This creates large-scale arbitrage and cost-savings opportunities as well as policy-level opportunities to enhance localized power infrastructure without building new power plants or transmission lines.
MGX Renewables is completing its final tests on its batteries and is currently seeking its ULCSA certification. MGX Renewables is also looking into signing channel partners and clients as the company pushes towards commercialization. The company intends to initially roll out its technology in deregulated power markets in Europe, New York state, Ontario and California.
Energy storage systems are gaining popularity in remote communities and developing countries that use diesel to fuel their backup generators. Obtaining diesel can be difficult, costly and time-consuming, which is driving the need for alternative energy sources. The prevalence of global green initiatives has also resulted in a rapidly-growing energy storage sector. The energy storage market is expected to reach $26 billion in annual sales by 2022.
Solar and wind power are driving the growth in the energy storage market due to their reliability, affordability and sustainability. Many developing nations, cities and businesses are incorporating solar and wind power into their power procurement plans. As technology advances, it will be easier for end users to integrate solar and wind power into large scale electric grids and storage systems.
Most utility companies currently engage in a practice known as load leveling which is used to store power during periods of reduced power usage before releasing it during periods of high demand. The method allows utility companies to reduce operating costs, enabling savings to be passed down to the consumers during these low use periods.
Aside from its utility, commercial and industrial applications, MGX Renewables is also targeting the global wireless infrastructure market which is expected to reach US$116.75 billion by 2025. Telecom infrastructure often requires diesel generators to provide backup power. The generators regularly consume large amounts of fuel, which can be difficult to obtain in remote locations.
Partnerships and Agreements
Digital Energy Partnership
In April 2018, MGX Renewables signed an LOI with Digital Energy Corporation, a New York-based systems integrator. Under the terms of the agreement, Digital Energy will install MGX Renewables’ zinc-air battery system at a demonstration site in New York City. Once the first facility is complete, the two companies will develop additional installation sites and work to expand the distribution of MGX Renewables’ technology.
MGX Renewables Management
Ron MacDonald — Chairman
Ron MacDonald has over 35 years of both public and private sector experience, ranging from international roles within the Parliament of Canada to serving on the boards of numerous publicly-listed resource companies. From 1988 to 1997, he was a Member of Parliament for Halifax, Nova Scotia, during which time he was appointed by the Prime Minister of Canada as Parliamentary Secretary of International Trade. From 1997 to 2002, he was President and CEO of the Council of Forest Industries, a large lumber manufacturing, grading and marketing group, where he developed new markets in China, Korea, India and Japan. In recent years, he has served as President of NRStor Remote Communities and Mines, a Canadian company focused on partnering with off-grid Indigenous communities and mines to develop renewable energy and energy storage projects.
Jared Lazerson — President and CEO
Jared Lazerson has worked in the mining and technology industries since 1994 with companies including Osprey Systems (GPS and Digital Mapping), United Helicopters, Copper Island Mines and Manto Resources. He holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania. He is also President and CEO of publicly-traded MGX Minerals Inc.
John McLeod — VP Engineering
John McLeod is an electrical engineer with over 40 years of experience in leading the development of successful commercial products. His product and project experience encompasses telecommunication systems, data processing systems and commercial building operations, among others. His career spans a diverse range of technologies including microwave propagation studies at British Telecom Research Labs (BTRL), software controlled switching systems at BTRL and Mitel and USB protocol development at Icron Technologies. He is a Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and a Chartered Engineer (C.Eng.). He holds a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the University of St. Andrews and an M.Sc. in Telecommunication Systems from the University of Essex.
Serge Drobatschewsky — VP Operations
Serge Drobatschewsky was the head of Operations at Metallic Power Inc. (zinc air fuel cells) from the inception of that company, and established all functions of manufacturing, quality assurance and facilities. He is intimately knowledgeable with the design, fabrication, materials sourcing and testing of the proposed zinc-air fuel cell. Drobatschewsky has extensive experience with new product introductions in high tech companies as well as establishing worldwide manufacturing capabilities. He has been a significant contributor to the successful fast growth of several start-up or re-start-up high tech companies.
Drobatschewsky has a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master’s of Science in Systems Management. He has held positions as VP of Operations and VP of Quality Assurance in several high tech companies that designed and produced computer systems, wide format color inkjet printers and fuel cells.
Dr. Simon Fan — Principle Process Engineer
Dr. Simon Fan is a chemical engineer with over 15 years of experience in electrochemical system research and development with extensive knowledge of electrochemical characterization and process engineering. As a process engineer, Dr. Fan was responsible for zinc regenerator development in particular and, more generally, for the characterization and development of components critical to the advancement of zinc-air energy storage technology. He also fulfills an invaluable role in bridging the knowledge gap between business requirements and technology capabilities.
Following the receipt of a B.A.Sc. in Chemical and Biological Engineering from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 2003, Dr. Fan completed a M.Eng degree specializing in Engineering Management, and in 2012, completed a Ph.D. from UBC, focusing on the performance characterization of electrochemical systems. Dr. Fan is also a registered Professional Engineer (P.Eng) in British Columbia.
Steve Edley — Senior Verification Engineer
Steve Edley is an electrical engineer with over 20 years of experience in uninterruptible power system development and test. His background includes VRLA battery and flywheel-based energy storage systems and line interactive inverter and sharing control systems delivering up to 3.6 megawatts with Active Power. He also developed inverters at Alpha Technologies and worked with the Canadian Standards Association. He also has extensive experience with UL, CE, CSA and VDE regulatory compliance projects for various unique products. His lab experience includes designing a multi-megawatt test facility and directing operations for all regulatory, performance and failure testing of UPS products. He holds a B.Eng in Electrical Engineering from the University of Victoria in British Columbia.
Dr. Osam Ghazian — Senior Mechanical Engineer
Dr. Osam Ghazian is a mechanical engineer with over five years of experience in working in multidisciplinary areas modeling and developing commercial products. His project experience has centered on microfluidics systems, electro-hydrodynamics of droplets, thermo-fluids and fuel delivery systems. He is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (APEGBC) and the author of more than 10 technical papers. He holds a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tehran and a Ph.D. in Electrical & Computer Engineering from the University of Western Ontario.
Tristan Sloan — Senior Mechanical Engineer
Tristan Sloan is a mechanical engineer with over 10 years of experience in R&D, product development and product manufacturing. His R&D and product development experience has been with hydrogen and metal air fuel cell technologies, for which he co-authored several patents. He is registered as a Professional Engineer in BC and holds a B.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Victoria, a M.Sc. in Sustainable Energy Systems from Chalmers University of Technology, and an MBA from the Beedie School of Business.
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