When some of the world´s brightest people and biggest companies unite, there must be an urgency to solve a bigger problem. In order to build a smarter, more sustainable future for the planet, a far-reaching multidisciplinary effort is needed to speed up the rate of greentech innovation together – and to finance the economies of the future.
Right now, there is an innovation-based industrial revolution going on to re-shape our world for the better.
Unfortunately, it´s happening too slow. Innovations and new technologies take too long to enter the market and to then scale in a meaningful way. Capital, capabilities (know-how) and connections are the greatest limiting factors. The result:
• 90% of new startups fail.
• 75% of venture-backed startups fail.
• Under 50% of businesses make it to their fifth year.
• Only 40% of startups actually turn a profit.
• 82% of businesses that fail do so because of cash flow problems.
Just by looking at such statistics, it´s tempting to jump to the conclusion that so many startups fail because their products and services are not good enough for widespread adoption in free market economies. However, the reality is that in many cases it´s not the innovation being flawed or unfeasible but entrepreneurs simply lacking the above mentioned three Cs (Capital + Capabilities + Connections).
Fortunately, we are witnessing a growing number of imaginative people, resourceful companies and supportive governments get their act together to accelerate and grow greentech innovation and commercialization. A new approach is taken – one that spins a network of expertise and capital never seen before in the history of industrial mega-trends. For the first time ever, the world is uniting in an effort to solve a common problem for the benefit of everybody.
Supercharging Industrial Decarbonization
Yesterday on December 8, the new "For ClimateTech" initiative was launched "to offer global innovators the most comprehensive accelerator programming for attracting and growing climate technology in New York State". The initiative is administered by SecondMuse (partners include Intel, Microsoft, NASA, Nike, WHO, Google, ebay, Walmart, Australian Government) and NextCorps (expertise in manufacturing), supported by the New York State Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), and more than a dozen partners – including Urban Future Lab, Cornell University, REV: Ithaca Startup Works, NY Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), and the Rochester Institute of Technology´s Golisano Institute of Sustainability – to support programming and offer founders a range of resources, technical expertise, and guidance.
Backed by "perk partners" such as Silicon Valley Bank and Amazon, Venture For ClimateTech is a non-profit accelerator program connecting selected participants with hands-on support until they are ready for first customers, pilot runs, and investment. The advanced Scale For ClimateTech program provides "immersive training on manufacturing and business planning, along with a team dedicated to making manufacturing easier – from mentors and experts in the field and product and packaging designers, to manufacturers, suppliers, and investors. Companies are coached by their peers, a community of technical experts, customized accountability teams, and a network of partners. There is no cost to participate or stake in equity involved."
Also yesterday, Zinc8 Energy Solutions Inc. announced to be selected as one of the nine companies to join the manufacturing focused Scale For ClimateTech program. Zinc8’s President and CEO, Ron MacDonald, commented: “We are very excited to be selected by the prestigious Scale for ClimateTech, as it will significantly reduce our manufacturing related uncertainties including supply chain, financial and production risks. In addition, this program will propel Zinc8’s path to commercialization to meet the ever-growing market demand for low-cost long duration energy storage.” Dr. Simon Fan, Zinc8’s CTO and VP of Product Management, added: “We are honoured to be selected for the ClimateTech program. As Zinc8 navigates through our transition from an engineering company into production, the partnership opportunities and accumulated expertise across manufacturing and production that are offered by this initiative and its ecosystem will significantly reduce our manufacturing related risks.” Shelby Thompson, Senior Community Manager with Scale for ClimateTech, said: “We are thrilled to have Zinc8 join us as they are in the perfect development stage to receive support as they navigate scale to production. Over the next year, Zinc8 will see real, tangible progress happen from utilizing our manufacturing-focused resources and tools, receiving customized support from our technical experts and the cohort, as well as introductions to New York state-based manufacturers and investors interested in ClimateTech-related innovations.”
On November 16, the world´s richest person, Amazon´s Jeff Bezos, announced that "he will donate a massive 10 billion US dollars for his Bezos Earth Fund to support the continuing war against global warming. He made the announcement through an Instagram post on his official personal account last week. On his post, the billionaire mentioned that his 10 billion USD commitment will be called the Bezos Earth Fund, and will start with the 791 million USD in donations, to the 16 organizations that according to him, works on innovative, ambitious, and needle-moving solutions."
"Climate action is not keeping pace with the enormity of the climate challenge. This is puzzling because various IPCC reports document impressive evidence on climate issues. Renewable energy is now competitive with fossil fuels. Although government support can help next-generation technologies for say carbon capture and storage, the problem lies with the slow and uneven uptake of existing technologies." (Forbes)
Among the first 16 grantees of the Bezos Earth Fund is the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization on a mission "to transform global energy use to create a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future. RMI engages businesses, communities, institutions, and entrepreneurs to accelerate the adoption of market-based solutions that cost-effectively shift from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewables. We employ rigorous research, analysis, and whole-systems expertise to develop breakthrough insights. We then convene and collaborate with diverse partners – business, government, academic, nonprofit, philanthropic, and military – to accelerate and scale solutions." (See FutureBrochure and Five-Year Plan)
Also on November 16, the RMI announced to receive a $10 million grant from the Bezos Earth Fund "to help significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in both U.S. buildings and in energy-intensive industrial and transport sectors... RMI’s Carbon-Free Buildings campaign will receive $8 million to reduce GHG emissions from homes, commercial structures, and other buildings, enabling RMI to increase its current work with a coalition of partners in key states. The project will focus on making all U.S. buildings carbon-free by 2040 by advocating for all-electric new construction and retrofitting existing homes and businesses to reduce their carbon footprint... The buildings sector is responsible for 35% of the United States’ total carbon emissions and construction of buildings is a $1 trillion per year industry."
On December 1, Zinc8 was selected to join RMI´s and New Energy Nexus´ Third Derivative Accelerator Program with its zinc-air battery technology. Dr. Cyril Yee, Third Derivative´s Head of Investments & Research, commented: "As a program seeking to accelerate the rate of commercialization for the world´s most promising climate innovations, Third Derivative is excited to accept Zinc8 into our inaugural cohort. We believe that Zinc-Air flow batteries are an emerging and important form of long-duration power storage that is needed to facilitate high penetration of renewables. Zinc8´s innovative use of low-cost zinc, thousands of hours of successful pilot-scale demonstrations and upcoming commercial-scale demonstrations in real-world settings sets it apart from other long-duration technologies."
On September 24, during "Climate Week" and on "Battery Day", Zinc8 won the Carbon Neutrality Innovation Challenge from the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB). With almost 80% of NYC‘s greenhouse gas emissions coming from buildings, batteries play a crucial role in the City‘s world-leading Green New Deal, mandated to make New York carbon neutral by the year 2050. As one of the most densely populated urban areas in the world, New York City requires an alternative to lithium-ion (i.e. non-explosive and non-flammable) to comply with the strict regulations set by the DOB and the NY Fire Department. Zinc-air is seen as such an alternative, albeit not commercially ready yet – hence the many efforts to accelerate it to market.
On November 16, Zinc8 announced that its first commercial energy storage system is set to be delivered on time by December 21, 2020, at an innovative, low-energy-footprint real estate in British Columbia, named 75.9 House by Vancouver-based designer Omer Arbel. For 2021, the company targets the production of more such small-scale batteries for buildings. By 2023, Zinc8 aims commercial production of its larger ≥100-kW systems, targeted for utilities and grid-scale deployments. Until then, financings in the range of $35-50 million are needed (the lower end figure may be achieved with manufacturing partnerships such as with India-based Vijai Electricals Ltd., one of the most trusted and reputed brand names in the global grid and utility space). Zinc8 is already in active negotiations with some of the largest branded companies and government agencies of all levels to strategically select the best financing in the interest of its shareholders.
“If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere“: As a result of strict fire safety regulations, the growth of energy storage deployments in NYC has been slow in recent years despite ambitious storage targets mandated by Governor Andrew Cuomo‘s and Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s Green New Deal. The permitting of energy storage projects in NYC has been a difficult, costly, time-consuming, and arduous process – especially for lithium-ion battery technology. The approval process is comprehensively guidelined and reviewed by three main authorities, the DOB (NYC Department of Buildings), the FDNY (Fire Department of NYC), and Con Edison. To be chosen as a winner of DOB‘s Carbon Neutrality Innovation Challenge opens up new opportunities for Zinc8 to deploy its non-flammable, non-toxic, safe and clean zinc-air energy storage systems in NYC – in particular, if and when Zinc8‘s non-lithium-ion-based battery technology is included in NYC‘s Building Code, which is enforced by the DOB and anticipated to be revised now to include the winning companies‘ technologies. (Image: DOB)
Not only buildings but the grid itself is in urgent need for a safe (i.e. non-flammable, non-toxic) and cost-effective energy storage solutions. Energy generating and distributing utilities, especially those connecting renewable energy sources to the grid, require long-duration storage solutions of +8 hours (up to weeks and months) to make intermittent solar and wind power achieve its full potential and to finally make all the more sense.
On January 17, the largest state-owned US power utility, the New York Power Authority (NYPA), announced to collaborate with Zinc8 to deploy a 100-kW battery in New York. Zinc8 won the NYPA Innovation Challenge, launched last year by NYPA and the New York University Tandon School of Engineering’s Urban Future Lab (UFL). More than 60 business applicants entered the Challenge, designed to accelerate the commercialization of new technologies for the electricity grid to ensure an affordable and reliable renewable energy supply to New York State. Gil Quiniones, NYPA’s CEO and President, commented: ”NYPA is pleased to be working with Zinc8 on an innovative technology that can help achieve the state’s targets for energy storage and have broad impacts across New York State. This collaboration will showcase a low-cost, long duration solution that addresses the unpredictability of renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar, and offers environmental and efficiency benefits.”
On March 7, Zinc8 was selected into New York City’s ACRE Cleantech Incubator Program at UFL. Zinc8 is the only Canadian company being an active member of the around 20 companies accepted to UFL‘s programs which are recognized as "the center of cleantech innovation in New York" and they "are leading the way to a more sustainable world by connecting people, capital, and purpose to advance market-ready solutions to address climate change". As a not-for-profit organization, UFL´s incubator program aims at de-risking the technology along with the entrepreneur, to ultimately place them into the New York State economy with a goal of scaling them up beyond the state thereafter.
On March 11, Zinc8 executed a second 100-kW deployment contract, this time with the private sector company Digital Energy Corp. to support and enhance the economics of a CHP system currently operating at Brooklyn, New York. The $2.5 million CAD zinc-air energy storage project is financially supported by the government agency NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research & Development Authority). William Cristofaro, President and CEO of Digital Energy Corp., commented: “Digital Energy and Integrated Energy Concepts are excited about working with Zinc8 Energy on the development and deployment of the Zinc8 Energy Storage system. The Zinc8 system addresses several critical needs of on-site electric energy storage: Price point economics, system robustness under real-world use, and safety. We see the Zinc8 system as very promising for integration into our existing and developing customer base of over 100 on-site power plants, solar systems, and microgrids.”
On October 19, Zinc8 announced an agreement with the Australian engineering firm SmartConsult to work on joint-venture projects for the deployment of the zinc-air energy storage system. The agreement focuses on the deployment at "aquatic centres, remote mines and behind-the-meter applications using SmartConsult´s extensive knowledge, contacts in and relations with a broad range of energy users, energy systems suppliers throughout Australia and a pipeline of customers. They have built this extensive network through the deployment of 128 commercial projects with a total of over 8.5 MW of installed solar capacity." The agreement also includes the joint examination of microgrids and utility-scale T&D (Transmission & Distribution) opportunities in Australia. Luke Hardy, SmartConsult´s CEO, commented: "We are very excited to collaborate with Zinc8 in Australia, we have been looking for a battery solution that does not have the inherent issues that surround existing battery types with uncertain cycle life and limited longevity. The Zinc8 solution will be ideal for our large-scale industrial customers."
The Future Is Created Today
It´s impressive to see what Zinc8 has achieved this year and that its unique, patented zinc-air flow-battery technology is making an impression at some of the highest level greentech incubators and venture accelerators as well as private and public sector companies and authorities.
Zinc8 just entered two different accelerator programs, both of which are set to come to fruition next year:
1) Yesterday´s announcement of being selected to the Scale For ClimateTech program opens up new doors for Zinc8. It´s truly transformative for the company because manufacturing expertise is key for a successful market entry and subsequent growth with a lasting impact. The program helps to resolve challenges in scaling by working with a dedicated support team including mentors, investors, and experts. By improving the manufacturing plan and process, the company is getting de-risked to move to the next level: The Manufacturing Readiness Level (MRL). The support spans "from prototype to mass production" and offers technical expertise, strategic partners and funding.
"After years of working with hardware innovators and hundreds upon hundreds of conversations with founders, it’s clear: manufacturing is confusing, difficult, expensive, time consuming, painful, and sometimes even a fatal endeavor for businesses. Miscalculations, faulty designs, and bad decisions can put a company under and prevent innovation from getting to market. Our program is designed to provide the founder-centered programming and support needed to accelerate market breakthrough technologies. Companies discover what they don’t know in order to prepare and navigate manufacturing to speed the commercialization of products, and their impact on solving climate issues." (Scale For ClimateTech)
For ClimateTech partners (to date) include NYSERDA, NextCorps, SecondMuse, Clean Energy Business Incubator Program at Stony Brook University, Cornell University, Engineering For Change, Excel Partners, HARBEC, LaunchNY, M-Corps, Manufacturing & Industrial Innovation Council, Rochester Angel Network, Partsimony, PEKO Precision Products, Rev Ithaca Startup Works, RIT Golisano Institute for Sustainability, RIT Venture Creations, Surmotech, Urban Future Lab, Z-AXIS.
2) Last week´s announcement of being selected into RMI´s and New Energy Nexus´ Third Derivative program opens up global funding and strategic partner networks. Third Derivative is a "vertically integrated engine for climate innovation... a unique combination of accelerator + venture funding + strategic partner network that offers seamless support for startups to succeed". According to its website: "Rising to the climate crisis challenge is a once-in-a-generation, trillion-dollar economic opportunity. That’s why we were founded with purpose: to find, fund, hone, and scale the most-promising technologies to achieve larger, faster reductions in global carbon emissions. Third Derivative (D3) is the best-resourced accelerator in clean energy and climate tech. Ever. We combine a next-generation accelerator with large cohorts (~50 startups), committed venture capital from a global network of investors and funds, a game-changing ecosystem of corporate giants, and unparalleled market, regulatory, and policy insights... We’re cultivating the most-promising, early-stage startups addressing billion-dollar markets in the areas of hard science, hardware, software, and business model innovation… and matching them with needed capital to reach scale."
Third Derivative´s "confirmed corporate partners" (to date) include AT&T, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, BP, Engie, Envision Group, FedEx, Microsoft, Shell
Zinc8´s acceptance into Third Derivative´s 18-month accelerator program offers the following according to its website:
Interview with Zinc8´s Ron MacDonald on being accepted to RMI´s and New Energy Nexus´ Third Derivative Accelerator Program. (Source)
With being granted access to such a priceless network of industry partners, expertise and capital, Zinc8 might be seen as “the chosen one” in the space of long-duration energy storage, where commercialization of new, massively scalable technologies is urgently needed. Until today, lithium-ion batteries have merits in the electric vehicles and consumer electronics industries. Yet an alternative must emerge for safe and cost-effective long-duration energy storage applications, first and foremost for buildings and grid-scale utility projects.
With being chosen into several incubator and accelerator programs in the US in 2020, along with working on the execution of three deployment contracts, it´s easy to imagine that these well-connected backers are saying something along the lines of: "We will not let you fail! We are making sure you get everything needed to become a success!" Such support is unprecedented in the emergence of new economies in the past. In this day and age, such support is the cornerstone of the pledge to decarbonize global economies faster and to create a smarter, more energy-efficient planet – one that is less wasteful and thus healthier for everybody. Along the way, everybody gets the chance to prosper from this paradigm-shifting industrial mega-trend as new jobs and investment opportunities emerge.
Previous Rockstone Coverage
Report #13: “21.12.20: The Sacred Moment For Zinc8: First Real-World Energy Storage System To Be Delivered To 75.9 House“
Report #12: “Happy Battery Day for Zinc8: Winner of the first-ever Innovation Competition spearheaded by the US Department of Buildings of New York“
Report #11: “Setting The Stage for A Global Launch: Zinc8 signs co-operation agreement with global transformer manufacturing powerhouse Vijai Electricals“
Report #10: “Zinc8 accepted into the ACRE Cleantech Incubator Program at Urban Future Lab“
Report #9: “The Empire State is accelerating renewable energy development as part of its COVID-19 recovery efforts“
Report #8: “Supporting the Clean Energy Industry Through the COVID-19 Response“
Report #7: “Renewable energy stocks could be the first to recover, says JPMorgan“
Report #6: “DEATH OF AN ILL-FATED BULL MARKET AND BIRTH OF A CLEAN ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE OF RESILIENCE“
Report #5: “First Private Sector Energy Storage Deployment Contract for Zinc8 Energy Solutions: Second Commercial Agreement in New York City“
Report #4: “Visiting the Zinc8 Energy Storage Development and Production Facility: The Dawn of the Utility-Scale Battery Era“
Report #3: “The Largest State-Owned Power Utility in the USA Announces Collaboration with Zinc8 Energy Solutions“
Report #2: “Reborn as Zinc8 Energy Solutions“
Report #1: “Bridging the Renewable Energy Infrastructure Gap“
Zinc8 Energy Solutions Inc.
#1 – 8765 Ash Street
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6P 6T3
Phone: +1 604 558 1406
ISIN: CA98959U1084 / CUSIP: 98959U108
Shares Issued & Outstanding: 90,563,457
Canada Symbol (CSE): ZAIR
Current Price: $0.395 CAD (12/08/2020)
Market Capitalization: $36 Million CAD
Germany Symbol / WKN (Tradegate): 0E9 / A2P15E
Current Price: €0.266 EUR (12/08/2020)
Market Capitalization: €24 Million EUR
Stephan Bogner (Dipl. Kfm.)
8260 Stein am Rhein, Switzerland
Disclaimer: This report contains forward-looking information or forward-looking statements (collectively "forward-looking information") within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Forward-looking information is typically identified by words such as: "believe", "expect", "anticipate", "intend", "estimate", "potentially" and similar expressions, or are those, which, by their nature, refer to future events. Rockstone Research, Zinc8 Energy Solutions Inc. and Zimtu Capital Corp. caution investors that any forward-looking information provided herein is not a guarantee of future results or performance, and that actual results may differ materially from those in forward-looking information as a result of various factors. The reader is referred to the Zinc8 Energy Solutions Inc.´s public filings for a more complete discussion of such risk factors and their potential effects which may be accessed through their profiles on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Please read the full disclaimer within the full research report as a PDF (here) as fundamental risks and conflicts of interest exist. Zinc8 Energy Solutions Inc. pays Zimtu Capital Corp. to provide this report and other investor awareness services.The author, Stephan Bogner, holds a long position in Zinc8 Energy Solutions Inc. and is being paid by Zimtu Capital Corp. for the preparation and distribution of this report, whereas Zimtu Capital Corp. also holds a long position in Zinc8 Energy Solutions Inc.