Zinc-Air Microgrid Battery
Porticos’ new product development team worked with NantEnergy™ to re-engineer a groundbreaking battery cell that is ideal for numerous applications: “banking up” solar or wind energy, mission-critical communications infrastructure, remote installations, and many others. The underlying technology is inexpensive, robust, and easy to deploy. Packaging that electrochemistry into a usable, modular product requires inspiration and expertise.
Designing Small and Simply
The Porticos team started by evaluating a previous generation of the battery cell, a briefcase-sized assembly with numerous structural, thermal, and fluidic requirements. That older version had deficiencies that were impeding adoption and growth and was rather expensive to produce. Porticos enumerated the opportunities for improvement, brainstormed potential enhancements, and proposed a plan to achieve a superior version. Cost reduction was high on that list.
New Product Design Process
Several rounds of engineering analysis were used to demonstrate that the new product design would meet all technical objectives. The analysis also confirmed that the product was not over-designed, which helped to minimize the cost of the deployed product. Porticos worked with NantEnergy™ to fabricate and validate the components and the working assembly.
NantEnergy™ was so pleased with the success of the battery cell program that they retained Porticos to address another challenge. The Zinc-Air cells are typically grouped into cabinets. Many applications require these cabinets to be deployed in cold environments. Porticos used sophisticated simulation to develop a strategy for a cost-effective cabinet, employing a thermal design that facilitates efficient and reliable operation even at bitterly cold temperatures.