Zinc is starting to emerge as an indie battery storage chemistry alternative to the stadium rock band that is lithium. Salient Energy is one company developing a zinc-ion battery, and this month formalized a partnership with Horton World Solutions (HWS), a sustainable homebuilder, which is hosting the first in-field demonstration of Salient’s zinc-ion storage system. HWS plans to include the system in over 200,000 homes.
The company’s proprietary cathode materials store energy in zinc in a way that has never been commercialized before, allowing the batteries to have a high energy density and to use traditional battery designs that are compatible with standard manufacturing equipment.
Salient’s zinc-ion battery uses a water-based design that eliminates the risk of fire. It is built with zinc and manganese, and the Salient Energy team says it has the same power, performance, and footprint as lithium-ion systems, thus working as a drop-in replacement for systems currently in the market.
HWS founder and CEO Terry Horton will also join Salient Energy’s board of advisors. “Energy storage is a key part of making zero-carbon homes,” said Horton. “But the current lithium-ion systems have a lot of issues. They create a fire risk that we need to design around, which further adds time and complexity to our permitting process. They are also frequently in short supply, which makes it risky to plan for them being an integral part of our designs. When I saw that Salient’s zinc-ion could solve both these issues, I knew I had to get involved.”
Salient’s energy storage systems pair with residential solar panels and allow for customers to disconnect from the larger grid during outages.
Horton started his career at a homebuilding company founded by his brother Donald in 1978. During his tenure D R Horton grew into the largest home builder in the United States. In 2005, Mr. Horton left the company to focus on developing a new, more sustainable approach to homebuilding.
“Houses built today will determine residential emissions in 2050,” said Mr. Horton. “Meaning homebuilders need to start building for sustainability today. I look forward to working with the team at Salient on developing their zinc-ion system into a solution that the whole industry can use to make more sustainable homes.
“We built zinc-ion to accelerate the adoption of clean energy,” said Ryan Brown, co-founder of Salient. “So, the opportunity to build zero-carbon homes with our technology is an exciting step forward for us. Our goal is to build safe, affordable, and sustainable systems that become the standard for home energy storage. We’re extremely lucky to have someone as experienced as Terry helping us achieve this goal.”
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