AEsir Technologies (ZAF Energy Systems) is putting big pieces in place to scale its Nickel-Zinc batteries. One month ago it announced its partnership with Eramen Minerals in the Philippines to produce batteries in Asia and supply its nickel cathode material, and in October revealed that Rapid City, South Dakota has been chosen as the site for its first US Zinc Battery “Giga” Factory.

AEsir’s Nickel-Zinc batteries are used for backup power in places like data centers, hospitals, military sites, and emergency settings. In an industry that has long been dominated by toxic low-tech lead-acid batteries, nickel-zinc offers longer life, smaller footprint and overall lower cost-of-ownership. While recently lithium-ion alternatives have bled into the stationary power market, concerns about safety (flammability) and incoming supply chain challenges for that technology have cast serious doubt on their fit in backup power applications.

A key innovation to AEsir’s product is that it can borrow over 80% of its manufacturing needs from the lead-acid battery industry. Through a partnership with Wirtz Manufacturing, a lead-acid equipment maker in Michigan, AEsir has developed a process that can leverage existing equipment. Through this collaboration, AEsir already manufacturers its Ni-Zn batteries under contract with the US military at its headquarters in Joplin, MO.

While the battery industry is already infamous for its promises, between the work being done by AEsir and its nascent competitor ZincFive- not to mention the technical shortcomings of the old and disruption-vulnerable lead-acid battery industry, and the fact that lithium-ion is a non-ideal and distracted competitor here– there is real reason to believe that Nickel-Zinc will succeed here.