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Fonterra trials organic energy storage system

PolyJoule, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) spin-off, is partnering with NZ dairy co-operative Fonterra on the application of the battery made from electrically conductive polymers, an organic-based compound with the ability to act like metal.

Late last year, the large-scale organic battery was installed on a Fonterra farm at Te Rapa. The battery was cycled daily, supporting dairy shed operations for 10 months.

The co-op is now moving this battery to its Waitoa UHT site, which can sometimes be impacted by power disturbances leading to downtime and waste.

Fonterra Chief Operating Officer Fraser Whineray said as a significant electricity user, at about 2.5% of the national grid, a sustainable and secure electricity supply is vital.

“At Fonterra we have a strategy to lead in sustainability, and innovation partnerships are a critical ingredient to achieving this.

“The PolyJoule battery has a remarkable discharge rate, which may ultimately link with ultra-fast charging of our fleet, including Milk-E, our electric milk tanker.”

PolyJoule CEO Eli Paster said he’s excited to partner with Fonterra and sees great opportunity for growth in New Zealand.

“We both have sustainability front and centre of our strategy and understand the importance of a reliable, green supply of electricity for quickly chilling the raw milk on farm, processing and distribution.

“Since PolyJoule batteries do not rely on lithium, nickel or lead, the materials are easier to source and the batteries are safer and easier to manufacture anywhere in the world, including New Zealand.”

The PolyJoule battery installation is the third decarbonisation project Fonterra’s Waitoa site has recently adopted. Last month it announced the site would install a new biomass boiler and it will also be home to its Milk-E electric milk tanker.

Image credit: iStock.com/Zyabich

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