Governor Kathy Hochul was in the Town of Ulster late last month to announce Zinc8 Energy Solutions’ plans to move into iPark 87, bringing an eventual 500 jobs.
Zinc8, which designs and builds long-duration environmentally friendly batteries, is currently based in Vancouver, Canada, It plans to locate its research and development and manufacturing at a U.S. headquarters as an anchor tenant at iPark 87 through a five-year $68-million investment plan. According to the company’s letter of intent, Zinc8 will lease roughly 237,000 square feet of warehouse and outdoor space.
“Creating good jobs that will lead to a greener, more sustainable New York for our children and grandchildren is not only beneficial to our economy, it’s the right thing to do for our planet,” Hochul said during a press conference at iPark 87 on January 26. “Zinc8’s cutting-edge, clean-energy storage technology is another tool that will allow us to achieve our bold climate agenda and continue to make New York State a leader in advancing the green economy.”
Last week, assistant deputy county executive Evan Menist said state tax credits were based on the creation and sustenance of jobs. Empire State Development will provide up to $9 million in performance-based tax credits.
“It’s not on the honor system,” Menist explained. “It is an audited process, and the company needs to report the number of jobs that they have on-site and other information about those jobs directly to the state to monitor it and make sure they’re holding up their end of the bargain. Otherwise they can lose those tax credits.”
Zinc8’s battery technology is a regenerative system that, as the name indicates, uses zinc as its high-energy density anode fuel. When its battery delivers power, zinc particles combine with oxygen from the surrounding air. When the batters recharges, further zinc particles are created, and the oxygen is returned to the surrounding air. The Zinc8 system doesn’t require fuel replacement, and can offer scalable energy capacity through additional fuel tanks.
The battery-storage system Zinc8 produces can be used in utility, commercial and industrial facilities, as well as on remote microgrids. The company said its goal is to help accelerate the world’s transition away from environmentally damaging forms of energy. Its clean-energy battery storage system won a New York Power Authority’s award on 2019. Further refined, the system will now be manufactured at iPark 87.
Zinc8 has announced a deployment agreement with Digital Energy Corp., a Brooklyn-based engineering firm, for a storage system in an existing combined heat and power plant in New York City, with funding provided by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (Nyserda).
Menist said iPark 87 was the type of development communities all across the United States were looking for.
“Places around the country are struggling with reinventing their old office parks, and it’s a huge challenge,” he said. “Because it’s not just talking about infill development in a walkable downtown where it’s one building that’s vacant on someone’s Main Street for 30 or 40 years and they still can’t figure it out ,,,,. This is to a massive scale. You need people with massive amounts of capital, you need a company that’s ready to scale, you need a proof of concept that’s ready to scale, and you need an educated workforce that’s prepared to fill those roles immediately.”
In a press release from the governor’s office, Ron McDonald, president, CEO and a director of Zinc8, said his company and the state were philosophically aligned when it came to the future of energy.
“The historic measures taken by New York State to reach ambitious carbon-neutrality goals are driving clean-energy innovation. Zinc8 is committed to being an integral part of New York’s green economy,” McDonald said.
In the same press release, Ulster County executive Jen Metzger expressed her enthusiasm for Zinc8’s arrival in the area.
“When I served in the state senate and worked to pass New York’s nation-leading Climate Act, I spoke often of the significant economic benefits to our communities that this law promised,” Metzger said. “With companies like Zinc8 coming to Ulster we are now seeing the fruits of this law materialize: the creation of family-sustaining jobs in cutting-edge industries that build a ladder into the middle class.”