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Meet Zinc, the Cheap Metal Gunning for Lithium Battery Crown

  • Utilities need big battery systems to back up solar and wind
  • Rechargeable zinc systems, around just two years, ramping up
Ore is processed at a zinc processing plant in Matagami, Quebec.

Ore is processed at a zinc processing plant in Matagami, Quebec.

Photographer: Valerian Mazataud/Bloomberg

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A metal best known for galvanizing steel is making the jump into a developing $30 billion energy-storage market for electrical grids that’s increasingly seen as key to unleashing solar and wind power upon the world.

Less than four months after Governor Andrew Cuomo vowed to produce 100% of New York’s electricity from clean sources by 2040, the state power authority launched an innovation challenge involving 60 companies in a quest to reach that goal. The winner: A Canada-based startup whose pitch can be wrapped up in two words: Think zinc.