Battery buyer beware, only a free flow of data will benefit the sector: Australian Vanadium boss
Algar’s hoping that as the market settles vanadium flow batteries will shine through for their stamina.
As costs drop in the world of energy storage and the technology matures, any purchase made today runs the risk of looking expensive in the years ahead. The key to getting it right is identifying systems that offer modular flexibility, says Australian Vanadium managing director Vincent Algar.
VSUN Energy is sponsoring the Energy and Mines Australia Summit, the 10th global summit connecting the mining sector with innovative energy and storage providers.
Australian Vanadium Ltd’s Managing Director, Vincent Algar, was featured in a recently published article about the deployment of energy storage in mining in Australia; click here to download the insightful report. Business Development Manager, Samantha McGahan is speaking at the Summit with a presentation entitled “Concentrated solar and storage options for Gabanintha: key drivers and potential challenges”
As a sponsor of the event VSUN Energy is able to pass on a 20% discount to attend the summit. Just use code VSUN20 when registering online here. We look forward to seeing you at the Summit in Perth.
Vincent Algar presented and sat on a panel to discuss battery life. Please click the link below to view the presentation:
Having spent a year in the energy industry I started to reflect on what I’ve learnt – in no particular order here are some of my musings.
- There are many people who claim expertise in the energy field. A lot of them do have expertise, but it’s usually confined to the area they are involved in and usually an area that they have a vested interest in.
- It’s a small industry, especially in Perth. As with mining or any other industry, everyone knows each other one way or another and as a wise person said to me the other day, ‘it’s no good burning bridges’.
- Vanadium batteries – I have learnt a lot about what vanadium flow batteries are, what they can do and the scenarios they fit both for performance and financially. Of course that is our company’s area of expertise so it’s what I’ve learnt most about.
- There are a lot of analyses and reports being compiled – refer to point one. Most of which are not technology ambivalent.
- There are so many acronymns! SWIS, NEM, RE, PV, DOD, LCOE to name a few.
- The difference between power and storage confuses a lot of people. Requiring MW or MWh is a very different thing.
- Not all energy storage has a 1:1 power to energy ratio, but a lot of people think it does.
- Every day there is a new battery which is ‘the answer’, (usually it isn’t, but the media like them).
- People seem very focussed on building the biggest of everything – solar farm, wind turbine, battery.
- The future is bright for renewable energy, (or RE if you look to point 5) and being in this industry has made me feel very positive. There are many naysayers, (probably invested in coal etc), but the positive for those who want RE is that it’s commercially viable – money talks. There are a lot of people working hard to make it happen.
- If I had Elon Musk’s budget…
VSUN Energy, the wholly-owned subsidiary of mining company Australian Vanadium, announced on April 12 it was in negotiations with the designer of a residential vanadium redox flow battery that will provide an alternative to the lithium-based Tesla Powerwall.
VSUN Energy business development manager Sam McGahan told BESB that negotiations with the holder of the battery design for home storage were under way, and a study had been commissioned to look at the timescale and market size in Australia.
“What we would like to do is to manufacture in Australia, so we need to partner with someone who has manufacturing expertise,” she said.
“Other angles we’re investigating are things such as having a larger battery at the substation level which can be used to soak up excess production from the suburb and then can be drawn upon by the householders. This would involve a product such as Reposit or Power Ledger to manage the ownership of the energy and would enable people to trade their generated energy.”
Reposit and Power Ledger are two software systems that can be fitted to solar panels and allow consumers to trade surplus energy.
McGahan said the main benefits of vanadium redox flow batteries over lithium are they are non-flammable, have a lifespan of more than 20 years, do not degrade, can be recycled as many times as required and provide more hours of storage.
“The state of charge is measured across one body of liquid, rather than multiple cells. It’s a much simpler set-up,” she said.
To date, VSun’s smallest product was a 10kW/100kWh battery that would be suitable for farms and industrial premises. The new design is more suitable for a residential property, at 5kW/20kWh.
Vanadium redox flow batteries have a bright outlook, according to market analysts.
One report, by IDTechEx, says that the expiry of a number of patents related to redox flow batteries in 2006 has sparked interest in the market, which will grow to an estimated $4 billion by 2027.
The report says potentially the largest battery in the world, at 800 MWh, is being built in Dalian, northwestern China and will be powered entirely by redox flow batteries.
VSUN eyes household market for vanadium batteries, and local manufacturing
By Giles Parkinson on 13 April 2017
VSUN Energy, the storage offshoot of mining group Australian Vanadium, says it is now looking to the household market for its vanadium
redox flow batteries and is also looking at a local manufacturing facility.
In yet another sign of the increased competition in the Australian energy storage market, VSUN on
Thursday said it had received more than 80 unsolicited requests for domestic storage devices, even
though it had previously focused on larger systems in the commercial and industrial sector.
Until now its smallest product was a 10kW/100kWh battery useful for farms and industrial premises
and the like, but it says it is now looking at a 5kW, 20kWh system suitable for homes.
“I just installed solar on my house, 5kW that is generating an average 20kWh from my system, I’m
using about 10kWh and the rest I am sending back to Western Power at 7c/kWh,” managing
director Vincent Algar told RenewEconomy. “If I can have a few hours of storage of 5kW, that
should cover my needs.”
VSUN Energy says vanadium batteries are attractive because of their ability to store large amounts
of energy, their 20 year lifespan, a very high cycle performance, minimal degradation, and are considered safe and non-flammable..
The company says it is currently finalising initial market reviews and partner discussions and will then undertake a feasibility study into developing a
residential VRB product in Australia, and to establish a local manufacturing facility, adding casing, pipes and pumps to the vanadium stacks produced by
Local manufacturing will also reduce the cost of transportation and therefore the cost of batteries to Australian customers.
“Home owners are looking for a battery which offers enough hours of storage to safely carry them through their overnight power requirements,” Algar
says. “We want to be part of that delivery through VSUN Energy. It’s a fertile market.”
The company is also looking at a commercial electrolyte plant, which would enable VSUN Energy to source vanadium electrolyte locally and at a competitive
price. Vanadium electrolyte is a key component of VRBs.
Algar also said VSUN had submitted expressions of interest to the battery storage tender called by South Australia, and to both tenders being conducted by
the Victorian government. Algar says VSUN was focused on smaller, distributed installations of up to 25MWh rather than one installation of 100MWh.