The chief executive of Australian Vanadium says the turning point towards more rapid take-up of batteries that use vanadium as an electrolyte is already here as he eyes a $217 million merger with Technology Metals Australia.
The two companies have agreed an all-shares merger to better exploit their jointly owned high-purity vanadium – a raw material for long duration storage batteries – resource near Meekatharra in WA’s mid-West.
It will be designed to produce up to 33 MWh per year of vanadium flow battery high purity electrolyte.
It also said it appointed Simon Rough, an experienced operations professional, to safely manage construction. He will see the plant into production.
His extensive experience in vanadium processing and sulphuric acid production makes him “a perfect fit” to lead the team to successful production of high-quality electrolyte, the company said in a statement.
Rough has safely led teams in hydro and pyrometallurgical operations, vanadium processing and sulphuric acid production, AVL said.
The company holds the exclusive licence of US Vanadium’s process technology for manufacturing vanadium electrolyte for Australia and New Zealand.
Big batteries across Australia could one day be powered by a little-known element called vanadium and manufactured onshore, an industry leader says. The silvery-grey metal is the latest “pit to grid” sensation for electricity system operators, although most people have never heard of it.
“Seven years ago lithium was in the same spot,” AustralianVanadium CEO Graham Arvidson believes that vanadium has the potential to be the next big thing in energy storage. Australia is home to almost one-third (or 31 per cent) of the world’s vanadium, according to Geoscience Australia, but none of it is mined.
Horizon Power, Western Australia’s regional power supplier, has revealed plans to deploy a 78 kW/220 kWh vanadium flow battery.
Horizon Power, a utility owned by the Western Australia government, has signed an agreement with Perth-based energy storage company VSUN Energy for the purchase of a vanadium flow battery (VFB). It will be installed at Kununurra as part of a long-duration energy storage pilot program.
Horizon Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Unwin said the pilot program will support the organization’s focus on solving the technical challenges associated with establishing long-duration energy storage solutions in harsh conditions.
Vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs) provide long-duration energy storage. VRFBs are stationary batteries which are being installed around the world to store many hours of generated renewable energy.
VRFBs have an elegant and chemically simple design, with a single element of vanadium used in the vanadium electrolyte solution. The supply of this vanadium electrolyte is now playing the most important role in the batteries’ market growth.
Australian Vanadium will build its high purity vanadium electrolyte manufacturing facility in the Perth suburb of Wangara, as the company expects vanadium redox flow (VFRB) adoption to surge in Australia.
The factory is on track for commissioning in September this year, provided equipment ordered from the vanadium supplier US Vanadium arrives on time.
It is also on track to meet the budget expectations made in 2021 of $7.4 million, CEO Graham Arvidson told RenewEconomy.
The company has a grand plan to process the minerals mined at its yet-to-be commissioned Australia Vanadium Project at Gabanintha, near Meekatharra in Western Australia, and then turn it into the fuel its energy storage subsidiary VSUN Energy needs for its vanadium redox-flow batteries.
“The company plans to explore opportunities to replicate this electrolyte facility on the east coast of Australia, to supply additional electrolyte for VRFB projects slated to be deployed in a variety of States and Territories,” Arvidson said in a statement.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced financial support for four technology sector manufacturing projects in the country, including a vanadium processing plant.
Morrison said during a speech at an industry event in Western Australia that AU$243.6 million (US$177.47 million) in funding will support efforts to establish a homegrown value chain for critical minerals, batteries and electric vehicles.
It is part of his government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative, a drive to put a total of AU$1.3 billion investment into the economy.
Australian Vanadium Limited (“AVL”) has announced that its 100% owned subsidiary VSUN Energy will be installing a 5kW/30kWh vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) for use on a trial basis at Water Corporation’s innovation hub in Shenton Park, WA at its Water, Research and Innovation Precinct. The VRFB will initially be trialled for use on a mobile water purification unit and will provide 100% renewable power to the system via a solar PV and VRFB standalone power system (SPS).
VSUN Energy will be working with Water Corporation to test, collect data and provide suitable options for potential future use cases for VRFBs throughout Water Corporation’s operations. Of particular interest are remote pumping applications and for supplying power to remote offgrid energy loads, currently powered by diesel generators.