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.
Flow battery maker CellCube and energy storage developer North Harbour Clean Energy are in talks to build factory in Australia with 1GW/8GWh annual production capacity.
NHCE got backing from a major Australian institutional investor. That followed a deal signed by NHCE in May with Australian Vanadium, a startup looking to establish a vertically integrated flow battery business in the country from extraction and processing upwards.
Vanadium redox flow batteries have shown plenty of promise over the past few years and delivered very little, however, big developments in China plus a perceived shortage of battery metals may be the spark this battery technology needs to lift off.
Western Australian energy storage company VSUN Energy has inked a deal with aspiring renewables developer North Harbour Clean Energy which will see the two companies collaborate on the development and installation of vanadium redox flow battery projects and vanadium electrolyte supply.