EDITOR: | August 28th, 2017 | 3 Comments

VanadiumCorp sets sights on Battery Revolution

| August 28, 2017 | 3 Comments
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A number of operations worldwide are currently striving to achieve primary vanadium supply in order to, in part, meet the needs of the growing market for vanadium redox flow batteries (VRBs). The technology enables vastly greater energy capacity for industrial and grid storage applications over conventional lithium ion setups, yet the electrolytic solution on which they rely is prohibitively expensive to produce, currently comprising almost half of the cost of a battery unit. The world is in waiting for a method of mass-producing this vanadium-bearing liquid as the need for increasingly large grid energy storage systems continues to climb.

VanadiumCorp Resource Inc. (TSXV: VRB) (“VanadiumCorp”) is working on a proprietary breakthrough process which can manufacture vanadium electrolyte solutions with unprecedented efficiency and cost-effectiveness, and with 100% ownership of two of the purest vanadium deposits in the world, the company potentially represents a complete solution, even having the inventor of the VRB, Dr. Maria Skyllas-Kazacos, on the team serving as a scientific advisor. Dr. Skyllas-Kazacos filed the first patent for an all-vanadium battery technology back in 1986, so her involvement in the project inspires great confidence.

VanadiumCorp is working with industrial electrochemists, Electrochem Technologies & Materials Inc, to finalise a process that converts the primary concentrate, vanadiferous titanomagnetite (VTM), into a useable vanadium electrolyte (VE) without the need for slagging, smelting or roasting. This significantly lowers the cost of VE production as well as entirely eliminating greenhouse gas emissions due to the fact that the process is electrochemical. Furthermore, since the project is located in Quebec, it has access to cheap Canadian hydroelectricity to boot.

The company has the ability to produce a great VTM product from its two mining operations currently in development, and is already issuing samples of its VE solution to prospective customers. In fact, the flagship resource, Lac Dore, is a former Quebec government project which managed to achieve a 99.9% pure VE solution via a pilot plant operation in 2002; the groundwork has already been laid, and VanadiumCorp plans to construct a pilot plant of its own this year, which would be a major step towards full commercialisation of the company’s pioneering technology.

China produces around 58% of the global vanadium supply, but this is mostly as a co-product from Chinese steel mills. If VRB technologies are to become popular, the world will need many additional producers to come online, and while some primary sources currently exist, none have so far managed to create an economical method of mass-producing battery-grade vanadium electrolytic solutions. VanadiumCorp is the leading entity in this regard, having a real chance of gaining a stranglehold on an emerging market.

Demand for vanadium in traditional applications is projected to grow at a CAGR of 6% per year through 2020 as a result of growth rates in global steel production and ongoing substitution of manganese steel with vanadium bearing steels, but energy storage applications have the potential to increase global vanadium consumption by more than 27,000 MTV per year, or more than 30% of the current market, by 2020.

At the same time as supply deficits are beginning to emerge, the number of uses for vanadium continues to climb. No doubt the market will respond and fill the gaps, but VanadiumCorp may be the only company able to provide the solution necessary to make all-vanadium battery technologies a reality. Keep an eye on this team, they may be quite disruptive.


Lara Smith

Editor:

A Sr. Editor and Analyst for InvestorIntel and Managing Director and Founder of Core Consultants, Lara is an internationally recognized expert in the field of ... <Read more about Lara Smith>


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Comments

  • Rog Cook

    Hi LARA,
    RedT Energy RED.L is a UK company already producing vanadium batteries using NASA technology.
    REDT’s units work with batteries based on liquid vanadium, an element once used to strengthen swords and still employed today to reinforce steel. Conventional batteries used in the home store energy only for short periods before either needing to be recharged or replaced. REDT’s vanadium-based storage units last for decades, so they can store energy almost permanently.
    Technology: REDT Energy chief executive Scott McGregor
    The technology was invented by US space agency Nasa for use on missions and REDT spent 12 years, from 2000 to 2012, perfecting a version for commercial energy storage. Since then the group, led by Scott McGregor, has been turning the concept into an affordable, reliable reality.
    Working with New York-listed manufacturer Jabil, the technology has been rigorously tested, costs have been brought down and the first units are now on trial.
    One large facility is being used on a wind farm in Scotland, another has been sold to a German industrial company and another to a large utility group in Europe. Several others have been distributed to customers here and on the Continent, while one has been sent to an eco-resort in South Africa.
    This highlights another use for REDT’s technology. In the developed world, its units will largely be deployed to store energy created by wind and solar power so it can be used when it is needed, rather than when it is generated. That energy will then be distributed by national grids on a timely basis.
    Many emerging markets do not have national grids, so businesses rely on diesel generators for electricity, which are expensive and inefficient. REDT’s units would allow these businesses to take greater advantage of solar power, storing it during daylight hours and using it when necessary.

    Read more: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/investing/article-3391941/MIDAS-SHARE-TIPS-Battery-firm-REDT-Energy-inspired-Nasa-powering-up.html#ixzz4r2sM9N52
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    August 28, 2017 - 6:46 AM

  • TBP Editor

    Lara,

    your comment: “VanadiumCorp may be the only company able to provide the solution necessary to make all-vanadium battery technologies a reality” entirely ignores the fact that companies such as Sumitomo have been making VRFBs for years.

    Why should it be so unusual for half the cost of the battery to be taken by the precise thing that makes it work – the Vanadium electrolyte ? You should be asking why is only half the cost taken by this and what takes the other 50% – well it will be the electrochemical cells of course. The first cost scales solely with the battery capacity, the second cost scales only with the battery power – so obviously the you need to be explicit about what capacity time for the battery you are referring to when talking about the costs breakdown. (See this for more detail https://www.thebushveldperspective.com/vrfbs-the-numbers/ )

    August 29, 2017 - 12:11 AM

  • Bmner

    Lara, surely VC are running a little behind the curve here. Companies such as Bushveld Minerals who are large pure play Vanadium miners and producers are already nearly there and with 3% growing to 10% of the world’s vanadium supply, at the lowest production cost would surely deserve a recommendation as a VRFB pioneer ahead of your client Vanadium Corp due to the robustness of their offering and ability to control pricing of the electrolyte itself. Your readers would do well to look wider as there are much more robust, lower cost VRFB projects around. Your knowledge appears to have come from your client,rather than knowing the industry. Apologies if this is incorrect.

    August 31, 2017 - 2:32 AM

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