Vanadium Industry

Vanadium Industry

Vanadium Overview

Key to the High Performance Steel and Titanium Alloy Industry

Vanadium is primarily used in the production of high-strength steels, which are increasingly used in the construction, energy and transportation industries to maximise strength and minimise weight of end products.  The global steel industry currently consumes approximately 90% of global vanadium production.

Source: Vanitec

Vanadium is used in materials that have important end uses including:

  • Automotive sector – used in the vehicle body structure, engine and chassis to make cars stronger, safer and lighter.

  • Construction sector – vanadium plays an essential role as an alloy of steel to provide strength and is also added to increase fire resistance and increase tensile strength.

  • Reinforcing bar – steel alloy containing vanadium used to strengthen concrete structures including buildings, tunnels and bridges.

  • Aerospace – components including landing gear using ultra high strength steel and airframe and engine parts using titanium alloys.

  • Hand tools – spanners, screwdrivers and other engineering tools have vanadium added with chromium to provide strength and wear resistance.

Vanadium reliant industries include construction, aerospace, ship building, automobiles and industrial tools.  Vanadium is also used in the chemicals industry.

Demand for vanadium is expected to grow steadily in the future as a result of updated construction policy guidelines published by the Chinese Standardization Administration in 2018, which adjusted Chinese domestic rebar standards to promote higher product strength.  This is expected to lead to higher intensity of use of vanadium in steel in China.

Independent forecasts suggest that increases in steel production and increases in the intensity of use of vanadium will provide strong demand growth over the next decade.

In recent years, vanadium is also increasingly being used in vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFB).  Vanadium is used as the electrolyte in VRFBs.

VRFB’s have the ability to store and release large amounts of energy over a long duration, allowing them to be coupled with renewable intermittent energy sources to deliver grid level base load power.  VRFBs enjoy a long life and are very safe compared to other battery alternatives.

The World Bank’s Climate-Smart Mining Initiative report recently estimated the potential impact of the clean energy transition on the demand for minerals.  The potential demand for vanadium from new energy technologies as a percentage of 2018 demand is shown in the graph below.

Source: World Bank Group – Minerals for Climate Action: The Mineral Intensity of the Clean Energy Transition

Windimurra previously produced some of the highest quality V2O5 flake in the world.  As such, Windimurra is ideally positioned to service the rapidly growing VRFB market in the future if demand for new energy technologies emerges as projected.