Vanadium is increasingly being used in the electrolyte of vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFB).

VRFB’s are scalable utility-scale energy storage batteries that have the ability to store and release large amounts of energy over a long duration, allowing them to be coupled with clean energy sources.

Advantages of VRFBs

VRFBs enjoy a number of very significant advantages:

  • Suitable for utility-scale energy storage.
  • Long battery life estimated at 20+ years.
  • Vanadium electrolyte can be recycled at the end of the battery life, providing a pathway to an entirely sustainable utility-scale energy storage solution.
  • Long duration energy storage (over 4 hours).
  • Safe with very low risk of thermal runaway compared to other battery alternatives.
  • Deliver instantaneous energy release.
  • Power and energy can be scaled independently.
  • VRFBs can discharge 100% without any damage to the battery.
  • Can charge and discharge energy at the same time.

VRFB Growth

As Government’s around the world set ambitious targets for carbon emission reductions in coming decades, and the cost of renewable energy generation continuing to fall, a key challenge for energy generators, public utilities and major businesses is how to facilitate the further deployment of clean energy sources such as wind and solar that are intermittent.

Utility-scale energy storage is the solution and it is rapidly becoming cost competitive with conventional power grid systems, and in some applications is already a lower cost alternative.

Lithium ion (Li-ion) battery technology leads the growing utility-scale energy storage market, but complementary long duration energy storage technologies such as VRFBs are essential if the world is to continue the transition to clean energy.

Guidehouse Insights forecasts that the global long duration energy storage market (i.e. longer than 4 hours duration) will grow from less than 10 GWh per annum in 2020 to over 60 GWh per annum by 2027.  VRFBs are forecast to be a major part of this long duration utility-scale energy storage requirement, leading to significant new demand for vanadium.

Windimurra previously produced a high purity vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) and a vanadium trioxide (V2O3) powder, both products required for VRFBs.

In production, Windimurra will have the capacity to produce approximately 7,600 tonnes per annum of V2O5 that can be used in VRFBs, which is the equivalent to over 750 MWh of utility-scale energy storage per annum.