Vanadium batteries need the moment of Elon’s musk to launch the market


Vanadium needs Elon Musk or another great player in the global battery market to get behind the metal and share the center stage with other energy storage components such as lithium and cobalt.

"When we have that moment," Go back to the races, "said Vincent Algar, managing director of Australian Vanadium Ltd., in an interview at a mining conference in Hong Kong.The industry needs a Tesla Inc. or Panasonic Corp. to say "we like vanadium flow batteries and we want to do them in addition to lithium-ion batteries," he said.

The world's largest lithium-ion battery was installed in record time Australia last year after multi-millionaire Musk successfully bet that it could help solve an energy crisis in the Pacific nation by deploying its Tesla technology to fill a supply gap.

Vanadium, used mainly in the steel manufacturing, also Batteries in scale, which help to level the daily peaks and valleys of renewable energies such as wind energy, the step to green energy could create a new market and start a struggle for supply, according to BMO Capital Markets.

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Vanadium flow batteries are robust, durable, can operate at any temperature and do not degrade internally, said Algar, who wants to have at least 20 percent of the production of your company. Gabanintha project in Western Australia entering the battery market.

Inventories are declining and prices have been rising since mid-2016 due to growing demand from China, the world's largest steel producer.

It is expected that a pre-feasibility study will be completed by mid-2018 and the company will begin to seek financing and construction of its plant by mid-2019 with a capital expenditure of A $ 350 million ($ 270 million), according to Algar . Production can begin in early 2021, he said.

The Australian vanadium seeks to produce between 5,000 and 6,000 metric tons, which would represent between 5 and 6 percent of the world market share, and just over 10,000 tons of vanadium pentoxide, a The powder form of the metal said Algar.

The dominant form of energy storage is lithium ion technology, but there are advantages to vanadium flow batteries. They last longer and can be repeatedly charged and discharged without a significant drop in performance. They are also easy to recycle and are good for projects where space is not a problem.

The absorption of vanadium batteries has been hampered by material cost and maintenance, as well as by low energy densities, which require more space to store energy than some alternative chemistries, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance .

There is still a struggle to get the vanadium recognition, Algar said on April 6. "Trying to sell a vanadium battery to someone who can only think of lithium, who only thinks there is a lithium battery to solve the world's problems, is very difficult."


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