US Vanadium and CellCube Partner to Increase Flux Battery Electrolyte Production in Arkansas


Installation of the CellCube Flow battery. Image: CellCube.

US Vanadium, which has high purity electrolyte for flow batteries among its vanadium product line, has announced that it will increase its annual electrolyte production capacity to 2.25 million liters per year in response on demand.

The company operates a facility in Hot Springs, Arkansas, from which it produces the main ingredient in the electrolyte, vanadium pentoxide (V2O5), and turns it into an electrolyte for buyers in the space of the vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB).

US Vanadium announced yesterday that it will work in partnership with CellCube, Austrian maker of VRFBs, to expand Hot Springs’ increased production capacity. The partnership follows a recent order from US Vanadium received from CellCube for 580,000 liters of electrolyte to be used in an 8 MWh VRFB system.

The long-life battery system will be part of an industrial micro-grid at a site near Chicago, Illinois. The micro-grid will be a hybrid project that combines rooftop solar power and flux battery with a flywheel, designed to maximize the amount of uninterruptible backup power that the customer can use in their facility. asked CellCube today if this would be the project recently announced by power electronics maker G&W Electric, but has yet to receive confirmation.

US Vanadium said the expansion of the electrolyte production facility will cost approximately US $ 2.1 million. The company manufactures various vanadium products from the recovery of industrial waste streams: the metal is found in steel slag, which is a by-product of steel production. In August, it licensed its vanadium electrolyte manufacturing technology to Australian start-up Vanadium and will also supply vanadium oxides to its near namesake for electrolyte production in Australia.

Primary and co-producers of vanadium seeking to power the battery industry

About 80% of the vanadium used globally in industries such as steel, aerospace, specialty chemicals and more recently VRFB comes from co-producers like US Vanadium and other players mainly in China and China. Russia. Meanwhile, there are only three main producers of vanadium, which extract the metal directly from the ground.

In the latest edition of our quarterly review Power of photovoltaic technology, we take a close look at the strategies of two of these companies, Bushveld Minerals and Largo Resources, both of which seek to promote and engage in the VRFB industry at different levels of vertical integration.

For example, Bushveld’s subsidiary, Bushveld Energy, recently began construction of its own VRFB electrolyte plant, capable of expanding up to 800 MWh of electrolyte production capacity per year from an initial phase. of 200 MWh. The most expensive part of the battery is electrolyte, and Bushveld and Largo have decided to help lower the capital cost of batteries for their customers by leasing them. They believe that the electrolyte, which does not degrade with use and is recyclable, can retain much of its value.

In the diary, we also talk exclusively about the history of VRFB with one of its inventors, Maria Skyllas-Kazacos, a professor at the University of New South Wales, who said that many of the processes she and his colleagues developed decades ago to make electrolyte from vanadium pentoxide are still widely used today.

Further downstream, US-UK VRFB maker Invinity Energy Systems said a few days ago it was ramping up production at its facilities in Bathgate, Scotland, in response to growing demand. The company declined to reveal its annual production capacity figures, but said they had more than doubled since the start of 2021.

Only about 1% or less of global vanadium demand currently comes from flux batteries, but the above players and many others are hoping that this will change as the need for renewable energy storage lasting for several years. hours will increase.

So far, the largest existing vanadium flux battery site in the world is a 60MWh project by Sumitomo Electric in Hokkaido, Japan, but there are at least two projects currently under construction in China of 100MW / 500MWh or more – US Vanadium noted that its deal with CellCube is one of the largest such deals outside of China, which currently appears to be the global market maker in VRFBs.


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