Australian Vanadium says it has been granted $1.25 million in federal government funding towards its bid to become one of the world’s lowest-cost producers of vanadium, an elemental metal that has rapidly become a key ingredient for large-scale battery energy storage solutions.
The ASX-listed AVL said it would use the CRC-P Grant money to help fund industry-leading critical metals research aimed at improving the efficiency of vanadium processing.
AVL said the $4.9m research initiative – which is being conducted alongside Wood, ALS, Curtin University and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) – aimed to help decrease costs of the Australian Vanadium Project, AVL’s open-pit vanadium mine in Meekatharra, Western Australia.
The research also promises to deliver significant benefits to downstream applications of “ultra-high purity” vanadium products, including vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFB) – the focus of the company’s fully-owned subsidiary VSUN Energy.
Vanadium redox flow batteries have been emerging in the energy storage space as a promising commercial and grid-scale battery alternative to lithium-ion batteries.
AVL’s VSUN has been chipping away at the Australian residential and commercial/industrial storage markets for a few years now, promising benefits including 100 per cent depth of discharge, lack of performance degradation over time, and ability to re-use the non-flammable vanadium electrolyte at the end of the battery’s life
In September of last year, the company sold a 20kW/80kWh VRFD system to a Victorian apple farmer, to maximise solar self-consumption and further reign in costs.
The following month, VSUN supplied an 80kW/320kWh vanadium redox flow battery for installation at Meredith Dairy, a Victorian diary farming operation that aims to supply all of its operational electricity needs via onsite renewables.
“Being awarded this highly competitive grant further demonstrates the quality of the team we have at AVL and in the partners we have chosen to work with,” said AVL’s chief operating officer Todd Richardson in a statement on Tuesday.
“The results of this research and development project will have far reaching benefits in the vanadium market globally and will enable us to develop and operate a low cost, fully integrated vanadium operation here in Western Australia.”