International partnership pushes Western Australian vanadium electrolyte plant toward reality

LE System’s Patented Electrolyte Production

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In March 2021, Western Australian vanadium explorer, Technology Metals Australia Limited (TMT), signed an agreement with prominent Japanese vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) R&D company LE System to explore the possibility of manufacturing vanadium electrolyte in Australia. Late last week, the two companies expanded and extended their partnership with plans to build Australia’s first fully integrated vanadium electrolyte plant using vanadium from TMT’s Murchison Technology Metals Project (MTMP). 

The updated Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will see an initial feasibility study prepared to gauge whether TMT’s vanadium product and LE Systems’ proprietary vanadium electrolyte technology can be workably produced in Australia. 

According to a statement, the study “will focus on the operating, capital and permitting factors associated with the development of vanadium electrolyte production capacity,” as well as the application of LE System’s technology and suitable locations for multiple vanadium electrolyte plants close to large-scale renewable energy production centres close to Australia’s major populations. 

https://twitter.com/TechnologyMetal/status/1485432288875892737?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Eembeddedtimeline%7Ctwterm%5Eprofile%3ATechnologyMetal%7Ctwgr%5EeyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19%7Ctwcon%5Etimelinechrome&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tmtlimited.com.au%2F

LE System CEO Junichi Sato noted that the market for utility scale storage solutions is expanding rapidly and recognised “the importance of broadening our regional vanadium electrolyte production capacity. We have known TMT for some time and LE System are very pleased to be partnering with such a high quality Australian company to support its downstream processing initiatives.”

TMT managing director Ian Prentice concurred, adding: “We view the downstream processing opportunities for vanadium from the MTMP as important for both the future demand of vanadium but also as key to addressing climate change.” 

“TMT plans to build Australia’s first fully integrated mine to battery vanadium electrolyte plant,” Prentice continued, “working with an exceptional global partner, LE System, a leader in the VRFB industry.” 

TMT’s Gabanintha Vanadium Project

Technology Metals Australia’s (TMT) primary exploration focus is a project called the Gabanintha Vanadium Project (GVP), located 40 km south east of Meekatharra in the mid-west region of Western Australia. It seeks to develop a processing technique to produce high purity vanadium pentoxide, with the goal of becoming one of the world’s largest single primary vanadium producers, catering to the rapidly expanding flow battery market as well as steel markets.

In 2019, the company received a $2.7 million grant from the Australian Federal Government’s Research and Development (R&D) Tax Incentive Scheme which went towards its Gabanintha Project.

Vanadium redox flow batteries

Vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs) are rechargeable flow batteries which use vanadium in different oxidation states to store energy. Far from a new technology, flow batteries have enjoyed a resurgence of attention as an energy storage solution driven by the fact VRFBs are non-flammable, offer virtually unlimited cycling without degradation and are easily scalable.

 

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