Australian Vanadium Targets EV Charging Market With Standalone Solar And Flow Battery

Perth-based VSUN Energy is targeting the electric vehicle market with a proposal to develop EV charging stations in remote areas that rely on standalone solar systems and a vanadium redox flow battery.
VSUN says it has just completed the first phase trialling a small 5kW/30kWh flow battery that was powered only by solar energy – a system design it hopes can be replicable anywhere in Australia.
“The VRFB is well suited to the capture and storage of large quantities of renewable energy, enabling stable power output,” said
The head of development at VSUN Energy, Zamien Sumich, says vanadium redox flow batteries are well suited for the task because they provide stable output, and its resilient chemistry.
“Vanadium electrolyte doesn’t degrade, meaning that thousands of EV batteries can be charged from the one station,” he said.
“The VRFB’s long life, exceeding 20 years, makes it one of the most sustainable and long-lasting ways of storing renewable energy. At the end of the battery’s mechanical life, the vanadium electrolyte can be reused indefinitely.”
In contrast to a lithium-ion battery, which stores all the charge inside the battery cell itself, VRFBs use a circulating electrolyte solution of vanadium pentoxide to store the charge in tanks.”
That means they have a lower energy density compared to Li-ion, but because the tanks can be scaled up to any size, they have the ability to store a lot more total energy. And they have greater depths of discharge.
Vanadium redox flow batteries are also well suited to the harsh conditions of Australia, able to handle high temperatures without the risk of explosion, and will be ideally suited for remote stretches of Australia’s landscape and roadways.
Gemtek Group commercial manager Florian Popp said Gemtek has tested a wide variety of power systems with its EV charging technologies.
“Developing expertise in integrated renewable energy EV charging solutions to suit Australian requirements for mining, agricultural and regional applications has been a key focus,” he said.
“The VSUN Energy storage system’s unique capabilities and operating life provide a substantial advantage in high temperature and remote environments.”
Parent company Australian Vanadium is currently developing the Australian Vanadium Project south of Meekatharra in the Mid West region of Western Australia, which is being developed in collaboration with its Singaporean partner V-Flow Tech and EV specialists Gemtek.
AVL managing director Vincent Algar said AVL is looking to become more than just a vanadium mine, hoping to comprise a value chain spanning mining, manufacturing, and downstream processing.
“The intent is for Australian Vanadium to not just sell vanadium into the metals sector internationally, but to be fully vertically integrated onshore here in Australia. In doing so, we are able to reduce the cost of these batteries while adding local value, content and job creation,” said Algar.
“While we are still in the development phase of the mining project, we are building a vanadium electrolyte manufacturing facility near Kwinana, which is expected to be in production by mid-2022 with an annual production of 33MWh.
“Once completed, AVL will be able to supply battery ready vanadium from its mine, into the electrolyte plant and into a battery, all in Australia with no offshore processing.”
AVL is also planning on using VRFBs to power its mine site and processing facilities.