Move over lithium, there’s about to be a revolution in how energy is stored and it’s about to get bigger and better than ever before. Vanadium might not be new to the scene in general as its presence in steel has grown over the years. Vanadium steel is lighter and stronger than other metal alloys and is currently used in airplanes, cars, and rocket engines. In fact, Vanadium steel is used in about 43% of cars but estimated to increase to 85% of cars by 2025. The price of Vanadium has risen 300% since 2015 and the upward tick just might continue.
Vanadium is likely to become the most crucial new element in energy storage and it’s all about the battery. Vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFB) are superior to lithium batteries in almost every way. They are safer and not susceptible to failure such as overheating and explosion. Vanadium also doesn’t degrade over time, basically allowing for an infinite lifespan. It will serve as the cornerstone of liquid energy. VRFBs use an electrolyte fluid that flows back and forth between two tanks and there is no limit to the amount of liquid used in a single battery. If you want a bigger battery, just add more fluid! Mining billionaire, Robert Friedland notes, “The beauty of the vanadium redox battery is that you can charge and discharge it at the same time, something that can’t be done with a lithium battery. With a vanadium redox flow battery, you can put solar power and wind power into the battery, and you can put excess grid power into the battery at night, and at the same time you can have a stable output into the grid.”
In the United States, companies like United Battery Metals want to build domestic supply of Vanadium and are following the hunch that where there’s uranium, there’s Vanadium. Their property at Wray Mesa is a former uranium mine and here they intend to be the first productive Vanadium mine in the U.S.
With Vanadium growing on everyone’s radar in the energy sect, it will be interesting to see just how impactful Element 23 will turn out to be and just how revolutionizing it’s potential is.
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