US Vanadium, LLC (Hot Springs, Ark.) has announced a $2.1-million expansion of its production capacity for ultra-high-purity electrolyte used by grid-level vanadium flow batteries (VRFB). The production expansion comes on the heels of a purchase agreement for 580,000 liters of ultra-high-purity electrolyte by Austrian VRFB manufacturer and energy storage provider Enerox GmbH, which sells its systems under its brand name CellCube.
The CellCube contract is believed to be one of the largest such procurements of ultra-high-purity electrolyte known to have been secured by a VRFB electrolyte producer outside China. USV plans to produce the electrolyte at its flagship Hot Springs, AR facility.
The electrolyte will enable operation of an eight megawatt-hour VRFB system to be installed at an industrial manufacturing site nearby Chicago in Illinois, as part of a resilient microgrid system featuring rooftop solar, flywheel, and the CellCube long-duration flow battery. The system will operate at up to 150 percent of its nominal load and, as such, can provide the facility a flexible range of power, from 1MW for 10 hours to as much as three megawatts for nearly two hours.
US Vanadium’s expansion of its electrolyte production capacity at its Hot Springs, AR facility, to be completed in a development partnership with CellCube, is designed to enable the company to produce more than 2.25 million liters per year of ultra-high-purity VRFB electrolyte for CellCube and other customers. US Vanadium’s electrolyte is the highest purity electrolyte produced anywhere in the world today. Ultra-high-purity electrolyte helps to increase the performance and efficiency of VRFB battery systems.
In addition to producing ultra-high-purity electrolyte, US Vanadium can also recycle spent electrolyte from VRFB systems at a 97% vanadium recovery rate.
“US Vanadium looks forward to supplying CellCube with our high-quality VRFB electrolyte and to launching our expansion of electrolyte production capacity in Arkansas in partnership with CellCube,” said US Vanadium CEO Mark A. Smith. “This expansion allows US Vanadium to enter the next phase of our growth plan, which focuses on supplying the world’s finest and highest purity VRFB electrolyte to multiple customers around the world.”
“We at CellCube are enthusiastic about having entered into this important partnership with US Vanadium,” states Enerox CEO Alexander Schoenfeldt. “Operating our bankable CellCubes with ultra-high-purity vanadium electrolyte is key to achieving our goal of continuous operation of our flow batteries of 20 years or more. In addition, our partnership with US Vanadium will both secure supply for our projects in North America and de-risk our clients from volatility of market prices mid-term.”
VRFB batteries are rechargeable batteries that take advantage of the fact that vanadium ions in different oxidation states can efficiently store chemical potential energy. VRFBs allow for an almost unlimited energy capacity, can be discharged to very high percentages without damage, have very long cycle lives (at least 15,000-20,000 charge/discharge cycles), and can remain unused for long periods without permanent effects to the system.
Because of their nearly unlimited energy storage capacity, high efficiency, zero emissions, very long cycle lives, and relatively low cost of available electricity on a lifecycle basis, VRFB energy storage systems are enabling consumers to utilize renewable energy systems for 100% of their actual power needs without having to rely on renewable energy credits and other accounting offsets.
US Vanadium produces the world’s highest purity V2O5, V2O3, and downstream vanadium chemicals including VRFB electrolyte by recovering contained vanadium from a variety of post-industrial waste streams, which underscores US Vanadium’s commitment to maximizing sustainable practices in its operations. The company also produces the world’s highest purity vanadium pentoxide.