Perth-based resource and mineral processing technology company TNG (ASX: TNG) has moved closer to delivering its green energy strategy with the execution of an agreement for an incorporated joint venture with leading Singapore-based battery technology development company V-Flow Tech.
The joint venture intends to commercialise vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs) as part of renewable power generation systems at targeted remote sites in regional Australia, including indigenous communities, pastoral stations, roadhouses and mining operations.
The batteries will offer a long-life, economically-viable alternative to existing diesel-based power systems used at these locations.
V-Flow intends to supply the battery systems and TNG will supply the high-purity vanadium electrolyte required to operate the batteries from vanadium pentoxide produced at its Mount Peake vanadium-titanium-iron project in the Northern Territory.
The joint venture will also consider other applications for VRFB systems including commercial and residential settings.
TNG and V-Flow are in the process of negotiating a formal joint venture agreement and other supporting commercial agreements for the strategic corporate, commercial and operational structure of the new business venture.
TNG said a secure supply of high-purity vanadium electrolyte will be critical to the ongoing viability and sustainability of the joint venture.
Vanadium electrolyte is produced through a chemical process employing vanadium pentoxide, which is predominately used as a strengthening agent in steel alloys.
The growing momentum for VRFBs is expected to increase demand for vanadium pentoxide in the medium-term.
TNG has previously produced high-purity vanadium electrolyte using vanadium pentoxide from Mount Peake during pilot plant test work in 2016.
The company is now targeting the output of 6,000 tonnes per annum vanadium pentoxide from the project and is planning a review of the design, engineering and feasibility requirements for a vanadium electrolyte production facility in Australia.
The joint venture agreement with V-Flow moves TNG a step closer to achieving its vision of becoming a commercial supplier of VRFB systems in Australia.
The company established its VRFB business unit as part of a vertical integration strategy for the Mount Peake project and aims to capitalise on its ability to produce high-purity vanadium electrolyte from produced vanadium pentoxide.
The deal with V-Flow is believed to be the next step in TNG’s green energy business development strategy and will underpin the development of a VRFB business capable of offering the battery system as well as the vanadium electrolyte required to store renewable energy.
Vanadium redox flow batteries
VRFBs use vanadium electrolyte to store energy in support of the wider application of renewable power generation, such as from wind and solar, and are highly scalable for use in a variety of settings.
The batteries are believed to offer a number of key benefits for sustainable large-scale energy storage, including longer lifespans of potentially 20-plus years without performance degradation; ease of scalability for larger grid-scale applications through modularisation; and very low maintenance requirements leading to reduced operating expenditure.
They are also able to discharge without battery damage and possess a non-flammability component due to the vanadium electrolyte component, thereby eliminating the need for any thermal or fire system management.