Strategic metals company TNG (ASX: TNG) has engaged Perth-based METS Engineering to conduct a technology and process design study for the development of a vanadium electrolyte (VE) production facility at its Mount Peake vanadium-titanium-iron project in the Northern Territory.
METS was originally involved in the development of TNG’s proprietary TIVAN downstream processing solution and has been re-engaged to commence the VE study on behalf of TNG’s vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) business unit.
TNG established the VRFB business on the back of its first production of high-specification, commercial-grade VE in 2016.
It forms part of a vertical integration strategy to capitalise on growing demand for green energy generation and storage solutions to drive decarbonisation of the global economy.
The VRFB is an important step forward in TNG’s green energy strategy and will assist the development of Mount Peake, where the company is targeting the production of 6,000 tonnes per annum of high-purity vanadium pentoxide in addition to titanium dioxide pigment and iron ore fines products.
VE study scope
The scope of the VE study will include design of a process flowsheet and equipment list for the proposed production facility, as well as indicative capital and operating expenditure estimates.
Process design will be supported by the evaluation of available technologies and optimisation opportunities, as well as a review of previous work completed by TNG in producing high-purity VE in order to determine the most appropriate processing route.
A metallurgical testwork program will also be developed and implemented to help validate process design and VE production specifications.
The VE study is expected to take up to three months to complete and will support a decision to move into the design and planning phase for the production facility.
This will include the evaluation of potential sites, engineering works, validation of cost estimates, financial modelling, progression of necessary government permitting and approvals (where required) and development of the project execution model.
VRFBs use vanadium electrolytes to store energy from renewable power generation and are highly scalable for use in a variety of settings.
They offer a number of advantages for sustainable large-scale energy storage, with long lifespans of potentially 20-plus years without performance degradation, the ability to discharge without battery damage, and the ability to recover and re-use VE at the end of the battery life.
The reliable supply of high-purity VE is critical to the continued growth of the global VRFB market.
Green energy strategy
The planned development of a VE production facility at Mount Peake forms part of TNG’s green energy strategy, focused on opportunities in battery storage and green hydrogen production technology.
The facility will underpin TNG’s VRFB business unit and support a collaboration announced in April with Singapore-based battery technology development company V-Flow Tech to commercialise the batteries at remote sites in regional Australia.
It will also support a deal secured in June to develop VRFB and green hydrogen technology with Malaysian-based green energy company AGV Energy & Technology.