The next generation mineral
A medium-hard ductile metal, Vanadium is typically used in reinforcing steel alloys. This results in greener, lower-carbon construction. Vanadium alloy’s lightweight characteristics make it ideal for specialty alloys used in the aerospace industry and its unique chemical properties will enable it to become the preferred choice in the storage of utility-scale energy.
Vanadium is not naturally found in its metallic form but occurs in more than 60 minerals as a trace element. China has almost half of the world’s vanadium resources (47%), followed by Russia (26%) and South Africa (18%). Australia has approximately 9% of the world’s economic vanadium resources. Most commonly, vanadium is found in titaniferous magnetite deposits and in uraniferous sandstone and siltstone, as well as bauxites and phosphorites.
Whilst vanadium is recoverable from ore as a primary product or by-product, it is more commonly extracted from slags and residues. Post extraction it is generally processed into vanadium pentoxide, vanadium trioxide, or as ferrovanadium (an alloy of vanadium and iron) for commercial uses.
Multicom’s Saint Elmo Project will be part of the future of Australia’s vanadium production, meeting this global demand.
The company is working with peak research institutions to progress a range of next generation uses for vanadium and novel technologies for its optimised extraction.
Stronger lightweight engineering material
Vanadium, when alloyed with steel, aluminium or titanium, can form stronger, lightweight engineering material. In addition, vanadium has good corrosion resistance against both alkaline and acidic compounds. There is currently an increasing global demand for lighter weight and higher strength steels across the infrastructure, aviation and automotive industries.
Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries (VRFBs)
Vanadium is the core component in VRFBs, which use a vanadium electrolyte to produce long-life, stable energy storage systems. VRFBs are well suited as large-scale energy storage systems for the storage of renewable energy. VRFBs can offer a nearly unlimited number of charging and discharging cycles, are non-combustible and modular, making them well suited for scaling. More recent developments in VRFB technology and design are targeting smaller-scale applications such as residential use and power for telecommunications towers.
Industrial chemical production
Vanadium compounds are used as catalysts in the production of industrial chemicals, such as sulphuric acid, and the cleaning of industrial waste.