Agreement signed for Australia's largest vanadium electrolyte facility

Monday, 13 November, 2023

Agreement signed for Australia's largest vanadium electrolyte facility

Mineral processor Tivan has announced that it has signed a letter of intent with Larrakia Energy for the supply of up to 30 MW of renewable energy from 2026 to support a planned vanadium electrolyte factory at Darwin’s Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct (MASDP).

The Northern Territory Government also said in an announcement the partnership on energy represented a major step towards its goal “of becoming a leader in low-emissions energy and critical minerals processing”.

ASX-listed Tivan is progressing development of its Mount Peake vanadium-titanium-iron project in the NT and plans to produce vanadium pentoxide electrolyte, titanium dioxide pigment and iron oxide through its proprietary TIVAN Process.

Tivan is developing the Speewah Project (Speewah) in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia to produce vanadium, a critical mineral, in large scale. Vanadium is used, as vanadium electrolyte, to store energy for long duration in vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs). Tivan is pursuing an expedited project development pathway at Speewah, in parallel with its long-term vision of commercialising the TIVAN+ critical mineral processing technology in Australia.

Tivan aims to lead the deployment of VRFB in Australia as part of delivering a large-scale sovereign capability that contributes meaningfully to the energy transition. The emergence of the VRFB sector requires a reliable, sustainable and cost-effective supply of vanadium electrolyte. Tivan views the MASDP as a strategically important location for the development of a vanadium electrolyte facility, and is concurrently in negotiations with leading global manufacturers of VRFBs, including in Japan, for deployment in Australia, to complete the local renewable value chain.

Larrakia Energy is majority-owned by Larrakia Development Corporation, an Aboriginal organisation representing the Larrakia people, and is in a joint venture with partners on a 300 MW solar farm at Bladin Point, near Middle Arm. Larrakia and South Korean government-owned Korea Midland Power signed on MoU with the NT Government in July on the solar farm’s development.

Under the letter of intent, Tivan and Larrakia Energy will progress commercial and technical discussions on the potential supply of up to 30 MW of renewable energy commencing from 2026 to the proposed VE Facility, extending to supply quantities, pricing and scheduling.

VRFBs are widely viewed as a preferred technology for long duration energy storage. Advantages include:

  • Longevity: extended lifespan of greater than 25 years, with minimal performance degradation.
  • Cycle: capability for greater than 20,000 cycles.
  • Discharge: capability for full discharge without shortening battery life.
  • Duration: long duration optimised up to 12 hours of energy storage and power output.
  • Cost-competitive: lower maintenance and long life provides for lower levelised cost of energy storage.
  • Safety: use of aqueous electrolyte removes susceptibility of thermal runway events.
  • Recyclability: vanadium electrolyte can be reused and recycled indefinitely.

VRFBs are elemental, using only vanadium oxides as a feedstock, thereby avoiding the complex chemistries in short duration lithium-ion batteries. This characteristic provides an opportunity for the entire renewable energy value chain to be developed in Australia, reducing sovereign dependency in the rollout of critical national infrastructure.

Image: NT Government

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