Horizon, Richmond Ink Vanadium Deal With Battery Maker

Richmond Vanadium Technology, which is 25 per cent owned by Perth-based Horizon Minerals, has struck an off-take agreement with emerging battery manufacturer Ultra Power Systems.
Under the agreement, Richmond will invest up to $5 million to shift Ultra into production of its patented battery technology and in turn, secure a guaranteed buyer of vanadium pentoxide from its Queensland project.
The Ultra V40 battery module is Ultra’s proprietary vanadium redox flow battery, or “VRFB” system providing a standalone power station which integrates solar and wind turbines into a mobile and scalable power generation system for off-grid applications.
According to Richmond, Ultra’s battery is powered by its patented mixed-acid vanadium electrolyte capable of providing 70 per cent higher energy density and a higher temperature capability compared with mainstream vanadium electrolytes.
In a country as vast as Australia, off-grid applications of the VRFB module system to power up things such as bore pumps, exploration camps, remote communities and residential micro-grids are limitless.
In a world hurtling towards net-zero carbon emissions, the application to meet the specific charging demands of the electric vehicle sector are mind boggling.
Whilst vanadium is typically used within the steel industry, it is gaining increasing popularity in the development of VRFBs.
Independent analysis by market intelligence and advisory firm Guidehouse Insights indicates the demand for VRFBs is expected to reach about 32.8 gigawatt hours per annum by 2031 – an increase of more than 40 per cent compound annual growth rate over the forecasted period.
According to Vanitec, the not-for-profit international global member organisation whose objective it is to promote the use of vanadium-bearing minerals, the VRFB deployment forecast by Guidehouse would require up to 173,800 tonnes of new vanadium demand per year by 2031 – more than twice the amount of vanadium currently produced.
In June this year, explorer Horizon completed the restructure and demerger of its 25 per cent interest in the Richmond vanadium project in central north Queensland with joint venture partner Richmond Vanadium Technology.
The move came after the pair’s decision that Perth-based Richmond will be the dedicated IPO vehicle to drive the 1.8 billion-tonne project into completion.
China currently tops the global list of producers and consumers of vanadium, accounting for more than 60 per cent of global supply last year.