Date: Nov 15, 2018

Vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs) are a front-runner technology for meeting the growing demand in the energy storage sector, says Bushveld Energy CEO Mikhail Nikomarov.

During a webinar on energy storage this week, he noted that data by US-based multiservice professional firm Navigant shows that VRFB demand is expected to increase to over 18 000 MWh by 2027.

However, keeping market researcher BMI Research’s suggested 25% market share in mind, Nikomarov on Tuesday noted that this could increase to over 27 500 MWh by 2027.

If these forecasts hold true, 82 000 t of vanadium will be needed just for VRFBs, he said. Taking the BMI forecast into account, this could increase to over 96 000 t.

“This is a significant demand, and actually presents us with an upside,” he said.

Nikomarov said VRFBs offered clear advantages, both technically and financially, which “sets it apart in large-scale stationary applications”.

Despite vanadium’s limited share in current markets, the demand for vanadium – which offers future opportunities in consumer and mobile energy storage – remains underwritten by the steel market.

Existing demand from the steel and chemicals markets, Nikomarov said, implies a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for vanadium demand of 2.5% from 2017 to 2027.

The high dependence of VRFB on vanadium may increase this demand CAGR to 8.4%, he added.
Supporting this growth, is the industry’s optimism surrounding VRFBs.

Counting in the battery technology’s favour, he highlighted, was the evolution of energy storage cases that are “actually what a vanadium battery does”, which is longer duration and multiple purposes from one battery; as well a reduction of cost and consolidation.

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