Modern Mining February 2023
South Africa has 25% of the world’s vanadium resources.
due to a substantial drop in costs for solar and wind power generation, which, together with hydro power, now makes them the cheapest ways to generate electricity. However, these forms of generation are variable and require stationary energy storage to balance the timing difference between when elec tricity is generated and when customers demand to use it. On top of this use case, energy storage helps make the power system more efficient as a whole by providing ancillary grid services, increasing the capacity of transmission and distribution networks, smoothing energy demand through peak shav ing or load shifting and increasing the resilience of a power system against weather or man-made shocks. Unsurprisingly, Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasts stationary energy storage to grow twenty-one-fold to nearly 1 200 gigawatt hours of installed capacity by 2030. According to Precedence
Research, the annual value of this market will exceed $400 billion by then. To date, most energy storage has been provided by large, pumped hydro schemes or systems using batteries similar to those found in EVs. However, as the market grows and the uses for energy storage expand, the technology mix is also diversi fying. Vanadium redox flow batteries, (VRFBs), are increasingly contributing to new energy storage deployments thanks to their long lifetimes of over 20 years with no performance degradation, scal ability, safety and full reusability of their vanadium electrolyte. They are as modular as other types of batteries but become much cheaper when four to ten hours of energy storage is needed daily. A
Above: Product on conveyor-belt.
Top: Aerial view of the Bushveld Minerals plant.
February 2023 MODERN MINING 15
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