Australian vanadium mine developer Multicom Resources has teamed up with New York-based technology start-up StorEn Technologies to launch trials of vanadium flow batteries in the Asia Pacific region.
The move is part of an agreement to develop a “low cost manufacturing, sale and distribution” supply chain for StorEn’s “increased power” VFBs.
The companies said target markets for the battery trials, due to start in 2018, include residential, telecommunications and industrial applications.
Under the deal struck by the companies last November, Multicom’s Freedom Energy subsidiary has been granted exclusive sales and distribution rights for StorEn’s vanadium flow batteries across the Asia Pacific region.
The companies said “early indications are, for residential applications, the StorEn batteries will be significantly cheaper, longer lasting, safer and more environmentally friendly than lithium based batteries currently targeting this market segment”.
StoreEn secured “exclusive low cost fixed price offtake arrangements” from Multicom’s future Saint Elmo vanadium mine in northern Queensland.
Multicom has applied for a lease from Queensland’s state government for mining at Saint Elmo and hopes to start “test work” soon. The company is looking to first vanadium pentoxide production by 2020.
StorEn was founded by a technical team at the Clean Energy Business Incubator Program in New York’s Stony Brook University. The start-up claims its proprietary technology represents “increased stack power density, electrolyte energy density and overall battery density compared to standard VFBs”.
StorEn co-founder Angelo D’Anzi said the “final hurdle to widespread adoption of VFBs is the ability for manufacturers to secure a stable long term supply of vanadium pentoxide to underpin mass production”.
Freedom Energy is targeting VFB sales into Australia’s domestic market for telecoms and “to alleviate grid dependency”, as a “diesel replacement” in the Pacific Islands market and for the telecoms and off-grid solar sector in the wider Asia Pacific market.
Multicom co-founder Nathan Cammerman said: “As well as underpinning our mining operations, our agreement provides a significant opportunity for Freedom Energy to locally assemble and distribute StorEn batteries within Australia and across the Asia Pacific region.”