Bushveld Energy commissions first VFRB project

27th March 2019 By: Marleny Arnoldi - Deputy Editor Online

Aim-listed Bushveld Minerals on Wednesday announced that its 84%-owned subsidiary Bushveld Energy had commissioned a vanadium redox flow battery (VFRB) project with Eskom, including site acceptance testing.

At completion, the unit will have a peak output of 450 kWh.

“Completion of our first energy storage project in Africa, with [State-owned power utility] Eskom, has allowed Bushveld Energy to expand its project development capabilities during the final quarter of 2018.

“We can approach the development of a more complex project that includes a hybrid of solar generation and VFRB storage technologies with even higher confidence,” said Bushveld Energy CEO Mikhail Nikomarov.

The company has initiated development of a 1 MW minigrid, combining solar photovoltaic generation and energy storage using VFRB technology at Vametco, Bushveld Minerals’ vanadium mine, which will feed electricity directly into the internal distribution network of the mine.

“The minigrid project will demonstrate both the superior technical merits of long-duration VFRB systems when paired with renewable energy, while providing a commercial return to its investors. It will also use locally mined and beneficiated vanadium, showing how VFRB energy solutions can create more local value to South Africa than any other storage technology,” Nikomarov said.

Meanwhile, the company has progressed the development of a vanadium electrolyte production facility, including the procurement of 2 t of vanadium for conversion into electrolyte. The scaled-up conversion process is currently being executed.

Nikomarov stated that there is sufficient market demand for vanadium electrolyte to support the installation of a 200 MWh capacity facility in South Africa.

Bushveld Energy aims to participate in 1 000 MWh of opportunities in Africa by 2020.