Bushveld starts studies into viability of VRFBs in South Africa

5th October 2016 By: Megan van Wyngaardt - Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Aim-listed Bushveld Minerals’ subsidiary Bushveld Energy and the Industrial Development Corporation have awarded a tender for the study of the market potential of vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs) and a techno-economic study of vanadium electrolyte manufacturing in South Africa to a combined team of experts from LHA Management Consultants and the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology (ICT).

Both studies have already started, with initial results expected before the end of the year.

LHA is a South African management consulting firm with over 40 years' experience and 2 000 projects in business consulting, research and analysis across the African continent, while Germany-based Fraunhofer ICT carries out applied research for government and commercial enterprises.

It has over 200 000 m2 of research space, which includes a purpose-built 20 MWh VRFB for research into materials, battery design, prototyping, performance and safety tests, as well as the simulation of smart- and microgrids.

While there are an increasing number of studies in the energy storage market, coverage of Africa as a region is limited and usually grouped with other regions such as the Middle East.

With this study, Bushveld Energy will go a step further in its identified markets and develop granular, attainable market opportunities specifically for VRFB.

The second study will identify the vanadium electrolyte production processes that best suit vanadium feedstocks available in the country.

It will also identify the costs of electrolyte production specifically in South Africa, considering the various electrolyte chemistries and other production elements including, location, employment and environmental and other risks.