Is Vanadium For Electric Car Batteries The Next Big Play?

Electric cars start your engines…..A metal most of us have never heard of actually plays a vital part in this country’s security and economy and without it, the country could miss out on a lot. The metal is called vanadium and it’s important to construction as vanadium strengthens steel, and is widely considered the key to inexpensive renewable energy with the vanadium redox flow battery.

The Nevada Department of Minerals and Mining states that American Vanadium is the top future mining play in the state.  Bill Radvak, the Canadian-based President & CEO of American Vanadium, that is developing the only vanadium mine in the U.S., is available to The Green Living Guy to discuss the company’s positive Feasibility Study results for its 100% owned Gibellini Vanadium Project, located in Eureka County, Nevada issued today and the importance of this strategic mineral to  the North American economy.  The “Holy Grail” of renewable energy – grid scale power storage – appears to be finally within reach.  Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy state that “vanadium is the ‘next big thing’ in energy storage as the vanadium battery can potentially increase the use of wind, renewable energy, and other renewable power sources across the grid.

“Vanadium batteries are seen as key to bringing renewable energy into the mainstream,” says Bill J. Radvak, President, CEO and Director, American Vanadium Corp. “While vanadium flow batteries represent the future of where vanadium will go, today approximately 85% of vanadium produced is used as a steel additive.  Vanadium forms stable nitrides and carbides, resulting in a significant increase in the strength of steel. High strength, low alloy steels containing vanadium are used for the construction of buildings, bridges, pipelines, cranes, ships, rail cars, truck bodies and auto and truck parts.”

There are currently no primary producing vanadium mines in either the United States or Canada despite the fact that the continent contains significant deposits of the mineral. This critical material for the steel industry and a growing renewable energy market is currently all imported from overseas, predominately from South Africa, China and Russia.

I don’t know but according to Roskill Consulting Group of London, U.K. (“Roskill”) in the Vanadium Market Outlook they prepared for AMEC as part of the Feasibility Study, “In 2012, the global vanadium market is estimated to have a surplus which will start to reduce in size over the next few years. Prices in 2014 are forecast to reach $10/lb for pentoxide, and $45/kg for ferrovanadium, as the market prepares for a potential deficit in 2015. Although prices are forecast to increase rapidly, Roskill expects prices to remain below the record highs seen in 2005. In real $2010 terms, vanadium prices throughout the forecast period are expected to remain below those seen in 2005. However, any issues which stop or delay vanadium reaching the market could see a deficit caused, causing prices to spike.” Roskill did not include any potential vanadium demand from the flow battery or electric vehicle applications.

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