Smart Grid

July 22, 2013

Vanadium Redox Batteries to Power Off-Grid Communities in North America

American Vanadium Corporation— a metals exploration and development company based in Vancouver, BC, Canada, that has become North America’s primary producer of vanadium—has engaged Robert Nault to develop energy storage and renewable microgrids for remote communities and First Nations in Canada and the United States. Nault is particularly suited to the job, as the former Canadian Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (1999-2003).

What is vanadium and what does it have to do with energy storage for microgrids? Vanadium is a soft gray-silver mineral found in large supply, to date, in only four places on Earth – Russia, China, South Africa, and the United States. American Vanadium holds a 100 percent interest in the only North American vanadium mine, located in aptly named Eureka County, Nevada; about 350 miles north of Las Vegas. 

Company President Bill Radvak says the mine – which is designed to be an open pit, heap leach operation—provides both vanadium electrolyte for green energy applications and vanadium pentoxide for the steel industry.

To market the vanadium electrolyte for green energy applications, earlier this year, the company entered into a strategic partnership with Gildemeister Energy Solutions of Wiener Neudorf, Austria—a producer of vanadium-based redox flow batteries called CellCubes, which offer 0.6 megawatt-hours (MWh) of storage capacity. American Vanadium is now the Master Sales Agent in North America for the CellCube.  

With CellCube energy storage–the powerful, durable and low maintenance vanadium redox flow large-scale storage solution developed by Cellstrom GmbH following many years of research— a unique energy storage solution for the future has been developed. The battery system serves as an uninterrupted power supply using solar power plants and wind turbines, even in the dark and when there is no wind. The battery system ensures a clean, emission-free and fast energy supply at all times. It is characterized by high reliability, stable storage and very fast reaction times. The CellCube can be incorporated into everyday energy systems.

"Currently there are hundreds of communities across the United States and Canada that are operating off-grid and relying on very expensive diesel generation," said Ron MacDonald, executive chairman of American Vanadium. "These communities pay, both directly and indirectly, more for their power than anywhere else in North America–even with government subsidies and programs. We are honored to be able to attract the talent and expertise of Robert Nault, who is respected by the Aboriginal communities and government alike, to develop the plan we will execute together using the CellCube energy storage systems."

"Clean and sustainable energy is of vital importance to the prosperity of Aboriginal communities as well as North America's economic and environmental future," said Robert "Bob" Nault. "I look forward to working with American Vanadium to offer renewable energy generation combined with their CellCube energy storage system as a viable means for meeting community needs, as well as contributing to Canada's future electrical supply to serve First Nations."

Edited by Ryan Sartor