Developing the 1st sustainable energy storage supply chain
This VanadiumCorp Resource Inc profile is part of a paid investor education campaign.*
VanadiumCorp’s Game Changer: VEPT
VanadiumCorp Resource Inc (TSX:VRB) introduces a new method to produce vanadium and co-products without carbon from almost any source. After a decade of vanadium resource development in Quebec, Canada, VanadiumCorp is developing North America’s premier vanadium-titanium-iron mining project. The company’s technology removes the cost and carbon footprint of vanadium for perpetual use in vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs).
VanadiumCorp has identified the vanadium industry’s largest challenges and partnered with Electrochem Technologies & Materials Inc. to solve them. In December 2016, Electrochem thoroughly tested VanadiumCorp’s magnetite with a new sulfate approach, resulting in the invention of a new electrochemical process: the patent-pending VanadiumCorp-Electrochem process technology (VEPT). The technology recovers vanadium directly as an electrolyte and maximizes the value of all contained metals including magnetite, ilmenite, steel slags, calcine (which contains 95 percent of the lost iron and titanium values), oil industry waste and vanadium industry waste.
As part of the company’s global licensing plan, VanadiumCorp signed a US$500,000 patent option agreement with Ultra Power Systems Pty Ltd., a vertically-integrated electrochemical processing and energy storage technology company, in December 2018. Ultra Power plans to use its license for VEPT to construct the world’s first dedicated vanadium processing facility. Ultra Power completed its option payments to VanadiumCorp in June 2019.
In addition to the company’s VEPT technology, VanadiumCorp is also looking at developing low-cost, high-performance VRFB through its wholly-owned subsidiary in Germany. All of the components of the technology are sustainably manufactured and 100 percent reusable and recyclable, keeping to the company’s mandate of being environmentally sustainable. The technology is designed to have an unlimited lifecycle that allows charging and discharging to happen simultaneously without the battery losing its capacity.
Enabling the Next Generation of Energy Storage: Vanadium Electrolyte
As the vanadium represents close to half the cost of a VRFB, the economics of the battery were historically disrupted by erratic pricing amplified by changes in the steel market, which produces and consumes most of the global supply of vanadium. Despite the unnecessary cost of vanadium electrolyte, VRFBs have overcome lithium batteries on a levelized cost basis. The future of sustainable energy is within reach with cost elimination and carbon footprint removal possible with VanadiumCorp-Electrochem technology.
Typically, global vanadium producers utilize a pollutive and limited recovery process to create a dry form of vanadium that is unsuitable for use in batteries. The few primary producers in business serve the steel industry and yield only one percent from a magnetite concentrate. Primary vanadium mines regularly suffer catastrophic shutdowns due to high technical risk and reliance on single commodity economics. The high yield and maximum recovery of VanadiumCorp-Electrochem’s technology spreads commodity risk over three marketable products instead of relying on one.
Solving Industry challenges
Conventional pyrometallurgical processes utilize either direct soda ash roasting of the magnetite followed by water leaching, or the arc smelting and slagging of the magnetite followed by soda ash roasting of the vanadium-rich slag. Smelting or roasting is capital-intensive with high operating costs, technical risks and significant emissions of greenhouse gases that pose serious environmental issues. Hydrometallurgical processes for the extraction of vanadium have been proposed in the last decade as a lower-cost alternative in replacement of the conventional processes but they fail to produce a high-quality iron co-product.
VEPT addresses these key issues and allows for the full recovery of vanadium for the production of vanadium electrolyte (VE) or vanadium chemicals as well as the concurrent production of titania by-product, high-quality iron co-product and silica. Smelting and roasting processing is inefficient and pollutive and the resulting vanadium oxide is better suited for steel production. Cost of purification, transport and lower pricing requirements of battery companies are simply not sustainable with current production methods.
There are thousands of vanadium-based magnetite resources and only three primary mines in production: Rhovan and Vametco in South Africa and Maracas in Brazil. VEPT has the potential to unlock new supply around the world and revitalize existing production facilities with sustainable energy.
VanadiumCorp’s Company Highlights
- New process – the patent-pending VEPT is a green chemical technology innovation that directly recovers vanadium electrolyte and unlocks max value of magnetite slags and calcine without carbon current pollutive methods.
- Near term commercial demonstration objectives – Lowest vanadium electrolyte price target through unique recovery of iron, titanium and silica. Commercial targets and global licensing development plan include processing feedstocks previously considered to be waste.
- Global licensing and royalties – Objective of commercial demonstration and cash flow to finance process development and unlock new supply.
- Long term commercial production objective – 100 percent owned vanadium-titanium-iron resource base.
- North American advantage – Unrivalled vanadium-titanium-iron mineralization tested recoverable with VEPT.
- Experienced management and technical team – Quality expertise with a sustainable vision.
- Small market capitalization – Strategic upside position in emerging process technology and supply chain required for energy storage, steel, vanadium, titanium and iron markets.
- Strong demand – Demand continues to increase as vanadium is the most cost-efficient steel and alloy strengthener, and new applications for vanadium-based energy storage, window coatings, robotics and supercomputing are forecast to increase demand.
- Location – Mining and technology-friendly Quebec provides tax incentives, government support and low-cost hydroelectricity.
- Timing – The right process technology and potential for high demand specialty markets.
Vanadium supplies creating sustainable energy storage options
Vanadium batteries do not generate any heat. VRFBs are considered to be one of the most sustainable forms of energy storage in the world as the electrolytes contain vanadium and do not degrade. In fact, most of the VRFB by volume is vanadium electrolyte, making it a perfect fit with VEPT as it eliminates the cost and carbon footprint of vanadium electrolyte.
Unique to other batteries, vanadium is both the anode and cathode, allowing for the separation of power and energy. VRBFs provide an unlimited capacity and customizable rates of charge and discharge that can operate concurrently. If more energy storage is required, additional tanks of electrolyte are simply added and managed through simple control systems. This is unlike short-life, large carbon footprint battery technologies that are comprised of all-in-one individually managed cells that compound safety and performance risks relating to unstable elements and thermal runaway.
Vanadium’s unique chemical properties have created a myriad of high-tech applications such as energy storage, supercomputing, nanotechnology, smart windows, pigments, aerospace, super-alloys and more. The US geological society recently categorized vanadium as a critical metal with irreplaceable applications. In steel and steel alloys, vanadium has the highest strength to weight ratio known to man. Vanadium pentoxide is often sold at many times the price of battery-grade electrolyte.
VanadiumCorp’s wholly-owned subsidiary, VanadiumCorp Resources Inc. (XRG), is focused on developing the next generation of VRFB at its R&D facility in Karlsruhe, Germany. VanadiumCorp has developed XRG, a next-generation energy storage technology that is powered by its own supply chain. All components for the technology are sustainably manufactured and 100-percent reusable and recyclable.
VanadiumCorp is looking to set XRG apart from other leading VRFB makers by having the lowest production costs and high performance, ensuring that the XRG batteries can manage more energy and power. The technology is designed to have an unlimited lifecycle that allows charging and discharging to happen simultaneously without the battery losing its capacity. XRG is targeting four key markets to generate scalable and impactful growth: renewable energy, building and construction, transportation and utilities and grid.
VanadiumCorp’s Management Team
Adriaan Bakker—President, CEO and Director
An entrepreneur in mining since 2003, Adriaan Bakker spearheaded the acquisition and development of the company’s vanadium assets and built a world-class technical and management team. His expertise includes raising capital, marketing, M&A and corporate finance. After the acquisition and development of the company’s key vanadium projects in 2007 and 2008, Bakker chose to address significant industry challenges that resulted in the partnership, invention and development of an innovative green process technology with Electrochem Technologies & Materials Inc. Key aspects of this disruptive technology align with Bakker’s vision to establish a direct recovery method for both primary and secondary sources of vanadium, as well as eliminating the cost and carbon footprint of vanadium for sustainable energy storage and high tech “smart” applications.
Stephen Pearce—CFO, Corporate Secretary and Director
Stephen Pearce has 28 years of experience in mining and law. His current focus is on corporate and securities work and past experience includes mine management and operations. He received his law degree from the University of British Columbia and an Honors Bachelor’s degree in economics from York University with an emphasis on corporate finance. Stephen was instrumental in his role in transitioning the company by proxy in 2013. Pearce is passionate about corporate responsibility, sustainability and innovation which he integrates into every aspect of his work. He is active in his community and serves as President of WRAGS Western Regional Advocacy Group Society, a non-profit organization which works in partnership with Sleep Country Canada to provide free mattresses to those in our community most in need.
Gilles Y. Champagne – CTO and Director
Dr. Champagne holds a Ph.D. in Electrochemistry from the Institute National de la Recherche Scientifique made in collaboration with the University of California-Davis and a Master’s degree in the same field from Sherbooke University. He has over 25 years’ experience driving innovations to market and has held several positions in mature and early-stage companies in Canada, the US and Europe, structuring organizations, directing technical activities and managing teams that develop and build energy storage products and analytical equipment. Dr. Champagne’s previous position was VP Engineering and Development at Imergy Power Systems Inc. in Silicon Valley, which was developing a unique high efficiency, stationary energy storage battery using innovative vanadium “V/V” flow battery technology. Under his leadership, Imergy delivered its first commercial shipment of vanadium based ESP units to India Telecom customers.
John Hewlett—Director of Business Development and Director
John Hewlett has strategically invested in the resource market for the past 30 years. He is well renowned for his practical approach on direct investment and project development. His experience includes development of mining projects in British Columbia and the Yukon, investment and corporate advisory for several Canadian and US public companies, the shareholder led takeover of VanadiumCorp by proxy as well as real estate for the last 20 years in British Columbia, Canada. His network of contacts covers a wide array of retail and strategic contacts from the mining industry and accredited investment community.
Sokhie Puar has over 30 years in the public markets, and has worked in various capacities with companies in the mining, oil and gas, technology, education and clean energy sectors since 2001. Most recently, he held positions of CEO, President, Director and Chairman of Candelaria Mining Corp. raising over $28 million and leading acquisition of several mining projects in Mexico. Puar holds a diploma in Mechanical Engineering Technology and a diploma in Business Administration from the British Columbia Institute of Technology. He sits and has sat on boards of many public and private companies including the board of Governors of Southpointe Academy, an independent school located in Tsawwassen, British Columbia., where he Chaired the Governance Committee.
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