As economies in both the developed and developing world move to lower carbon, renewable energy generation, the demand for energy storage options is rapidly increasing globally. In the US alone, the capacity of energy storage has been growing at around 50% per annum for the last five years. This explosion in the storage industry is driving demand for battery metals. In 2011, an EU study identified vanadium as a key battery metal.
The new lithium?
Due to its central importance in many of the current battery technologies, lithium has enjoyed a significant rise in value over the last 10 years, climbing from a value of approximately $4,000 a tonne in 2008 to over $16,000 a tonne today. Further development in vanadium battery technology could see vanadium assets benefit from a similar price surge.
As well as emerging opportunities in energy storage, there is a substantial established market for vanadium for use in metal alloys. Vanadium is used to strengthen metals – from steel alloys for bridge and high-rise construction to lightweight titanium-vanadium alloys, which have the strongest strength-to-weight ratio of any engineered material.