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Special report: Renewable energy took another step forward in Australia this morning as Protean Energy successfully hooked up its vanadium battery with WA electricity operator Western Power.

The vanadium explorer and battery maker has been developing its V-KOR “vanadium redox flow battery” (or VRFB) for about ten years with Korean partner KORID Energy.

Protean owns half of KORID, which has patents over technology in the increasingly popular vanadium sector of the battery field.

Vanadium flow batteries are safer than lithium-ion and well suited to large-scale customers such as electricity grid operators.

The V-KOR battery — which has been connected to Western Power’s electricity grid in WA — is Protean’s (ASX:POW) first Australian grid deployment.

Protean will be able to demonstrate the V-KOR vanadium battery to potential customers and collect data to refine configurations for grid-connected batteries.

It’s the latest win for Protean, which earlier signed a deal to fast-track its South Korean mining project after gaining access to a multi-million dollar vanadium and uranium pilot plant.

Protean is working with partners to develop its South Korean vanadium and uranium projects as part of a plan to develop a vertically integrated vanadium mining and flow battery company.

“The V-KOR battery is progressing towards full commercialisation for the Australian market and our technology will assist network providers to offer lower electricity costs to their customers,” said Protean’s chief technical officer, Mr Na.

“We are encouraged by the size of the market opportunity for vanadium batteries in Australia and the inquiries we have had from land developers, major commercial customers and recent discussions with the electricity network provider.

“The time is right for our battery technology and we are strategically positioned to capitalise on a rapidly expanding battery storage market in Australia and globally”.

Vanadium batteries are cheaper, longer-lasting

Stockhead reported earlier this year that vanadium was becoming an important alternative for large-scale energy storage solutions.

VRFBs are relatively inexpensive and have long life spans, lasting more than 20 years or up to 25,000 cycles.

They require little maintenance and can be fully discharged without damage to their storage capacity.

They use two tanks of vanadium pentoxide (V₂O₅) solution that have been processed into a liquid electrolyte.

When the electrolyte is pumped through electro-chemical cells past a proton-exchange membrane, ions are swapped between the negatively and positively charged electrolyte, creating an electrical charge.

The VRFB is inherently more stable than lithium-ion because the electrolytes are just positively and negatively charged version of the same chemical and the process of charging and discharging does not generate excess heat.

 

This special report is brought to you by Protean Energy.

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