Vanadium battery players partner on Queensland manufacturing supply chain

Australian minerals company Vecco Group will team with Japanese manufacturer Sumitomo Electric and Idemitsu Australia to build an ‘end-to-end’ manufacturing supply chain for vanadium flow batteries in north Queensland.

Brisbane-based Vecco Group, Sumitomo Electric and the Australian arm of Japanese resources and energy company Idemitsu have signed a collaboration agreement to establish a manufacturing supply chain – from mining to energy storage – for vanadium flow batteries.

Under the non-exclusive agreement, Idemitsu will market, sell and deliver vanadium flow batteries to Australian customers using Sumitomo battery hardware and Vecco’s electrolyte made from vanadium mined at its Debella Critical Minerals Project[2] near Julia Creek in the state’s west.

The electrolyte will be manufactured at Vecco’s production facility in the north Queensland city of Townsville with final assembly of the batteries completed at customer sites.

Vecco is already operating a 35 MWh vanadium electrolyte manufacturing facility[3] in Townsville but is now planning to deliver a 300 MWh commercial production plant. The company said it has secured a 3.2-hectare site in the Townsville State Development Area for the facility and the detailed design of the plant is underway.

It is anticipated that the complete manufacturing supply chain will be operational in 2026 with the companies looking to cater for “rapidly” growing global demand for the battery energy storage technology.

Vecco Group Managing Director Tom Northcott said vanadium flow batteries, which are emerging as an alternative [4]to the lithium-ion batteries that currently dominate the stationary energy storage sector, are set to be a key part of the future energy storage mix.

“Demand for vanadium flow batteries is rapidly increasing to meet the world’s energy storage demands,” he said.

“Over 7.4 GWh of vanadium flow battery projects globally are currently under construction or have been announced in the last 12 months.”

“The decision for Idemitsu to market and deploy vanadium flow batteries using Sumitomo and Vecco products acknowledges the scale of the opportunity.”

Idemitsu Australia Chief Executive Officer Steve Kovac said the company’s involvement with the venture is part of its broader renewable and clean energy projects strategy.

“We believe that our participation in the complete vanadium flow battery manufacturing supply chain will create opportunities for Australia and serves the growing global demand for renewable energy storage,” he said.

The vanadium battery is lifted into place at Energy Queensland’s Berrinba depot.

Image: Energy Queensland

The announcement comes as state government-owned utility Energy Queensland finalises the installation of a vanadium flow battery in the state’s south-east as part of a trial of the technology.

The 250 kW / 750 kWh battery[5], supplied by Vecco and Sumitomo, is being installed at Energy Queensland’s depot at Berrinba in Brisbane’s south, and will be used to test the viability of the technology to provide the medium- and long-duration storage required for the state to meet its renewable energy commitments.

Energy Queensland said construction of the battery is in full swing with the commissioning of it expected in the final quarter this year.

“We look forward to the outcome of this trial as part of our wider mix of battery technology we have on, and building into, the grid,” it said.

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  2. ^ Debella Critical Minerals Project (
  3. ^ vanadium electrolyte manufacturing facility (
  4. ^ emerging as an alternative  (
  5. ^ 250 kW / 750 kWh battery (
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