The Bushveld Energy business model is anchored in Bushveld Minerals’ low-cost production platform and smart partnerships along the VRFB value chain.
In 2018, we delivered our first VRFB project in South Africa, a battery with peak power of 120 kW and 450 kWh of peak energy. It passed a series of manufacturer and Eskom site acceptance tests during January and February 2019.
In August, Bushveld Energy and its technical partner for the Eskom project, UniEnergy Technologies (UET) were awarded a grant from the United States Trade and Development Agency to advance testing at Eskom. The facility also supports developing new modelling capabilities to cover the combination – or “stacking” – of multiple benefits from energy storage supplied by one battery.
A key part of Bushveld Energy’s strategy is the creation of an electrolyte production facility under partnership with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). Development of this facility advanced in 2018 and included selection of a site for the facility and initiation of the environmental impact assessment for the proposed new plant.
After promising pilot results at laboratory scale of the electrolyte production process, Bushveld Energy procured 2 mtV of vanadium feedstock from Bushveld Vametco for conversion into bulk quantities of vanadium electrolyte. The scaled-up conversion process is currently being executed.
If proven successful, samples from the electrolyte produced will be provided to battery companies for suitability assessment. In all, sufficient market demand for vanadium electrolyte supports the installation of an initial 200 MWh capacity facility in South Africa. This exciting project remains on track to produce electrolyte in the near term for South African and international markets.
At the beginning of 2019, Bushveld Energy announced development of a net circa 1 MW mini-grid at the Vametco mining and processing facility in South Africa. The mini-grid combines solar PV generation and energy storage using VRFB technology that are co-located at the Vametco mine and processing facility.
While the mini-grid will supply, at most, 8% of the mine’s energy consumption at any one time, the project will demonstrate the technical and commercial capability of hybrid mini-grids using solar PV and VRFB technology. Bushveld is working together with strategic partners to provide co-investment into the project, bank debt funding and engineering, procurement and construction services.
The project could be scaled up further to provide a larger amount of energy in future. It will also use locally-mined and beneficiated vanadium, showing how VRFB energy solutions can create more local value for South Africa than any other battery storage technology.