Bushveld energy an exciting year of growth as first project executed electricity video ks1

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While much of the hype around energy storage has been around lithium-ion batteries, which are able to power almost everything – from personal electronic devices to electric vehicles – there is a need for bigger batteries that are able to store much more power.

This means that VRFBs can be used to store energy for use at peak load times on conventional energy grids or when the renewable energy system is not producing energy, for example, when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing in the case of solar and wind power, respectively.

The project that has been described as a ‘glimpse into the future’ of the Chinese electricity grid in light of the country’s decision to halt construction of many coal-fired power plants and instead push the integration of renewable energy with energy storage.

Pu Neng will initially build a 3 MW, 12 MWh small scale VRFB demonstration plant in Zaoyang in China’s Hubei Province to integrate a large solar photovoltaic system into the grid which will be followed by a larger 100 MW, 500 MWh energy storage project that will be the cornerstone of a new smart energy grid in Hubei Province.

In line with Bushveld Minerals’ strategy of becoming the world’s largest integrated primary vanadium platform, the company will vertically grow the business through the supply of vanadium electrolyte for VRFBs for the energy storage sector in the medium term and establish a regionally-oriented assembly and manufacturing capacity in the long-term – creating a global VRFB supply chain in South Africa with the added benefit of creating a captive market for Bushveld Minerals’ vanadium production.

To realise this, Bushveld Energy’s first job was to undertake a market study to identify VRFB demand in Africa, as well as global vanadium electrolyte demand. In partnership with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) of South Africa, the parties undertook a study in the second half of 2016 which concluded in August 2017 that favourable demand for VRFBs, particularly in the utility (including transmission and distribution networks) and off-grid, as well as mini-grid markets exist, with demand expected to peak in 2025 to 2030.

“Following Eskom’s identification of the need for potentially up to 2 000 MW of additional energy storage within the existing South African grid, Bushveld Energy approached Eskom to install a VRFB to demonstrate to the utility the value proposition of a VRFB and the energy storage opportunities it offers in terms of their storage requirements,” says Nikomarov.

The project is being co-developed by Bushveld Energy and the IDC with the system being deployed at Eskom’s Research, Testing and Development (RT&D) Centre in Rosherville, South Africa – allowing Eskom to test the VRFB, its performance and applications under numerous simulations.

Nikomarov notes that the trial unit is a small solution specifically designed to address Eskom’s energy-to-power ratio and size requirements. It is meant to assist the utility with peak-shaving, and to supply stored energy to the grid during periods of peak energy demand.

Once commissioned, the testing process of the VRFB is planned to last for 18 months, after which the system will be redeployed to a commercial site within South Africa to provide maximum benefit taking into consideration the outcomes of the test work results. Evaluating electrolyte production potential

What places us in a good position is that our business strategy of producing our own vanadium at a low cost and enabling us to participate in the downstream energy market profitably, has and will allow us to manage vanadium price volatility,” he concludes. You can read the full digital magazine here or subscribe here to receive a print copy