Tag Archives: Vincent Algar

IGO to trial VSUN Energy’s VRFP energy storage tech at Nova nickel operation

IGO Limited looks set to test VSUN Energy’s vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) energy storage technology in a standalone power system (SPS) application at its Nova nickel operation in Western Australia.

An SPS supplies power independently to the electricity grid and typically comprises a combination of solar, wind, battery and backup generation from diesel or gas. The SPS at Nova, supplied by Australian Vanadium Ltd subsidiary VSUN, will power a bore pump with a target of 100% renewable energy use.

The SPS heading to IGO’s nickel operation will be based around a 300 kWh VRFB from Spanish manufacturer E22. The system has been designed to provide a 100% renewable energy supply for much of the year, with periods of long cloud cover being supported by a diesel genset, Australian Vanadium said.

Total renewable penetration of 85-90% is being targeted for the trial of the VRFB-based SPS system.

The SPS is redeployable for use on multiple mines sites and locations over its 20-plus year service life, Australian Vanadium said. The target of long periods with “diesel-off” will not only significantly reduce the carbon emissions of diesel generator powered bore fields, but also offer substantial reductions in operating hours for service personnel, according to the company.

“These two significant benefits indicate a potentially rapid growth market segment for this robust technology,” the company said.

Australian Vanadium Managing Director, Vincent Algar, said: “Working with IGO on this project will accelerate the objectives of the companies and broader mining industry towards carbon neutrality. The robustness of VRFB energy storage makes it perfectly suited to the tough environments found on many Australian mine sites.”

He added: “The installation of an SPS based on vanadium technology for pumping applications enables diesel to be almost entirely eliminated, helping reduce overall carbon emissions and providing reliable green power. We look forward to trialling and then duplicating this system based on an Australian invention and with Australian-made vanadium electrolyte from AVL in Western Australia.”

IGO’s Chief Operating Officer, Matt Dusci, said: “IGO’s strategic focus is on those products that are critical to enabling clean energy solutions, to create a better planet. As part of our strategy to deliver those products, we aspire to be carbon neutral across our business and to do this, in part, by leveraging renewable energy solutions and innovation to reduce emissions at our remote exploration and mining operations. We are excited to be collaborating with AVL on this pilot at our Nova operation.”

In July 2021, AVL was awarded a A$3.69 million ($2.69 million) Federal Government manufacturing grant under the Modern Manufacturing Initiative Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Processing National Manufacturing Priority roadmap. Part of the matched funding is allocated to development of the SPS that will be installed at IGO’s Nova nickel operation.

The remainder of the grant will be used to finalise the high purity processing circuit for the Australian Vanadium Project; build and operate a commercial vanadium electrolyte manufacturing plant producing 33 MWh/y and manufacture a prototype of a residential VRFB.

The agreement with IGO will end 12 months from the date of system commissioning and first power production, unless extended or terminated in accordance with the agreement. The SPS is being provided to IGO at no charge, with the option to purchase or rent the system at the end of the trial period. The project will enable IGO to analyse the performance of the SPS for potential use in its dewatering and bore pumps systems.

AVL examining ‘green hydrogen’ potential for vanadium project

Australian Vanadium is making plans to incorporate “green hydrogen” into its mine operations in Western Australia as part of a carbon emission reduction strategy.

Vincent Algar, Managing Director of Australian Vanadium, thinks the use of green hydrogen could allow the company to reduce its carbon footprint and leverage both the economical and environmental benefits of what is a growing market.

“The green steel opportunity is one that Western Australia should particularly embrace, with the potential for many jobs to be created and a globally competitive steel industry,” he said. “This strategy can assist with environmental approvals and in attracting finance partners with an environmental, social and corporate governance focus, for AVL to bring the Australian vanadium project into production.”

The Australian vanadium project is around 40 km south-east of Meekatharra and 740 km north-east of Perth. The proposed project includes open-pit mining, crushing, milling and beneficiation at the Meekatharra site and a processing plant for final conversion to high-quality vanadium pentoxide for use in steel, specialty alloys and battery markets, to be located at a site at Tenindewa, between Mullewa and Geraldton.

The company’s strategy to incorporate hydrogen into the project includes the following areas:

  • Introducing a percentage of green hydrogen into the natural gas feed for the processing plant. The purpose of this is to reduce carbon emissions. This will be analysed fully in the company’s bankable feasibility study;
  • Offtake of ammonia from green hydrogen production for use in the final vanadium precipitation step of processing. The CSIRO is working on an ARENA (the Australian Government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency) funded project to develop a production process that does not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Powering mine site or haulage vehicles to move material from the mine site to the processing plant with green hydrogen. Hydrogen generation could be undertaken at the mine site and at the processing plant for refuelling. “This is a new area of development for Australia and will need to be fully assessed for its financial implications,” the company said, adding that it is keen to work with the federal and state governments and haulage companies who have a forward plan for this technology;
  • The use of green hydrogen for steel production in the ore reduction step. AVL is seeking partnerships with companies interested in this area as it would be a “noble and efficient use” for the Fe-Ti co-product that the company plans to produce, it said; and
  • Through AVL’s 100% owned subsidiary, VSUN Energy, integrating hydrogen electrolysers in plant design, combined with energy storage utilising vanadium redox flow battery technology. To support the Government of Western Australia’s plans for a green hydrogen economy, AVL has submitted a formal response to the request for expressions of interest for the Oakajee Strategic Industrial Area Renewable Energy Strategy. “Having a project located in the Mid-West region, with a variety of ways for AVL to incorporate green hydrogen means that the company is well-positioned to leverage the emerging hydrogen economy and its financial and environmental benefits,” it said.

AVL says its project is currently one of the highest-grade vanadium projects being advanced globally with 208.2 Mt at 0.74% V₂O₅, containing a high-grade zone of 87.9 Mt at 1.06% V₂O₅, reported in compliance with the JORC Code 2012.

Westgold helps Australian Vanadium with water, road access in WA

Australian Vanadium Ltd and Westgold Resources have signed a co-operation agreement that could see surplus water from operations at the Meekatharra asset used at the Australian Vanadium project in Western Australia.

Westgold’s Meekatharra operations comprise several active and inactive mines south of Meekatharra, 25 km to the west of the Australian Vanadium project, with continuous inflows into a number of these active and inactive pits and underground mines leading to the generation of significant amounts of surplus water. This water can be utilised in processing Australian Vanadium’s vanadium ore, the Australian Vanadium said.

In addition to the water access, the agreement provides a platform for “friendly collaboration” over access and the use of new and existing roads to move ore, materials and products within the companies’ tenements, Australian Vanadium added.

The Australian Vanadium project is currently one of the highest-grade vanadium projects being advanced globally, according to the company, with 208.2 Mt at 0.74% V₂O₅, containing a high-grade zone of 87.9 Mt at 1.06% V₂O₅ reported in compliance with the JORC Code 2012.

A December 2018 prefeasibility study laid out plans for an open-pit operation, with a crushing, milling and beneficiation plant, and refining plant for final conversion and sale of high-quality vanadium pentoxide.

Vincent Algar, Australian Vanadium’s Managing Director, said securing access to sufficient quality water resources to use in the mining and beneficiation process was one of the company’s highest priorities. “Access to excess water flowing into Westgold’s pits allows us to progress the project with increasing confidence,” he added.

“Western Australia has limited high-quality water resources, so innovative collaborations such as this agreement with Westgold can assist both the EPA (Environmental Protection Authority) and DWER (Department of Water and Environmental Regulation) with their water management and environmental custodianship, whilst allowing this critical project to progress.”

The key terms of the agreement are:

  • Westgold will not object to AVL’s proposed Miscellaneous Licence applications to enable Australian Vanadium to access, extract and establish infrastructure for pumping and relocation of water from one of the Reedy’s location open pits to the company’s desired location;
  • Any works will be undertaken at AVL’s cost and risk;
  • Access to Westgold and Australian Vanadium’s access roads will be permitted on a reciprocal basis;
  • Co-operation will be undertaken in good faith and in a timely manner;
  • A formal access agreement to secure Australian Vanadium’s Miscellaneous Licences and associated pumping infrastructure can be established, if required; and
  • The letter of agreement is set to progress to a formal agreement within three years, otherwise the agreement expires.