Vanadium: The Next Star in Batteries?

"Vanadium has soared more than 130 percent in the past year, outperforming better-known battery components like cobalt, lithium and nickel. 

What’s driving prices is tightening supply and strong orders from the steel industry, which accounts for 90 percent of demand today.

But in the future, analysts are expecting a shift in uses of vanadium. The metal can also be used in industrial-scale batteries, which help to even out daily peaks and troughs from renewables like wind energy."

Sounds promising enough to keep an eye on.

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Had to look that up. Why haven't we heard of it (or is it just me?). The Bloomberg chart makes you wonder:

 

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 1.13.54 PM.png

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But is it already used in lithium-ion batteries, or is it just the steel industry sucking up all the supply?

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Of course, China is the biggest producer, followed by Russia, South Africa and Brazil, but don't know the answer to your usage question yet. 

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I guess they're used in Vanadium redox flow batteries, for grid energy storage, with vanadium pentoxide being the key ingredient. 

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So is this going to be the next mad rush among small-caps or TSX companies that have been rushing to the scene on lithium and cobalt? 

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A quick Google browse reveals vanadium used in the same sentence as energy storage so, yeah, it may well cause another rush or at least a lot of speculative buying.

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The market for larger battery storage devices, even for heavy marine use and residential will, in my opinion, be zinc and not Li or vanadium.

ZincNyx, a subsidiary of MGX Minerals, is the one to watch. Easily scalable, and much less expensive than vanadium flow, or Li-based Tesla Power Packs.

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With millions invested, and some twenty patents awarded, I think it must be beyond theoretical. Production is stated

to start mid 2019.

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I've looked at all the research studies on this. I know zinc has great potential here and I'm a huge fan of the 'battery metals' from an investment perspective. This would probably have gone farther, faster had lithium/cobalt not been on such a tear. I would still proceed with caution, though, because right now they have a lab prototype, and scaling that up to a battery for an electric vehicle will be challenging. 

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I don't think EV sized batteries are on ZincNyx's radar, at least not for the foreseeable future. Their main focus is industrial, utilities, large marine perhaps, and at some point, residential. From an investment viewpoint, Mgx Minerals is interesting in my opinion, their subsidiary ZincNyx makes it moreso. They say they can compete with vanadium based systems and Tesla's systems at a fraction of the price of either, and why could they not using using zinc as 'fuel.'

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