Bushveld Energy launched in 2016, is focused on developing and promoting the role of vanadium in the growing global energy storage market through the application of Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries (‘VRFBs’). Bushveld Energy brings the energy storage value chain to South Africa by leveraging the Company’s South African-mined and beneficiated vanadium.
Our business model embraces a number of activities along the VRFB value chain, including: electrolyte manufacturing, investment in VRFB manufacturing, battery deployment and project development.
Bushveld Energy’s business model focuses on five types of revenue-generating activities in the mid- and downstream segments of the vanadium value chain. These activities have comparatively low capital requirements compared with the mining business. These five activities broadly are:
1. Electrolyte manufacturing, which includes: – designing a conversion process for vanadium feedstock from Vametco’s existing mining and processing operations; – building and operating a chemicals plant to purify vanadium feedstock and mix it into a liquid vanadium electrolyte product; and – marketing the electrolyte to VRFB companies or direct users/buyers of VRFB systems;
2. Renting (or leasing) vanadium electrolyte, a new product under development. Whereas historically VRFBs have been purchased with the vanadium electrolyte, rental/ leasing would allow Bushveld Energy, or a special purpose company, to retain ownership of electrolyte and rent it to the VRFB users or buyers. VRFB technology is unique because of the non-degradation of the electrolyte chemistry and the relative ease of extracting vanadium from the electrolyte at the end of the VRFB’s operating life. In addition to smoothing vanadium price peaks, electrolyte rental permits a long-term pricing model that reduces the upfront capital cost of a VRFB to make it one of the most commercially competitive energy storage technologies available;
3. Assembly of VRFBs through an investment in the construction of an assembly plant for a VRFB product. Unlike other battery technologies, VRFB assembly does not require the same production scale to achieve competitive economics. This makes regional assembly of domestic and imported sub-components extremely attractive to reduce manufacturing costs and supply times. Such an activity may involve direct investment into a VRFB company or companies that would own the facility, as well as the technology;
4. Direct selling of VRFBs in African markets as a value-adding local distributor. In addition to identifying opportunities suitable for VRFB energy storage, this activity includes developing local logistics chains covering importation, transport, installation and maintenance of the VRFBs and key components. As electricity markets are heavily regulated, significant activity in this business would require engagement with public and private stakeholders to create an environment that identifies and values the full range of benefits in long-duration energy storage offered by VRFB technology; and
5. Developing and investing in African energy storage projects, an activity that starts with identifying suitable sites and extends to defining the economic business case for VRFB installations. It includes designing the technical and commercial structure of projects that use VRFBs and making direct equity investment into such projects. By creating bankable energy storage projects, either standalone or combined with generation sources such as solar and wind, Bushveld Energy can accelerate the transition to clean energy in Africa while increasing access to quality electricity delivery through distributed mini-grids.
Implementation of these five activities will continue to follow the principles of strategic relationships. Relevant external parties include development agencies, funders, renewable energy developers and energy storage component providers.
Partnering with Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries companies
As part of its strategy of partnering with VRFB Original Equipment Manufacturers (“OEM”) for the supply of vanadium material, vanadium electrolyte and vanadium electrolyte rental products, the Company is invested in OEMs Invinity Energy systems plc (“Invinity”) and Enerox GmbH (“Enerox”) through the Vanadium Investment Platform. The investment strategy is implemented through the VRFB Investment Platform (“VIP”), which seeks to make significant minority investments into high potential VRFB OEMs. The VIP allows for the flow of investment into VRFB OEMs and provides investors with access to the rapidly growing energy storage market.
Invinity is a manufacturer of vanadium flow batteries for the large-scale energy storage requirements of businesses, industry and electricity networks. Developed specifically for high-utilisation applications, Invinity’s highly scalable, factory-built flow battery products make low-carbon renewable generation reliable and can run continually with no degradation, charging and discharging for over 25 years. Energy storage systems based on Invinity’s batteries are safe, reliable, and economical, and range in size from less than 250 kilowatt-hours to tens of megawatt-hours. With over 10MWh of systems deployed to date across 40 sites in 14 countries, Invinity is active in all major global energy storage markets and has operations in the UK, Canada, USA, China and South Africa. Bushveld Minerals holds an interest of 8.41 per cent in Invinity.
Bushveld Minerals together with Invinity formed a special purpose company named Vanadium Electrolyte Rental Limited (“VERL”). VERL’s purpose is to provide a vanadium electrolyte rental option to Invinity’s customers. VERL has signed a contract for electrolyte rental with Pivot Power, part of EDF Renewables under which VERL will hold, and rent to Pivot for a period of 10 years, the electrolyte in Pivot Power’s 5MWH flow battery, supplied by Invinity and to be delivered to Pivot Power’s project at the Energy Superhub Oxford.
Enerox is a vanadium redox flow battery developer and manufacturer. The Company specialises in the planning, development and turnkey construction of Utility Scale projects worldwide. It is one of the world’s first and largest developers, manufacturers and distributors of vanadium redox flow batteries. With more than 136 installations across five continents, Enerox has substantial industry and operational experience. The technology has proven to deliver long lasting energy storage (now rated for 30 years) and infrastructure for deployment in a wide range of applications including: grid storage and micro grids; storage collocated with renewables such as solar and wind; time shift; diesel power replacement; commercial and industrial solutions such as farming; electrical vehicle charging stations; industrial plants; office buildings and emergency power sources.