Vanadium Overview

Vanadium is a chemical element with the symbol V and atomic number 23. It is an average-hard, silvery-grey, malleable, non-brittle metal that is electrically conductive and thermally insulating.

Harder than most metals and steels, vanadium has good resistance to corrosion, and it is stable against alkalis and sulfuric and hydrochloric acids.

Vanadium appears in a wide range of colours and is aptly named after the Scandinavian goddess of beauty and fertility.

Vanadium occurs naturally in about 65 minerals and in fossil fuel deposits, and is derived from three sources: co-production, primary production and secondary production.

Almost all of global vanadium is recovered from magnetite and titano-magnetite ores – either from co-production or primary production.


Co-production, derived from iron ore processing for steel production, is the main source of vanadium.

Primary Production

Primary production involves salt-roasting, water leaching, filtration, desilication, and precipitation.

Secondary Production

Secondary production is the recovery of vanadium from fly ash, petroleum residues, alumina slag, and the recycling of spent catalysts used in crude oil refining.

Green Commodity

Vanadium’s benefits to a greener society include its contributions as an alloy in high-strength, low-alloy steels, primarily used in construction. 

Studies quantify this benefit as equivalent to the annual CO2 production of the Philippines or annually planting approximately 260 million trees.

Vanadium's use as the critical mineral in VRFBs further positions it as a green commodity for the future.

In the aerospace sector, vanadium has long been the material used to ensure low density, high strength, and the ability to maintain strength at high operating temperatures, which is essential in aero-engine gas turbines and airframes.

Development of new titanium alloys continues and grades containing 8%, 10% and 15% vanadium have even higher strengths. They have the potential to make important contributions to weight reduction and fuel efficiency in future aircrafts.

One of the key green applications of vanadium, with even more potential future upside, given the energy transition, is in VRFBs used for grid energy storage. VRFBs are safe and have a long lifespan, enabling them to repeatedly charge / discharge over 35 000 times for a lifespan of over 20 years.

Bushveld Minerals is building its own VRFB solar mini-grid at the Vametco mine.

This will decrease the group's carbon footprint, reducing CO2 emissions by more than 5 700 metric tonnes per year (and nearly 114 000 tonnes of CO2 over the life of the project).

more about vanadium for Energy Storage