An industrial metal used to produce High-strength low-alloy (HSLA) steels.

The vanadium redox battery for energy storage may be an important application in the future..

Approximately 80 % to 90 % of the global supply of vanadium is from three countries, namely China (53 %), South Africa (20 %) and Russia (17 %).

Most of the Vanadium produced, about 64%, comes from the vanadium slag as a co-product in melting vanadium-bearing magnetite iron ores during the steel production process.The slag is further processed via a roast-leach process in countries with ferrovanadium conversion facilities (e.g., Czech Republic, South Korea and Japan). About 20% of vanadium comes from primary source of vanadium-bearing magnetite ores. 12% of vanadium supply is produced from secondary sources.

China has produced 84Kt of Vanadium in 2018 .

Supply/Demand
Vanadium Figures

90% of global vanadium demand comes from steel applications. High-strength low-alloy (HSLA) steels are by far the largest market for vanadium. About 4% of vanadium demand comes from titanium and super alloy products – a strong growth market linke to aircraft industry Energy storage to be a new source of vanadium demand, and overall demand looks likely to grow very strongly to 2025. Roskill has estimated that vanadium demand in VFRB (vanadium redox flow batteries) markets could rise to 31'000 tons by 2025. In 2014 1'000 tons went to battery users. Vanadium in batteries has grown from 1% in 2015 to 2% in 2017.

STEEL REBAR The rebar policy in China is a direct consequence of the dramatic 2008 Sichuan earthquake, which killed an estimated 68'000 people. New design codes were issued in December 2010 and took effect in August 2011. These new codes aimed to restrict and gradually eliminate the use of lower strength bars (Grade 2). In February 2018, a new high strength rebar standard was published by the Standardization Administration of the People’s Republic of China.

Type: hot-rolled HS rebar

Rebar grade 2 (no vanadium content)

Rebar grade 3 (400MPa) 0.03% vanadium

Rebar grade 4 (500MPa) 0.06% vanadium

Rebar grade 5 (600MPa) >0.1% vanadium

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Vanadium Battery

Vanadium is a very remarkable metal as it can show four oxidation state; and from one state to another the electrical potential difference generates electric current (charge and discharge).

Vanadium batteries are known since 50 years, but these last 20 years we see the development of V-redox storage batteries to respond to flexibility of consumption requirements from renewable energy source. these Storage capabilities in fixed containers work on H2SO4 / V2O5 couple.

INNOVATION

Innovation stands in the use of a cathode made with a new component based on vanadium-oxygen and hydrogen (H4V3O8), where hydrogen can be partly substituted with lithium. Belenos Clean Power (Swatch Group) has developed such type of battery fully protected by patents. The Sulphuric acid is replaced by other electrolytes based on lithium salts and the anode can be made from doped graphene (patented). such technology is expected to give 30% additional autonomy to a vehicle, with a reduced recharging time. Renata (Swatch Group) can handle the production of such type of batteries.

Synthesis of H4V3O8 requires high purity vanadium salts (without Fe and Mn). Purification are made through vanadium chlorides.

R&D are also progressing as making vanadium a catalyst for a wide class of reactions as hydrogenation, which also aims to replace pgm's in future. .

Rising vanadium prices over the last three years (from 2016) have been partially caused by lower global inventory levels as total supply remains under pressure, as well as growing demand in traditional and new markets. In late 2015, vanadium producer Evraz Highveld shut down, removing 10% to 15% of global feed-stock when it closed its Mapochs mine.

Price forecast are expected to show sustain higher prices if limited supply remains until 2022 and steel alloys and further development of vanadium battery applications are developing. VRFBs might play a major role in the design of a renewable energy infrastructure. .

Vanadium Substitution

Niobium, substitution occurs when the V price is 2-4x higher than Nb. China imported 45% more FeNb in 2018 compared to 2017 (35.7Kt in 2018. The change imply technical adjustments to steel production with more energy required. Niobium supply is significantly more concentrated with CBMM controling about 80% of supply.

Vanadium is considered as the most common addition for high strength rebar, because it offers the best combination of high strength, good ductility, bendability, weldability, and reduced sensitivity to strain aging.

Unlike the substitute niobium, vanadium permits the use of economical hot rolling practices due to the high solubility of vanadium carbonitrides (C + N interstitial diffusion) in austenite ( metallic, non-magnetic allotrope of iron ) which minimizes the risk of cracking during casting. .

Vanadium Ocurrence

Vanadium occurs naturally in about 65 minerals and in fossil fuel deposits. It is produced in China and Russia from steel smelter slag; other countries produce it either from magnetite directly, flue dust of heavy oil, or as a byproduct of uranium mining.

Links
Vanadium Links & Readings

Promoting vanadium use: Vanitec org http://vanitec.org/

General information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanadium

Mineralogy: https://www.mindat.org/element/Vanadium

Further readings:

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