Vanadium can be seen as Lithium’s sister metal, who operates in many parallels and is used in similar applications. We are all aware of the early adopters of Electric Vehicles today, the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt are the prime vehicles that have recently been released in North America and are taking the lead. These cars rely on utilizing Lithium-ion batteries. There will unlikely be anything better than Lithium as a metal if you want something that will offer high voltage, output, and life. You`ll definitely need to use lithium as there’s no better options.
Innovation has also been going on to try to produce batteries by combining lithium and vanadium. What traditionally has been used as an agent to strengthen steel for industrial applications, several prominent large companies including BYD, Subaru, and Valence Technology have been active in developing these batteries for their electric vehicles. What’s the advantage of combining lithium with Vanadium?
Generally, the lithium-vanadium battery potentially can produce much more power and more safely, compared to your typical Lithium-ion batteries (that uses manganese oxide chemistry) found in the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf. These batteries have lower voltage, offering only 3.3 volts, 10 amps with about 33 watts as output. You can imagine it as a reasonable and average amount of power delivered, but nothing superior as it`ll have its limits. Refer to the comparison of Lithium Battery Types chart above that was published earlier this year from the Gold Report.
For lithium-vanadium phosphate batteries, they’re generally a 4.2 volt cell but can deliver up to 50 amps, resulting in 210 watts of power. Providing much greater power, efficiency, and energy output. In both cases you actually have lithium-ion batteries, but the addition of vanadium to the cathode allows you to produce more than six times the power. Power is most important in electric cars, allowing drivers to have the power they need to get behind their engines and deliver superior speed and range efficiently. Furthermore, it’ll also allow people to charge their batteries more quickly during breaks. Most importantly, it can be a superior low cost method of producing, storing, and delivering higher levels of power.
Another major area that would benefit immensely from vanadium are public utilities. Today, public utilities need to produce power to meet peak demand levels more than they need to output enough electricity, So you can imagine they produce more than enough energy over the course of each day. The main issue is that nobody needs as much energy at night, they want it within a few minutes during the daytime when many appliances and electronics are running. Just as Lithium batteries are used to store energy for electric grids, vanadium can hold much more promise in storing and delivering electricity efficiently on its own. It`s called the vanadium-redox battery, and there`s a lot of excitement in this space even though things are still at very early stages.