By Luciano Costa
SAOPAULO (Reuters) – U.S.-based Largo Clean Energy is preparing to produce batteries using vanadium extracted from northeastern Brazil, the company’s chief executive said on Tuesday, in a bid to capture a chunk of the fast-growing renewable energy storage market.
The company, whose parent Largo Resources Ltd is mining the elemental metal in the Brazilian state of Bahia, is in advanced negotiations with potential clients, said Paulo Misk, CEO of the Largo group. He says the firm’s vanadium batteries are lower cost and last longer than rival solutions, such as lithium.
“Our battery isn’t competing with car batteries,” he said in a video interview. “Our battery is meant to make renewable energy, particularly solar and wind, viable in the sense of making up 100% of the energy matrix.”
While vanadium battery technology is not new, it is widely viewed as an up-and-coming industrial solution for renewable energy providers looking to scale up.
The energy storage market grew at a record pace in 2020, driven by the Asia-Pacific region, according to a report from Wood Mackenzie. The consultancy sees the Americas region becoming the industry’s center by 2025, driven by activity in the United States.
The company should begin delivering its first vanadium batteries next year and is in conversations with potential clients in Europe, Australia and Africa, Misk said.
Largo Clean Energy was created in 2020 after Largo Resources acquired vanadium battery patents and hired specialists experienced with the technology.
Misk said Largo’s vanadium batteries will have an effective life of 20 years, versus seven years for many lithium batteries. The company will offer leasing contracts to clients, in order to attend to shorter term commercial needs.
(Reporting by Luciano Costa; Writing by Gram Slattery; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)