About Vanadium

Home / Company / About Vanadium

Vanadium is a silvery metal, with malleable, ductile and corrosion
resistant qualities. It is primarily derived from mined ore and steel slag. In its natural form, it is resistant to alkalis, hydrochloric acid and salt water. Unlike other elements,
it is able to exist in 4 different oxidation states.

Where in the world is vanadium found?

Vanadium is found in more than 50 different minerals, including magnetite, vanadate, carnotite and parnotite. In the world, reserves of vanadium are estimated at approximately 20 million metric1 tons:

Infographic

How is vanadium produced?

Graph Circle

Co-Production:

vanadium is removed as a slag during steel production.

Primary Production:

mined directly from mineral found in the earth’s crust.

Secondary Production:

vanadium is extracted from the refining of ash and crude oils.

How vanadium impacts our lives today

Steel Master Alloys Chemicals Energy
Steel

Steel

Ferrovanadium (FeV), an alloy formed by combining iron and vanadium, acts as a hardener, strengthener and anti-corrosive additive in the production of high-strength steels, including other ferrous products. The content of vanadium in FeV can range between 35% to 85%.

Application of FeV
  • Steel rebar used for construction, with benefits of high-strength, allows producers in China to meet and exceed the rebar standard’s requirements. Over 89%2 of surveyed steel rebar producers in China alone have adopted FeV in rebar production.
  • The automotive industry requires high-strength, tough and corrosion-resistant components used in the infrastructure and components of motor vehicles. FeV containing steel is used to stabilise the frame work of a vehicle, while the components used inside the vehicle provide corrosion resistant quality.
  • Owing to its outstanding structural strength, FeV is also used in rail, pipelines, and as a corrosion resistant coating.
Master Alloys

Master Alloys

High-purity vanadium is used in the production of titanium alloys, making it significantly stronger than titanium. These are used in the aerospace industry and cannot be substituted.

Application of vanadium in master alloys:
  • Master alloys have high strength-to-weight ratios enabling aircrafts to carry on large weight.
  • The global master alloy market is growing fast along with the aerospace industry as it provides fuel efficiency and superior resistance.

Largo’s high purity vanadium is approved by all major master alloy producers across the globe.

Chemicals

Chemicals and Catalysts

Vanadium containing chemicals and catalysts provide corrosion resistant and pigmentation properties. Such chemicals are produced only from high-purity vanadium powder.

Applications of vanadium in chemicals and catalysts:
  • Used in corrosion inhibitors and dyes.
  • Medication and production of supplements to manage a number of health conditions.
  • Vanadium electrolyte.
Energy

Energy Storage

Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries (‘VRFB’)’s are scalable energy storage batteries that use a vanadium electrolyte liquid solution to store and release large amounts of energy. The VRFB stands out as the leading battery for large-scale energy storage, and can be coupled with renewable energy technology to store energy for later use. The growth of the renewable energy market and energy storage is fast paced and set to gradually increase the use of VRFBs.

Why VRFBs?
  • Have an estimated lifespan of 20+ years
  • Offers scalable storage capacity and is able to immediately release energy
  • Is suitable for grid connection or off-grid settings, making it ideal for renewable energy
  • Is able to discharge 100% without any damage to the battery
  • Provides users with a guaranteed uninterrupted power supply.

Vanadium Market Outlook

Increasing consumption over the years

With the implementation of the Chinese Rebar Standard and a vanadium powered energy supply, a 20% year by year3 increase is forecasted.


Vanadium is consumed in different industries and locations. To date, countries leading the production of steel such as China and the United States have the top market share of vanadium consumption, with China leading this at approximately 42%:

Chart consumption

Chinese Rebar Standard

In November 2018, the People’s Republic of China issued a revised high-strength rebar standard, aimed to eliminate low strength Grade 2 rebar and sets out specifications for three different high strength standards: Grade 3, Grade 4, and Grade 5, which will require a minimum of 0.03% of vanadium. The implementation of the standard has been gradual as large steel mills have already complied with the new standard prior to it being revised.

Chart consumption

Production of total rebar in China increased marginally from 200,00kt in 2018 to 220,000kt in 2019 (forecasted). The expected full implementation from outstanding large and smaller mills is expected to increase the production of rebar, which in turn may increase the consumption of vanadium by 20% year-on-year.

Energy Storage

On-going issues around power generation and climate change have made the commissioning of reliable energy storage solutions a matter of importance. The VRFB market growth is fast-paced and forecasted to reach $1.1 billion by 20254, which could lead to the gradual increase of vanadium consumption.

Vanadium Production

Vanadium is mainly produced in China, Russia and South Africa. Production over the years has declined, however a gradual increase picks up from 2017 to 2019 to date.

Vanadium Production
Year Vanadium Production in MTV
2019 110,444
2018 95,581
2017 92,392
2016 73,000
2015 79,400
2014 102,652

Vanadium Price

Chart consumption

The price of vanadium has faced significant pressure over the years, with records of favorable prices in both 2015 and 2018, both mainly due to the implementation of revised rebar standards in China. Factors around global feedstock capacity, feedstock tightness, trade issues also play a big role on the price of vanadium.

As a consequence of the Chinese rebar standard, gradual implementation of VRFBs and current market fundamentals, the price of vanadium has the potential to increase over the coming years.

Notes:
  • United States Geological Survey, Minerals Commodity Summaries, February 2019
  • Vanitec, Implementation of Chinese Rebar Standard Press Release, April 2019
  • Roskill
  • Global Vanadium Redox Batteries Market Size 2017 By Type (Carbon Paper Electrode, Graphite Felt Electrode), By Application (Large Scale Energy Storage, Uninterruptible Power Supply, Emergency Power Supply), By Region and Forecast 2018 to 2025