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Australia has seen a vanadium breakthrough as the first commercial vanadium-flow battery has been completed in South Australia.

The vanadium-flow battery from Yadlamalka Energy is expected to be running and exporting power by this August.

Yadlamalka Energy first announced the world’s largest solar-powered vanadium flow battery was on its way to SA in December 2020.

As reported by the ABCYadlamalka Energy has been undertaking the Spencer Energy project at the Bungama sub-station, in Port Pirie. The project involves the 2-megawatt/8 megawatt per hour battery being connected to a grid of solar panels.

The vanadium flow battery will utilise the day price variation in SA to time shift power from midday to peak periods in the mornings and evenings.

The ABC reported that the battery will store around ten gigawatts of dispatchable solar power per annum and will be charged from excess electricity produced by the solar panels when the sun is at its peak.

The power will then be delivered to households at night when the grid loads are high from demand and no solar generation is available.

Yadlamalka Energy chairman Andrew Doman told the ABC that this would be the first commercial use of the battery in the southern hemisphere.

“This is a battery that has significant advantages over lithium-ion ones; the most important one is the duration of this battery is four hours, unlike lithium batteries which typically last half-an-hour or two hours,” Doman said.

Doman said that introducing vanadium batteries will help reduce high energy prices in Australia.

“When electricity prices are negative, we’ll be buying the electricity and that will help stabilise the grid, and when prices are high, we’ll be selling power into the grid — that margin will have the effect to reduce prices,” Doman told the ABC.

“We’re on the verge of a vanadium revolution.”