First of Western Australian’s zero-emission vanadium batteries installed at Busselton farm

Busselton resident Ian Stuart with Western Power's Nigel Wilmot and Australian Vanadium Limited's Vincent Algar. Photo by Lily Yeang.

Busselton resident Ian Stuart with Western Power's Nigel Wilmot and Australian Vanadium Limited's Vincent Algar. Photo by Lily Yeang.

A FARM near Busselton has become the first in Western Australia to install a Vanadium Redox Flow Battery Energy Storage System, or CellCube, on its property.

The storage system, which was constructed by German company GILDEMEISTER and installed by Perth-based company VSUN Pty Ltd (a subsidiary of Australian Vanadium Limited), provides reliable three-phase power to the farm through solar power panels and a vanadium battery designed to last up to 20 years.

Australian Vanadium Limited managing director Vincent Algar said CellCube was able to store a clean, zero-emission, fast energy supply through the use of vanadium redox flow technology. 

“Vanadium flow batteries can store large amounts of solar and wind power, and they are a perfect option for many off-grid farming operations, particularly in the more remote parts of WA,” he said.

“This includes the ability to time-shift up to 10 hours of power usage, by storing renewable energy from the solar PV system for later use.”

Mr Algar said many WA farmers would find installing a vanadium battery and solar panels system to be cheaper than connecting to the grid or running diesel generators.

“A lot of people in rural settings like to use three-phase power to run their pumps and some of their welding devices, but in order to do that they need to have a three-phase powerline, and that’s only really available when you are close to town,” he said.

“The capital cost to increase that three-phase line is in the millions, especially if you are further away from town.

“These storage devices can provide a lot of extra storage for day and night power, and can also deliver three-phase power from it.”​

Farm owners Ian and Lucy Stuart, who operate a small tree nursery, said the CellCube allowed their property to still be connected to the grid while allowing them to generate the extra power needed to run the farm’s operations.

“It makes a lot of sense for people like us, who are on the fringe of the urban areas where the powerlines are not necessarily carrying three-phase,” Mr Stuart said. 

“[The CellCube] will deliver power for the entire farm without us needing to then extend grid power to the house, so it's starting to look cost-effective from that point of view,” Mrs Stuart said. 

“There are often interruptions to the power supply in rural areas and installing a vanadium battery will allow us to use appliances with a heavy draw-down, without having to time our usage around off-peak hours.

“Theoretically, we hope to be 90 per cent self-sufficient with our power.”

The couple said they were committed to sustainable, clean energy and found it important to set up an alternative power supply to diesel. 

“Diesel is only going to get more expensive anyway, and we wanted clean energy that's sustainable,” Mrs Stuart said.

 “Obviously solar power is not new, but being able to trap that and hold it chemically, which is what these vanadium batteries can do, is a huge asset.”

For more information about the vanadium battery and CellCube, visit vsun.com.au

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