The little known metal vanadium could be a new power source to emerge onto the energy scene. Especially when it comes to batteries for electric cars.
One company, Uranium Star Corp. (OTC:URST)believes vanadium will do just that. Uranium Star is a rapidly emergingmineral exploration company with assets in Madagascar and NorthernQuebec. Fabarice Taylor, a financial analyst with Canada’s The Globe & Mail, wrote in a recent columnthat vanadium, nestled between titanium and chromium on the periodictable of the elements, is a metal that could make investors a lot ofmoney if the stars continue to align.
“Vanadium, which you’ve probably never heard of, even though itsurrounds you, strengthens the steel in your office building, hardensthe tools used to build that tower and, perhaps, will play a big rolein the electrification of the automobile you may one day drive to getto work,” Taylor wrote.
Taylor says vanadium has long been used in steel and that representsthe vast majority of demand for the metal. Demand for steel is on theupswing, he adds, averaging out the demand forecasts, and predictsgrowth at between 5 and 6 per cent starting around next year if therecovery is intact.
“If electric cars are to catch on – and I mean purely electric ones,not hybrids – the auto industry has to solve the battery problem,”Taylor notes. “Batteries have improved but are still slow to charge andprovide limited driving distance compared with a tank of gas. Lithiumwas a big breakthrough but it also has drawbacks as used now. Somebattery makers are experimenting with adding vanadium into the batteryingredient. Using vanadium, in theory, adds power among other things.It’s more expensive than some alternatives but the performance appearsto compensate for the added cost.”
According to Taylor, there are strong signs that vanadium is about to make its grand debut in battery technology. China’s BYD Auto,which is backed by Warren Buffett, he says, is among the leading-edgebattery makers looking at vanadium and is building a plant in thevanadium-producing region of China.
Taylor isn’t the only one jumping on the vanadium bandwagon.According to Sarah Wolfe, a writer with Energy Digital, a news andinformation source for energy executives, vanadium could change theworld in a big way.
In her article Uranium Star Corp.: Unearthing A New Power Source,Wolfe writes this: “In a remote region of Madagascar, where the land isa dry savannah nearly absent of animal and plant life, lies a pricelessresource that could change the global economy and benefit theenvironment. Discover Magazine has even called it, “the element thatcould change the world.”
“This element is vanadium, “ Wolfe continues. “Canada’s Uranium StarCorp. recently announced that it has found what may be the world’slargest deposit of this element on its aptly-named Green Giant Project- a continuous 11-mile mineralized trend of vanadium spanning theentire length of the 194-acre property, in a country whereinternational mining companies are investing billions of dollars. Overthe next 18 months, At the Green Gian property, Uranium Star plans tospend $10 million to conduct environmental, geotechnical, metallurgicaland marketing studies, as well as complete a feasibility study.
Wolfe says that vanadium has been used for decades but is virtually unknown. This seems to be changing.
“Classified as a strategic metal, it has a remarkable ability tomake steel alloys both stronger and lighter,” Wolfe concludes. “Whencombined with titanium, it creates the best strength-to-weight ratio ofany engineered material, making it invaluable to the aerospace,aviation, automotive, shipping and construction industries. Demand forthese ultra high-strength and super-light steels is strong and growing.”