Idemitsu, Sumitomo Electric and Vecco Group sign VRFB supply chain agreement

News Analysis




Idemitsu, Sumitomo Electric and Vecco Group sign VRFB supply chain agreement

The three companies are targeting the development of a fully integrated VRFB supply chain

In a significant development for Australia's energy landscape, major corporations Idemitsu Australia, Sumitomo Electric Industries, and Vecco Group have joined forces under a Collaboration Agreement signed on 21 February. The agreement marks the inception of Australia's inaugural vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) manufacturing supply chain, strategically located in Townsville, Queensland Province. Recognising the potential of VRFB technology, the collaboration aims to unlock significant benefits for the nation's energy sector.

Under this non-exclusive agreement, each company assumes a distinct role within the VRFB manufacturing supply chain:

Vecco Group, focused on integrated mining and manufacturing of critical minerals, will mine and process high-purity vanadium pentoxide at its Julia Creek mine in Queensland's North-West minerals province. Additionally, Vecco Group will supply vanadium electrolytes sourced from its recently opened 35MWh per annum vanadium electrolyte manufacturing plant, strategically located in Townsville.

Sumitomo Electric Industries, leveraging its experience in VRFB technology development since 1985 and commercialisation since 2001, will lead the provision of VRFB hardware. Idemitsu Australia, a diversified multinational corporation, is entrusted with the marketing, sales, and delivery of VRFBs to customers across Australia.

In anticipation of the potential forthcoming growth catalyzed by this agreement, Vecco has secured a 3.2-hectare site at Cleveland Bay Industrial Park within the Townsville State Development Area for the construction of its commercial production facility. The design process is underway for a 300MWh per annum commercial production facility, poised to meet the rising demand of the growing VRFB market. The Townsville VRFB supply chain operation is slated to commence in 2026, with the final assembly of VRFBs scheduled at customer sites, ensuring streamlined delivery and deployment.

Beyond technological advancement, this end-to-end VRFB manufacturing supply chain is poised to generate local employment and present a solution for integrating VRFB technology into Queensland's SuperGrid and renewable energy projects nationwide. The project’s successful development would represent a significant step forward in the adoption of VRFB technology within the Australian energy sector.