The Vanadium Redox Flow battery (VRFB) is like a Swiss Army knife because its near unlimited cycling ability allows it to perform multiple applications from one system.

Pocket knife [photo]
Possible uses of just one VRFB
  1. Time shift solar photovoltaic (PV) generated electricity

  2. Arbitrage the price difference between peak and off peak tariffs

  3. Balance load and demand (in part to reduce peak demand charges)

  4. Provide back-up and emergency power supply

  5. Control voltage

  6. Improve efficiency of diesel generators (or other thermal- powered generators)

VRFB Battery Technology [illustration]
Possible uses of just one VRFB
  1. Reduce (or "shave") demand for peak-time electricity generation

  2. Time shift transmission and distribution losses from peak to off-peak times

  3. Defer investment in transmission and distribution assets

  4. Control frequency, including balancing of intermittent renewable energy generation and of load

  5. Provide other ancillary services to the system operator

VRFB Battery Technology [illustration]

VRFBs are ideally suited for Africa's large off-grid energy needs but can also offer cost savings for certain grid-connected applications. For more details about their applications for specific types of customers look through the use cases below.


Bushveld Energy's Vanadium Redox Flow battery (VRFB) solutions can help African governments achieve their energy access objectives much faster and cheaper.

  • VRFBs can be coupled with solar photovoltaic (PV) generation to create a distributed energy solution that can provide 24-hour electricity supply to any location in Africa, especially in sub-Sahara;
  • Such a solution can allow to very quickly connect all Africans with electricity. At present, electrification in sub-Saharan Africa is only 33% and even in 25 years the traditional path of grid-led electrification will only achieve ~80% coverage (see chart below);
  • VRFBs and PV can be supplied very quickly – in mere months – while long transmission lines and large power plants take years or even decades to plan and build.

For the first time, technology allows achievement of 100% electrification immediately, with 100% renewable energy, and at prices lower than what off-grid African consumers are paying today.

In Africa, grid-connectivity is very low (outside of South Africa and North Africa).

African electrification rates

African electrification rates [map]

Source: McKinsey & Company report Brighter Africa; World Development Indicators, World Bank Group; Non-OECD Energy Statistics, © OECD/IEA 2013, World Energy Outlook, 2011 Electricity Access Database, © OECD/IEA 2013

Electric power utilities

Bushveld Energy's Vanadium Redox Flow battery (VRFB) solutions are ideal for shifting the time of electricity supply, thus reducing both generation and transmission & distribution (T&D) costs for electric power utilities.

VRFB's help utilities:

  1. Address the issue of supplying electricity during daily peak demand hours (see example of South Africa below). For many countries this means eliminating dependence on expensive peaking plants or emergency power plants (EPPs);
  2. Reduce the need for a reserve margin, allowing for less generation capacity to be built and increasing load factors of base plants;
  3. Allow for increased penetration of renewable generation, such as wind and solar, to be added stably and safely to the grid;
  4. Delay or reduce the need to build new power lines;
  5. Reduce transmission and distribution losses of existing power lines.

Storage would allow South Africa to avoid building another Medupi

Eskom load cuve graph 2013 [map]

Source: Eskom

Mining companies

Bushveld Energy's Vanadium Redox Flow battery (VRFB) solutions can lower operating costs and allow mines to take full control and predict their future energy costs.

Examples include:

  1. Replacement of diesel/HFO generation with a PV + VRFB (or wind + VRFB) integrated solution, providing electricity at 20-30% less per kilowatt hour;
  2. Improvement of generator fuel efficiency by ensuring load is maintained at the optimum level;
  3. Substitution of on-site, thermal-powered spinning reservewith rapid response VRFB systems. The same VRFBs can serve as emergency response power sources for ventilation and hoisting in underground mines;
  4. Reduction of back-up generator use in unstable grid environments, allowing for fuel savings of 40-80%.

On top of these OPEX savings, replacement of thermal generation with a VRFB and renewable energy also:

  • Increases a mine's ability to control and predict its energy related OPEX;
  • Improves reliability of the power supply;
  • Reduces CO2emissions (which may also carry financial benefits);
  • Creates a profit-generating CSR opportunity for off-grid mines ;
  • Expands a mining operator’s strategic options, by reducing the impact of weak grids in its site location evaluation process.

Contact us about the full range and savings potential from our mining offer.


Tourist sites

Bushveld Energy's Vanadium Redox Flow battery (VRFB) solutions make remote and off-grid tourist sites more sustainable and customer friendly.

Many tourist destinations across the continent take advantage of its unique natural beauty and diverse wildlife. Unfortunately, the tourist sites, lodges and other supporting establishments often tend to be in remote locations. To date, those sites either operated without electricity or used expensive diesel fuel to power and noisy generators. By coupling non-toxic, non-flammable VRFBs with solar photovoltaic (PV) generation, these locations can now improve the quality of their services by

  • Paying less for each kilowatt hour of electricity;
  • Provide round the clock electricity supply without the generator engine noise that disrupts idyllic setting for both tourists and animals;
  • Improve sustainability by eliminating the electricity generation's carbon footprint and the need to frequently dispose of toxic batteries.

Telecom tower operators

Bushveld Energy's Vanadium Redox Flow battery (VRFB) solutions can reduce operating costs for telecom towers by replacing lead-acid batteries.

Hundreds of VRFBs have been deployed with telecom base stations in developing countries, realising

  1. Fuel consumption savings of 37-85% in the first year alone;
  2. Investment payback of 2-5 years
  3. Additional savings could be reliased in some locations with a VRFB + photovoltaic (PV) generation option

Contact us about the full range and savings potential from our telecom offer, including case studies, references and more detailed OPEX savings analyses.

Off-grid communities

Bushveld Energy's Vanadium Redox Flow battery (VRFB) solutions can help communities not connected to an electricity grid in two major ways.

At present, only one in three people in sub-Saharan Africa has access to electricity and the rate in rural areas is much lower. Those lucky enough to buy electricity in off-grid locations, often spend up to $1/kWh. VRFBs can bring quick, lower cost electricity to these communities, while

  1. Providing a 24 hour, 100% renewable energy solution at prices well below diesel or heavy fuel oil (HFO) generation;
  2. Delivering a simple “plug and play” solution in a matter of months.

Adding further benefits, such as

  • Cutting CO2 emissions by up to 100% (versus thermal generation);
  • Reducing the risk of theft (of fuel or batteries);
  • Eliminating the noise created by generator engines.

Diesel generator users

Bushveld Energy's Vanadium Redox Flow battery (VRFB) solutions can reduce the cost of electricity for anyone using diesel generators on a daily basis. This cost reduction comes from 3 main benefits

  1. Adding a VRFB to an existing diesel generator (or fleet of generators) can materially improve fuel consumption, with payback from fuel savings of 2-5 years;
  2. If solar photovoltaic (PV) generation is added to the VRFB, then the need for diesel generation can be near fully eliminated;
  3. Incidence of theft will decrease with a PV and VRFB solution (both fuel and back-up battery theft will decrease).