Busselton nursery celebrates two years of shunning the grid

Mrs Stuart said they settled on a battery system to meet their growing electricity demand because of grid availability and peace of mind.

“Where we are, the grid provides single-phase power only,” she said.

“We wanted three-phase power in order to use a workshop and use heavier machinery.

“We can’t always be down here at the farm, and our tree nursery does depend on uninterrupted power supply for the irrigation of the seedlings.”

Vanadium redox flow batteries have been the poor cousin to their booming lithium relatives but many Australian companies are hoping the Australian developed technology will out-muscle lithium in bigger energy storage projects because of it’s safety and longevity.

Mrs Stuart’s battery was built in Austria and installed by Vsun Energy, a subsidiary of Australian Vanadium (ASX:VDL), which is looking to build a $500 million Vanadium mine and processing facility near Meekathara.

In a statement, the company said the technology relied on a vanadium electrolyte solution held in storage tanks.

“Such batteries can be charged and discharged at the same time and can be cycled often and deeply, which differentiates them from lithium-derived storage,” the statement read.

“They have a 20-plus year lifespan and at the end of the battery’s mechanical life, the electrolyte can be re-used over and over again.”

In January Australian Vanadium managing director Vincent Algar said he was excited for vanadium’s future as the technology spreads.

Increasingly vanadium redox flow batteries are being used in trial projects across the country.

Another WA-based vanadium focused company Protean Energy (ASX:POW) is also conducting trials and installed a 25kW, 100kWh battery at an industrial site in Perth to trial a micro-grid.

Hamish Hastie is WAtoday’s business reporter.

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