Vanadium miner Bushveld Minerals will invest a further $7.5-million in vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) manufacturer Enerox, as part of a larger $30-million commitment by Enerox investors to scale up the production of capacity of the energy storage solutions firm.
Enerox will expand its manufacturing and sales capacity to 30 MW by next year, Bushveld says, noting that there is a potential for future expansions of at least 150 MW by 2025.
Aim-listed Bushveld’s subsidiary, Bushveld Energy, has an indirect interest in Enerox of 25.25%, through VRFB Holdings, which owns a 50% interest in Enerox Holdings Limited.
Bushveld has already paid $5-million of its funding commitment to maintain its shareholding in Enerox and will pay the balance of $2.5-million this month.
“The funding commitments of Enerox’s shareholders are a strong vote of confidence in the potential and strategy of the company. We believe that this additional capital will place Enerox on the path to becoming a major player in the industry. It further cements VRFB technology in the rapidly growing stationary energy storage sector,” comments Bushveld CEO Fortune Mojapelo.
The follow-on investment in Enerox is in line with Bushveld’s strategy to mobilise capital to scale up growth and manufacturing capacity of VRFB manufacturers, as illustrated by the previous and ongoing success of Invinity.
“Our first investment of $5-million in Invinity played a critical role in establishing Invinity out of the merger of Avalon and RedT, and allowed it to access follow-on funding from the equity capital markets, establishing a leading VRFB player,” Mojapelo explains.
He adds that in addition to a healthy return from Bushveld’s $5-million investment, the success of the investment in Invinity is evidenced by its Aim listing, with a healthy $150-million market capitalisation and a well-funded programme to scale up its production capacity to support a solid pipeline of announced VRFB projects.
Bushveld is funding its follow-up investment in Enerox by the partial sell down of its stake in Invinity, for which it received $8.8-million. Bushveld Energy now has a holding of less than 3% in Invinity.
Besides funding the investment in Enerox, the proceeds will be used to fund Bushveld Energy initiatives in 2021, including the Vanadium Electrolyte Rental Limited, the partnership established with Invinity to rent vanadium electrolyte and for the global scale up of the vanadium electrolyte rental product.
Mojapelo says that the sell down of its stake in Invinity is “no reflection of any diminishing faith in the potential of the company”.
Bushveld's right of first refusal to supply vanadium and vanadium electrolyte to systems sold by Invinity will still be effective up to the second year anniversary of the agreement.
This is buoyed by the planned manufacturing expansion capacity announced by Invinity in its March 2021 update, including “stack manufacturing expansion, delivering a total 200% capacity increase over December 2020 levels” and an agreement with a “strategic manufacturing partner in China giving the Company an option to increase manufacturing capacity up to +80%.”