Ben's avatar
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How to build a greener energy future
Today 1.2 PWh of wind energy is produced. To meet 2050 climate goals we need to be at 5 PWh of wind by 2030.
69-77% of turbine mass is steel. 11-16% fiberglass/plastic. 1% aluminum and 1% copper.
The base of the turbine is concrete and rebar.
Each new MW of wind power requires 120 to 180 tons of steel.
20 million tones steel per year needed to build wind turbines today which will grow to 25 mil tones steel by 2030.
Steel is a metal alloy of iron, carbon and other metals. Increasingly Vanadium is being used to strengthen steel and rebar.
92% of current Vanadium mined today is used for steel production. Adding vanadium to steel increases strength and decreases weight.
As wind turbines continue to get larger more vanadium will need to be used to strengthen the steel. Mixing titanium with vanadium and iron makes wind turbines able to spin up to 70,000 rpm. The concrete bases will also need to be stronger to hold larger turbines. Projections of 6% yoy annual increase in Vanadium will be needed for rebar alone.
6 million tones steel/year for solar
All of that is just a bonus. Vanadium’s real future value as an essential element is all about battery storage. Specifically Vanadium flow batteries. VFB seem like the most obvious cost effective solution to renewable energy storage. Cost effective energy storage is essential bc most renewable energy is intermittent (wind, solar, hydro).
Still researching my favorite way to play the Vanadium future. Currently looking into miners or vanadium flow battery producers.
@jennymanydots Vanadium Cassandra sounds like a super hero. I like the name change
Devin LaSarre's avatar
Think that 70,000 is a typo.

Interesting thesis. Largest risk being that the world wakes up and realizes nuclear will lead us to the promised land and, if so, solar/wind will lose substantial support?
Ben's avatar
But over what time frames? In the next 10-20 years nuclear isn’t going to replace enough of our energy needs. Sure in 2100 all our energy needs could be met with nuclear or fusion. But in the near future ie the next 30 years we need all renewable (wind, solar, hydro and nuclear) to replace or at least decrease fossil fuel.

I checked the source. It does say 70k. Maybe referring to smaller turbines? It definitely seem high for large turbines
Eric Messenger's avatar
Unless you want nuclear waste in your back yard for 40,000 years, I’d think twice about that promised land. I don’t want it in my backyard anyway. Not sure why we don’t just ship it to Jupiter honestly🤷‍♂️ Unless we figure out fusion, nuclear can’t be the leader, too many against the long term storage. I studied alternative energy engineering and they shoved solar down our throat. All I know, is that with the level of consumption first world people enjoy and developing countries strive for, we’re going to need every bit of energy we can source (particularly the kind that doesn’t require the burning of fuel). I honestly think wave/tidal energy is the ticket. Doesn’t stop like wind and sun and water is about 800 times more dense than air. There is way more power locked up in the ocean. Wind, solar, geothermal, nuclear; will all play their part in a clean energy transition. If there will be one winner; it hasn’t been developed yet. Gonna take a village.
Ben's avatar
@wall_street_deebo Gen IV nuclear will help out with the waste problem. It burns so hot the waste is only radioactive for a few hundred years instead of tens of thousands. AND it can use old Gen reactor waste as fuel and burn that down
Devin LaSarre's avatar
@rpinvestments 70k rpm isn't just 'high', it's physically impossible.

10-20 years, nuclear won't replace enough - ofc it takes lots of time to get up and running, but same thing can be said for solar and wind. Look at total cost, footprint, and development lag time for the largest projects rolled out - results have been rather underwhelming.

I applaud work towards alternative solutions, but we're going to be highly reliant on fossil fuels for a long time to come, especially as all other solutions are built upon massive expenditures of fossils fuels to make them possible.
Devin LaSarre's avatar
@wall_street_deebo Nuclear waste storage seems fairly straightforward and a favorable tradeoff for high density and non-variable output, something absolutely critical for safe, reliable energy.
Jennifer's avatar
A super hero, lol, thanks!
Great post. Would love to hear if you find a vanadium play you really like. I have yet to pick up some Largo but it's on my watchlist. $VONE.V had a great announcement this week, worth looking at and I'm still a fan of Strategic Resources as a LTH. Good luck!