Imergy Talking to Mining Companies on Vanadium and Power Storage

Jul 28, 2014 12:09 pm ET

July 28 (Bloomberg) -- Imergy Power Systems Inc., a U.S.- based maker of energy storage batteries, is talking to mining companies as potential suppliers and customers.

Imergy is in discussions with five mining companies that may supply it with the Vanadium it uses in its technology, Bill Watkins, chief executive officer of the company based in Fremont, California, said in an e-mail. It’s also working with a number of mining companies as potential customers for its systems, he said, declining to name them.

“Most mining activities are remote from grids, so they nearly all use diesel engines,” Watkins said. “We can deliver paybacks in under three years. Energy bills can be reduced by as much as 30 percent.”

Imergy’s batteries, unlike others, can be recharged and discharged indefinitely and last at least 20 years. They can be used to store electricity in a variety of locations from homes and business, to data centers and clean power plants. Imergy says it expects to start announcing million-dollar and multi- million-dollar deals before the end of this year.

Companies that include Rio Tinto Group, Barrick Gold Corp. and Anglo American Plc are turning to clean energy technologies to curb their reliance on expensive and polluting diesel generators. Imergy expects to install its first system, at a mine in South America, early next year.

As suppliers of Vanadium, mining businesses are interested in partnering with Imergy because it provides them with certainty, reduces volatility and therefore “helps firm pricing,” Watkins said. “We also prevent large amounts of excess vanadium from being dumped on the market and we provide an additional market for their production.”