Considered one of the world’s lesser-known metals, vanadium is a hard, silver-grey metallic element. It is naturally found in more than 60 different minerals, including vanadinite, carnotite and patronite, as well as phosphate rock, certain iron ores and some crude oils. In fact, it is the fifth most abundant transition metal in the earth’s crust, and often found alongside titanium and iron in their ores. It has a natural resistance to corrosion.
Ellipsis’s current project in the greater Aghracha area in southern Morocco is exploring the region for both vanadium and rare earth elements and shows great promise.
Vanadium is often used to strengthen stainless steel and other alloys, while silver vanadium oxides are widely used in battery chemistry. Since it is a light transition metal, it is used to both strengthen and reduce the weight of high-tensile strength steels, including in car production. In fact, vanadium metal was first used industrially on a large scale in the materials used to create the Ford Model T car chassis more than a century ago.
Using vanadium in windows is becoming a popular energy-saving measure. Coated glass prevents thermal radiation from escaping, helping retain heat inside during cooler weather. It also blocks infrared radiation, thereby locking heat from entering the buildings during the summer or in warmer climates.
The strength of vanadium steel alloy makes it ideal for creating tools, piston rods, axels and construction girders. In fact, around 80% of all vanadium produced is used as ferrovanadium or as a steel additive.