A mixt. of metallic iron particles and vanadium pentoxide contg. V in its pentavalent state in a liq. is reacted to convert at least some of the pentavalent V to its tetravalent state and form a gel. The liq. phase is then sepd. from the oxide based gel to obtain a solid material(I) comprising Fe, V and oxygen where at least some of the V is in the tetravalent state. USE-(I) is a cathode active material in electric current producing storage cells. ADVANTAGE-Use of (I) in Li or alkali metal batteries gives prolonged life cycles.Storage cells using (I) have improved capacity during charge and discharge. (I) is cheap and easy to prepare with good conversion of starting materials.