29/04/2021 - 17:01

Altech joins forces with German graphite giant

29/04/2021 - 17:01

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Altech Chemicals has joined forces with Germany’s SGL Carbon to explore the production of an alumina coated graphite product for use in the budding lithium-ion battery sector. The company will contribute its high purity alumina, or “HPA” product and proprietary coating technology to the project whilst SGL will deliver ongoing engineering support and treatment systems for the production of HPA powders.

A graphic illustrating how Altech’s HPA coating is applied. Credit: File

Altech Chemicals has delivered a coup, joining forces with Germany’s SGL Carbon, a global leader in the development and production of carbon-based products, to explore the production of an alumina coated graphite products for use in the budding lithium-ion battery sector. Altech will contribute its high purity alumina, or “HPA” product and proprietary coating technology whilst SGL will deliver ongoing engineering support and treatment systems for the production of HPA powders.

SGL Carbon is no slouch in the marketplace with the company reporting sales of more than €900 million in 2020. The two companies have already been collaborating on the potential to produce HPA, with SGL set to provide the acid treatment systems for the production of the product at Altech’s plant in Malaysia.

HPA is part of the global move towards green energy and is used in the production of lithium batteries, LED lights and in the faces of Apple iPhones to name just a few of its higher profile uses.

Altech has it in spades too. Its ultra-high purity kaolin deposit near Meckering in WA is large enough to provide feed to a high purity alumina plant for some 230 years – at least. Kaolin is the precursor mineral for the production of HPA.

The new agreement provides SGL with access to Altech’s developing suite of products and technologies, with duo now mulling the construction of a second HPA and coating plant in Germany.

Altech and SGL will examine the commercial applications of the company’s alumina coating technology. Test work shows that the coating process developed by Altech provides a uniform nano-layer of HPA on graphite particles which can then be used in the manufacture of high-end anodes for lithium-ion batteries. The addition of HPA to the production process is proven to improve battery performance and potentially improve the longevity of the battery units, according to Altech management.

Altech Chemicals Managing Director, Iggy Tan said: “I believe that Altech’s coating technology can be successfully employed to coat SGL Carbon’s various battery graphite powders with a uniform nano-layer of alumina. Under this collaboration agreement, Altech and SGL Carbon will test the application of Altech’s technology to coat SGL Carbon’s specifically designed graphite particles with high purity alumina (HPA). Both companies will fund the test work and retain their respective intellectual property”

The company’s 75 per cent owned Germany subsidiary, Altech Industries Germany is now undertaking a feasibility study into the economics of constructing a battery materials HPA coating plant in the Saxony region of Germany.

Altech is currently moving towards becoming one of the world’s leading suppliers of 99.99 per cent pure 4N HPA with the construction of a 4,500 tonne per annum processing plant in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

With Europe racing towards a 2030 deadline to reduce carbon emissions, the continent is adopting electric vehicles at a rapid rate and Altech’s new alliance with SGL in Germany looks to be a timely move which places the company in a prime position to supply HPA coated graphite into the fast-developing European battery market.

 

Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@businessnews.com.au

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