ASX-listed Altech Chemicals could be on its way to becoming a key player in the thriving lithium-ion battery industry with its high purity alumina coating technology that the company says may be able to resolve fundamental issues with energy densities and the cost of lithium-ion batteries. The company is undertaking a pre-feasibility study for a proposed 10,000 tonne per annum battery materials coating plant in Saxony, Germany.
ASX-listed, Altech Chemicals could be on its way to becoming a key player in the thriving lithium-ion battery industry with its high purity alumina coating technology that the company says may be able to resolve fundamental issues with energy densities and the cost of lithium-ion batteries. Altech is undertaking a pre-feasibility study for a proposed 10,000 tonne per annum battery materials coating plant in Saxony, Germany.
Management says its “nanotechnology” that delivers an alumina coating of silicon particles may be able to resolve both the ‘swelling’ and ‘first-cycle-loss’ capacity problems currently preventing the use of silicon in lithium-ion batteries.
According to Altech, metallurgical silicon is presently not suitable for lithium batteries due to two major technological barriers. Firstly, silicon expands by up to 300 per cent in volume during battery operation causing ‘swelling’, fracturing and battery failure. Secondly, silicon deactivates up to 50 per cent of the lithium ions in a battery, referred to as ‘first-cycle loss’, resulting in reduced performance and battery life.
Electric vehicle titan, Tesla recently announced a key cog in reducing the cost of lithium-ion batteries and improving their energy density is the implementation of more silicon in battery anodes.
Altech says silicon has ten times the energy retention capacity compared to graphite - the anode material of choice currently used in lithium-ion batteries.
In reference to the use of silicon in lithium-ion batteries, Tesla’s Chief Executive Officer, Elon Musk reportedly said: “this is the most promising anode material”.
Altech says research and development conducted by the company on its rapidly developing HPA silicon coating technology has shown promising results, with initial battery testing deemed “encouraging”. Further tests are ongoing.
Management says it is rapidly gaining confidence in what it calls its “game-changing” high purity alumina coating technology.
This Company has already commenced a pre-feasibility study evaluating the potential of a 10,000tpa coating plant as it looks to tap into the flourishing European lithium-ion battery market.
Altech recently opened an advanced battery materials research and development centre in Saxony, Germany where it is seeking to construct the alumina coating plant.
Through the research and development centre, Altech is seeking to enhance its coating technology to produce material for testing by European battery manufacturers.
Intriguingly, German automotive giants Volkswagen, BMW, Porsche and Daimler also host their production operations in Saxony.
Altech’s proposed operation lies in one of Europe’s premier automotive hubs and the Perth-based company could jump onto the radars of the major players if it can offer a technological solution to the problem of using silicon in battery anodes.
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