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Altech Batteries completes final design phase for Silumina Anodes pilot plant

The date of: 2023-08-31
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Altech Batteries (ASX: ATC) has completed the final design phase for key equipment for its ground-breaking Silumina anodes pilot plant project in Saxony, Germany.

The company says it has completed the blueprint for the front-end calciners and the pilot plant layout – two important components of an ongoing definitive feasibility study for the proposed 10,000 tonne per annum Silumina anodes plant.

The company is targeting the booming European electric vehicle market with the Silumina Anodes product which has been assessed to be able to achieve a 30% higher energy battery with improved cyclability or battery life.

High purity coating

Once completed, the plant will help progress the commercial development of the proprietary high purity alumina coating technology.

Altech has previously signed licensing agreements with licence the development of alumina coating technology to its 75% owned subsidiary Altech Industries Germany GmbH (AIG).

The current definitive feasibility study has been upgraded to provide additional information to suppliers and as part of that upgrade, the plant’s calciners have been designed to operate at temperatures around 600 degrees celsius.

Advanced calciner design

The calciners will facilitate the conversion of aluminum chloride present on the surface of graphite and silicon particles into alumina and they will play a crucial role in the Silumina Anodes process.

Notably, a distinctive feature of these calciners is the utilisation of 3D-printed silicon carbide linings.

Altech says the design of the calciner and associated cooler has now progressed to a more advanced stage by incorporating manufacturing and stress test data from the research plant’s component production and testing phase.

Engineers have been able to create a finalised concept consisting of two dryers and a four-circuit calciner/cooler configuration.

Altech says this design choice will lead to the creation of lighter modules that facilitate both assembly and maintenance processes.

Permitting process advancing

Elsewhere, the advancement of the definitive feasibility study remains on schedule with the company obtaining final quotations from essential suppliers.

At the same time work on the conclusive design of civil and site infrastructure is progressing, while initial dialogue with regulatory authorities to initiate the permitting process for the Schwarze Pumpe project.

The company says it has received favourable cooperation and backing to date from both local authorities and regulatory entities.

Ground breaking technology

This pilot plant’s primary objective is to support the qualification process for the Silumina Anodes product. It will have the capability to supply interested customers with commercial samples to facilitate their testing and qualification procedures.

Altech’s battery material coating technology R&D is focused on coating of high-purity alumina (HPA) on both silicon and graphite, for inclusion within electric vehicle battery anodes.

The company has been investigating the opportunity to meet the demands of a number of EV developers looking to include silicon in their lithium-ion batteries.

However, previous studies have had issues overcoming a number of obstacles pertaining to the inclusion of silicon in the creation of a proposed composite graphite / silicon anode.

Through intense R&D and the use of proprietary thinking, Altech finally “cracked the silicon barrier” and successfully produced and tested a series of lithium-ion battery anode materials that have ~30% higher retention capacity compared to conventional lithium-ion battery anode materials.

Europe’s passenger electric vehicle sales increased by more than 13% year-on-year in Q1 2023, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Europe Passenger Electric Vehicle Model Sales Tracker.

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