Altech Batteries turns focus to silumina innovation after partial sale of German subsidiary

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By Colin Hay - 
Altech Batteries ASX ATC German subsidiary sale EV lithium

Altech Batteries (ASX: ATC) has received around $2.57 million as the final instalment of the sale of a 25% interest in subsidiary Altech Industries Germany GmbH (AIG).

The sale was initially announced in late December 2020, when Altech confirmed it had finalised the sale of the 25% interest in AIG for around $8.1m, with the company retaining ownership of the remaining 75%.

An initial cash consideration of around $407,000 was received upon the signing of a share sale and purchase agreement, with the deferred consideration amounting to approximately $7.75m payable in three equal instalments.

“We are very pleased with the support of AAM in relation to the acquisition of the 25% of AIG, with AIG being the holder of Altech’s Silumina Anodes battery materials project,” Altech managing director Iggy Tan said.

“Altech continues with the construction of the Silumina Anodes pilot plant on Altech’s land in Saxony, Germany, and has recently announced the definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the full-scale 8,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) plant that includes an impressive net present value of around $1.1 billion and a payback period of 2.4 years.”

Altech intends to produce 120kg of the Silumina Anodes product per day from the pilot plant, which will then be used to assist in securing an offtake agreement with an end user.

The company already has non-disclosure agreements in place with some of the world’s biggest automobile manufacturers.

“The receipt of the deferred consideration for $2.57m is well-received and will be used for advancing Altech’s Silumina Anodes battery materials project as well as the CERENERGY sodium-chloride solid state battery project,” Mr Tan said.

Silicon battery progress

In late December, Altech reported it had received “exceptional” results from the DFS for its alumina-coated silicon battery anodes development.

The DFS was based on the construction of an approximately $182m, 8000tpa, 120 gigawatt hour-plant to be built in Saxony, Germany.

It also identified robust investment returns including an attractive 34% internal rate of return.

Cost-saving opportunities

The study highlighted a number of significant cost-saving capital- and operational expenditure opportunities including a proposal that customers blend coated silicon (10%) with their uncoated graphite source.

Altech’s Silumina Anodes plant will now be focused solely on producing an alumina-coated metallurgical silicon product that will be integrated into the graphite by the customers within their battery plants rather than at Altech’s facility.

The company said that, according to feedback from potential customers, utilising their existing qualified graphite source is a priority, with the integration of Altech-coated silicon into their battery products the primary appeal for potential customers.

Altech claims it has cracked the code for developing a silicon-based battery technology that has been baffling scientists and the lithium-ion battery industry for years.

Tesla believes that the required step change to increase lithium-ion battery energy density and reduce costs is to introduce silicon in battery anodes, with silicon estimated to be able to provide 10 times the energy retention capacity compared to graphite.

It has also been suggested that thinner silicon anodes will enable much faster battery charging.