Altech Batteries and German partner push forward with groundbreaking energy storage battery technology

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By Imelda Cotton - 
Altech Batteries ASX ATC Cerenergy Fraunhofer IKTS technology

Altech Batteries (ASX: ATC) has confirmed that solid progress is being made on the manufacture of its 60 kilowatt-hour ABS60 Cerenergy battery prototypes for the grid storage market.

In conjunction with German government-owned joint venture partner Fraunhofer IKTS, the company is producing two packs for the purpose of performance tests and qualifying them for customer use.

The pilot line at Fraunhofer’s facility in Hermsdorf has been subject to a comprehensive redesign including the installation of new tools and machinery designed specifically for production of the battery cells.

The Cerenergy battery pack is composed of 240 cells, each rated at 2.5 volts and organised into four rows of 12 cells stacked five modules high.

Each pack measures 2.6 metres in height, 0.4m in length and 1m in width and is designed to be dustproof and weatherproof, with high levels of sealing effectiveness for electrical enclosures.

Crucial production stages

Crucial stages in cell production involve blending ceramic components, high-pressure pressing, tube formation and sintering at 1600 degrees celsius over several days.

The Hermsdorf facility has so far completed the manufacture of half of the required ceramic tubes.

The battery cathode electrolyte, comprising sodium chloride and nickel powder granules, has been produced using the plant’s mixing and pelletising equipment.

The process of cell assembly — encompassing vacuum filling, heating and welding — is ongoing and approximately half of the cells have been completed to date.

Quality assurance

An industrial micro-computed tomography scanning system is being utilised to ensure the verification of filling height, composition and alignment, as well as the behaviour of cathode material post-cell initialisation.

On completion of the quality assurance process, individual cells undergo charge and discharge performance testing.

To date, 50% of the required cells have been produced, with reject or defect rates remaining low and within expected limits.

Altech said once prototype manufacturing and testing has been completed by mid-year, the batteries will be passed onto potential customers with the aim of securing offtake agreements.