Altech Batteries announces 800% output increase in silumina anodes
Altech Batteries (ASX: ATC) has announced an eightfold expansion in the output of its silumina anodes battery project, increasing capacity from 15 gigawatt hours (GWh) to 120GWh with no change to plant and equipment.
The expansion was realised during the final stages of the project’s definitive feasibility study (DFS) and is expected to cater to long-term demand for silicon-type anodes within the industry.
Under the original DFS scope, Altech had proposed the production of 10,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of silumina anodes product, comprising 1,000 of high-purity alumina-coated metallurgical silicon incorporated into 9,000tpa of similarly-coated graphite (“10% mix”).
The plant will now focus on the sole production of alumina-coated metallurgical silicon at a rate of 8,000 for customers to blend with uncoated graphite at their own battery plants rather than at Altech’s facility.
In addition to the improved wattage, increasing production of the ‘active’ battery component has also improved battery energy density by at least 30%.
Decreasing the use of graphite is expected to also reduce the cost of producing batteries.
The adjustment to “all silicon” is expected to yield substantial improvements in bottom-line economics.
The most notable lies in the ability to “crack the silicon code”, preventing expansion defragmentation and curbing the significant first-cycle loss associated with silicon.
Altech said the primary appeal for potential customers lies in integrating its coated silicon into their battery products.
“Despite initial considerations regarding the benefits of coating graphite with alumina, such as the reduction of first-cycle loss, our research has demonstrated that the cost-to-reward ratio for graphite is relatively minimal,” the company said.
Non-disclosure agreements executed
Altech is currently in talks with European silicon partner Ferroglobe to boost the supply of metallurgical silicon for its enhanced silumina anodes project.
It has executed non-disclosure agreements with prominent automotive groups in Europe and the US that have shown interest in acquiring commercial samples for their testing and qualification procedures.
As Altech’s Perth-based research and development laboratory has limited capacity, the larger samples will be procured from the company’s pilot plant project in Germany.
The plant is expected to be operational in the early part of the new year.
It will help progress the commercial development of Altech’s proprietary high-purity alumina coating technology.