Altech Chemicals’ (ASX: ATC) prefeasibility study (PFS) for its proposed battery materials coating plant is making “solid progress” with the engineering design phase now underway.
The company’s 75% owned German subsidiary Altech Industries Germany is undertaking the PFS, which proposes to construct a 10,000 tonne per annum battery material high purity alumina (HPA) coating plant in Saxony.
In the study, Altech Industries is evaluating building the plant on a 14 hectare site in the Schwarze Pumpe Industrial Park where it has a purchase option.
Process design complete
For the study, work on the process design has been completed. The process will comprise four stages with stage one a HPA precursor production step using an alternative aluminium feedstock.
In the second stage, the company will receive anode battery material (graphite) in bulk bags or drums.
The third stage involves Altech’s propriety HPA nano layer coating process which will take place in the plant’s coating section.
In the fourth stage, the coated material will be finalised, then packaged in either bulk bags or drums and shipped to end users.
Ongoing prefeasibility work
With the plant coating process design complete, Altech is focused on preliminary process design criteria and sizing of the required mechanical equipment.
Altech has also finished evaluating potential engineering and construction companies in the region, with enquiries made to major equipment package suppliers to gauge pricing.
The company is also in discussions with potential contractors regarding major works packages.
Integrated into the plant will be equipment that can utilise 100% renewable energy from the European electricity market, with supply and pricing discussions with potential providers now complete.
Altech noted no issues were identified after a local environmental consultant reviewed the site.
The consultant also provided a plan and scheduled for obtaining all requisite approvals.
Battery material demand to increase due to surging electric vehicle uptake
Altech has secured a Roskill report on the expected conditions of the electric vehicle industry in Europe including graphite demand for the lithium-ion battery that powers the vehicles.
Roskill predicts graphite demand in lithium-ion batteries will “expand rapidly” underpinned by planned battery gigafactories in the region.
It is estimated these factories will need between 280,000tpa and 350,000tpa of graphite by 2025 and 600,000-800,000tpa by 2030.
As part of its strategy to develop coating graphite anodes for Europe’s battery market, Altech is collaborating with the region’s leading graphite producer German-based SGL Carbon SE.