Emerging battery materials producer Altech Chemicals (ASX: ATC) has signed first-stage agreements with German suppliers of graphite and silicon.
The company has begun a pre-feasibility study for construction of a battery metals coating plant to be located in Saxony, Germany.
In addition, Altech is aiming to become one of the world’s leading suppliers of 99.99% high purity alumina (HPA), with the proposed plant in Johor, Malaysia, to have an annual output of 4,500 tonnes.
The company has executed two memorandums of understanding, one with Germany’s SGL Carbon GmbH, the other with London-based Ferroglobe Innovation.
Key elements for Li-ion anodes
The suppliers will, if the agreements proceed to the final stage, provide Altech with key elements for lithium-ion battery anodes.
The non-binding MoU with SGL Carbon covers the supply of uncoated synthetic graphite anode material to Altech’s proposed Saxony plant.
Altech describes SGL Carbon as a world leader in the development and production of carbon-based solutions, with 2020 reported sales of €919 million (A$1.44 billion). The company has also been the sole supplier of graphite for Altech’s test work in Perth.
The non-binding MoU with Ferroglobe covers silicon anode material.
Altech says the British-Spanish company has the ability to produce high purity silicon and is targeting the development of tailor-made silicon powders for use in the anode of lithium-ion batteries.
“The supply of high-quality graphite and silicon from these leading European-based materials suppliers would also minimise transport emissions attributed to feedstock shipments,” Altech noted.
“Plus, their respective production facilities have the potential to utilise Europe’s extensive green electricity market.”
Deals with EU feedstock providers reduces supply chain risks
Altech’s German subsidiary and the two new suppliers will be covered by the same stringent European Union environmental regulations.
In addition, having EU-based feedstock providers is expected to reduce future supply chain risks “when compared with non-European suppliers”.
Altech’s HPA processing plant plan in Johor, Malaysia, has been formally assessed as ‘green’ by the independent Centre of International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO) after the company demonstrated its disruptive HPA production technology can deliver an estimated 49% reduction in carbon footprint (compared to conventional HPA processing) and use about 41% less energy.
A background note at the time from Altech explained that HPA is “commonly” applied as a coating on the separator sheets used within a lithium-ion battery.