Emerging high purity alumina (HPA) producer Altech Chemicals (ASX: ATC) is to begin work on a pre-feasibility study for the proposed construction of a battery materials HPA coating plant in the German state of Saxony.
The company says this follows its strategy to focus on tailoring its HPA into specialised products targeted at more efficient applications within the lithium-ion battery industry.
Altech’s 75%-owned German subsidiary Altech Industries Germany (AIG) will investigate the commercial viability of constructing a battery metals coating plant within an industrial park where it has an option over a 14 hectare site.
The plant would use Altech’s alumina technology to coat anode grade materials with HPA, and which would be supplied to the “rapidly growing European lithium-ion battery industry”.
Big subsidies in Germany for EVs
Germany has set out details of its electric vehicle fiscal support program.
This includes €2.5 billion (A$3.9 billion) to be spent on battery cell production and infrastructure for charging the batteries.
The cash subsidy for purchase of an EV has been increased by 50% to €9,000 (A$14,000) and it has been mandated by the German Government that all service stations must offer EV charging points in order to boost consumer demand for the vehicles.
To feed this demand HPA would be supplied from the company’s proposed plant in Malaysia.
Earlier this week, Altech said it was on track to secure additional financing for its Malaysian project, advising the market that preparations for its proposed listed green bond offering of US$144 million (A$186 million) were “progressing well”.
Green bonds raise funds for new and existing projects that deliver positive environmental benefits and a more sustainable economy.
Altech’s HPA processing plant in Johor, Malaysia, was formally assessed as ‘green’ by the independent Centre of International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO) last year as 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 from Altech explains that HPA is “commonly” applied as a coating on the separator sheets used within a lithium-ion battery.
Alumina increases battery life, performance
However, there is also an evolving use for alumina within the anode component of the battery to increase battery life and performance.
The company also recently began battery performance testing of graphite particles which have been subject to its proprietary HPA coating technology.
The company has produced its first batch of coated graphite following a demonstration of its technology to coat graphite particles typical of those used in anode applications within lithium-ion batteries.
That demonstration showed Altech’s formulation was able to deposit a uniform and consistent layer of alumina onto the anode-grade particles with a view to improving battery performance.