Altech Chemicals (ASX: ATC) has successfully used its own technology to coat graphite particles that are typically found in lithium-ion battery anodes with high purity alumina (HPA).
Late last month, Altech carried out a first phase demonstration of the technology at Curtin University in Western Australia.
This resulted in the successful application of a uniform and consistent 2-3 nano-metre (nm) coating of HPA to graphite particles.
The University of Western Australia then examined the HPA coated particles under a transmission electron microscope.
What was observed was a “uniform and consistent” HPA layer of 2nm on the outer edge of the graphite particle.
According to Altech, this uniform HPA layer is “critical” for improved lithium-ion battery performance.
This compares to current coating techniques that result in thicker, irregular and inconsistent HPA coatings.
“We’re very encouraged by the near perfect coating results from our technology which has the potential to significantly impact lithium-ion battery performance and address the problem of ‘first cycle capacity loss’,” Altech managing director Iggy Tan said.
“The next stage of work is battery performance testing using our alumina coated graphite, which will aim to demonstrate a step change in battery energy density capacity, performance and battery life,” Mr Tan added.
New HPA coating range
HPA is currently used to coat separator sheets in lithium-ion batteries. The HPA coated separators enhance battery performance, durability and safety.
“There is an evolving use for alumina within the anode component of the lithium-ion battery because of the positive impacts that alumina-coated graphite particles have on battery life and performance,” Altech explained.
As a result, Altech is developing a new product range called Anode Grade APC01 and Anode Grade ALC01.
The company expects its products and particle coating technology will reduce any lithium-ion losses that occur in the first battery charge cycle, and will boost cycling stability, performance and fast charging capability.
Altech plans to develop its proposed products at its HPA plant in Malaysia.
Additionally, the company noted no new specialised equipment will be required – ensuring no material change to the plant’s capital cost.