Frankfurt am Main (pta037/23.09.2020/16:25) - Highlights:
* New product development for lithium-ion battery anode
* Specially designed formulation of HPA
* Positive impact on lithium-ion battery life and chargeability
* Increased Altech focus on tailoring HPA for specific lithium battery applications
Altech Advanced Materials AG ("AAM") (FRA: AMA1) is pleased to announce that Altech Chemicals Limited ("Altech") has commenced work on the development of a high purity alumina (HPA) grade that is specifically designed for anode applications in lithium-ion batteries. This initiative is in response to lithium-ion battery anode development trends that Altech has identified in Europe from its engagement with potential HPA users, and from its work with research organisations such as the international renowned Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems (IKTS) of Dresden, Germany. The initiative also offers another potential avenue to fix a portion of future HPA production at a predetermined floor price, which would support project financial close.
HPA is commonly applied as a coating on the separator sheets used within a lithium-ion battery, as alumina coated separators improve battery performance, durability and overall safety. However, 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.
Lithium-ion battery anodes are typically composed of graphite. In a lithium-ion battery, lithium ion losses initially present as inactive layers of lithium ions that form during the very first battery charge cycle, the losses then compound with each subsequent battery usage cycle. Typically, around 8% of lithium-ions are lost during the very first battery charge cycle. This "first cycle capacity loss" or "first-cycle irreversibility" is a long recognised but as yet poorly resolved limitation that has plagued rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.
If the first cycle capacity loss can be reduced or eliminated, battery life can be increased by allowing more lithium ions to participate in ongoing operation of the battery.
First cycle capacity loss in a lithium-ion battery is because of the deposition of lithium ions onto the anode graphite particles within the battery during the initial battery charging cycle. This forms a layer of material on the anode termed a "solid electrolyte interphase" (SEI). Currently the graphite particles used in lithium-ion battery anodes are uncoated, however manufactures are now seeking to coat anode graphite particles with very thin layers of alumina. Tests have demonstrated that alumina coated graphite particles have the potential to reduce first cycle capacity loss. In turn, this innovation can measurably increase battery energy retention, extend battery life and improve overall battery performance.
The Altech break-through
As a result of ground-breaking research and development work led by the Company's General Manager Operations and Marketing, Dr. Jingyuan Liu, Altech is now proceeding to an independent verification phase of its method for the alumina coating of graphite particles. University and laboratory verification of the process (patent pending) is due for completion during the next quarter, and Altech expects that positive verification will result in potential end-user trials, and eventually commercialisation of the process.
Whilst the proposed new product formulation is confidential, it includes Altech's planned fine modified alumina plus some supporting compounds. The new product range will be called "Anode Grade APC01" and "Anode Grade ALC01".
The product and treatment method is expected to improve Coulombic Efficiency (CE) (especially the CE in first cycle), cycling stability, high-rate performance and fast charging capability. Altech will focus on tailoring its high purity alumina into specialised products for significant more efficient application within various process technologies within the lithium-ion battery industry.
Altech's proposed Anode grade product range will be produced by Altech's already designed HPA plant in Johor, Malaysia. No new specialised equipment will be required, consequently it is not expected that there will be any material change in the estimated capital cost for the Johor HPA plant from the proposed production of these new products.
Iggy Tan, Managing Director of Altech Chemicals and member of the management board of AAM said that the new HPA anode grade product development is a very exciting for the Company. "We have the potential to take lithium-ion battery performance to the next stage with the use of Altech's alumina coating product and technology. Commercialising the process would represent a significant step in lithium-ion battery anode evolution", he said.
The Management Board
About Altech Advanced Materials AG
Altech Advanced Materials AG ("AAM") currently plans to subscribe up to 49% in Altech Chemicals Australia PTY LTD ("Altech Australia") for up to USD 100 million from Altech Chemicals Ltd, Australia. AAM is currently implementing its capital raising strategy to be able to fund the investment.
Altech Australia is currently building a high-purity alumina (99.99%, 4N HPA) production facility for 4,500 tons p.a. in Malaysia and also has its own deposit for the mining of the main raw material kaolin. 4N HPA is needed for the production of LED lights as well as a separator for lithium-ion batteries, e.g. needed for electric vehicles and smartphones. Market demand for 4N HPA is expected to grow with a CAGR of 30% p.a. until 2028. The process patented by Altech Australia allows the production of HPA as cost leader, as the HPA can be obtained directly from kaolin. This allows production without the use of energy-intensive aluminium. The production volume for the first 10 years is secured by an off-take agreement with Mitsubishi Australia and the production capacity and quality is guaranteed by the German plant manufacturer, SMS group GmbH, Dusseldorf, which has also agreed to contribute in equity to the Altech HPA project.
The project has an investment volume of approximately USD 390 million, of which KfW-IPEX Bank has already committed USD 190 million under certain conditions and of which USD 10 million is assumed as equity investment from SMS group GmbH. Altech Chemicals is in talks with Macquarie Bank on the provision of USD 90 million in mezzanine capital. The remaining USD 100 million is to be made available by AAM.(end)
|emitter:||Altech Advanced Materials AG|
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|contact person:||Hansjörg Plaggemars|
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