Frankfurt am Main (pta026/10.11.2020/14:00) - Highlights:
* Development MOU signed by Altech Chemicals Ltd with world leading Li-ion battery silicon powder supplier
* Silicon anode, potential future in Li-ion batteries
* Silicon ten times capacity versus carbon anodes
* Volume change, low Initial Coulombic Efficiency are road blocks
* Alumina coating of silicon seen as long term solution
* Apply Altech HPA and coating technology to silicon powders
Altech Advanced Materials AG ("AAM") (FRA: AMA1) is pleased to announce that Altech Chemicals Limited ("Altech") has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a leading silicon producer to collaborate in high purity alumina ("HPA") coating of silicon metal powders for the lithium-ion battery industry. The joint development will utilize Altech Chemicals Australia PTY LTD ("Altech Australia's") fine alumina particle application know-how to coat various lithium-ion battery grade silicon metal powders.
The silicon company is one of the world's largest producers of silicon metal and its alloys, and of high-grade silicon metal powders that range in purity from 99.0% (2N) to 99.999% (5N). Specifically, their silicon metal powders are available to lithium-ion battery manufactures, it offers a range of finely ground silicon metal powders with different chemical compositions for incorporation into lithium-ion battery anode's.
Increasing the amount of silicon in a lithium-ion battery anode (normally graphite) is considered by many (including the likes of Tesla) to be the next quantum leap in lithium-ion battery evolution. Silicon metal has almost eleven times the (theoretical) energy storage capacity compared to graphite. At its recent battery day, Tesla stated that silicon oxide-based solutions should be "the advanced anode of choice for mainstream battery producers today, and they should be expected to dominate the market over the next five to seven years".
However, the incorporation of significant quantities of silicon metal powder into a lithium-ion battery anode has been elusive because of three significant limitations which have yet to be sufficiently overcome, they are:
* A 300% volume change in the silicon material during battery charge and discharge, this results in extremely poor cyclability performance and considerably shorter battery life;
* The interaction between the powdered silicon metal's surface and the battery electrolyte results in the formation of unstable solid-electrolyte interphase (SEI) in the anode. This robs the battery of active lithium-ions at a rate much faster than graphite, resulting in the rapid loss of battery capacity; and
* The first cycle capacity loss increases as more silicon is incorporated into the lithium-ion battery anode. Battery capacity losses of up to 30% on first charge have been reported, this compares to an ~ 8% first charge capacity loss for a graphite-based anode.
The industry believes that high purity alumina coating and incorporation in the silicon anode will be the game changer. The introduction of HPA to either finely coat silicon metal particles and/or otherwise favorably modify the crystal structure of the silicon is a potential solution.
The silicon company approached Altech shortly after the Company's Announcement about the commencement of an independent verification phase of Altech's method for the alumina coating of graphite particles.
Under the Memorandum of Understanding, both companies will collaborate and analyze outcome of using Altech Australia's technology and HPA to coat and/or modify the structure of various silicon metal powders specifically designed and supplied by the silicon company. Altech Australia will undertake the work and retain any of the intellectual property that may be developed during the collaboration. Both companies have agreed that they will negotiate in good faith to commercialize any successful process/es derived from the collaboration.
The Management Board
About Altech Advanced Materials AG
Altech Advanced Materials AG ("AAM") currently plans to acquire up to 49% of Altech Chemicals Australia PTY LTD ("Altech Australia"), a subsidiary of Altech Chemicals, for up to USD 100 million. AAM is currently implementing its capital raising strategy to finance this investment.
Altech Australia is currently building a production plant for high-purity alumina (99.99%; 4N HPA) for 4,500 tons p.a. in Malaysia and also has its own deposit for the extraction of the main raw material kaolin. 4N HPA is required for the production of LED lights and as a separator for lithium-ion batteries, which are needed for electric vehicles and smartphones, for example. According to market studies, demand for 4N HPA is expected to grow by an average of 30% p.a. until 2028. Altech Australia's proprietary process allows the production of HPA as a cost leader, as HPA can be extracted directly from kaolin. This allows a production without the use of energy-intensive aluminium. The acceptance of the production volume for the first 10 years has been secured by an off-take agreement with Mitsubishi Australia and the production capacity and quality is guaranteed by the German plant engineering company SMS group GmbH from Düsseldorf, which has also agreed to provide equity capital for the Altech HPA project.
The overall project has a remaining investment volume of around USD 390 million, of which KfW-IPEX Bank has already committed USD 190 million under certain conditions and SMS group GmbH has already entered into an equity commitment of USD 10 million. Altech Chemicals Limited is currently in discussions with Macquarie Bank regarding the provision of USD 90 million mezzanine capital. The remaining USD 100 million is to be provided by AAM.(end)
|emitter:||Altech Advanced Materials AG|
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|contact person:||Hansjörg Plaggemars|
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