Heidelberg (pta045/16.03.2021/19:35) - Highlights
* Altech's technology improves capacity retention during cycling in electric vehicles through novel nanocoating
* Game Changer Altech: Silicon coating can remove previous technological barriers
Altech Advanced Materials AG (Altech/the Company) (ASX: ATC) (FRA: A3Y), holds a 25% interest in Altech Industries Germany ("AIG"), the other shareholder being Altech Chemicals Limited, Australia ("ATC"). AIG holds the exclusive rights for the European Union to use the patents of Altech Australia Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of ATC, relating to the manufacture of HPA and Anode Grade. The companies are hereinafter collectively referred to as the "Altech Group" or "Altech".
Altech Group, a technology leader in electric mobility battery optimization, achieved a breakthrough in potentially reducing first charge losses in the next generation of batteries in the electric mobility industry. The successful application of its aluminum oxide nano-coating technology to silicon particles for anodes, as used in lithium-ion batteries, will also make it possible to prevent the typical initial charge losses in the batteries of the future.
Altech's solution for first charge cycle loss
For a long time, the battery industry has been looking for a solution to prevent the first-cycle loss that occurs in every battery. During initial charging, lithium ions settle on the anode and are no longer available for energy exchange. This results in an ad-hoc energy loss of about 8 percent. Altech's nanocoating with high-purity aluminum (HPA) prevents this negative effect. This additional charging capacity is then available over the entire life cycle of the battery. At the same time, it becomes possible, for example, to run more power-charging cycles without shortening the life of a battery. The successful application of Altech's technology in coating graphite particles with fine aluminum oxide was already confirmed at the end of 2020. Now the next technological breakthrough has been made: silicon particles have also been successfully coated.
Game Changer Silicon Coating
The expansion of the application coating technology on silicon particles is a significant breakthrough. Market leaders such as Tesla have already declared their intention to increase the amount of silicon in batteries in the future. This should lead to a gradual improvement in energy density and battery life. Compared to graphite, silicon has a ten times higher theoretical energy capacity, which predestines it for use in anodes of lithium-ion batteries. However, the volume expansion of the silicon particles by up to 300 percent when they are energized is challenging. In addition, there is a further increase in "first-cycle lithium loss" compared with the use of graphite. These effects have so far slowed down further development despite the significant improvements in performance that are expected. There is consensus in the battery industry that the encapsulation of silicon particles by applying a nanolayer of aluminum oxide can contain these negative side effects. Thus, Altech's existing technology leadership is a "game changer" in battery development: Altech is paving the way for higher energy density and lifetime of lithium-ion batteries and lower first-cycle lithium loss. And that includes the next generation of higher performance batteries with increased silicon content.
Test results show the positive effect
To test its fine particle alumina coating technology, Altech used silicon samples sourced from its collaborative partner Silico Ferrosolar, a subsidiary of Ferroglobe Group. Altech was able to adapt the alumina nanocoating to the difficult-to-master unique properties of silicon particles. A uniform and consistent layer of alumina was deposited on the outer edge of the silicon particle, encapsulating the particle. This is the key requirement to achieve the desired positive effect of avoided lithium bonding at the anode. Lithium ions cannot stick to such a smooth surface on an atomic scale. This is the desired effect of Altech's unique aluminum oxide coating technology.
The next steps: Battery test
The next step in the testing process is to incorporate the coated silicon particles into a battery anode and conduct battery performance tests. These test series will aim to demonstrate and quantify the potential performance enhancements and lifetime improvements of lithium-ion batteries with Altech's HPA-coated silicon anodes.
For Altech Chemicals Limiteds General Manager Operations and Chief Scientist, Dr. Jingyuan Liu, the verification of Altech's coating technology on silicon particles is an important milestone in the ongoing development: "The near-perfect coating results achieved by applying our technology are very encouraging. Such nano-scale smooth surfaces have the potential to significantly increase the use of silicon in lithium-ion battery anodes, thereby increasing the energy density, overall performance and longevity of batteries. The next step is to further optimise the coating process."Altech expects to have initial battery performance test results before the end of second quarter of 2021.
About Altech Advanced Materials AG
Heidelberg-based Altech Advanced Materials AG (ISIN: DE000A2LQUJ6), which is listed on the stock exchange, holds a stake in Altech Industries Germany, which is setting up a first production site for the nanocoatings of graphite and/or silicon particles in Germany in Saxony. Nanocoatings with high-purity aluminum oxide can prevent the normal power loss of about 8 percent during initial charging of a lithium-ion battery. In addition, the service life can be extended by up to 20 percent and the fast-charging behavior can be improved by the aluminum oxide coatings. Final product testing for the patent-protected technology is underway. AAM is also integrated into the international production activities of Altech Chemicals Ltd, Australia, resulting in additional opportunities in the growth sector of alumina. The companies, collectively known as the Altech Group, are technology leaders in the optimization of batteries for electric mobility. Further information at: http://www.altechadvancedmaterials.com(end)
|emitter:||Altech Advanced Materials AG|
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|contact person:||Hansjörg Plaggemars|
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