Altech Chemicals Ltd (ATC.AX) Pre-Feasibility Study - HPA Battery Materials Coating Plant
Perth, Australia, Feb 12, 2021 - (ABN Newswire) - Altech Chemicals Limited (ASX:ATC) (HAM:A3Y) is pleased to announce that its 75% owned German subsidiary, Altech Industries Germany GmbH (AIG), is to commence a pre-feasibility study on the construction of a battery materials high purity alumina (HPA) coating plant in Saxony, Germany. This follows the Company's strategy to focus on tailoring its high purity alumina into specialised products targeted at more efficient applications within the lithium-ion battery industry.
The AIG study will assess the commercial viability of constructing a battery materials coating plant at the Schwarze Pumpe Industrial Park in Saxony, Germany, where AIG has an option to acquire a ~14Ha site. The coating plant would use Altech's alumina coating technology to coat anode grade materials with HPA, which would be supplied to the rapidly growing European lithium-ion battery industry (see Figure 1*). It is contemplated that the coating plant's HPA feedstock requirement would eventually be satisfied from Altech's proposed Malaysian HPA plant. The pre-feasibility work is set to commence in March 2021, and will be jointly funded by the AIG shareholders - Altech 75% and Altech Advanced Materials AG 25%.
On 22 December 2020, Altech announced the successful demonstration of its alumina coating technology to coat graphite particles typical of those used in anode applications within lithium-ion batteries (anode grade graphite), with a nano layer of high purity alumina (HPA). The demonstration showed that Altech's technology was able to deposit a uniform and consistent layer of alumina (approximately 2nm thick) onto anode grade graphite particles. The uniformity and consistency of an alumina layer on anode grade graphite is expected to be important to improve lithium-ion battery performance. Following the completion of the demonstration, Altech proceeded to produce a sufficient quantity of coated graphite to proceed to a first stage of battery test-work. On 25 January 2021, the Company commenced the performance testing of batteries containing the alumina coated graphite particles (see Figure 2*).
European Union's COVID-19 Recovery Plan
In late 2020, the European Union (EU) announced a EUR1.85 trillion European Recovery Plan (ERP) aimed to help kick start the European economy post COVID-19. The plan's near term priority is to repair the immediate economic and social damage brought by the coronavirus pandemic, kickstart economic recovery and prepare for a better future for the next generation. However, EUR750 billion (or 41%) of the ERP budget is allocated to Next Generation EU, a new initiative to accelerate the twin green and digital transition for Europe, within which the European Commission will focus on unlocking investment in clean technologies and value chains, such as renewable and energy storage technologies - including batteries. Specifically, the plan commits to support finance for one million new electric vehicle (EV) charging points throughout Europe and the implementation of an Action Plan on Critical Raw Materials applicable to e-mobility, batteries and renewable energy. Altech believes that HPA, as a critical input into lithium-ion battery manufacture, would fall within the scope of the EU action plan. Also, a draft of the ERP included a EUR20 billion EU-wide purchasing facility for clean vehicles and a EUR40-60 billion clean automotive investment fund, to accelerate investments in zero emissions drive trains.
Although this level of detail was not included in the final high-level EU ERP communique - it is indicative of strong EU fiscal support for the European EV and renewable energy storage sectors.
Germany however has been more specific in providing details of the EV industry fiscal support that it has incorporated in its economic stimulus package post COVID-19. As part of Germany's EUR130 billion coronavirus stimulus package announce in June 2020:
- EUR2.5 billion will be spent on battery cell production and charging infrastructure;
- there is a 50% increase (to EUR9,000/vehicle) on the cash subsidy for EV purchases; and
- it has been mandated that all service stations must offer electric car charging points to help remove refuelling concerns and boost consumer demand for EV's.
The European and German initiatives are expected to provide a significant boost to EV demand along with the broader stimulus plan which included taxes to penalise ownership of large polluting combustion-engine sports utility vehicles. Germany's announcement follows a French initiative announced by President Macron to boost electric car sales within that country. Europe has a very clear commitment to battery-powered vehicles and placing electric mobility as a principal technology of the future.
*To view tables and figures, please visit:
About Altech Chemicals Ltd:
Altech Chemicals Limited (ASX:ATC) (FRA:A3Y) is aiming to become one of the world's leading suppliers of 99.99% (4N) high purity alumina (Al2O3) through the construction and operation of a 4,500tpa high purity alumina (HPA) processing plant at Johor, Malaysia. Feedstock for the plant will be sourced from the Company's 100%-owned kaolin deposit at Meckering, Western Australia and shipped to Malaysia.
HPA is a high-value, high margin and highly demanded product as it is the critical ingredient required for the production of synthetic sapphire. Synthetic sapphire is used in the manufacture of substrates for LED lights, semiconductor wafers used in the electronics industry, and scratch-resistant sapphire glass used for wristwatch faces, optical windows and smartphone components. Increasingly HPA is used by lithium-ion battery manufacturers as the coating on the battery's separator, which improves performance, longevity and safety of the battery. With global HPA demand approximately 19,000t (2018), it is estimated that this demand will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30% (2018-2028); by 2028 HPA market demand will be approximately 272,000t, driven by the increasing adoption of LEDs worldwide as well as the demand for HPA by lithium-ion battery manufacturers to serve the surging electric vehicle market.
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