ASX-listed Altech Chemicals Limited, Subiaco, Australia, has officially opened an advanced battery materials research and development centre in Germany where it is seeking to construct a battery materials high purity alumina coating plant. The company is ticking along with a pre-feasibility study into the venture as it looks to fast-track its coating technology to full-scale commercialisation.
The company’s 75 per cent owned subsidiary, Altech Industries Germany, or “AIG”, is leading the feasibility work in the German state of Saxony.
AIG is looking to construct the plant that can apply high purity alumina or “HPA” coatings to precursor battery anode products, typically made of graphite, for use in the burgeoning lithium-ion battery market. The market is expanding due to growing demand for electric vehicles.
Management says a recent report into the electric vehicle market by renowned commodity research group, Roskill, projected the global market for graphite anode materials is set for some serious growth.
The report concluded that planned European gigafactories are forecast to consume between 280,000 and 350,000 tonnes of graphite anode material per annum by 2025, and between 600,000 and 800,000 tpa by 2030.
Intriguingly, German automotive giants Volkswagen, BMW, Porsche and Daimler also host their production operations in Saxony.
Management says leading battery material science organisation, the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramics Technologies and Systems IKTS, is also based in the region.
AIG’s newly opened centre consists of office and warehouse space in the Schwarze Pumpe industrial estate, 120km south of Berlin. The warehouse will house the company’s research and development facility.
AIG has an option to acquire a 14-hectare site at the industrial park on which the proposed plant is set to be built.
Management says the official opening of the centre was attended by a wide array of government and business representatives, with the proposed alumina coating plant warmly received by Saxony state government officials following a briefing on the pre-feasibility study.
The study is ticking along with an array of activities on the proposed 10,000 tonne per annum plant being advanced.
The four-stage battery material coating process design has now been finalised, with capital and operating cost estimates for the operation currently being sourced.
Initial environmental clearances for the site have been obtained with schedules for more detailed environmental permitting now established.
Altech is evaluating engineering and construction companies that could be in line to build the plant and has also identified various potential suppliers of raw materials.
Curiously, the plant will be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy and discussions with local energy retailers for sourcing of green electricity have concluded.
Via the research and development centre Altech is seeking to enhance its coating technology to produce material for testing by European battery manufacturers.
Ultimately, the company aims to fully commercialise its battery materials coating technology in Germany.