Altech Chemicals advances Cerenergy battery technology

Altech Chemicals ASX ATC Cerenergy battery technology 2022

Altech Chemicals (ASX: ATC) has spent much of the three month period to end September focused on the development of a sodium alumina solid state battery for grid storage.

In the company’s quarterly report released today, it outlined the latest achievements in advancing the technology including the formation of a commercialisation joint venture with German company Fraunhofer IKTS.

Fraunhofer is a world-renowned battery materials and performance research centre which has spent the past eight years developing Cerenergy batteries.

It has spent over $54.4 million on research and development activities and $38.8 million on the operation of a pilot plant in Hermsdorf to trial the technology.

The solid state Cerenergy concept uses common table salt to create a next-generation battery which is free of lithium, graphite, copper and cobalt.

Cerenergy batteries are fire and explosion proof, have an ultra-long lifespan and can operate in extreme climates.

Silumina anodes pilot plant

Altech also spent time during the quarter on pre-construction activities at its silumina anodes pilot plant project at Germany’s Schwarze Pumpe Industrial Park in Saxony.

The company said the procurement of equipment was well advanced and long lead-time items had been ordered.

Required building modifications and panel installation commenced in July and detailed design including commissioning and operational documents is drawing to a close.

Altech has started work on a definitive feasibility study for the 10,000 tonnes per annum plant which will run in parallel with pilot plant construction.

The pilot plant will produce 120 kilograms per day of silumina anode, which will be sent to select end-users for product testing.

Altech’s silumina anode game-changing technology has been considered a key project for Saxony’s industrial development.

The company said growing interest from Europe’s battery and car industries had led to increased political and economic support.

Pouch cell battery production

Altech expanded its Perth-based research and development laboratory during the period to enable the production of pouch cell size batteries to proceed to the next stage of the silumina anodes project.

The in-house facility will allow the company to stage and test electrical abuse scenarios whereby the pouch cell is required to operate outside nominal voltage and current limitations.

Physical and environmental abuse scenarios (where the cell is subject to temperature extremes or mechanical deformation) can also be tested.

HPA project financing

Financing discussions continued during the period for Altech’s Malaysian high purity alumina (HPA) project.

Germany’s export credit agency Euler Hermes renewed a US$170 million export credit cover for a US$190 million senior loan facility from German-owned KfW IPEX-Bank.

It was followed up with a secondary financing deal in the form of a US$144 million green bond offer with London-based structuring agent Bedford Row Capital.

US-based global investment bank DelMorgan and Co has been engaged to secure commitment for up to US$100 million in project equity funding.

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