Altech Chemicals Ltd (ATC.AX) Launch of Silumina Anodes Product Name
Perth, Australia, Jan 27, 2022 - (ABN Newswire) - Altech Chemicals Limited (ASX:ATC) (HAM:A3Y) is pleased to announce that it has launched and registered the product name Silumina Anodes (TM) for its alumina coated composite silicon-graphite lithium-ion battery anode material.
Based on Altech's test work, its Silumina AnodesTM product is expected to provide for the manufacture of battery anodes, that when incorporated into a lithium-ion battery, result in a battery that has higher energy retention capacity by volume and weight compared to a battery using the incumbent graphite only battery anode. The key differentiation point of Silumina AnodesTM is that it will be a composite material of silicon and graphite particles that have been coated with alumina, using Altech's proprietary alumina coating technology.
At its Perth research and development laboratory, Altech has been successful in applying its alumina coating technology to both silicon and graphite particles, typical of those used in the anode of lithium-ion batteries. Altech's laboratory test work has demonstrated that a lithium-ion battery using an anode comprised of composite graphite and silicon particles coated with alumina, improved battery energy capacity, energy retention, life and performance when compared to a conventional lithium-ion battery using a graphite only anode (the incumbent technology).
On 25 November 2021, the Company announced a significant breakthrough achieved by its research and development laboratory located in Perth, Western Australia. After almost 12 months of challenging work, the R&D team "cracked the silicon barrier" and successfully produced a series of lithium-ion battery anode materials, which when tested showed ~30% higher energy retention capacity compared to conventional graphite only lithium-ion battery anode material.
To achieve its breakthrough, Altech successfully combined silicon particles that had been treated with its innovative proprietary coating technology with regular battery grade graphite particles, to produce a lithium-ion battery electrode containing a composite graphite / silicon anode. When energised, these materials held 30% more capacity compared to a conventional graphite only anode material. Also, the previously unresolved obstacles for using silicon in lithium-ion battery anodes were, silicon particle swelling; prohibitive first-cycle-capacity-loss of up to 50%; and rapid battery degradation from each charge and discharge cycle. Each of these were also resolved during the laboratory testing of Altech's composite graphite/silicon battery anode's. Importantly, the batteries demonstrated extremely good stability and cycling performance over extended periods.
The lithium-ion battery industry has recognised that the required step change to increase lithium-ion battery energy density and reduced cost is to introduce silicon into battery anodes, as silicon has ~ ten times the energy retention capacity compared to graphite. Silicon metal has been identified as the most promising anode material for the next generation of lithium-ion batteries. However, until now silicon was unable to be used in commercial lithium-ion batteries due to two critical drawbacks. Firstly, silicon particles expand by up to 300% in volume during battery charge, causing particle swelling, fracturing and ultimately battery failure. The second challenge is that silicon deactivates a high percentage of the lithium ions in a battery. Lithium ions are rendered in-active by the silicon, immediately reducing battery performance and life. The industry has been in a race to crack the silicon barrier.
Altech's potentially game changing technology has demonstrated that silicon particles can be modified to resolve the capacity loss caused by swelling and first-cycle-loss capacity. Phase 2 of Altech's planned R&D program will see the Company strive to improve on the 30% energy increase achieved in the first phase.
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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