Reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 requires energy generation and energy storage advancements. Tesla, at its Battery Day in 2020, discussed several enhancements that will improve the automaker’s line of electric vehicles by creating greater storage capacity and lowering manufacturing costs. One fundamental improvement involves coating battery anodes with silicon to improve storage capacity and extend batteries’ lifespan. Silicon anode batteries are believed to be the next generation of lithium-ion batteries, with a worldwide market forecast to reach US$245.9 million by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 36.5 percent.
Critical challenges prevent the widespread adoption of silicon anode batteries. One such challenge is the delithiation of the battery during its first charge cycle caused by the silicon absorbing the battery’s lithium. Additionally, finding a cost-effective solution to the delithiation problem further complicates the issue. However, Tesla’s recent acquisition of a silicon anode startup validates that this technology is crucial for future batteries. So, how can silicon anode batteries become cost-effective to improve renewable energy storage further?
Altech Chemicals (ASX:ATC, FRA:A3Y) is a research, development and commercialisation company at the cutting edge of producing revolutionary battery materials to advance clean energy electric vehicle battery storage. Altech’s patented high-purity alumina (HPA) coating process for silicon and graphite has “cracked the silicon barrier” by solving the first-charge problem and other challenges that have hindered other companies’ attempts. As a result, Altech Chemicals has produced batteries that have a 30 percent higher energy density than current lithium-ion batteries, which means improved energy storage and a longer battery lifespan.
In a recent interview, Managing Director Iggy Tan stated “There are a couple of barriers: silicon expands 300 percent in volume, fractures and has a substantial first-cycle loss due to grabbing the lithium. A lot of companies are trying to solve this problem. Essentially, we use high-purity alumina coating technology to resolve that silicon problem.”
Altech Chemicals has already purchased land in Germany for its pilot plant to manufacture commercial samples of its patented Silumina AnodesTM product to introduce to the European market as part of the qualification process. In addition, the Company has completed a pre-feasibility study to construct a facility capable of manufacturing 10,000 tonnes per annum (TPA) of Silumina AnodesTM battery material. The pre-feasibility study indicated robust economics including an NPV of US$507M and a favorable internal rate of return of 40 percent, with a low capital cost of just US$95M.
Altech Chemicals has an international patent filing in place for its Silumina AnodesTM battery materials technology. Additionally, the Company is pursuing long-term partnerships with downstream users to become a significant supplier for the European battery market.
An experienced management team of experts in chemical sciences, natural resources, finance and corporate administration will lead the Company towards its goals. Luke Atkins, Non-Executive Chairman, is a lawyer with expertise in corporate governance, provides the Company with experienced leadership. Iggy Tan, Managing Director, is an experienced natural resource and chemical engineering entrepreneur. Additional experts in corporate finance, chemical engineering, and natural resource management creates confidence in the team leading Altech Chemicals.
- Altech Chemicals is a research, development and commercialisation company that has successfully “cracked the silicon barrier” by developing proprietary coating technology that adds silicon and graphite coated anodes to lithium-ion batteries, enhancing energy storage and overall lifespan.
- The Company has solved the initial challenges that have prevented silicon anode batteries from becoming commercially viable.
- Altech Chemicals’ revolutionary product creates batteries with 30 percent higher energy density than standard lithium-ion batteries on the market.
- Construction of a pilot plant in Germany is currently underway to demonstrate the capabilities of the Silumina AnodesTM product to the European electric vehicle battery market.
- A pre-feasibility study for a 10,000 tonnes per annum Silumina AnodesTM plant has been completed, with robust economics being demonstrated.
- An international patent has been filed to protect the Company’s Silumina AnodesTM coating technology.
- An experienced management team is leading Altech Chemicals towards commercialising its Silumina AnodesTM product within the European electric vehicle battery market.
Silumina Anodes™ Proprietary Technology
Altech Chemicals solved key challenges hindering the use of silicon in lithium batteries, such as the first-cycle-loss problem caused by silicon absorbing lithium. As a result, the Company has successfully introduced Silumina AnodesTM to lithium-ion batteries that provide distinct advantages over existing batteries.
- Next-Generation Lithium-Ion Technology: The proprietary silicon-coated anodes create 30 percent higher energy density, resulting in longer battery life and higher load capacity.
- Commercially Viable Solution: There are multiple ways to coat anodes, but many are ineffective or not cost-effective. Altech Chemicals’ solution is commercially viable and provides distinct advantages over existing battery materials.
- Name Registered and International Patent Filed: The Company has registered the name Silumina Anodes™ for its new battery materials. Additionally, an international patent has been filed for protection in 156 countries.
Germany Battery Materials Plant
Altech Chemicals has purchased the land in Saxony, Germany, for its 10,000tpa proprietary Silumina AnodesTM battery materials plant. The plant has a completed pre-feasibility study with outstanding economics. The Company strategically selected the plant’s location to serve the European battery market. The pilot plant will be built adjacent to the land.
- Encouraging Pre-Feasibility Study Completed: The PFS produced robust economics including:
- Pre-tax NPV8 US$ 507 million
- Internal Rate of Return (IRR) 40 percent
- Payback (full rate) 3.1 years
- EBITDA US$ 63 million p.a.
- Capital cost US$ 95 million
- Production costs – US$ 12.20/kg
- Avg. sale price – US$18.50/kg
- Gross Margin – 34 percent
- Plant Designed for Minimal Environmental Impact: The Centre of International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO), located in Norway, has reviewed the plant’s design and awarded it the rating of “Medium Green.” This rating indicates that the project achieves ‘green’ financing.
- Feedstock Supply of Battery-Grade Anode Materials Secured: Altech Chemicals has executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with two European suppliers of battery-grade materials: SGL Carbon and Ferroglobe.
Luke Frederick Atkins LLB - Non-Executive Chairman
Luke Atkins is a lawyer by profession and one of the founders of the Company. Luke brings extensive experience in mining and corporate governance to the board. Luke is also the Non-Executive Director of the successful ASX-listed mining and exploration company, Bauxite Resources Ltd (BRL) (now Australian Silica Quartz Ltd).
Iggy Tan B.Sc MBA GAICD - Managing Director
Iggy Tan is a highly experienced mining and chemical executive with a number of significant achievements in commercial mining projects such as capital raisings, funding, construction, start-ups and operations. Iggy has over 30 years of chemical and mining experience and has been an executive director of a number of ASX-listed companies. He holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Southern Cross, a Bachelor of Science from the University of Western Australia and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Having been involved in the commissioning and start-up of seven resource projects in Australia and overseas, including high purity technology projects, Tan is an accomplished project builder and developer. He previously held the position of managing director of Galaxy Resources Limited. At Galaxy, Iggy was responsible for the capital raising, construction and start-up of the company’s Mt Cattlin spodumene mine ($80M) and the Jiangsu lithium carbonate plant ($100M), which resulted in Galaxy becoming the world’s leading producer of high purity lithium carbonate. The Jiangsu plant was eventually sold for $260m in 2014, at a time when the lithium price was well below today’s price.
Uwe Ahrens - Managing Director Germany
Uwe Ahrens holds Masters in both Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration from the Technical University Darmstadt, Germany. Upon graduation, Ahrens joined the international engineering and industrial plant supplier, KOCH Transporttechnik GmbH in Germany, now belonging to FLSmidth Group, where he held a senior management position for 12 years, working mainly in Germany, USA and South Africa. In 1997, he was based in Kuala Lumpur as General Manager of KOCH in South East Asia and became its Managing Director in 1999. He joined Melewar Group in 2002 and is also currently chief technical officer of the Melewar group of companies being responsible for engineering, upgrading, modification and extension of machinery and plant as well as the overall maintenance.
Martin Stein Chartered Accountant, B. Bus - Chartered Secretary, Chief Financial Officer & Company Secretary
Martin Stein is a finance and corporate executive with over 20 years of international experience. Mr Stein has held the positions of Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary in several ASX-listed companies. In these roles, Mr Stein has been responsible for all aspects of capital raising, financial management, shareholder liaison and corporate governance. Prior to this, Mr Stein held senior positions with Anvil Mining Limited as well as with PwC at its London office. Whilst with PwC, Mr Stein provided corporate services for companies listed on the LSE, NYSE and AIM, including Colgate-Palmolive, Sony, Heinz, DHL Express and Bosch.
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