Altech Chemicals Ltd (ASX:ATC) has advised that it generated strong interest as an emerging high purity alumina (HPA) producer during its recent attendance at the 12th China International Battery Fair in Shenzhen, China.
There is a growing application for HPA in lithium-ion batteries, where it is used as a coating on the ceramic separator sheets that divide the cathode and anode electrodes within the battery.
The lithium-ion battery separator sheet membrane acts as a critical safety barrier inside the battery.
HPA-coated separators withstand unusually high temperature incursions, increase battery separator shrinkage temperatures, reduce flammability during thermal runaways and thus make lithium-ion batteries much safer.
HPA-coated separators also increase battery discharge rates, lower self-discharge, and lengthen battery life cycles.
The use of HPA lithium-ion battery separators is growing rapidly.
Altech said that based on discussions with various lithium-ion battery separator sheet manufacturers at the CIBF, electric vehicle manufacturers are demanding lithium-ion batteries with 99.99% (4N) HPA-coated separators.
These manufacturers are reporting usage of between 40-120g of HPA per battery kilowatt-hour (kWh).
According to CIBF delegate sources, 99.99% (4N) HPA is currently being supplied to Chinese lithium-ion battery separator sheet manufacturers at RMB180 to RMB200 per kilogram (US$27 to US$30 per kilogram).
This confirms the long-term price assumption for HPA in Altech’s bankable feasibility study (BFS), which adopted a conservative estimate of US$23 per kilogram.
The particle size of the HPA product is required to be ultra-fine, less than 2 microns, which Altech’s proposed HPA plant in Malaysia is designed to achieve.
Given the global push for electric vehicles and energy storage, lithium-ion batteries are expected to be increasingly significant for HPA demand.
Iggy Tan, managing director for Altech, commented:
“The timing for construction of Altech’s proposed HPA plant in Malaysia appears perfect, with two parallel streams of near-term HPA demand growth now apparent.
“HPA demand growth in the LED sector has long been acknowledged and understood; this growth is however now complemented by HPA demand growth in the lithium-ion battery industry, specifically from battery separator sheet manufacturers.
"This is an extremely exciting development for Altech.
"The company expects that HPA from its proposed Malaysian plant will be a highly sought after product.”
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