Altech Chemicals Ltd (ASX:ATC) has undertaken a detailed ‘mine to gate’ study to compare the greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption from the industry standard high purity alumina (HPA) production process versus the company’s process.
This comes after requests from potential institutional investors and investment banks in Europe for a demonstration of Altech’s kaolin-alumina HPA production process.
The current industry standard is to reprocess high grade aluminium metal feedstock by dissolving the metal in alcohol, hydrolysing, then calcining back to alumina.
This is a high energy intensive process as the feedstock is produced via bauxite which is initially processed into smelter grade alumina which is then fed into an aluminium refinery to produce aluminium metal ingots or power.
Current HPA producers cannot use smelter grade alumina to produce HPA due to the sodium impurities that remain from this process and are driven downstream in the production process to purchase high grade aluminium metal as feedstock.
In comparison, Altech’s process is direct; it involves the extraction of high purity alumina from a kaolin (alumina silicate) ore feedstock using a hydrochloric acid process, rather than from expensive aluminium metal.
The main advantage of this is that kaolin feedstock is extremely ‘clean’ with very low levels of iron compared to bauxite which generates large amounts of red mud waste.
Another advantage is that nearly 100% of the hydrochloric acid used in the chemical process is recycled and reused in the process plant and that all heating in the plant uses natural gas as fuel.
The company’s HPA plant in Malaysia is also designed to international environmental standards and to satisfy the equator principles for lenders.
Altech’s process is estimated at one third to half the cost of the conventional production process.
Lower carbon footprint
The results of the study are that Altech’s process will release 46% less greenhouse gas per tonne of HPA compared to the standard process and will have a comparative carbon footprint of 6.6 tonnes carbon dioxide per tonne of HPA versus 12.3 tonnes cardbon dioxide per tonne of HPA.
In addition, Altech’s HPA production process will deliver a 41% reduction of energy consumption per tonne of HPA, with estimated energy consumption of 45 gigajoules per tonne of HPA, versus 77 gigajoules per tonne of HPA for the conventional process.
Controlled placement agreement
Altech has entered into a controlled placement agreement (CPA) with Acuity Capital for up to $10 million of standby equity capital for the period to January 31, 2023.
The company will control if and when the CPA is utilised, the quantum of shares issued, the minimum issue price of shares and the timing of any issue.
Altech also retains full flexibility to use all other methods or arrangements to raise capital whist the CPA is in place.