Altech nears construction of German battery factory

ASX-listed energy technology company Altech Chemicals is weeks away from starting construction of its groundbreaking battery boost production plant in the German state of Saxony after ramping up construction activity on the site. A Preliminary Feasibility Study, or “PFS,” already completed suggests the pilot plant could generate a net present value of US$507 million.

The 10,000 tonne per year facility will be used to produce the company’s patented ‘Silumina Anodes’ coated battery anode material and the product will then be sold to a handful of European-based battery and vehicle manufacturers.

Late last year, the company combined silicon particles treated with its coating technology on ordinary battery-grade graphite to produce a lithium-ion battery electrode containing a graphite-silicon composite anode.

Altech found that its concoction produced a series of anode materials with 30% greater retention capacity than traditional anode materials containing only graphite.

The company is now racing against time to bring its patented battery booster product to market, with the German pilot plant named as a key player in delivering its products.

The company enlisted German developer Kuttner GmbH and Co. to bring the facility to life. Kuttner’s engineering committee is currently working to complete operational documentation for the site as design work for the facility is nearing completion.

Altech management believes that all long-term equipment for the Dock3 pilot plant – a leased warehouse space next to Altech’s property in the Schwarze Pumpe industrial park – has already been ordered.

With production sites for Volkswagen, BMW, Porsche, Daimler and electric vehicle giant Tesla all strategically located in the same industrial park, Altech could have a line of potential customers literally sitting on its dootstop.

Given that Tesla’s larger-than-life CEO recently said that implementing more silicon in battery anodes is a key step in reducing the cost of lithium-ion batteries and improving their energy density, the company could be the first door Altech knocks on.

A recent study by a leading business research group, BloombergNEF, suggested that by 2040, around 58% of all new vehicles manufactured are expected to be electric or hybrid. In Germany alone, the products are expected to account for nearly half of all vehicle sales by 2025.

The project has also seen a flurry of government support lately, with German Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz recently visiting Dock3 to review the project’s progress.

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James R. Rhodes