Lithium-ion disruptor Altech Chemicals’ German battery plant is charging up

Tue 07 Feb 23, 1:24pm (AEST)
Picture of the city of Frankfurt, Germany

Key Points

  • Altech’s German sodium alumina pilot manufacturing plant to be commissioned mid-year
  • Key components currently being manufactured in South Africa
  • Definitive study for ‘stage 2’ scaled-up plant remains in development; Altech has picked German regulatory compliance manager

Altech Chemicals (ASX: ATC), a company developing a new kind of Sodium Alumina Solid State (SASS) battery, provided another update on its German manufacturing activities on Tuesday. 

Altech is currently working with European battery science expert Fraunhofer IKTS in Germany under a Joint Venture (JV) called CERENERGY to establish a SASS battery manufacturing plant.

CERENERY is seeking to demonstrate the commercial viability of Altech’s trademarked Silumina Anodes technology. 

That tech has already garnered interest from EU lawmakers—last September, none other than Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz was run through a presentation on Altech’s offering.

Key components of the manufacturing circuit in question, currently being manufactured in South Africa, are due for arrival at the JV’s German project headquarters, located at the Schwarze Pumpe power station in Spremberg.

The pilot plant is set to be installed and commissioned by 2H 2023. 

Simultaneous Silumina study 

As construction advances, an ongoing Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) underpinning the economics of a larger ‘stage 2’ scaled-up version of the plant remains ongoing. 

The same company tasked with designing the pilot plant, Kuettner, is now progressing the DFS. 

Altech has also contracted Europe’s ARIKON Infrastruktur GmbH to handle construction approvals and regulatory compliance works, with Arikon now responsible for coordination with local authorities and other utilities alike. 

What are the SASS batteries for? 

The SASS batteries in question are intended, once manufactured, to be used on-site predominantly in renewable energy projects as a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS). 

BESSies are the fundamental technology needed to allow for a grid-scale electricity station, whether servicing a small town or megacity, to make a full transition to renewables. 

In short: BESSies can store excess solar and wind power overnight once the sun goes down and if wind intensity changes. 

Superior specifications 

The SASS battery stands to give lithium-ion dominance a run for its money. 

The batteries, according to Altech, are superior to lithium-ion batteries for a number of reasons, including: 

  • SASS batteries pose no combustion risk 

  • SASS batteries are climate change friendly with an ability to withstand more extreme temperatures than lithium-ion

  • Battery life in a SASS build is superior compared to lithium-ion 

The batteries require silicon and alumina, which are both materials Altech has easy access to. Altech used to be mainly a high purity alumina (HPA) developer which pivoted into batteries.

For this reason, the company also flagged in its latest quarterly it intends to change its name to Altech Batteries Limited. 

Altech continues to advance discussion with banks and private lenders in the UK and EU to further bankroll the project ahead of Final Investment Decision (FID) in the larger scaled-up plant. 

A look at Altech's six month charts
A look at Altech's six month charts
Disclaimer: Market Index helps small-cap ASX listed companies connect with Australian investors through clear and concise articles on key developments. Altech was a client at the time of publishing. All coverage contains factual information only and should not be interpreted as an opinion or financial advice.


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Written By

Jonathon Davidson

Finance Writer

Jonathon is a journalism graduate and avid market watcher with exposure to governance, NGO and mining environments. He was most recently hired as an oil and gas specialist for a trade publication.

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