- Altech Chemicals has cracked the silicon code in the anode of lithium-ion batteries.
- The game-changing alumina battery coating technology improves the energy capacity of lithium-ion batteries by 30%.
- Altech’s R&D team is advancing to commence Phase 2 to attain capacity retention beyond the current 30%.
In a significant update, Altech Chemicals Limited (ASX:ATC|FRA:A3Y) has announced a major breakthrough in lithium-ion battery technology. The Company’s R&D team has cracked the ‘silicon barrier’, achieving a 30% higher battery performance.
As the bourse welcomed the upbeat update, ATC shares soared nearly 32% midday to AU$0.14 on 25 November 2021. The Company has a market capitalisation of AU$180.4 million.
The team at the Company’s R&D lab in Perth, Western Australia achieved the significant breakthrough after an extensive series of experiments and research works.
The Company successfully produced and tested a series of lithium-ion battery anode materials that have ~30% higher retention capacity compared to conventional lithium-ion battery anode materials. The development holds the key to improving energy capacity, stability, and cyclic performance of a battery.
Impact of adding silicon in lithium battery
This breakthrough development comes at a time when the world is shifting towards electric vehicles (EVs). As per the Resources and Energy Quarterly September 2021 version, the EV market is anticipated to grow by 30% to nearly 25 million units annually by 2030. For 2021, total sales of EVs are forecast at 5 million units.
An EV in its lifetime may use several batteries. Making more efficient lithium-ion batteries with a longer life span is the need of the hour.
Backed by the immense potential of its alumina coating technology and the latest outcomes, Altech has embarked on Phase 2 of R&D works, aimed at attaining capacity retention beyond the current 30%.
Silicon has 10 times more energy capacity than graphite. The introduction of silicon as an anode material in the lithium-ion battery significantly improves the energy density, whilst also cutting down the costs. The battery industry faces two critical challenges:
Image source: Company update, 30 July 2021
How did Altech solve the problem?
Altech’s R&D team, headed by Dr Jingyuan Liu, after extensive research efforts, finally resolved swelling and first-cycle loss problems. The research team worked on high purity alumina (HPA) coating technology on the battery anode materials and believes it could minimise these issues, thereby, improving the performance and lifespan of battery packs.
Dr Jingyuan Liu supervising the test work (Image source: Company update, 30 July 2021)
The half-cell battery test results of alumina-coated silicon incorporated in graphite anodes showed a 30% increase in energy capacity compared to a normal lithium-ion battery. Altech’s lithium -ion battery averaged around 430 mAh/g and showed excellent stability over a long cycle period against normal lithium-ion batteries which average around 330 mAh/g. The silicon and graphite samples were acquired from Altech’s European partners Ferroglobe Group and SGL Carbon.
R&D work in progress (Image source: Company update, 25 November 2021)
Mr Iggy Tan, Managing Director of Altech Chemicals, reacting to the breakthrough results stated that even US-based EV manufacturer Tesla planned to increase the amount of silicon in lithium-batteries to improve energy density and battery life. It is truly remarkable that Altech achieved the significant feat and now holds the pole position in the industry.
Data source: Company update, 25 November 2021