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More power to Altech at German battery plant

Altech Batteries has designed its Gridpack to be stacked to save space. Credit: File

Altech Batteries says a definitive feasibility study shows it will be able to pump out 20 per cent more power than expected at its proposed Cerenergy sodium chloride solid-state grid battery plant in Germany.

Through technical design optimisation, alongside lead engineering company Leadec and joint venture (JV) partner Fraunhofer, Altech believes it will now be able to produce 120 of its 1MWh “GridPacks” per year. Management says the boost from its initial estimate of 100 units a year is expected to come without any additional capital costs.

The GridPack is aimed at larger-scale operations such as industrial power back-up and grid storage. It comprises 18 batteries in the size of a 6m-high sea container and weighs less than 17 tonnes.

Management says its GridPack has been designed to ensure complete protection from the elements and does not require any shelter or housing. Unlike lithium-ion batteries, they do not require cooling fans or any component with moving parts, ensuring they are noise-free and can be used in residential neighbourhoods.

A significant design update allows triple stacking of the GridPacks and facilitates seamless interconnection between each unit. The GridPacks can be stacked atop one another using a simple electrical connection, which minimises the space occupied by grid-storage battery packs.

The company also recently revealed an updated design of its 60KWh battery pack, which features a stainless-steel exterior and is expected to better withstand extreme temperature variations after upgrading from the previous blue paint.

From the beginning, we recognised a considerable margin built into the different equipment designs. Initially, our approach to facility design was quite conservative. However, as we’ve progressed in finalising the overall equipment operations, it has become evident that we possess the capability to increase our production rate. We are currently in the final stages of the DFS, where we are meticulously reviewing all cost factors, including operating consumables and purchased items. Altech Batteries managing director Iggy Tan

The company’s JV agreement with world-leading German battery institute Fraunhofer was created to commercialise its revolutionary Cerenergy sodium chloride solid-state battery. Touted as a game-changing alternative to lithium-ion batteries, Altech’s battery technology substitutes humble table salt in place of lithium, cobalt, graphite and copper, eliminating exposure to critical metal price rises and supply chain concerns.

The JV duo shares plans to construct a 120MWh production facility on Altech’s land in the German State of Saxony. That plant will produce Cerenergy battery modules destined to provide storage solutions to the burgeoning grid power storage battery market.

Mr Tan says being able to increase power increase without incurring further costs will play a key role in swelling the financial bottom line of the project. “It’s a very exciting way of re-rating this whole project,” he said.

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