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Pilot plant update a boost for looming Altech Batteries DFS

Altech Batteries’ Silumina Anodes pilot plant. Credit: File

Altech Batteries has revealed a vital update for key aspects of its cutting-edge Silumina Anodes pilot plant in the German State of Saxony to help progress its definitive feasibility study for a 10,000 tonnes per annum operation.

The company says permitting, site design and supplier quotations are also advanced. It comes after an earlier prefeasibility study returned a net present value of US$507 million (AU$787 million).

Importantly, the project has also received green accreditation from the Norwegian Centre of International Climate and Environmental Research.

Altech’s 75 per cent-owned German subsidiary, Altech Industries Germany, has a licence to produce proprietary high-purity alumina (HPA) coating of battery anodes in the form of silicon-graphite-alumina. It has resulted in a 30 per cent higher output and improved battery life in comparison to lithium-ion batteries.

The company says the patented batteries are lighter and produce significantly lower greenhouse gases during production compared to standard electric vehicle (EV) car batteries and offer major advantages for EV manufacturers, particularly those within the rapidly-expanding European market.

Altech has already reached agreements with two German automakers and a European-based battery making company.

Upstream, the company will become a HPA supplier following the bankable feasibility modelling of an envisaged 4500 tonnes per annum plant in the Malaysian State of Johor, which revealed a pre-tax net present value (NPV) of US$505 million, with net free cash of about US$76 million (AU$118 million) per annum. The alumina-rich kaolin feedstock will be shipped from the company’s 100 per cent-owned Meckering deposit in Western Australia.

Management says project finance is being finalised with approval having already been received from the German government-owned KfW IPEX-Bank, which will be supplemented by a capital raising via the listed green bond market and possible future joint venture (JV) partners.

I am extremely pleased with the detailed engineering that has been incorporated in the DFS design. The coating technology that we have developed has very precise processing requirements and our engineering team has been able to more than meet these requirements. The DFS is coming together nicely and we look forward to publishing the results at the back end of this year. Altech Batteries managing director Iggy Tan

The company is also moving rapidly on its “table salt” Cerenergy sodium-chloride, greener grid-storage battery, where an independent study found it emitted 50 per cent fewer greenhouse gases during manufacture, waste management and battery life than lithium-ion batteries. Furthermore, it does not require the use of lithium-cobalt-copper-graphite metals, is fire and explosion-proof, has all-weather applications, has a life span exceeding 15 years and lower storage costs compared to lithium-ion batteries.

Altech says its compelling alternative to lithium-ion eliminates the undesirable aspects of mining for critical metals such as potential price increases and supply chain disruptions as global demand escalates.

In a JV agreement with German battery institute, Fraunhofer IKTS, the partnership plans to construct a 100MWh renewably-powered production facility in Saxony to produce the Cerenergy battery modules that are designed to provide grid-storage solutions to the market.

There is a lot to get “charged up” about in relation to Altech’s green alternatives to lithium-ion batteries as it forges ahead on three fronts, with its Silumina Anodes pilot plant DFS, the construction of its HPA plant in Johor and the planned Cerenergy battery modules production facility in Germany.

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