Expansion of Research Laboratories for Pouch Cell Batteries
Perth, Aug 29, 2022 AEST (ABN Newswire) - Altech Chemicals Limited (ASX:ATC) (A3Y:FRA) is pleased to announce an expansion of its Research and Development Laboratories in Perth, Western Australia to allow the production of pouch cell size batteries to proceed to the next stage of the Silumina AnodesTM Project.
Altech announced in November last year that it had achieved the game-changing breakthrough and produced a lithium-ion battery with 30% more energy capacity than a conventional graphite-only lithium-ion battery. The Company was able to successfully incorporate alumina-coated silicon into the graphite anode of lithium-ion batteries and achieve higher energy capacity, as well as increased cyclability. The battery performance testing was conducted with the industry standard coin cell rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.
Coin battery cells provide a very useful comparison at the early research stage, but they have limitations, because of their design and construction. When developing new active material for lithium-ion batteries, the cell chemistry is first optimized in smaller format coin cells and then progressively scaled up to full-sized pouch cells to provide more information on electrochemical performance, energy density, and safety. To assess anode material against EV application targets, a scale-up from coin cell to pouch cell is necessary.
The pouch cell, a common design of a lithium-ion battery, is in a vacuum-packed thin plate shape in which many layers of thin cathode and anode electrodes are arranged. (See Figure 1). Conductive foil tabs welded to the electrode and sealed to the pouch carry the positive and negative terminals to the outside. The pouch cell pack design is used in current consumer, military, and automotive applications.
By having an in-house pouch cell production and testing facility, electrical abuse scenarios, whereby the cell is required to operate outside nominal voltage and current limitations, can be tested. Physical and environmental abuse scenarios, whereby the cell is subjected to temperature extremes or mechanical deformation, can also be tested.
Altech plans to assemble lithium-ion pouch cells for high-power applications. Electrochemical tests will apply on both coin cells and pouch cells with the same electrode to know whether the performance measured in coin cells is representative of full-sized cells. It is also important to understand the different contributions of mechanical and thermal factors to the degradation process in each cell format. Once optimized in electrochemical properties, Altech will also undertake a safety test on pouch cells using its Silumina Anodes TM material in-house, or collaborate with external laboratories.
Expansion of Silumina AnodesTM Making Capability
Manufacturing a pouch cell with multiple layers requires more anode material and additional cell-making equipment. During the first quarter of 2022, Altech installed and commissioned a larger-scale tube furnace in its Research and Development Laboratories in Perth. The new furnace has the capability of producing larger kilogram samples per batch.
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About Altech Chemicals Ltd
Altech Chemicals Limited (ASX:ATC) (FRA:A3Y) is aiming to become one of the world's leading suppliers of 99.99% (4N) high purity alumina (Al2O3) through the construction and operation of a 4,500tpa high purity alumina (HPA) processing plant at Johor, Malaysia. Feedstock for the plant will be sourced from the Company's 100%-owned kaolin deposit at Meckering, Western Australia and shipped to Malaysia.
HPA is a high-value, high margin and highly demanded product as it is the critical ingredient required for the production of synthetic sapphire. Synthetic sapphire is used in the manufacture of substrates for LED lights, semiconductor wafers used in the electronics industry, and scratch-resistant sapphire glass used for wristwatch faces, optical windows and smartphone components. Increasingly HPA is used by lithium-ion battery manufacturers as the coating on the battery's separator, which improves performance, longevity and safety of the battery. With global HPA demand approximately 19,000t (2018), it is estimated that this demand will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30% (2018-2028); by 2028 HPA market demand will be approximately 272,000t, driven by the increasing adoption of LEDs worldwide as well as the demand for HPA by lithium-ion battery manufacturers to serve the surging electric vehicle market.
Altech Chemicals Ltd