Australian innovator Altech Chemicals Ltd. announced yesterday that it is close to developing a variety of high-purity alumina (HPA) that is specifically designed for use in the production of anodes in lithium-ion batteries.
Per the firm, one of the greatest problems facing lithium-ion batteries is the phenomenon of “first cycle capacity loss,” which is the formation of inactive layers of lithium ions that form on anodes beginning from the very first charging cycle and continuing on for the life of the battery. Lithium ions adhere directly onto the uncoated graphite anodes, which has led many manufacturers to explore coatings that reduce or prevent such a coating from forming.
Altech says it has developed a process for sharply reducing the formation of a lithium-ion layer on graphite anodes using a proprietary blend of HPA. Dubbed “Anode Grade APC01” and “Anode Grade ALC01,” the blend would improve Coulombic Efficiency (CE) from the very first charging cycle. In addition, Altech says the coating would increase cycling stability, high-rate performance, and fast charging.
Altech’s Managing Director Iggy Tan said in a related press release that there is a great deal of excitement surrounding the breakthrough.
“We have the potential to take lithium-ion battery performance to the next stage with the use of Altech’s alumina coating product and technology. Commercialising the process would represent a significant step in lithium-ion battery anode evolution.”
The process is currently going through the independent verification phase, with university and laboratory verification expected to be complete by the end of the year. End user trials follow, with commercialization of the patent-pending process expected to commence after that.
Altech Chemicals is based in Subiaco, Western Australia and is attempting to implement a marketable process for delivering 99.99% (4N) HPA using conventional equipment at a lower production cost than methods currently available. It plans to construct a 4,500 metric ton per annum HPA plant at Tanjung Langsat Industrial Complex, Johor, Malaysia that will use kaolin clay from a company-owned mine in Meckering, Western Australia. The firm is fast-tracking HPA production due to an agreement with Mitsubishi for 100% of its proposed HPA production for ten years. At present, Altech intends to commence project development later this year.