Australian innovator Altech Chemicals Ltd. announced last week that it has finalized an upgrade to the design for the planned high-purity alumina (HPA) plant in Malaysia, boosting the plant’s capacity by 12.5 percent.
The capacity boost, which increases the plant’s output from 4,000 metric tons per annum to 4,500 metric tons per annum, is part of an upgrade that included an overall optimization of the plant’s flow sheet.
According to the firm, the lion’s share of the modifications involve improvement to the HPA finishing section, which now includes a flexible finished product line. The modification will allow production of HPA for both synthetic sapphires (at a rate of up to 4,500 metric tons per annum) and for use in lithium-ion batteries (at a rate of up to 1,500 metric tons per annum of sub-micron particle powder).
Altech says that its plant will produce HPA to an average particle size of under 1 micron initially by wet milling and will subsequently be dried in a conventional spray drier. The powder will then be heat treated in a kiln tunnel, with the finished product a HPA bead of between 3 mm and 4 mm, making it suitable for use in synthetic sapphire production.
Alternatively, the sub-micron powder may be fed into a microniser in order to produce HPA powder for use in lithium-ion batteries. The firm anticipates that such powder will find ready buyers in the near future with the significant rise in the electric vehicle industry.
Altech Chemicals is based in Subiaco, Western Australia and is attempting to develop a marketable process for delivering 99.99% (4N) HPA. It plans to construct a 4,000 metric ton per annum HPA plant at Tanjung Langsat Industrial Complex, Johor, Malaysia. 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 in 2018.