Australian innovator Altech Chemicals Ltd. announced yesterday the filing for a new provisional patent with the Australian government for an updated method for deriving alumina from kaolin and other such sources.
Altech’s new patent involves treating the alumina-containing material to make particles smaller and richer in alumina content, calcining and leaching the material, separating the solids from the liquid portion to form a pregnant liquor, then crystallizing and precipitating out aluminium chloride hexahydrate. The aluminium chloride hexahydrate is then dissolved in water and recrystallized, then roasted and calcinated to form alumina, which is then prepared as high-density pellets or sub-micron powder, depending upon the intended application.
Building upon a patent the firm registered in 2014, the new patent includes improvements to the process developed in the course of the HPA project’s due diligence. The new patent also calls for the use of Altech’s latest invention, the flexible finished product line, which can produce HPA suitable for use in both the synthetic sapphire industry and for production of lithium-ion batteries.
According to patent attorneys engaged to conduct due diligence for KfW-IPEX Bank, a search of over 60 million patent records revealed no similar process is currently protected by a patent in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, the People’s Republic of China, Canada, Germany, Japan, India, South Korea, Russia, Taiwan, Malaysia, and the European Union, among others. As a result, not only is Altech’s method almost certainly unique, filing a patent at this juncture assures it of legal protection in the vast majority of industrialized countries.
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.