Altech Batteries is commercialising a 120 MWh solid state sodium chloride battery production facility to produce 1MWh GridPacks for the European grid energy market, and is also at the cutting edge of developing battery materials for a Lithium-ion battery future by successfully incorporating silicon in graphite anodes to produce higher energy density batteries.

Interview with Martin Stein, CFO of Altech Batteries Ltd.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Martin Stein: Altech to Commercialise 120 MWh Sodium Chloride Solid State Batteries for Grid Storage

Altech Batteries Limited has executed a joint venture agreement with leading German battery institute, Fraunhofer IKTS (“Fraunhofer”) to commercialise the Sodium Chloride Solid State (SCSS) Battery. Altech is the majority owner at 75% of the joint venture company (Altech Batteries GmbH) and will be commercialising a 120 MWh project to be situated at the site in Schwarze Pumpe, Saxony, Germany. SCSS batteries brand name CERENERGY® Battery uses high purity alumina for the critical ceramic solid state electrolyte which is a strong link to Altech’s core business and competency.

Sodium Chloride Solid State (CERENERGY®) batteries will be the grid battery storage of the future. The CERENERGY® technology has been developed by Fraunhofer IKTS for the last eight years and has revolutionised previous technology, allowing higher energy capacity and lower production costs. The world‘s largest CERENERGY® type batteries in terms of capacity has already been successfully tested in stationary battery modules. The Fraunhofer CERENERGY® batteries are in the final phase of product testing and ready to commercialise. Fraunhofer have spent in the region of EUR 35 million in research & development and operates a EUR 25 million pilot plant in Hermsdorf’, Germany 

German Battery Materials Coating Plant

Altech, led by its research and development team based in its Perth, Western Australia laboratory, has achieved extremely positive results in relation to its battery material coating technology for use within the electric vehicle battery market. The R&D is focused on coating of high-purity alumina (HPA) on silicon, for inclusion within electric vehicle battery anodes.

Altech has a released a DFS for an 8,000 tpa Silumina AnodesTM plant to be constructed in Germany. The DFS displayed impressive economics, including an IRR of 34%, payback period of 2.4 years and NPV(10) of €684M. In conjunction, Altech is nearing finalisation of a pilot plant that will produce samples for European and North American car manufacturers that have signed Non-Disclosure Agreements.

E.E: What is the state of the market where you are currently active?

M.S: CERENERGY® batteries are the game-changing alternative to lithium-ion batteries. CERENERGY® batteries are fire and explosion-proof; have a life span of more than 15 years and operate in extreme cold and desert climates.  The battery technology uses table salt and is lithium-free; cobalt-free; graphite-free; and copper-free, eliminating exposure to critical metal price rises and supply chain concerns.

In relation to Silumina AnodesTM, Altech’s game changing technology incorporates high-capacity silicon into lithium-ion batteries. Through in house R&D, the Company has cracked the “silicon code” and successfully achieved a 30% higher energy battery with improved cyclability or battery life. Higher density batteries result in smaller, lighter batteries and substantially less greenhouse gases, and is the future for the EV market. The Company’s proprietary silicon product is registered as Silumina AnodesTM.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

M.S: The CERENERGY® battery is targeting the lucrative grid-storage battery market, anticipated to grow at 28% compound annual growth rate. As the world transitions to a renewable energy future, grid-storage batteries are the next phase of the solution to provide battery storage capacity to renewable energy production.

Siumina AnodesTM is targeting the EV market. Already massive, the EV market is continued to grow significantly.

E.E: What estimations do you have for the beginning of 2024?

M.S: In relation to the CERENERGY® project, Altech aims to finalise the DFS, secure offtake, raise the finance and construct the production plant. Altech already owns the land on which to construct the plant.

In relation to the Silumina AnodesTM project, Altech aims to commission the pilot plant to provide commercial samples to potential customers, with the aim of securing offtake.