Published On: October 5th, 2022
Altech Chemicals Limited (ASX: ATC) (“Altech” or “Company”) has executed a joint venture Shareholders’ Agreement with Fraunhofer IKTS (“IKTS”), the world-leading German institute focused on battery technology. Under the agreement, Altech will commercialize IKTS’ sodium alumina solid-state (SAS) battery, CERENERGY®.
Altech, together with the Company’s associated entity, Altech Advanced Materials AG, will be the majority (75%) owners of the joint venture. The joint venture will commercialize a 100 MWh project on Altech’s land in Schwarze Pump, Germany, to produce the CERENERGY® batteries.
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SAS CERENERGY® Battery
The CERENERGY® battery consists of a solid ceramic electrolyte tube that functions like the lithium-ion battery’s liquid electrolyte. The tube contains cathode granules comprising table salt and nickel. The tube gets flooded with sodium aluminium chloride (a conductive liquid) to ensure electrical contact between the granules and the ceramic. The setup is placed in a steel canister with negative and positive tabs on top; together called one cell. One CERENERGY® module consists of 40 such cells.
Altech Chemicals opines that SAS CERENERGY® batteries offer alternative storage to lithium-ion batteries. CERENERGY® batteries are game-changing because of their unique features of the battery.
- The batteries are fire and explosion-proof with a lifespan of 15+ years. They can also withstand extreme climates.
- The technology is lithium-free, cobalt-free, graphite free and copper free and uses table salt and nickel. The process eliminates the technology’s exposure to metal prices and supply chain concerns, as both materials are readily available.
- IKTS has invested over 8 years in the development of the battery to achieve higher energy capacity and lower production costs. IKTS has spent EUR 35 M on R&D and currently operates a EUR 25 M pilot plant in Hemsdorf, Germany.
- The battery modules (10 KWh each) are designed for grid storage and have undergone extensive performance testing in Germany.
- According to IKTS’ estimations, the total cost of production of a CERENERGY® battery is 40–50% less than the cost of production of lithium-ion batteries.
- The SAS CERENERGY® battery is in the final product testing phase and ready to commercialize.
IKTS and Altech Chemicals Joint Venture
IKTS was looking for a partner with German land, access to funding, and experience in battery technology and alumina technology. Altech met all these criteria, which resulted in the joint venture being formed. Here is a breakdown of the details of the JV agreement.
- Altech Group will own 75% of the project, and the remaining 25% will be free carried by IKTS.
- All intellectual property rights will be held by the joint venture company Altech Batteries GmbH (ABG), which will be registered in Dresden, Germany.
- Upon registration, ABG will be responsible for licensing and intellectual property rights agreements. ABG will be granted exclusive global use of the intellectual property associated with CERENERGY® batteries as well as the exclusive rights to use the CERENERGY® trademark. IKTS will transfer all intellectual property rights to ABG upon payment of the Service Development Agreement.
- In exchange, IKTS will get 25% “free carried” interest of the 100 MWh project (Train 1) and no payable royalties.
- ABG will execute an R&D agreement with IKTS for a 4-year period for a Definitive Feasibility Study, funding, construction, commissioning, and start-up of the 100 MWh CERENERGY® battery plant.
- Altech Chemicals will provide the land for the plant development.
- AGB can proceed with Train 2 or a GW battery facility at any time (subject to appropriate funding and feasibility studies), but IKTS has the right to maintain 25% interest in all expanded projects. IKTS can also convert 25% to a 1.5% royalty for all future module sales.
Future Developments Under Altech
A 100 MWh SAS battery plant (called Train 1) will be constructed on Altech’s land in Saxony, Germany. The plant will produce 10,000 SAS battery modules, of 10 KWh each, per annum. Each module is estimated to sell for between EUR 7,000–9,000.
The joint venture partners have commenced the planning process for the Bankable Feasibility Study, which is necessary before commercialization.
Altech Chemicals also remains focused on the Silumina Anodes™ project at the same site in Saxony, Germany. For more information on Altech’s projects, visit the Company’s official website.
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