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An Exclusive Interview with Iggy Tan, Managing Director of Altech Chemicals Ltd

An Exclusive Interview with Iggy Tan, Managing Director of Altech Chemicals Ltd
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Altech Chemicals Ltd (ASX: ATC) (Altech Chemicals or the “Company”) is a speciality battery technology manufacturer based in Australia. The company marked its presence on the world map as it announced a joint venture agreement with Fraunhofer IKTS to commercialize CERENERGY® — a sodium alumina solid-state battery. 

Image of a CERENERY® Battery.

Read More : Altech Chemicals Announces Launch Of CERENERGY® 60KWh Battery

Colitco is pleased to secure an exclusive interview with Altech Chemicals’ Managing Director, Iggy Tan. Here is the Q&A session!

Q: Mr Tan, thank you very much for agreeing to speak with us. Before we delve into the revolutionary work which Altech Chemicals is doing in the battery technology world, can you share some details about your background and interest in the battery space?

A: Certainly. I was always interested in commercial mining projects, so I undertook a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Western Australia. I’ve held various leadership positions in my 30 years and have been responsible for commencing multiple mining and processing projects across minerals such as Lithium, Copper, Nickel, etc., in Australia. Later in August 2014, I became the Managing Director at Altech Chemicals, and since then, I have been working on the Company’s battery technologies and other strategic priorities.

Q: That’s quite inspiring. Do you oversee all commercialisation projects at Altech Chemicals?

A: I’ve commissioned and started seven resource projects during my tenure. These projects are, of course, spread out in Australia and overseas. Most recently, the focus has been on the joint venture we have started with Fraunhofer IKTS to commercialise their CERENERGY® battery.

Q: Yes, of course. Could you tell me more about the CERENERGY® battery?

A: As you know, Lithium-ion batteries are great and are now used in many appliances, from mobile phones to electric vehicles. However, despite their popularity, there are some challenges. Our technology, a sodium alumina solid-state battery, solves the three problems faced while using lithium-ion batteries. 

Firstly, our battery is fire and explosion-proof. Secondly, it has ultralong life. To give you an estimate, our batteries can last beyond 15 years, while lithium-ion batteries last for 8 to 10 years. And finally, lithium-ion batteries are susceptible to temperature. Our CERENERGY® battery can work in both extreme hot and cold temperatures. 

Q: Does the battery require the same raw materials/critical minerals as the lithium-ion battery?

A: No. Lithium-ion batteries have critical minerals as raw materials, such as lithium, cobalt, copper and graphite. CERENERGY® is made from sodium ions and uses common table salt. We don’t have exposure to critical minerals with an unstable supply chain and substantial price fluctuations. Hence our cost of production is less.

Metals used in CERENERGY® battery.

Q: So, how does Altech Chemicals come into the picture?

A: Fraunhofer IKTS has produced and tested the batteries, making them ready for commercialisation. Fraunhofer was looking for a partner with i) commercial land available in Germany, ii) robust background in battery and alumina technology, and iii) the capability of building projects and access to funding. Altech Chemicals met all three criteria, and we were able to initiate a joint venture with Fraunhofer.

Q: Amazing. And is the battery developed at Fraunhofer IKTS?

A: Yes, Fraunhofer IKTS has spent eight years and more than €35 million developing the battery. Also, the joint venture has decided to develop the commercial battery plant for 100 MWh CERENERGY® on Altech’s site in Saxony, Germany. Needless to say, Fraunhofer IKTS is the world’s leading German battery institute.

Q: This sounds like a significant step for Altech Chemicals. How do you expect this will affect the shareholders?

A: The technology will revolutionise the solid-state battery technology industry for us and all the companies and institutes worldwide. Earlier this month, we launched the battery pack design for CERENERGY® 60 KWh batteries. We are currently designing a battery plant to produce these battery packs and are excited about the next development step. We hope to develop an excellent project to fill the market gap and provide an affordable and sustainable alternative to lithium-ion batteries.

Q: I can truthfully say we are all looking forward to the developments at Altech Chemicals. Thank you very much for taking the time for this discussion, Mr Tan.

A: Thank you for having me.

End of interview

We hope our exclusive interview with Managing Director Iggy Tan helped you understand the developments at Altech Chemicals. If you are interested in learning more about Altech Chemicals, you can visit the official website now.

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