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  • Altech Chemicals (ATC) partners with German battery institute Fraunhofer IKTS to commercialise its CERENERGY Sodium Alumina Solid State (SAS) battery
  • This technology has been developed by Fraunhofer over eight years and is designed to provide an efficient alternative to lithium-ion batteries for the stationary storage market
  • The two companies will form a joint venture to commercialise a 100-megawatt-per-hour battery plant to be constructed on Altech’s site at Schwarze Pumpe, Germany
  • Altech will own 75 per cent of the project, with IKTS to own 25 per cent, free carried
  • Altech shares last traded at 8 cents on September 13

Altech Chemicals (ATC) is set to commercialise a “game-changing” alternative to lithium-ion batteries through a new joint venture (JV) with German battery institute Fraunhofer IKTS.

Through the partnership, Altech and Fraunhofer will work to commercialise the Fraunhofer CERENERGY Sodium Alumina Solid State (SAS) battery.

Fraunhofer has been developing the SAS technology for the last eight years, with around €35 million (A$51.8 million) poured into research and development, and it operates a €25 million pilot plant in Hermsdorf, Germany.

Altech said Fraunhofer aimed to create a battery that’s fire and explosion-proof, can operate in extreme temperatures, has an “ultra-long” lifespan and uses common salt instead of expensive lithium. The SAS batteries are also graphite-free, copper-free and cobalt free, which helps users avoid supply and geo-political risks.

The SAS CERENERGY batteries aren’t designed to replace lithium-ion batteries but to provide an alternative for the stationary storage market, and they are designed to fit in racks housed in sea containers that can be deployed for grid storage.

The global grid energy storage market is reportedly expected to more than triple from US$4.4 billion in 2022 to US$15.1 billion by 2027.

The batteries are now in the final phase of product testing and Fraunhofer said they were ready to be commercialised.

The new JV company will commercialise a 100-megawatt-per-hour (MWh) project to be constructed on Altech’s site at Schwarze Pumpe, Germany.

Altech will own 75 per cent of the project, with Fraunhofer to own 25 per cent, free carried. The intellectual property will be licensed exclusively to the JV.

The project will be a battery plant that will produce 10,000 SAS battery modules per annum, rated at 10 kilowatts per hour (KWh) each.

The companies expect the SAS battery modules will sell for between €7000 and €9000 each or €700 to €900 per KWh at final pack costs.

The partners have begun planning for a bankable feasibility study for the commercialisation process. Once the plant is built and operating, the JV will aim to construct additional plants or a gigawatt battery facility.

ATC shares last traded at 8 cents on September 13.

ATC by the numbers
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