Tech Metals: Altech study warns of risks from use of lower quality alumina in batteries
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Altech Chemicals’ (ASX:ATC) commissioned test work on the use of lower quality alumina as a coating material for battery separators and found that it is responsible for the introduction of sodium into battery electrolyte solutions.
This in turn causes battery thermal runaway, which presents serious safety risks, inefficiency and life cycle reduction.
The testing by the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems (IKTS) of Dresden, Germany, found that the use of lower grade 3N alumina (99.9 per cent purity) increased the sodium content in the electrolyte from an acceptable 0.5 parts per million (ppm) up to a potentially catastrophic level of 40ppm.
In contrast, the use of ultra-high quality 4N alumina (99.99 per cent purity) results in almost zero leaching of sodium.
“It is hard to comprehend why lithium-ion battery manufacturers would transition to a lower quality alumina – when this material is introducing sodium into the battery electrolyte and as a result jeopardising battery safety and performance,” Altech managing director Iggy Tan said.
He said the extra cost of using 4N alumina was likely to be less than $US1 ($1.52) per kilowatt hour of battery capacity, or $US100 for a typical electric vehicle.
Meanwhile, Accelerate Resources (ASX:AX8) has received assays from aircore drilling at its Tambellup project in Western Australia that confirms the kaolin mineralisation at the main Sandlers prospect remains open to the southeast.
Significant results from the drilling include 73.1 per cent yield and up to 30.65 per cent alumina, while composite sampling returned an average grade of 22.71 per cent alumina with 59.8 per cent yield from the upper saprolite interval.
The results also indicate that the Sadlers mineralisation is bounded to the northeast and southwest by two east-southeast trending mafic units which are observable in outcrop and shallow drilling.
Accelerate will now move to carry out metallurgical and mineralogical analysis, preliminary end product tests and market research.
It will also increase the technical understanding and confidence in the project.