Davis Index: Market Intelligence for the Global Metals and Recycled Materials Markets

Altech Chemicals (Altech), a leading supplier of 99.99pc (4N) high-purity alumina (Al2O3), with an impurity level of only 0.01pc, released a report on February 11 detailing the use of high-purity alumina (HPA) in next-generation lithium-ion batteries.

The company, based in Subiaco, Australia, says the deployment of high-purity alumina (HPA) will increase in coming years. 

The report lays out the case for the switch to HPA in lithium ion batteries by highlighting the fact that liquid lithium-ion, the predominant electrolyte used currently, suffers from several limitations. 

The liquid is highly corrosive, highly combustible, and operates in a limited temperature range, the report states.

With global HPA demand approximately 19,000mt in 2018, it is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30pc over the 2018-2028 period.

By 2028, HPA market demand is forecast to be approximately 272,000mt, driven by the increasing adoption of LEDs worldwide, as well as the demand for HPA by lithium-ion battery manufacturers to serve the surging electric vehicle market. 

The report also makes the pitch for HPA being a high-value, high-margin product and a critical ingredient in the production of synthetic sapphire. 

Synthetic sapphire is used in the manufacture of substrates for LEDs, semi-conductor wafers used in the electronics industry, and scratch-resistant sapphire glass used for wristwatch faces, optical windows and smartphone components. 

The HPA market is fragmented and opaque, with the largest producer, Sumitomo Chemicals, in Japan. 

Other major global HPA producers are in China, Japan, South Africa and France.

Altech, who appointed German engineering firm SMS group GmbH (SMS) as EPC contractor for construction of its Malaysian HPA plant, has provided a $280mn fixed- price, turnkey contract. 

The company has executed an off-take sales arrangement with Mitsubishi Corporation’s Australian subsidiary, Mitsubishi Australia, to ensure the first 10 years of HPA production from the plant has a customer. 

Altech is to implement a marketable process for delivering 99.99% (4N) HPA using conventional equipment at lower production costs than methods currently available. 

Feedstock for the plant will be sourced from the company’s 100pc-owned kaolin deposit at Meckering, Western Australia, and shipped to Malaysia. 

Altech intends to commence project development later this year.


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