Alpha HPA commercializes the world’s first process for the production of ultra-high purity aluminum materials, such as oxides, nitrates and sulfates, for the growing markets for LED lighting and lithium-ion batteries.
High-purity aluminum materials, including high-purity alumina and high-purity aluminum salts, are critical components in global decarbonization efforts.
ASX-based technology company Alpha HPA has developed and is now commercializing the world’s first process to deliver these critical materials with market-leading purity levels and dramatically lower carbon profiles.
Alpha HPA provides this through its own Smart SX process, which is the world’s first adoption of the solvent extraction (SX) purification technique for aluminum. After perfecting the process with over 7,000 hours of demonstration work and setting up a global product marketing network with over 40 end-users, Alpha is now rapidly scaling up its Stage 1 Precursor Production Facility (PPF) commercial operations due to of production in the quarter of September 2022
Alpha HPA is building its manufacturing facilities in Gladstone’s Tier-1 jurisdiction, QLD, which is strategically adjacent to the company’s chemical counterpart, Orica Ltd. Orica will supply the process reagents and remove the by-product from the process, creating 100% reagents recycled and qualifying the site as a near-zero waste facility. Gladstone’s location also allows Alpha HPA to easily access the abundance of aluminum raw materials from the local aluminum refinery, as well as access to an established workforce with industrial skills.
The role of high purity aluminum materials in decarbonization
Alpha HPA offers its products for two of the most important and effective decarbonization technologies:
- LED lighting: Ongoing transition to high-efficiency LED lighting expected to save another 1.4 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions; and
- E-mobility: The projected adoption of lithium-ion e-mobility in transport is aimed at reducing CO2 from global transport2 emissions over 50%.
Alpha HPA’s High Purity Aluminum Trioxide (HPA) has already qualified for the demanding LED phosphor market, as well as for the production of sapphire crystal, which forms the basis for over 90% of LED lights worldwide. The company has already started sales in these markets and is set to expand quickly as Stage 1 Facility comes online later in 2022.
Alpha’s process is unique in that it not only produces high-purity aluminum as oxides (HPAs), but is also able to produce high-purity aluminum salts, better known as precursors, which are becoming increasingly important in the production of more efficient lithium-ion batteries – the main technology driving the global transition to e-mobility.
Alpha’s Al-Sulphate is specifically designed to accept high-nickel (including NCA) high-aluminum cathode chemicals. The use of aluminum, often in small quantities, is increasingly used to support the stability of formulations with a high content of nickel cathodes. Alpha’s Al-Sulphate is manufactured at 5N (> 99.999%) purity, making it the highest purity cathode precursor in the world and ideal for the production of premium quality cathodes.
The Alpha Nitrate Precursor is manufactured with world-leading 5N purity and is specifically designed to be the preferred precursor in accelerating the absorption of particle-scale coated coatings on both cathode and anode particles. Electrochemical stability and performance are improved by the application of aluminum-based particle coatings, especially in the chemistry of cells with a high nickel content. As Alpha HPA now disrupts supply dynamics and delivers a precursor of ultra-high purity coating at high volumes and destructive costs, the company is facilitating the growing adoption of aluminum-based coating applications using this premium coating precursor.
Alpha’s unique and flexible low-carbon process
Alpha HPA’s business and premium products are based on our unique Smart SX purification process, which is the world’s first application of SX aluminum purification technology. The process is destructive on several levels, including:
Low carbon content: The current production of high-purity and high-purity aluminum trioxide Al-precursors is dominated by a process that uses purified aluminum metal as a raw material. This basic process inherits a very high carbon energy profile from the metal supply. By using 100% renewable energy and being able to purify non-metallic raw materials from Gladstone’s local aluminum refineries, Alpha HPA is able to reduce the carbon footprint of high-purity alumina production by more than 50%. This is vital for Alpha HPA, as both what we do and how we do it are crucial to the company’s goal of being an authentic partner in the global drive for decarbonisation.
Low price: The front end of the Alpha purification process is a 100% wet chemical and operates at atmospheric temperatures and pressures while achieving 100% reagent recycling. This allows Alpha HPA to produce its materials at a very destructive cost, encouraging target markets to adopt these critical decarbonization materials.
Flexibility: Being able to produce a full range of high-purity aluminum materials in one process, Alpha’s flexibility allows Alpha to easily meet end-user requirements for the product, while being a “one-stop shop” from a single source for the whole range of high-purity aluminum materials for large, vertically integrated analogues in the production sectors of lithium-ion and LED lighting.
Two-stage commercial scaling
Market interest and numerous discussions with end users allowed Alpha HPA to accelerate commercialization through the construction of Stage 1 – Precursor Production Facility (PPF).
This facility will focus on the production and sale of our 5N Ultra Aluminum Precursor salts, namely:
- Ultra aluminum nitrate (99.999% purity), used for various special applications, including coatings, LED and laser phosphors, coatings for electrodes of lithium-ion batteries and scintillators, etc .; and
- Ultra Aluminum Sulfate (99.999% purity); used primarily for the synthesis of cathode active materials for lithium-ion batteries with aluminum (eg NCA and NCMA).
Our facility will have a total ultra-aluminum precursor production capacity of ~ 10-20MT per month, with construction taking place on the same site as the first HPA project in Gladstone.
Once the customer product requirements are finalized, Alpha HPA will proceed with the full-scale construction of the Gladstone project, increasing to the equivalent of ~ 10,000 tpa high-purity alumina, making the project the largest single source of aluminum products with high purity globally.
Please note that this article will also appear in the tenth edition of ours quarterly publication.