HiPurA Process

Developed in house, the HiPurA™ Process is a unique process technology that is able to produce high purity alumina (HPA) and high purity alumina cathode precursor salts for lithium ion batteries. Confirmed by initial test work, it was indicated that the process is low cost and low in energy consumption, compared to alternative technologies. A major benefit of the HiPurA Process is that it’s close to end users and is independent of any mine production, allowing for a quick construction time. The Project is scalable in nature and therefore retains the capacity to rapidly expand, as demand grows.

High Purity Alumina has a very large and growing market, with uses in a broad range of products. The key areas of growth are:

High Purity Alumina Cathode Precursor Salts are a necessary input into some lithium ion battery chemistries, in particular NCA and NCMA.

The HiPurA technology retains the attributes needed for success:

Lower Cost

Expected to be low capital and operating costs.

Independent of Mine Production

Can use a number of aluminous feedstocks available globally, meaning production isn’t tied to any mining operation.

Scalable

Production can start with a realistic volume and increase with demand.

Short Construction Time

Readily available equipment means quick time to production.

Modular

Facilities can be built in globally, close to end users.

Low carbon footprint

The purification stages operate at ambient temperature.

Development timeframe:

  • Prefeasibility Study underway
    o Process modelling and optimisation study Q4 ‘21
    o Pilot plant design & engineering Q1 ‘22
  • Pilot plant construction commencing Q1 ‘22
  • Pilot plant completion and commissioning Q1 ‘23

HPA is a precise pure form of aluminium oxide (Al2O3)

  • 99.99% (4N), <100 ppm of impurities main grade for Lithium battery separators.
  • 99.999% (5N), <10 ppm of impurities preferred grade for sapphire growers.
  • 99.9999% (6N), <1 ppm of impurities

HPA is chemically inert in most environments, has a very high melting point, doesn’t conduct electricity and is very abrasive. It is the only material that can be used to make synthetic sapphire.

Lithium Batteries

The fastest growing market for HPA is in Lithium Ion batteries. The main use for HPA in Li batteries is in the coating of the separator between the anode and the cathode. Coating separators with HPA has been found to significantly improve safety and efficiency:

  • provides greater thermal stability to the battery, reducing the risk of batteries catching fire
  • significantly improves impedance (Macmullan number <3) allowing for high power capability,
  • improves battery life cycle and lowers self-discharge

The larger the battery, the greater the importance of thermal management becomes. This is very important when used in Electic Vehicles (EV’s) as battery safety is vital in ensuring vehicle safety.

There is also research going into the use of HPA in both the anode and cathode to enhance stability and performance of the battery.

Forecasts for the growth in the sale of EV’s is extremely positive. In a report published by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, they are forecasting that up to 55% of total new car sales in 2040 will be EV’s, meaning that in excess of 50 million EV’s will be produced.

Synthetic Sapphire

Synthetic sapphire is becoming more widely used in many developing new technologies. It is well established in LED and semiconductor markets and is increasingly used in optical and medical devices require the unique properties offered by sapphire.