Altech unveils ‘excellent’ progress in 60 kWh CERENERGY prototypes

Some of the completed battery cells waiting performance testing. Image credit: Altech Batteries

Altech Batteries has characterised its advancements as “excellent,” as it undergoes the manufacturing of two ABS60 60 kWh CERENERGY battery prototypes in Germany intended for customer performance testing.

The project, initiated last year, has seen the transformation of battery packs originally developed with 5 kWh and 10 kWh capacities by German research institute Fraunhofer IKTS.

With Altech’s involvement, the focus shifted towards creating a substantial 60 kWh unit tailored for the grid storage market, the ASX-listed company said in a media release.

The manufacturing process, taking place at Fraunhofer IKTS’ pilot line in Hermsdorf, Germany, has undergone extensive redesign and innovation to accommodate the larger battery prototypes.

In particular, the ABS60 battery pack consists of 240 CERENERGY cells, each rated at 2.5 V. These cells are arranged in four rows, stacked five modules high, resulting in a robust and sizable energy storage solution.

The pack’s dimensions are 2.6 metres in height, 0.4 metres in length, and 1.0 metre in width, adhering to the Ingress Protection (IP) 65 standard for dust and weatherproofing.

All materials required for the prototypes have been procured, and the crucial stages of cell production, including ceramic component blending, high-pressure pressing, tube formation, and sintering at 1,600 degrees Celsius, have been successfully navigated.

The ceramic tube production, a critical element, is halfway complete, showcasing the project’s steady progress.

The innovative assembly process involves laser welding tests, vacuum filling, heating, and welding to ensure precise alignment and performance of each cell.

An industrial micro computed tomography (µCT) scanning system is employed for quality assurance, verifying filling height, composition, alignment, and cathode material behaviour post-initialization.

Encouragingly, fifty percent of the required cells have been successfully produced, with low reject or defect rates falling within expected limits.

The Cell Contacting System (CCS), designed by Hofer AG, has been integrated into module frames, demonstrating robust electrical specifications and tolerances.

König Metall GmbH has delivered the battery casings, currently undergoing testing to evaluate heat loss parameters.

As the prototypes near completion, Altech plans to showcase them to potential customers, offering insight into the practical applications and benefits of the ABS60 series in various industries.

This collaboration aims to secure offtake agreements, marking a pivotal step towards the commercialisation of this innovative and sustainable energy storage solution.

The assembly of cells into the battery housing is expected to be finalised by mid-2024, further propelling Altech’s commitment to advancing clean energy technologies.