World’s first commercial solid state battery 3D printer
Sakuu in the US (previously KeraCel) has developed an automated multi-process additive manufacturing process for e-mobility batteries.
The commercial 3D printing process is a first, allowing industrial scale production locally pf solid state batteries and is backed by Japanese automotive parts supplier Musashi Seimitsu.
The solid state batteries will have the same capacity as lithium-ion batteries but be half the size and a third lighter with half the materials, which can be sourced locally and it is this mixture of materials that allows the AM 3D printing process.
“For the e-mobility markets specifically, we believe this to be a landmark achievement, and one that could transform consumer adoption of electric vehicles,” said Robert Bagheri, founder, CEO and chairman of Sakuu.
“SSBs are a holy grail technology, but they are both very difficult and expensive to make. By harnessing the flexibility and efficiency-enhancing capabilities of our unique and scalable AM process, we’re enabling battery manufacturers and EV companies to overcome these fundamental pain points,” he said.
“By adopting it as the technology of choice, these users also benefit from the wider opportunities our AM platform delivers, namely the ability to enjoy on-demand, localised production, which can help drive more efficient manufacturing operations and shorter supply chains,” he continues.
The 3D printer blends powder bed and jetted material deposition and uses completely different multi-materials in a single layer capability. The process combines ceramic and metal, as well as Sakuu’s proprietary support material, PoraLyte, which removes part overhang limitations and enables the easier and faster creation of devices with internal channels and cavities.
The result avoids thick, brittle ceramic layers and poor interfaces, providing higher energy density SSBs with thin monolithic layers. A ‘powder to powder process’ ensures easier recycling of the ceramics and metals by conventional methods. There is no requirement to extract graphite and the absence of polymer means no need for incineration or burial in landfill.
Sakuu will initially focus on the two-, three- and smaller four-wheel electric vehicle market. Beyond energy storage, Sakuu says the 3D printing technique opens complex end device markets such as sensors and electric motors for aerospace and automotive; power banks and heatsinks for consumer electronics; PH, temperature and pressure sensors within IoT; and pathogen detectors and microfluidic devices for medical, to name a few.
“As a cheaper, faster, local, customisable and more sustainable method of producing SSBs – which as a product deliver much higher performance attributes than currently available alternatives – the potential of our new platform offers tremendous opportunities to users within energy, as well as a multitude of other markets,” said Bagheri.
Sakuu’s Alpha Platform for its initial hardware offering will be available by the end of 2021.
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