Additive Manufacturing For Batteries Of The Future: Will 3D Printing Transform Battery Making
Sakuú, a California start-up hoping to bring the main benefits of 3D printing to the battery market, plans to open its first full production factory this year. The company says its Swift Print battery cells can be manufactured in any shape or size and even customized to order on the company’s proprietary 3D printers. Complex shapes not possible with traditional manufacturing methods are a hallmark of 3D printing, which also enables production flexibility and speed because there’s no waiting for molds or manufacturing tools to be produced.
3D printed battery start-up Blackstone Technology says its approach is more sustainable than traditional methods because it can not only save on battery metals during manufacturing, but the process will use 25% less energy. Blackstone is further along in product maturity than Sakuú, having printed its first functional battery in 2021. Its technology, called Thick Layer Technology, is vastly different from Sakuú and relies on the 3D screen printing method. The company says the technology will be 30% cheaper than traditional battery manufacturing and can be used for both liquid-electrolyte and solid-state batteries.
Still in R&D, Photocentric’s technology, unlike Sakuú’s or Blackstone’s, is based on resin 3D printing using photopolymers Photocentric has, so far, developed polymer electrolyte binders, along with anode and cathode powders into a printable photopolymer resin. Its patent-pending approach promises to enable low-cost mass manufacture of lightweight batteries for the UK market.