Posted on: June 15, 2022 Posted by: Jerry D. Pfeil Comments: 0

You can find lithium-ion batteries everywhere. As electronics get more sophisticated and more vehicles, buses and trucks run on batteries. Scientists are developing new chemistries to make them lighter, more efficient, safer, and more durable than the current technology. They believe that the solid-state Battery is the next frontier. And perhaps 3D-printed batteries.

Sakura, formerly known as KeraCel, has developed a solid-state lithium-ion battery. It claims it “equals” or even betters current lithium-ion ones. Sakura’s additive-manufacturing platform also produced the small, 3-ampere-hour (Ah) cell. It has the same capacity as three AAA alkaline battery packs. This technology allows Sakuu to deposit multiple materials onto one thin layer.

“To achieve the highest energy density batteries, we want to minimize all the elements that do not add anything to the performance battery,” Karl Littau (chief technology officer at Sakku) told IEEE Spectrum. This is what printing can enable. “

Sakura’s solid-state design battery cell has a lithium-metal and ceramic anode. The anode is separated from the cathode by a ceramic electrolyte. The risk of lithium-ion batteries setting themselves ablaze is higher than lithium-ion batteries. Based on the MIT binder jet printing process, Sakuu’s 3D-printing platform was developed. Binder jetting is where a liquid agent is applied to a thin layer of powder particles. Sakura claims it can combine ceramic binder and metal jetting in one build.

Littau would not disclose details about the materials in its printed ceramic electrolyte. She stated that electrolyte fabrication and technology are “the crown jewels for everyone who works in the solid-state batteries space.” Sakura didn’t give performance data to compare its 3Ah battery with a lithium-ion one. The company claimed that it had increased its solid-state Battery’s energy capacity by 100 over the past year and that the volumetric energy efficiency was up over 12 times.

The startup is based in San Jose, Calif. and plans to move from a prototype printer system into an automated printer later this calendar year. Littau stated that this would increase the company’s capability to print cells by “an order of magnitude” or more.

Sakura is expanding, and another 3D printing company says it has achieved significant milestones with its solid-state battery design. Blackstone Technology, a German subsidiary of Swiss company Blackstone Resources, announced that it had printed and successfully tested its first solid-state battery cell. The tiny pouch contained an LED light strip powered by the Battery. The company is also working on automated 3D printing of liquid-electrolyte battery batteries.

Scientists at Battery are currently working to improve solid-state chemistry.

The solid-state lithium metal design has been the prize for batteries for decades. However, it has poor stability. This has hindered the Battery’s commercialization path for decades. Xin Li, associate professor in materials science at Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of engineering and applied science (SEAS)

The problem is that lithium-metal filaments — also known as “dendrites”, can grow on the anode during every battery cycle. The needle-like dendrites eventually can get through the electrolyte and reach the cathode. The Battery could catch fire if it does happen. Li stated that electric vehicle batteries are a major concern because they sit on each other.

Li and his Harvard colleagues have developed an innovative way to stop dendrite growth. To control and contain dendrite growth, the idea is to layer various materials with varying stability between the anode & cathode. This could be done by sandwiching tomatoes and lettuce. The laboratory prototype could be charged and discharged 10,000 times at a high current density without degrading.

Li stated that solid-state batteries would have huge potential to grow in the electric vehicle market if stability problems are resolved. He was not so confident about 3D-printed batteries, however. He said that 3D printing is generally too slow and suggested that it might be more suitable for small batteries such as those found in computer motherboards.

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