A new platform reportedly enables high energy densities for lithium-ion, lithium-metal, and solid-state batteries printed at high-volume production speeds
February 16, 2023
SAN JOSE, Calif.—Over the last few months, Sakuu Corporation has consistently 3D printed fully functional, high-performance batteries in custom shapes and sizes at its battery pilot line facility in Silicon Valley. The manufacturing technology company claims to be the first on record to 3D print such batteries, with patterned openings for thermal management, in a completely dry process.
Sakuu Chief Technology Officer Karl Kittau said in a statement that the milestone represents “a profound moment with enormous implications for advanced battery manufacturing.”
“Our development shows that the Kavian™ platform can enable commercial-scale, sustainable production of a wide range of battery technologies, from lithium-ion to lithium metal to even solid-state batteries—whereas traditional methods of advanced cell manufacturing continually run into core impediments that prevent mass-scale production,” said Littau in a press release. “Further, our printing process can allow for substantial gains in energy density for a completed battery. Finally, our platform can customize the form factor of the battery—whereby the battery itself can become part of product design via customized shapes and sizes.”
Sakuu is an additive manufacturing and solid-state battery company that developed its Kavian platform for commercial-scale production of next-generation SwiftPrint™ batteries and other complex active devices. The company said its initial efforts will focus on energy storage, using its Kavian platform to print a range of next-generation batteries—from lithium metal to all-solid-state—that can help reduce society’s reliance on fossil fuels.
Sakuu has invented what it describes as a fully industrialized process for printing batteries using a proprietary multi-material, multi-layer approach in a parallel and dry process. It uses this process instead of slow, layer-on-layer printing or screen-printing—inherently wet processes that require significant energy to remove unwanted solvents and are susceptible to poor printing quality and unreliable production, the company said.
According to Sakuu, its process can deliver low-cost, high-speed manufacturing capability, coupled with flexibility in shape and form, while also delivering batteries in core categories that matter most to clients and customers alike. The company’s first printed batteries have reportedly demonstrated successful cycling performance at C/5, IC current rates, and expectations are to achieve high energy density at 800–1000 Wh/L.
Using proprietary lithium metal battery chemistry, Sakuu’s printing process starts with raw material and ends with a ready-to-use patterned battery. This, the company said, creates a new paradigm in manufacturing and energy storage.
The achievement of patterned battery printing is said to enable a more effective use of battery cell volume with new pathways in thermal dynamic regulation. This allows integration of fixturing, sensors, and thermal transport pathways, as well as regulation through the patterned design—especially when thin sub-cell battery structures are stacked with identical patterned openings for thermal management in alignment, the company said.
“We believe we have the only known solution for manufacturing solid-state batteries at scale with our novel Kavian platform,” said Sakuu Founder and CEO Robert Bagheri, in the release. “Collectively, our additive manufacturing and battery teams have accomplished what most thought impossible. Printing custom patterned batteries using a dry process that starts with raw material and concludes with a fully functional high-performance battery is a breakthrough that has the potential to transform how batteries of the future are manufactured for all industries.”
Sakuu said its Kavian platform will be sold to other battery manufacturers, as well as leading automotive, e-mobility, and aerospace manufacturers. The company also plans on licensing its own battery chemistries, both Li-metal and solid-state, to be produced with either traditional roll-to-roll manufacturing or in gigafactories using Kavian manufacturing.
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