Sakuu Corporation announced a new industrial grade 3D printer for e-mobility batteries that it claims will unleash general acceptance of electric vehicles.
Sakuu offers ‘local’ industrial-scale battery production and believes the technology will instill confidence among manufacturers and consumers. Sakuu’s Alpha platform for its first hardware offering will be available in the fourth quarter.
Backed by Musashi Seimitsu, a Japanese automotive supplier to major OEMs, Sakuu will enable fast, high-volume production of 3D-printed solid-state batteries (SSBs), which have the same capacity as lithium-ion batteries but are only half the size and almost a third lighter.
The company’s KeraCel-branded SSBs will also use about 30 to 50% fewer materials that can be sourced locally to achieve the same energy levels as lithium-ion options, significantly reducing production costs. Sakuu believes that the properties of the 3D printer can be easily transferred to a variety of different applications in other industries.
“We believe this is a milestone, specifically for the e-mobility markets, that could change consumer acceptance of electric vehicles,” said Robert Bagheri, founder, CEO and chairman of Sakuu Corporation. âSSBs are a holy grail technology, but they are both very difficult and expensive to manufacture. By leveraging the flexibility and efficiency-enhancing capabilities of our unique and scalable AM ââprocess, we enable battery manufacturers and EV companies to overcome these fundamental weaknesses. “
The ability to provide local on-demand production will create more efficient manufacturing processes and shorter supply chains, he added.
Sakuu will initially focus on the two-, three-, and smaller four-wheel electric vehicle market, for which the company’s SSB offering offers an obvious and desirable combination of small form factor, light weight, and improved capacity advantages. The agility of Sakuu’s AM process also means that customers can easily switch production to other battery types and sizes if required, for example to achieve twice the energy in the same area or the same energy in half the area.
In addition to energy storage, Sakuu’s development of printability opens up complex end device markets that were previously isolated from current 3D printing platforms. This includes active components such as sensors and electric motors for the aerospace and automotive industries; Power banks and heat sinks for consumer electronics; pH, temperature and pressure sensors in the IoT; and pathogen detectors and microfluidic devices for medicine, to name a few.
“As a cheaper, faster, local, customizable, and more sustainable way of making SSBs – which as a product have much higher performance characteristics than currently available alternatives – the potential of our new platform offers tremendous opportunities to users in the energy sector and many other markets,” said Bagheri.
Ongoing research and new funding partnerships
Omega Seiki, part of the Anglian Omega Group of Companies, has partnered with New York-based C4V to introduce SSBs for electric vehicles and the renewable sector in India. As part of a MoU, the two companies are also reportedly looking into manufacturing SSBs in the country.
Solid Power, a manufacturer of solid-state batteries for electric vehicles, recently announced a $ 130 million Series B investment round led by BMW Group, Ford Motor Company and Volta Energy Technologies. Ford and the BMW Group have also expanded existing joint development agreements with Solid Power to secure all solid-state batteries for future electric vehicles. Solid Power plans to begin producing automotive-scale batteries on the company’s pilot production line in early 2022.
“Solid-state battery technology is important to the future of electric vehicles and that’s why we’re investing directly,” said Ted Miller, Ford’s manager of electrification subsystems and power research. âBy simplifying the design of solid-state batteries over lithium-ion batteries, we will be able to increase vehicle range, improve interior space and load volume, provide lower cost and better value for customers, and these types of solid-state batteries to integrate battery cell technology more efficiently into existing production processes for lithium-ion cells. “
Vinfast, a subsidiary of Vingroup, Vietnam’s largest private company, has signed a letter of intent with SSB maker ProLogium, which received a bronze award at the recent Edison Awards, to accelerate the commercialization of batteries for electric vehicles (click here).
Xin Li, Associate Professor of Materials Science at Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, is developing an SSB for ultra-high performance EV applications. The ultimate goal is to develop a battery “that outperforms internal combustion engines so that electric vehicles can accelerate the transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy,” according to the Harvard Gazette.
The dramatic increase in the number of electric vehicles means that the potential battery market is huge. McKinsey predicts that by 2040 the battery requirements of electric vehicles produced in Europe will reach a total of 1,200 GWh per year, which is sufficient for 80 gigafactory factories with an average capacity of 15 GWh per year.