A New 3D Printer Can Produce On-Demand Batteries

A New 3D Printer Can Produce On-Demand Batteries
An EV scooter containing a 3D-printed battery. (Photo: Sakuu)

The Sakuu Corporation, a California-based company backed by Musashi Seimitsu, has announced a new 3D printing system that can print large electric vehicle batteries on demand. The system uses new techniques to create solid-state batteries that are lighter and smaller than traditional lithium-ion batteries.

The system uses two types of printing to get the job done. It has a powder bed system for sintering material into solid form and another head for jet deposition which essentially squirts material out to exacting specifications. It prints both ceramic and metal as well as PoraLyte — a support and storage medium.

“This is the exact opposite of lower energy density SSBs, which typically have thick, brittle ceramic layers and poor interface, making them ill-suited for high-volume production purposes,” wrote Sarah Saunders at industry newsletter 3DPrint.

“Sakuu will initially focus on the two-, three- and smaller four-wheel electric vehicle market for whom the company’s SSB proposition delivers an obvious and desirable combination of small form factor, low weight, and improved capacity benefits,” wrote founder Robert Bagheri in a release. “The agility of Sakuu’s AM process also means that customers can easily switch production to different battery types and sizes, as necessary, for example, to achieve double the energy in the same space or the same energy in half the space.”

Because the entire system is easily modifiable you could be printing batteries for a car and a scooter on the same day. The company claims its printers are 50% lighter and 20% smaller than traditional LiOn batteries.

Most important, however, is the fact that it can use recycled ceramic and metal instead of fresh materials, thereby reducing the battery’s overall environmental footprint. The 3D-printed batteries are rolling out in limited products including scooters and other electric vehicles.