Move over lithium batteries, it looks like a new power source is here. This new Silicon Valley startup may actually do the impossible and make a huge change in the history of the battery industry, thanks to 3D printing and its ability to print solid-state batteries.
Unlike the current popular lithium-ion batteries that are widely used today in almost everything – from smartphones, to tablets, to E-bikes and even toothbrushes – these solid-state batteries actually have some advantages, such as being inflammable, easily recyclable, have better energy density, and even work well in extreme cold.
Although solid-state batteries used to be quite difficult to machine manufacture, it would seem that using 3D printing arrays filled with powder, this new startup, Sakuu, not only managed to make their batteries using less material by 40%, but moreover, they can make them in almost any shape that potential customers need or want.
Usually, an electric bike, or E-bike, uses a battery so large that it normally wraps around a portion of the bike’s central chassis. Or other times, the smartphone’s battery is placed where it runs all the way around the frame of the bike’s circuit board. These are the type of strange shapes and issues that Sakuu believes their type of battery solutions could fix or offer to their clients.
Sakuu’s CEO and founder, Robert Bagheri, explained in an interview with Fast Company, “Many people have built cells in the lab, but they have not been able to scale. Our vision started with that scalability in mind.”
Their battery array, which is known as a Kavian, is way smaller than the usual or traditional “roll to roll” type of battery manufacturing methods. Moreover, because they use a method where the powder that’s loaded into the 3D printers is considered very precise, they’ve managed to reduce the amount of materials used in making the batteries by a whopping 40%, which also means that they cut major costs, giving them an up over their other battery competitors.
And if that wasn’t enough to convince others, another plus is that Sakuu’s batteries can even be charged up to 80% in just 15 minutes, which is a major time saver as well.
Considering that they can also print their batteries into any shape, it also means that they will be able to respond to a variety of needs for a variety of innovations. The company further explained that this opens them up to many types of industries, such as ‘e-mobility products to wearables and small devices.’ In fact, they are already working hand-in-hand with an aviation company that wants to use solid-state batteries for their aircrafts that have holes in the middle of them to help manage unwanted or bothersome heat issues.
At the moment, Sakuu plants to sell “micro-factories composed of all of their technologies in sections of 400 feet.” These will be able to make 100 megawatt hours of batteries in a single year. They explain that on the contrary, older equipment, which takes up 16,000 square feet, can only produce 2.5 megawatt hours per year, which is already proof of how innovative these solid-state batteries really are.
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