Blackstone develops and tests additively manufactured solid-state battery prototypes

September 21, 2020

The battery cells produced using additively manufactured electrodes have been successfully tested (Courtesy Blackstone Resources AG)

Blackstone Resources AG, headquartered in Baar, Switzerland, reports that it has achieved a series of milestones for its proprietary Additive Manufacturing technology to additively manufacture lithium ion solid-state batteries.

The company explains that it has been investing in the next generation of battery technology through its subsidiary Germany-based Blackstone Technology GmbH. This includes patented Additive Manufacturing techniques and research into the mass production of batteries, which has been shown to offer greater energy density and a higher number of charging cycles.

According to Blackstone Technology, its AM process offers substantial advantages over conventional battery cell design that use liquid electrolytes. These advantages are said to include:

  • Significantly lower costs
  • A higher level of production flexibility when it comes to the format of the cell
  • 20% increase in energy density

In addition, the company states that by using this technology, the amount of materials that do not store energy could be reduced by up to 10% i.e. copper and aluminium. These advantages can be achieved independently of the electrode chemistry.

Having developed and tested this technology, Blackstone Technology states that to achieve the highest efficiency from its AM technology, the company plans to produce additively manufactured solid-state battery cells.

An automated Additive Manufacturing production process could reportedly save up to 70% of the traditional Capex used to produce solid-state batteries. Solid-state batteries are also said to be safer as they do not use flammable liquid electrolytes that are also more harmful to the environment.

The first solid-state battery prototypes developed by Blackstone Technology have already been tested and the company is now developing the AM technology required to additively manufacture these solid-state battery cells for mass production. Following the conclusion of an extensive development contract with Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute, the first AM prototypes will be tested in Q1 2021. 

Holger Gritzka, CEO of Blackstone Technology GmbH, commented, “Together with the developments we have made in 3D-printing battery technology to date, this development paves the way for the mass production of solid-state battery cells.”

Gritzka added, “In addition to major markets such as the automotive industry, marine applications and new 5G wireless networks would benefit from the advantages that 3D-printed solid-state cells can offer.”

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