Blackstone may begin commercializing 3D-printed Na-ion batteries as early as 2025; testing in electric bus
29 March 2022
Blackstone Technology GmbH may begin commercialization of 3D-printed solid-state sodium-ion batteries as early as 2025. Blackstone, together with a German industry and research consortium, will take the validated laboratory results of the 3D-printed solid-state batteries to the stage of demonstration in a real environment within the next three years. The results of the development project will form the basis for the market-ready product.
Prototype of the printed solid-state cell (April 2021)
To implement this, €32 million will be invested in a pilot plant at the production site in Döbeln and in extensive developments. Furthermore, the upscaling of sodium-based solid-state electrolytes on a ton scale is being developed in order to be able to produce them in the Blackstone Group from 2025.
This project is being funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection as part of its support for the battery cell manufacturing ecosystem with a total of up to €24.1 million (subject to the grant decision becoming legally valid).
The 3D-printed solid-state batteries produced as part of the project will be installed in an electric bus operated by the Berlin-based company Eurabus in order to demonstrate their performance under: real-world conditions.
The Zeiss company is contributing its extensive expertise in metrology and microscopy. The Fraunhofer Institutes IFAM, IKTS, IST and the Institute for Particle Technology of the Technical University of Braunschweig will work on process validation, process development, recycling, safety and economic-ecological life cycle assessment.
The chemical system of sodium-ion batteries is comparable in parts with lithium-ion cells. A significant advantage of sodium batteries is that raw materials can be obtained much more easily and in a more environmentally friendly way with comparable technology. The availability of sodium is many times higher than that of lithium, and the price is significantly lower—especially given the recent run-up in lithium prices. In addition, the raw material does not have to be imported from outside Europe as does lithium.
The construction of a solid-state battery cell not only increases the energy density, but also improves many safety aspects of the battery. The prototype production of sodium batteries is designed in such a way that a wide variety of active materials can be used. Product-specific adjustments to the battery at cell level can thus be made quickly and cost-effectively. The printing process plays a decisive role here and allows volumetric optimization in addition to geometric adaptation.