May 13, 2021

Sakuu Corporation creates 3D printer for EV batteries

electricvehicles
SolidStateBatteries
Renewables
Dominic Ellis
4 min
Sakuu is set to enable high-volume production of 3D printed solid-state batteries for electric vehicles as more investment ploughs into SSB production

Sakuu Corporation has announced a new industrial-grade 3D printer for e-mobility batteries which it claims will unlock the mainstream adoption of electric vehicles.

Offering an industrial scale ‘local’ battery production capability, Sakuu believes the technology will provide increased manufacturer and consumer confidence. Sakuu’s Alpha Platform for its initial hardware offering will be available in Q4.

Backed by Japanese automotive parts supplier to major OEMs, Musashi Seimitsu, Sakuu is set to enable fast and high-volume production of 3D printed solid-state batteries (SSBs) that, compared with lithium-ion batteries, have the same capacity yet are half the size and almost a third lighter.

The company’s KeraCel-branded SSBs will also use around 30%-50% fewer materials – which can be sourced locally – to achieve the same energy levels as lithium-ion options, significantly reducing production costs. Sakuu anticipates the 3D printer’s attributes being easily transferable to a host of different applications in other industry sectors.

"For the e-mobility markets specifically, we believe this to be a landmark achievement, and one that could transform consumer adoption of electric vehicles,” said Robert Bagheri, Founder, CEO and chairman, Sakuu Corporation. “SSBs are a holy grail technology, but they are both very difficult and expensive to make. By harnessing the flexibility and efficiency-enhancing capabilities of our unique and scalable AM process, we’re enabling battery manufacturers and EV companies to overcome these fundamental pain points."

The ability to provide on-demand, localised production will create more efficient manufacturing operations and shorter supply chains, he added.

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. 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.

Beyond energy storage, Sakuu’s development of print capability opens complex end device markets previously closed off to current 3D printing platforms. These include active components like sensors and electric motors for aerospace and automotive; power banks and heatsinks for consumer electronics; PH, temperature and pressure sensors within IoT; and pathogen detectors and microfluidic devices for medical, to name a few.

"As a cheaper, faster, local, customisable and more sustainable method of producing SSBs – which as a product deliver much higher performance attributes than currently available alternatives – the potential of our new platform offers tremendous opportunities to users within energy, as well as a multitude of other markets," said Bagheri.

Ongoing research and new funding collaborations

Omega Seiki, a part of Anglian Omega Group of companies, has partnered with New York-based company C4V to introduce SSBs for EVs and the renewable sector in India. As part of an MoU, the two companies are also looking at the manufacturing of SSBs in the country, according to reports.

Solid Power, which produces solid-state batteries for electric vehicles, recently announced a $130 million Series B investment round led by the 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 EVs. 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 Supply Research. "By simplifying the design of solid-state versus lithium-ion batteries, we'll be able to increase vehicle range, improve interior space and cargo volume, deliver lower costs and better value for customers and more efficiently integrate this kind of solid-state battery cell technology into existing lithium-ion cell production processes."

A subsidiary of Vingroup, Vietnam’s largest private company, Vinfast has signed an MoU with SSB manufacturer ProLogium - which picked up a bronze award at the recent Edison Awards - to accelerate commercialisation of batteries for EVs (click here).

Xin Li, Associate Professor of Materials Science, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, is designing an SSB for ultra-high performance EV applications. The ultimate goal is to design a battery "that outperforms internal combustion engines so electrical vehicles accelerate the transition from fossil-fuel-based energy to renewable energy," according to The Harvard Gazette.

The dramatic increase in EV numbers means that the potential battery market is huge. McKinsey projects that by 2040 battery demand from EVs produced in Europe will reach a total of 1,200GWh per year, which is enough for 80 gigafactories with an average capacity of 15GWh per year.

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Jun 22, 2021

Next Energy Technologies delivers PV window to Paris partner

Windows
SolarPV
construction
Paris
Dominic Ellis
4 min
Next Energy Technologies has delivered its energy-generating prototype window wall to Bouygues Construction in Paris

Next Energy Technologies, makers of a proprietary transparent PV coating that transforms commercial windows into energy producing solar panels, has delivered its PV Prototype Window Wall to Bouygues Construction in Paris.

Bouygues is a leading construction firm that specialises in complex commercial projects and the deal comes weeks after Next announced its $13.4 Million Series C round of funding (click here).

The PV Prototype Window Wall was delivered by NEXT in collaboration with its partners, Walters & Wolf, a leading commercial curtainwall manufacturer and glazing subcontractor headquartered in Fremont, California, and commercial glass fabricator, Glassfab Tempering  Services/Solarfab in Tracy, California. 

“NEXT’s technology is both unique and promising. We’re proud to support their collaboration with Bouygues Construction and will continue to work side by side with them in bringing their product to market,” said Nick Kocelj, President of Walters & Wolf.  

“We support NEXT Energy in their focused effort in providing a unique and innovative product to  the architectural market. When presented the opportunity to participate in this project, we were  eager to assist in any way possible”, said Brian Frea, President of Glassfab Tempering Services/ Solarfab. 

NEXT’s proprietary transparent PV coating transforms commercial windows into  energy-producing solar panels by converting unwanted infrared and UV light into electricity. This fully integrated system can help enable buildings to power themselves with their windows which  retain their traditional transparency and performance. 

The prototype installation consists of 10 transparent PV windows that supply electricity to a battery that powers an interactive display as well as auxiliary charging outlets, for phones, tablets and other electronics.

The purpose of this prototype demonstration is to showcase the  power generation functionality, the exceptional transparency and aesthetics, and the seamless  integration of NEXT windows into a standard glazing system designed by Walters & Wolf to  carry the electronics, wiring and hardware that comprise the balance-of-system. This direct integration into traditional commercial window and framing systems effectively extracts costs  typically associated with packaging and installation of solar. 

Installed in a typical commercial high-rise office building, the first generation of Next windows would offset as much as 10-20% of its power needs, and over a 30-year timeframe, such a building would produce about 20 million kWh of clean power, saving an average of $170,000  annually on utility bills and reducing 14,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the equivalent of powering 1,700 homes for an entire year. In the coming years, Next windows will be commercially available for window sizes up to 5 ft. x 10 ft (1.5 x 3 meters).  

Supply Chain solution to the climate crisis 

Next’s PV coatings are applied to commercial windows during the window fabrication  process, integrating with existing manufacturers without disrupting established workflows and  supply chains. This capital-efficient business model reduces risks to customers, removes  barriers to adoption, and accelerates speed to market, all while adding a high-value product to  the market. This direct integration into traditional commercial window and framing systems  effectively extracts costs typically associated with packaging and installation of solar.

"We are excited to be one of the first global construction companies pioneering NEXT's revolutionary transparent solar panel windows. This innovation will allow Bouygues Construction to offer its clients a simple, sustainable, and profitable solution for buildings that are autonomous in the management of their energy," said Christian De Nacquard, R&D and Innovation Director, Bouygues Bâtiment International.

The EU aims to be climate-neutral by 2050, requiring a fundamental transformation of the construction and building sectors, and 100% of new commercial buildings in California will be designed to zero net energy (ZNE) standards by 2030. Globally, buildings generate an estimated 40% of annual GHG emissions.

“Addressing the climate crisis at the corporate level requires creative and cost-effective solutions. Commercial buildings are an excellent example of something that can be re-imagined and improved to reduce carbon emissions and overall impact,” said Daniel Emmett,
CEO of NEXT. 

“At a more personal level, we’re seeing employees returning to office buildings after more than a year of lockdown vocally prioritise healthy and sustainable work environments as a requirement of in-person work."

In a recent survey, 74% of employees said they would consider changing jobs if their company did not meet their requirements for a healthy and sustainable office environment, added Emmett.

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