NGK To Supply Sakuu With Ceramics For Solid-State Batteries

Sakuu and NGK have announced they will collaborate on the development of 3D-printed solid-state batteries. NGK will assist in the development of solid-state batteries and provide ceramic materials for current and future battery manufacturing. At the present time, Sakuu manufactures lithium-metal batteries with an energy density of 800 Wh/l and a continuous discharge rate of 3C for its customers, but it is moving toward initial production of 3D-printed solid-state batteries.

“Formalizing this long-term partnership agreement with NGK for ceramic needs across our printed battery line is an important step in Sakuu’s commercialization plans,” says Arwed Niestroj, a senior vice president at Sakuu. “NGK is a global industry leader, and its material quality and technical expertise will allow Sakuu to rapidly advance towards bringing to market our next-generation battery line.”

Sakuu battery cell

Image courtesy of Sakuú

Sakuu is a leader in developing a novel method of additive manufacturing that allows for 3D printing of glass, metals, polymer, and ceramic in a single layer, a process that it says will make more powerful batteries that are 50% smaller, 30% lighter, and less expensive than convention lithium-ion batteries. The ceramics supplied by NGK will be an important part of manufacturing those next-generation batteries at the Sakuu factory in San Jose, California. Samples are expected to be available for testing starting next year.

“We are happy to use our 80 years of experience in ceramic materials to collaborate with Sakuu, the clear trailblazer in 3D printing solid-state batteries. Their work is truly impressive, and we look forward to making this industry-leading solid-state battery line into a significant business opportunity for both companies,” said Keiji Suzuki, head of research and development for NGK.

One of the unique characteristics of using 3D printing is that Sakuu can manufacture batteries in custom shapes and sizes to meet the needs of customers. That capability can transform industrial product design and energy use across industries.

Sakuu Plans 60 GWh By 2028

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Image courtesy of Sakuú

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Image courtesy of Sakuú

Sakuu may be a company few of us have heard much about, but the company has big plans. It has recently set up its first 3D-printed battery factory — with more expected to follow. The goal is to be manufacturing 60 GWh of batteries a year by 2028, which will be a major accomplishment if it comes to fruition.

Earlier this year, 3D Printing Industry noted, “The company appears to be on the track it has planned out. With twice the energy density and 30% less weight than existing Li-ion cells, the firm’s second-gen batteries have potential residential and industrial applications, within energy storage, micro-reactors and electronics.”

“We are in a rapid growth phase due to strong demand for our forthcoming printed batteries,” said Sean Sharif, vice president of global supply chain and logistics, earlier this year. “Our new facility paves the way for our first 3D printing platform gigafactory, dubbed Sakuu G-One. The facility will allow our teams to fine tune all aspects of our battery printing technologies to enable swift deployment of our gigafactories.”

Zachary Shahan reported in August the new 79,000-square-foot engineering hub will focus on improving battery production and design — including acting as home to teams focused on engineering, material science, and additive manufacturing. That’s where the new collaboration with NGK will become important. It is also where new gigafactory employee training and client product demonstrations will take place.

The Takeaway

Everybody is screaming about how the transition to batteries for transportation and energy storage will put impossible burdens on supply chains. It’s true that as demand increases, new sources of supply will need to be found. But Sakuu is offering something the doomsayers refuse to consider — the impact of new technology.

Who is to say what the effect might be of 3D-printed batteries that are twice as powerful but half the size of those we use today? And if they are actually less expensive as well? Then the whole equation we have been using to model the battery electric future is wrong.


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