Printed batteries for electromobility and more

Development of sodium-ion batteries using additive manufacturing

In the project “3DPrintBatt”, Fraunhofer IFAM and partners from industry and research are transferring 3D printing of sodium-ion batteries for electromobility and other applications to pilot production. The experts are combining battery expertise with know-how in Additive Manufacturing.


Novel solid-state batteries as a promising alternative to lithium-ion batteries

 “The battery of the future is safe, sustainable, flexible and powerful. That is why we are researching new types of solid-state batteries, as these enable higher energy densities and greater safety”, says Ingo Bardenhagen, head of “Solid State Ionics and Interfaces” at Fraunhofer IFAM. “In this context, batteries with a solid-state electrolyte based on sodium represent a promising alternative to the established lithium-ion technology, since the raw material sodium is significantly more environmentally friendly, more readily available, and less expensive than lithium”.

The project focuses on the further development of the solid ion conductor and the construction and characterization of battery cells based on it. In addition to the production of thin layers to reduce the internal resistance of the battery, the operating conditions for this new battery technology must also be worked out.


Special focus on paste development and production

The production of prototype sodium batteries will be designed in such a way that a wide variety of active materials can be used. As a result, product-specific adjustments to the battery can be made quickly and cost-effectively at the cell level. “The printing process plays a decisive role in this and, in addition to geometric adaptation, also allows volumetric optimization”, explains Jonas Deitschun, head of “Functional Printing” at Fraunhofer IFAM.

The project primarily incorporates experience from the areas of #paste development, printing processes, and processing. Paste development and production are the starting point for the subsequent batteries, which is why this is a particular focus of the project. The subsequent processing by means of #screenprinting is significantly influenced by the set paste properties, and the subsequent cell performance is also strongly dependent on the composition and internal structure of the printed electrodes.


About the project

The project "3DPrintBatt - Sustainable, flexible additive manufacturing technology for solid-state sodium-ion batteries" started in March 2022 and will run until February 2025. It is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action with a total budget of 25 million euros (funding code 16BZF351C), and Fraunhofer IFAM is involved with a budget of 2.5 million euros. Approximately 500,000 euros will be invested in a new innovation line for the production of solid state sodium ion cells and will be set up at the institute.

Relying on the results from the innovation line the Blackstone Technology GmbH will build up a pilot line on their plant in Döbeln, Saxony. The produced 3D-printed sodium-ion cells will be evaluated in an electric bus from the partner Eurabus. Further support for the development in this project comes from ZEISS, the Institute for Particle Technology, the Technical University of Braunschweig and the Fraunhofer Institutes IST and IKTS.