Porsche Consulting will design lithium-metal and solid-state battery maker Sakuu’s first 3D-printing gigafactory for commercial production – and Sakuu has now printed its 3D batteries for the first time.
February 16 update: Sakuu today announced that it’s now successfully and consistently 3D-printed fully functional batteries in custom shapes and sizes at its Silicon Valley battery pilot line facility.
It says it’s the first company of record to 3D print fully functional batteries in custom shapes and sizes with patterned openings for thermal management in a completely dry process:
Sakuu, which says it’s the “developer of the world’s first 3D printed solid-state battery,” has paired up with Porsche Consulting because it wants to tap into the automaker subsidiary’s large-scale factory design expertise.
Robert Bagheri, founder and CEO at Sakuu, said:
With respect for its deep expertise in automotive plant ideation and execution, we ultimately selected Porsche Consulting due to our belief that its team exhibits mastery in designing large-scale manufacturing plants – start to finish.
Sakuu, which opened a 79,000-square-foot energy-producing pilot line facility in San Jose, California, in August 2022, says it will build gigafactories to meet its 2030 annual energy output goal of 200 GWh across its product line. It plans to break ground on two gigafactories in 2024.
The 3D-printed battery maker says sustainable design is a priority, and it also wants to figure out a way to maximize manufacturing efficiency so it can be rolled out and replicated internationally.
Sakuu’s first plant design will accommodate roll-to-roll manufacturing for its line of high-energy-density lithium-metal batteries. Roll-to-roll manufacturing is when a flexible base material known as a “substrate” is unrolled on an assembly line, and then modifying materials are layered onto that substrate one at a time with re-rolls – and that’s why it’s called “roll-to-roll.”
The battery maker also plans to build “first-of-their-kind plants” that feature Sakuu’s “Kavian” 3D printing method in order to make its Swift Print solid-state battery line.
Sakuu’s Kavian platform “can enable high-volume, automated, and cost-effective production of Swift Print battery cells – in any size or shape.” Its website states that its Swift Print lithium-metal sample cells, which have higher capacity and longer life and “can charge to 80%,” will ship this year.
Because the batteries are customizable, Sakuu can make batteries for everything from EVs to electric bikes to grid energy storage.
Gregor Harman, CEO of Porsche Consulting, North America, said of Sakuu:
Their seminal and scalable additive manufacturing approach can bring incredible innovation to major industries transitioning to new energy solutions – automotive and beyond.
Sakuu falls into the “one to watch” category. Since they hired Porsche Consulting, it’s apparent that it’s going to prioritize the 3D printing of EV batteries.
In an August news post, Sakuu said it was aiming for “60 GWh by 2028.” It’s upped its production goal considerably since today it said that it’s now aiming for 200 GWh by 2030.
We look forward to seeing what happens next and which EV and clean energy companies it works with. My money’s on Porsche.
Read more: EV batteries alone could satisfy short-term grid storage demand – study
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