Blackstone Resources AG has announced that Blackstone Technology GmbH (100% subsidiary of Blackstone Technology Holding AG) may begin commercialization of 3D printed sodium ion batteries as early as 2025.
Blackstone Technology GmbH, together with a German industry and research consortium, will take the validated laboratory results (see press release of 12.4.2021) 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 subsequent implementation to market maturity. 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 validly demonstrate their performance in realistic test series. 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.
“Sodium-ion technology represents the next generation of our already market-leading 3D printed batteries,” said Holger Gritzka, CEO of Blackstone Technology GmbH. “We are pleased to once again make an innovative and viable contribution to clean energy and the carbon-neutral transportation of the future.”
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. In addition, the raw material does not have to be imported from outside Europe like 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.
The first generation of sodium-ion batteries from Blackstone Technology GmbH can therefore usefully replace established energy storage systems and open up new industry segments.
As early as early 2025, Blackstone Technology will have successfully tested the new solid-state sodium-ion batteries in an electric bus. “We can seamlessly transfer our current experience in printing lithium-ion battery electrodes to the production of sodium-ion cells. This lays the foundation for the subsequent series production of solid-state sodium-ion batteries in 2025,” explains CEO Gritzka. The declared goal is to print complete solid-state battery cells at high speed, thus achieving unprecedented flexibility in terms of shape and performance with one and the same machine park. The use of Blackstone Technology’s cyber-physical system increases productivity and quality with the help of artificial intelligence.