3D Printing of Batteries: Fiction or Reality?

Motivated by the request to build flexible, wearable and customizable batteries of any shape while maximizing the energy storage and electrochemical performances, additive manufacturing, also called 3D printing, appears as a cutting-edge revolutionary discipline.

Battery components such as electrodes, separator, electrolyte, current collectors and casing can be tailored with any shape, therefore allowing the future direct incorporation of batteries and all electronics within the final three-dimensional object.

Moreover, the ability of this technique to build promising complex 3D electrode architectures reported to theoretically enhance significantly the battery performances in terms of power and capacity makes it appealing.

Interview

What drives you?
Passionate researcher with 5+ years of experience in the field of 3D printing of shape conformable energy storage devices including lithium-ion and sodium-ion batteries for their integration in advanced structures. Expertise in materials chemistry for energy storage and conversion, additive manufacturing, and electrochemistry.

Why should the delegate attend your presentation?
In this presentation, an overview of current trends in energy storage 3D printing will be discussed. Being a very innovative and trending topic in the scientific community, no doubt that additive manufacturing will, one day, revolutionize the development of batteries. Latest results on the topic obtained at the University of Texas at El Paso (USA) and at the Université de Picardie Jules Verne (France) will be presented. Do not miss it!

What emerging technologies/trends do you see as having the greatest potential in the short and long run?
Although lithium-ion batteries are currently the most common choice, it nonetheless suffers from safety concerns related to thermal runaway challenges. New chemistries such as sodium-ion batteries (SIBs) have been commercialized as an alternative to alleviate this, providing enhanced safety while also offering faster charge rate and higher power densities. SIBs are particularly promising due to the relative abundance of SIBs materials and precursors when compared to scarce lithium-ion battery materials. On the other hand, additive manufacturing is already revolutionizing many fields: aerospace, construction, electronics, biomedical. No doubt that in the long run, it will also revolutionize energy storage.

What kind of impact do you expect them to have?
By combining additive manufacturing and innovative battery chemistries, shape-conformable, tailored, greener and safer batteries with enhanced electrochemical performances are expected.

What are the barriers that might stand in the way?
For now, the main barrier consists in the resolution limitation conferred by additive manufacturing processes and the composite material feedstock formulation. Others questions still remain: How to reach the best compromise between mechanical and electrochemical performances? How to upscale 3D printing of batteries from research to industry?

“Special Quote”
“3D printing paves the way towards shape-conformable batteries with enhanced power performances.”

Alexis Maurel is working as postdoctoral researcher at the University of Texas at El Paso. He received his B.S. in chemistry from the Université Toulouse Paul Sabatier in 2015 and his M.S. in materials for energy storage and conversion from a joint Erasmus+ program (Poland, Spain and France) in 2017. He received in 2020 his Ph.D. in materials chemistry from the University of Picardie at Amiens (France) for his work on lithium-ion battery 3D printing via thermoplastic material extrusion. Expert on energy storage and additive manufacturing, he is now focusing his research activities on battery 3D printing via vat photopolymerization.

The University of Texas at El Paso is one of the largest and most successful Hispanic-serving institutions in the country, with a student body that is over 80% Hispanic. It enrolls nearly 25,000 students in 168 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in 9 colleges and schools. With more than $100 million in total annual research expenditures, UTEP is an R1 research university, a designation given to the top 5% of colleges and universities nationally, and ranked fifth in Texas for federal research expenditures at public universities.

Alexis Maurel is a speaker at the 2021 edition of the 3D Printing Electronics Conference.