3D Printing as a New Tool for Structural Batteries

Motivated by the request to build shape-conformable, flexible, and structural batteries while maximizing the energy storage and electrochemical performances, 3D printing appears as a revolutionary tool. Battery components such as electrodes, separator, electrolyte, current collectors, and casing can be customized with any shape, enabling the direct introduction of batteries and all electronics within the final three-dimensional object. 3D printing also allows the implementation of complex 3D electrode architectures reported to significantly enhance the power performances. Transitioning from conventional 2D to complex 3D lithium-ion battery architectures will increase the electrochemically active surface area, enhance the lithium ions diffusion paths, and lead to improved specific capacity and power performance.

In this presentation, an overview of current trends in shape-conformable batteries and structural batteries for mobility applications will be discussed. A summary of our recent works on lithium-ion battery 3D printing via thermoplastic material extrusion will be presented. The development of printable composite filaments for each part of a Li-ion battery (electrodes, electrolyte, separator, current collectors) will be addressed. Printing of the complete Li-ion battery in a single step using multi-material printing options, and the implementation of a solvent-free protocol will also be discussed. Second part of this presentation will be dedicated to 3D printing of batteries by means of Vat Photopolymerization processes. Composite resins formulation approaches based on the introduction of solid battery particles or precursor salts will be introduced.

A presentation by Alexis Maurel, Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Texas at El Paso.

View of the Speaker

Question 1: What drives you?
Passionate researcher with 6+ 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.

Question 2: Why should the delegate attend your session?
In this presentation, an overview of current trends in energy storage 3D printing and structural batteries 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!

Question 3: 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.

Question 4: 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.

Question 5: 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?

About Alexis Maurel
Alexis 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 an Erasmus+ (Poland, Spain and France) in 2017. He received in 2020 his Ph.D. in materials chemistry from the University of Picardie in Amiens (France) for his work on lithium-ion battery 3D printing via material extrusion. Expert on energy storage and additive manufacturing, he is now focusing his research activities on Lithium and Sodium-ion battery 3D printing via vat photopolymerization as part of a project with NASA to manufacture batteries from Lunar and Martian regolith.

About University of Texas at El Paso
The University of Texas at El Paso is America’s leading Hispanic-serving university, with a student body that is 84% Hispanic. It enrolls more than 24,000 students in 169 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in 10 colleges and schools. With more than $109 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 sixth in Texas for federal research expenditures at public universities.

Alexis Maurel is speaker at the 2022 edition of the Materials 4 Sustainable Mobility Conference..

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