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German company begins 3D printing EV batteries

Energy storage layers can be made thicker, increasing energy density by 20%, the company says.

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Blackstone, the German subsidiary of Swiss conglomerate Blackstone Resources, has begun 3D printing EV batteries, saying that 3D printing electrodes and separators for electric vehicle batteries brings a number of advantages. According to the company, the batteries’ energy storage layers can be made thicker, increasing energy density by 20%. Battery sizes can be tailored to customers’ individual needs, saving up to 15% in space and reducing the amount of raw materials needed. The process also consumes 23% less energy, is environmentally friendly and reduces waste by 50%, the company says.

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“3D printing in Germany is becoming more industrial and mass-production-oriented,” said Max Milbredt, additive manufacturing expert at Germany Trade & Invest. “Blackstone in the eastern regional state of Saxony is part of the trend in the very important, future-oriented sector of battery production. The improvements described indicate the reasons why 3D printing is increasingly breaking through: material efficiency, production flexibility and cost reduction. Germany is a world leader in industrial 3D printing and has a great customer base for this sort of technology, so hopefully we’ll see more developments of this kind, particularly in the automotive industry and its suppliers.”

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Blackstone Technology says it has received confirmation of EUR 5,721,000 (approx. $6.5 million) in support for 2022-2024 from the regional state of Saxony’s business development bank SAB. Fourteen employees currently work in Döbeln, with that number set to rise to 38 by next year.

“The example of 3D-printed batteries shows that it pays for businesses involved in the future of industry to expand to Germany, which is the world’s practical laboratory for additive manufacturing,” says Milbredt. “That’s because of the country’s large economic base, well-educated labor pool, excellent logistics and attractive state support programs.”

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