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Solid State Battery Plant to Be Built by 3D Printing Startup Sakuú

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Sakuú Corporation is making rapid progress in its goal of scaling up its additive manufacturing (AM) technology to enable mass production of solid-state batteries (SSBs). After showing off its first lithium SSB at the end of July, the Silicon Valley startup has announced that it has begun construction on a pilot line and learning center for SSBs.

Sakuú’s multi-material multi-method (4M) process relies on binder jetting of metals and ceramics to create lithium batteries that will be 50 percent smaller and 30 percent lighter than existing lithium batteries. In the future, other processes like inkjet deposition may be combined to 4M to expand its capabilities and material set.

According to the company, the pilot line will be able to manufacture 2.5 MWh per year of solid-state batteries. In the future, the facility will act as a customer learning center for Sakuú’s 4M 3D printing technology. The pilot line will demonstrate the startup’s ability to produce SSBs and deliver samples to its Early Access partners.

Sakuu’s first generation solid-state battery.

Sakuu’s first generation solid-state battery. Image courtesy of Sakuu.

To design and develop the plant, Sakuú is working with Relevant Industrial and Honeywell Process Solutions. The latter needs little introduction, as Honeywell a roughly $32-billion multinational known for its military and aerospace tech. The Process Solutions division is dedicated to industrial automation and control. Relevant Industrial was established in 1996, beginning with IT solutions for business and eventually evolving to provide all manner of industrial equipment and automation products and services.

Relevant and Honeywell will work to scale up Sakuú’s lab process into a functioning pilot manufacturing plant. The next phase, anticipated to begin in 2022, will consist of an array of Sakuú’s AM technology to mass produce SSBs with up to 1 gWh of capacity annually. Relevant and Honeywell will develop the engineering, process design, systems integration, and and expertise for process production to build the factory.

A rendering of Sakuú's solid state battery plant. Image courtesy of Sakuú.

A rendering of Sakuú’s solid state battery plant. Image courtesy of Sakuú.

“Relevant is excited to be part of this groundbreaking project. Combining Sakuú’s advanced technology with our experience in engineering, design and systems integration using Honeywell’s leading automation technologies, provides a unique opportunity to shape the future of manufacturing. We appreciate Sakuú’s confidence in Relevant and look forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership,” said John Carte, CEO – Relevant Industrial.

“This is an important milestone for Sakuú. Our SSB technology development has progressed to the level where we have decided to move ahead with our plan to construct and operate a pilot facility. With the assistance of our key development partners, Relevant Industrial and Honeywell Process Solutions, the facility will be operational by end of 2021. This facility will enable us to provide our strategic customers and early access partners with solid-state batteries for their own development and testing,” said Robert Bagheri CEO and Founder.

We’ve reached out to learn if AM will be the primary process for creating SSBs when the pilot plant begins operating or if the non-additive techniques they’ve used to make SSBs so far will be the first to run the factory, with 3D printing scheduled for later on. The company does say that it will be releasing a 3D printer for SSBs by the end of the year, so it would make sense for the plant to rely on AM from the get-go.

Update 8/19/21: Sakuú has responded to our inquiry about whether or not the factory will run on 4M technology. The company tells us that “the Gen 1 SSB will use a proprietary hybrid manufacturing technique and the facility will transition to our platforms once they become available.”

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