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3D Printed Battery Startup Sakuu Partners with Livent Corporation for Printable Lithium

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Sakuu Corporation, a Silicon Valley-based startup specializing in solutions for 3D printed batteries, announced that it is collaborating with lithium producer Livent Corporation on a printable lithium formulation. The product, called LIOVIX, can be used for both pre-lithiation and the manufacture of lithium metal anodes.

Pre-lithiation is a commonly used practice in battery manufacturing, in which extra lithium is loaded into a battery’s anodes and cathodes, to compensate for the loss of lithium that occurs during lithium batteries’ first charging cycle. Livent is already the manufacturer of Lectro Max Powder, one of the most widely utilized pre-lithiation materials.

Thus, if the partnership’s work continues to be successful, it could be a huge advantage for Sakuu. Manufacturers’ transitions from legacy methods to additive manufacturing (AM) for batteries would be made that much less uncertain, given the involvement of an existing, trusted supplier of lithium.

In a press release about the joint development agreement on LIOVIX, Sakuu’s CEO and founder, Robert Bagheri, commented, “Having access to innovative ingredients from a US-based, globally established lithium supplier enhances our next-gen battery development via 3D printing to deliver ultimate performance, safety, and sustainability. Our Kavian platform is designed to help industries reimagine what a battery can become — starting with how it is made — to unlock commercial-scale manufacturability of solid-state and other performance batteries.”

Paul Graves, Livant’s president and CEO, said, “The successful application of the LIOVIX formulation in Sakuu’s next generation batteries and leading-edge manufacturing process shows what is possible through strong collaboration and a shared commitment to advancing innovation in battery development.”

A rendering of Sakuu’s would-be battery 3D printers in a factory setting.

Back in March, Sakuu announced that the company may be going public in a SPAC deal with Plum Acquistion Corp. I, led by former CEO and chairwoman of Xerox, Ursula Burns. This was after announcing in February that the company had for months been consistently, successfully printing batteries with its SwiftPrint method.

Sakuu is an intriguing, albeit somewhat mysterious, company, which seems to have appeared out of thin air and instantly drawn the admiration of companies like Livent and Porsche, and heavy hitters like the first female CEO of Xerox. The SPAC deal is estimated to be worth $705 million, and if Sakuu’s timing ends up being right (if the bulls keep winning in 2023), then it could be viewed as attractive in an investment climate that has warmed up again to the idea of a high-risk, high-reward tech startup.

Images courtesy of Sakuu

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