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Chinese Startup TOP.E Succeeds In Developing 3D Printed Battery

May 21, 2023

According to Nikkei Asia, TOP. E, a Chinese battery startup, has now successfully developed a 3D printed battery using its own 3D printers and 3D printing technology.

TOP. E, which was founded in 2021, is already profitable. It has collaborated with car manufacturers FAW and Aiways, as well as the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics.

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TOP.E claims to be able to produce 3D electrodes that are two or three times thicker than those produced using traditional coating technology. These 3D printed electrodes can radiate heat more efficiently than conventional electrodes and pose fewer risks of self-ignition.

According to a TOP.E executive, "As they can help reduce the energy consumption of current collectors, separators and ancillary materials, overall manufacturing costs would be about 30% lower. Capital spending on production lines could be 40% lower than the previous process under the same conditions. Energy density can also be improved."

Making electrodes currently involves five or six processes, including coating, pressing, cutting, and winding. As a result, the overall process is energy intensive, necessitating the establishment of large-scale electrode factories. Other disadvantages of conventional electrode plants include large initial investments and the need to solve safety, cost, and other issues.

A TOP.E executive added, "3D printing technology solves these problems. It is also more advanced, safer and less expensive than previous technologies. In addition, 3D printers can be more freely tailored for precise purposes such as ultrasmall batteries, special batteries and custom-made batteries."

3D printing technology can also be used to create solid-state batteries, which is another TOP.E focus. These batteries are thought to be promising next-generation battery candidates.

The company has developed a 3D printing technology that employs a variety of electrode materials. Furthermore, it has successfully developed efficient multi-head 3D printers that are compatible with any electrode material available on the market.

Several companies are working to develop 3D printed batteries. While we don't know much about the TOP.E 3D printed battery's design, reliability, and stability, as well as how much of the battery was printed and the materials and processes used, the news is significant. Furthermore, the Startup also claims that its technology can be used to 3D print Solid-state batteries.

Solid-state batteries compete fiercely with the more popular Lithium-ion batteries, which are now found in nearly all electronic devices. However, lithium-ion batteries overheat and, in some cases, catch fire or burst. This renders them untrustworthy, albeit not entirely, but the possibility remains, and we have seen numerous instances of batteries catching fire if not handled and used properly.

Solid-state batteries, on the other hand, replace a flammable liquid electrolyte in lithium-ion batteries with a more stable solid electrolyte. This not only makes them safer and easier to use, but it also allows them to have more power, charge faster, and last longer.

Solid-state batteries can be improved even further if they are 3D printed. When compared to traditional manufacturing, 3D printed solid-state batteries can fit more battery layers in the same amount of space, increasing battery capacity. In theory, the batteries could take on more customized shapes, changing the way batteries are integrated into product design.

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