The use of 3D-printed electrodes could lead to cheaper batteries

By TechThop Team

Posted on: 21 Aug, 2022

A 3D printer and hard carbon microlattices were used to produce sodium-ion batteries by researchers at Tohoku University.

The researchers suggest they could use these new, easily fabricated, high-performance carbon microlattice electrodes to make cheaper, sodium ion-powered batteries.

Smartphones, electric cars, and many electronic devices use lithium-ion batteries because of their durability, high performance, and energy storage.

While these batteries are cost-effective, metal reserves are rapidly depleting, and their extraction can be harmful to the environment. In order to reduce battery manufacturing costs, researchers hope to unlock the potential of sodium ions, which are more widely available.

By increasing the loaded amount of active materials used to make a battery into a single battery cell, Taku Akira Kudo, a Ph.D. student at the University of California Los Angeles, and Yuto Katsuyama are trying to develop high-performance, low-cost batteries.

By reducing the inactive materials used to bind multiple cells together, the battery size can be compacted and costs can be reduced.

This would require the fabrication of thicker electrodes, which would restrict ion movement and thus electric charge within the battery. Kudo and his team have developed an approach for fabricating micro-architected, high-performance negatively chargedĀ  electrodes.

Microlattice structures made from resin were printed using 3D stereolithography. Through pyrolysis, the microlattices are then carbonized and shrunk.

The resulting anode transports energy-generating ions quickly, reduces the battery's size, and reduces manufacturing costs.

In addition to all these improvements, the researchers also refined the lattice structure, which improved its performance. Kudo says sodium-ion batteries could eventually outperform lithium-ion batteries as 3D printers gain more resolution.

In the next step, the team aims to make positively charged electrodes using the same approach. In the end, these electrodes will be used to make cost-effective, high-performance sodium-ion batteries.

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