- Available Technologies
Due to rising carbon emissions, extreme weather events and other environmental threats, the demand for alternative energy sources is greater than ever. Therefore, businesses and communities are asking for three things: more affordable electricity, more resilient power, and cleaner energy. Fuel cells, electrolysis cells, membrane reactors, and solid-state batteries are the perfect energy source to fulfill those needs, but due to the costly manufacturing process, they remain cost prohibitive. Clemson University inventors have created a novel manufacturing technique, with integrated additive manufacturing and laser processing to reduce the costs of ceramic-based conversion and storage devices. The global additive manufacturing market was valued at $7.97 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.4% to a value of $23.33 billion by 2026. This unique process would not only cause the cost of energy storage to go down but will also decrease energy distribution costs and consumption prices.
Sustainability, Additive Manufacturing, Laser Processing, Energy Devices, Rapid Ceramic Processing
The additive manufacturing based micro extrusion, modified micro extrusion by doctor blade smoothing, spray coating, and inkjet printing allow the manufacturing of thin layers with thickness from 5- 2000 μm. The versatile geometries of tubes, cylinders, rings, lobed-tube, cones, thin films, half cells, single cells, and multilayer stacks, etc. have been successfully printed. Combined with laser cutting, more precise complex shapes can also be fabricated. The laser processing can make the fully dense membrane, highly porous membrane from cost-effective raw materials of carbonates and oxides, etc. The proper sintering additives are the critical factor for achieving crack-free large-area parts by rapid laser reactive sintering. The laser cutting of the green layers was developed, which allows one to build up microchannel with a width of less than 50 μm. The laser process also allows the manufacturing of half-cell (porous electrode supported with dense electrolyte) and single cells (two porous electrodes with dense electrolyte in between).
• This technique is rapid, cost-effective, and has high volumetric performance
• Could manufacture devices with complicated geometries and internal complexities
• Could become a catalyst for broader sustainable energy adoption
Proof of Concept
Jianhua Tong, Hai Xiao, Fei Peng, Kyle Brinkman
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