Tag Archives: energy

Top 3D Printing News Last Week: 3D Printing Conference, Ellen Page, Much More

3D printing news

3D Printing News

A roundup of the top 3D printing news from July 8 to July 14:

Monday, July 8

Tuesday, July 9

Wednesday, July 10

Thursday, July 11

Friday, July 12

 Saturday, July 13

3D Printed Batteries Showcased as Future Energy Solution

3D Printed Micro Battery

In a recent Science Friday episode on NPR, the topic was “Aiming For ‘Wild and Crazy’ Energy Ideas“.  The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E, backs energy technologies that are too risky for investors, but offer a potentially huge payoff—if they work. The agency has gambled on flywheels, compressed air energy storage, lithium-air batteries, even wind-energy kites.

One of the profiled technologies was a 3D printed battery. “The concept is to integrate form and function,” said Jennifer Lewis, Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. “Our batteries 1000 times smaller than the smallest rechargeable Lithium Ion battery that you can find commercially.” They are so small, in fact, that each battery can fit on a grain of sand.

Now don’t get too excited yet. You can’t 3D print one of these batteries on your MakerBot, Lewis explained, “We’ve custom designed and built our own 3D printers as well as the inks that allow you print the anode and cathode in interdigitated fashion.”

3D Printed Micro Battery

Applications of these batteries include autonomous sensors, micro robots, and biomedical devices. For example, 98% of hearing aids are 3D printed, at least the plastic molding is. But you have to hand pot the electronics and replace the batteries every 7 days. With Lewis’ 3D printed micro battery technology, it’s possible to 3D print both the plastic and the electronics.

In the video below, 3D printing is used to deposit a specially formulated “ink” through a fine nozzle to build a microbattery’s anode layer by layer. Unlike an office inkjet printer that dispenses ink droplets onto paper, these inks are formulated to exit the nozzle like toothpaste from a tube and immediately harden into thin layers. The printed anode contains nanoparticles of a lithium metal oxide compound that provide the proper electrochemical properties.

You can learn more about this research at Harvard’s website and read the work published in the journal Advanced Materials.

The Silver-Ink Challenge: Can 3D Printing Bring Us Renewable Energy?

Solar Photovoltaic Film

Could we use 3D printing technology to create paper-thin solar strips that are capable of generating electricity?

That is the challenge presented by Chris Waldo from Kraftwurx in his blog: will we 3D print renewable energy?

Xerox is in the process of developing a special type of silver-ink that melts at a temperature lower than plastic. Silver is one of the key elements to dielectrics, semiconductors, inductors, conductors, and various circuits. With the ability to print silver on to films, fabrics, and plastics, there is a strong potential for paper thin solar strips, adaptable sensors, and a wide variety of circuits — all of which could be printed on to paper thin materials!

“Xerox (NYSE: XRX) has announced its development of special silver inks which have a melting point below that of plastic. Crafted into different versions which can act as conductors, semiconductors, or dielectrics, this silver ink could allow users to print integrated circuits onto plastic, fabric, or film. (source: Aaron Saenz)”

Printing solar strips sounds pretty fascinating, but how would it work? To understand how 3D printing can work within solar energy, one must first understand the process behind photovoltaic (PV) solar energy.

In simple terms, PV solar panels involve a non-reflective layer of film, on top of a semiconductor which is sandwiched by a front and back contact terminal for the electric current to flow through.

Chris continues to describe the photovoltaic process and then concludes:

Theoretically, silver used in conjunction with FDM 3D printing and film could result in damage to the non-reflective film, as the heated silver might melt and warp the film. Currently, silver is not used in FDM printing at all. However, Xerox’s silver can be melted at a temperature lower than plastic and many films. If Xerox’s silver could be printed as a semiconductor, we would very likely be looking at paper thin PV solar strips. This would involve doping of this silver to make two different materials – positively charged silver and a negatively charged silver. This would be the key to 3D printable solar strips.

This is a very innovative idea and the impact could be massive if low-cost solar strips could be printed on demand.


Read the full post at 3dprinter.net.

Solar photovoltaic photo by PNNL – Pacific Northwest National Laboratory used under Creative Commons license.

3D Printing Advancements Leads to New Job Creation in Defense, Energy

SelectTech Executive Director on 3D Printing

In Dayton, Ohio, local industry leaders are working on plans to introduce new jobs thanks to advancements in 3D printing.

3D printing is rapidly becoming an integral part of the prototyping and production process for industries such as aerospace, jewelry, and dentistry. Now there is increased interest from the defense and energy sectors. SelectTech Services Corp, whose Executive Director is pictured above, is one such company that provides engineering services to the Department of Defense, and is incorporating 3D printing into its production process.

Here are details on the federal funding that is enabling this job creation.

The University of Dayton Research Institute is part of a statewide consortium of Ohio companies and organizations that are vying to win a federal pilot institute on additive manufacturing, said Brian Rice, head of UDRI’s Multi-Scale Composites and Polymers division. UDRI operates a reverse engineering and rapid prototyping facility with 3-D part scanning and printing capabilities.

President Obama announced the pilot institute in March as part of a $1 billion plan for a network of 15 “Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation” around the nation, serving as hubs that help manufacturers and encourage domestic investment.

Up to $45 million in federal funding has been made available for the pilot institute, which will support the Departments of Defense, Energy and other federal agencies, according to the Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office.


Via Dayton Daily News.