The UPV/EHU researcher David Mecerreyes secures a prestigious ERC Proof of Concept

He will be receiving 150,000 euros from the European Research Council to develop polymer batteries by means of 3D printing

  • Ikerketa

First publication date: 07/03/2018

David Mecerreyes, the Ikerbasque Professor at the BERC POLYMAT Institute of the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country, has received an ERC Proof of Concept grant to the tune of 150,000 euros to develop the iPES-3DBat, Innovative Polymeric Batteries by 3D Printing project. These grants awarded by the European Research Council (ERC) aim to enable ideas that had previously been the object of basic research to be developed and brought closer to industry. The iPES-3DBat project, led by Mecerreyes, is among the 160 European projects due to receive the European Research Council’s backing.

This project has emerged out of the previous one entitled i-PES: Innovative Polymers for Energy Storage and which received 1.4 million euros from the ERC through the Starting Grant programme; it explored a series of polymers that displayed excellent performance in terms of use in batteries.  

“The new project is now seeking to develop polymer batteries using a fast, cost-effective 3D printing process,” pointed out David Mecerreyes. One of the constraints of current batteries is their rigidity and limited options in terms of shape (cylindrical or flat). What is more, the manufacture of electrodes/cells is currently a long process requiring considerable investment for battery manufacturing facilities. “In comparison with the traditional flat structure of the cells, 3D printing provides a wide range of shapes as well as other advantages such as greater power and energy density due to the increase in the surface area of the electrodes,” explained Mecerreyes.

The activity of iPES-3DBat will be focusing on developing printable 3D inks using the energy polymers previously developed at POLYMAT-UPV/EHU. “These new inks,” says Mecerreyes, “will be patented and used to build prototypes of fully polymeric batteries using 3D printing offering a range of geometries, flexibility, low weight and recyclability”. This new technology will be focussing on seeking future applications in portable electronic devices, medical devices, toys and other small electronic devices. “After conducting a rigorous market study, the aim is to set up a spin-off enterprise devoted to manufacturing batteries by means of 3D printing,” added David Mecerreyes.

According to the researcher, “the project will be promoting the marketing of the polymers developed at POLYMAT-UPV/EHU, since the right properties of the polymers will be taken advantage of for 3D printing. At the same time, the profits of 3D printing will devoted to the following: the rapid development of battery prototypes, cost-cutting through the use of a cost-effective method, the speeding up of the innovation process and the reduction of the time needed for market launch".