3D printing technologies for enhanced energy devices

  • Energy storage

The 3DMADE project, funded under the call “Proyectos I+D+i 2016” (National Programme for Research Aimed at the Challenges of Society), finalised on December 2020 achieving the initially targeted objective: to obtain energy devices produced by 3D printing technologies. Three research entities, Universidad de la Laguna (ULL), Instituto de Catálisis y Petroquímica (ICP-CSIC) and Institut de Recerca en Energia de Catalunya (IREC), collaborated during the project to develop innovative processes to fabricate energy devices based on functional ceramics. The use of different 3D printing technologies allows to obtain enhanced features which are only achievable by the combination of different additive manufacturing technologies.

Albert Tarancon and Marc Torrell, from the Nanoionics and Fuel Cells group at IREC, coordinated the consortium and took the leadership of the scientific proposal that guided to the successful completion obtained at the end of the 3DMADE project.

The main results of the project have been the fabrication and characterization of enhanced solid oxide fuel cells and electrolysers, as well as new architectures for catalytic reactors, leading to different high impact international scientific publications. 

In conclusion, the project demonstrates that ceramic 3D printing technologies can bring a new scenario in the energy field, especially for high temperature devices. The definition of hierarchical combinations of macro and micro structures that increase the active area of the devices, which facilitates their integration and thermal management, is a new research field that can lead to great improvements on the following years. One of the first demonstrations of this concept, developed within 3DMADE, has been the increase of 60% of the SOFC performance by defining corrugated electrolyte membranes produced by SLA-3Dprinting of 8YSZ.

This project has been financed by the Programa Estatal de Investigación, Desarrollo e Innovación Orientada a los Retos de la Sociedad, in the framework of Plan Estatal de Investigación Científica y Técnica y de Innovación 2013-2016. Co-funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and ERDF funds.