Blackstone announces LFP production ready by summer
Blackstone Technology, the German subsidiary of Swiss-based Blackstone Resources, has unveiled a new lithium-ion battery cell based on LFP technology, manufactured using an in-house patented 3D printing technology, which is expected to enter volume production this summer.
During the presentation, Blackstone unveiled a pre-production sample cell that is ready for mass production and market launch starting this summer at its German headquarters in Döbeln. The company also announced it is targeting an energy density of more than 220 Wh per kilogram for volume production of this cell. As Blackstone Technology states, there have already been discussions with interested customers, which have resulted in acceptance declarations.
Initially, Blackstone plans to use LFP technology for its cells, which does not require cobalt or nickel and is comparatively inexpensive. Although LFP technology typically has a lower energy density in comparison to other battery chemistries, the Blackstone’s proprietary thick-layer technology that is used at Blackstone Technology, cancels out these disadvantages. In fact, the LFP battery technology presented offers 20-25% more energy density compared to current lithium-ion battery technology,” the company states in an accompanying release. This, it says, is thanks to the aforementioned 3D printing manufacturing process.
Other combinations with other metals such as NMC batteries are additionally planned for production. In addition, according to the manufacturer, the printing technology allows the batteries to be produced in a variety of shapes, such as those specific to electric cars, electric buses and electric motorcycles.
As Blackstone indicates, a “significant amount of money has been invested” to lay the groundwork for this battery cell technology and, beyond that, for the solid-state technology the company is aiming for. Money is being pumped by the company primarily into state-of-the-art battery production facilities in Döbeln, Germany, the site that Blackstone announced in October 2020 would be its production facility. To finance this, the manufacturer recently signed an agreement for a convertible loan facility of up to 20 million Swiss francs (around 18.5 million euros).
Parent company Blackstone Resources AG had first put itself on the radar in January 2019 as a player in setting up a battery cell production facility here in Switzerland. At the time, the Swiss company spoke of wanting to produce 100 million battery cells per year in the first phase, enough for 25,000 to 100,000 electric car batteries. In a further phase, production was to be “greatly increased,” it said. Earlier this year, it also became public that the company was participating in a research alliance to electrify EU shipping. Blackstone Resources’ core business is battery metals and refinery development. In July 2018, the company, which was founded in 1995 and is based in Baar in the canton of Zug, went public on the Swiss stock exchange.