Blackstone’s solid state battery project will be accelerated through the grant

In December 2020, Blackstone Resources announced that the company will be granted for its solid state battery project in the following way.

BAAR, Switzerland – (December 7, 2020) – Blackstone Resources AG (SWX: BLS) is pleased to announce that the Swiss Innovation Agency Innosuisse has approved its grant application and will fund 50 percent of the CHF 1.3 million development project. The project aims to develop solid-state electrolytes and the grant will be used to co-finance a sophisticated manufacturing simulation of 3D-printed solid-state batteries.

A research consortium of Blackstone Resources (BLS), the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) and the Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH) will upscale the synthesis of solid-state electrolytes developed by Empa.

A solid-state battery can provide repeated, reliable and safe discharges without the potential risk of thermal runaway, explosion or outgassing during frequent use. This means that it can be used within areas and constructions that were previously unthinkable for other battery types. This opens a wide range of applications.

The industrial production of the next generation of lithium-ion batteries with solid-state electrolytes is based on the production of electrodes from Blackstone’s own 3D-printing process. To scale up production based on a solid scientific foundation, BFH will contribute its know-how in production simulation and optimisation. Once implemented, the aim is to manufacture battery cells for less than EUR 80 per kWh.

Blackstone Resources AG sees solid-state electrolytes as a key component for the next battery technology and will produce this technology at scale and independently in the future.

These activities correspond closely with Blackstone’s latest press releases on the progress to date made by Blackstone Technology GmbH in Döbeln, Germany – a subsidiary of Blackstone Resources. The company has passed a number of milestones through its research and development programmes for both solid-state and 3D-printing battery technologies. Combined with Blackstone’s access to battery materials, these disruptive ventures form a solid basis for the company to deliver competitive cell production in Europe.

Who is Blackstone Resources AG?

Based on the same press release, the company profile of Blackstone Resources AG is described as follows.

Blackstone Resources AG is a Swiss Holding Company, with its legal domicile in Baar, Kanton Zug, and is concentrating on the battery technology and battery metals market. In addition, it sets up, develops and manages refineries used for gold and battery metals. It offers direct exposure to the battery technology and battery metals revolution that is being driven by the demand of electric vehicles that need vast quantities of these metals. These include cobalt, manganese, graphite, nickel, copper and lithium. In addition, Blackstone Resources has started a research program on new battery technologies on solid state batteries and its production process.

Who is Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa)?

Based on the same press release, Empa’s profile is explained as follows.

Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, is an interdisciplinary Swiss research institute for applied materials sciences and technology. As part of the ETH Domain, it is an institution of the Swiss Federation.

Research and development for solid state batteries become more recognized

Lots of companies, countries and institutions are likely to invest in research and development of solid state battery now, because there are huge incentives to do so. To be specific, research agencies forecast that the market of lithium-ion batteries is getting larger, but lithium-ion batteries have some technological challenges such as low energy density and flammability. Solid state batteries can be the alternative solution for lithium-ion batteries, but it is still the development stage not mass production stage.

However, as we see the press release, different players are collaborating so as to make solid state batteries more accessible and affordable. When we face some challenges, we can utilize each player’s advantages. For instance, when we run a company as a management team, one has expertise in operation, another does finance and the other does strategy. Therefore, collaboration is more important in 2020s because we, human beings, face more difficult challenges around us. Of course, collaboration has both pros and cons, and different culture causes conflict, which is an example of cons. Nonetheless, Blackstone Resources AG focuses on pros of collaboration as each player will be able to compensate each other by using its advantages. This is one reason why the project is granted.