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Bringing innovAtion by Scaling up nanoMATerials and Inks for printing

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BASMATI (Bringing innovAtion by Scaling up nanoMATerials and Inks for printing)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-06-30

BASMATI addresses the development of active nanomaterials and their formulation in conductive and electrochemical inks for screen and inkjet printing. As a case study, these functional inks will be applied in a printed thin film battery. BASMATI’s general objective is to develop pilot lines for material synthesis and ink formulation, ensuring large volume fabrication of new products with improved properties for printing. Furthermore, the project investigates new sources of nanomaterials for conductive and electrochemical inks. Nanosafety issues concerning these novel active materials are carefully considered in BASMATI.
With the knowledge achieved by the research groups and its transfer to pilot lines by SMEs and industrial partners, BASMATI will pave the way for the industrial production of functional inks for mass applications such as printed electronics.

The aim of BASMATI is the development of large volume production processes for functional inks, such as:
- Conductive inks based on metallic and graphene nanoparticles for printed electronics devices
- Electrochemical inks, as cathode materials for printed batteries

BASMATI will deliver pilot lines (~150-350 kg per day) of low cost inks dedicated to printed electronics.Special attention will be paid to the development and application of nanosafety guidelines at every step of the process. Moreover, the use of water instead of organic solvents will be investigated during the formulation steps of conductive and electrochemical inks so as to meet expected future REACH requirements.

BASMATI will evaluate the quality of the pilot production of formulated inks by printing a fully functional thin film battery. Two different battery architectures will demonstrate the versatility of inkjet and screen printing technologies.
1. Nanoparticle synthesis
• The specifications for the conductive and electrochemically active nanomaterials were defined, taking into account the four printing technologies and the two types of printed batteries in the BASMATI project. Partners have also agreed on a protocol for electrochemical testing of the materials and inks developed in the project.
• At the end of WP1, we can conclude for the conductive nanoparticles:
o The process to synthesize and functionalize Cu nanoparticles according to specifications, developed by Genes’Ink, is ready for upscaling. Materials were sent to partners to develop inks.
o CEA has studied the synthesis of Ni nanopowder via several process routes. Unfortunately, the obtained results do not allow to upscale this material.
o Because of the elevated explosion risk, Al nanoparticles could not be studied.
• At the end of WP1, we can conclude for the electrochemically active nanoparticles:
o beLife has obtained LFP nanopowder according to specifications. The top-down jet-milling process is ready for upscaling. CEA and LEITAT have studied several bottom-up synthesis methods. Their results, however, are not
sufficient to continue for upscaling. The produced LFP nanomaterials are being transferred to partners for characterization and ink formulation.
o Both CEA and Umicore have developed a synthesis process for nano-NMC with suitable characteristics, and available for upscaling. Materials were distributed to the consortium partners.
o For both electrochemical active nanomaterials, functionalization was investigated.

2. Ink development
• The specifications for inks containing nanomaterials were defined, taking into account the four printing technologies and the two types of printed batteries in the BASMATI project.
• First, partners developed reference ink recipes, suitable for nanomaterials. LFP and NMC inks are studied by CEA, LEITAT, JSR Micro, Gwent and Umicore; the Cu inks by Genes’Ink and Gwent. Next, more ink ingredients –binders,
solvents and additives– were considered. Their impact on the physicochemical properties and the functional properties of the inks were observed. Moreover, attention was given to identify cross-interactions between certain ink
ingredients. Finally, the optimization of ink recipes has been started in a loop with the printing activities. Piloting partners are considering the effect of pilot conditions on the ink properties. This work will continue.
• Part of the work was delayed, due to a temporary lack of resources at one partner (Umicore). There is however no impact on the remainder of the project results expected.
• As nano-Ni is not further studied in BASMATI, no Ni inks will be available. As an alternative for the printed cathode current collector, graphene inks are available by Gwent.

3. Printing development
• Based on the specifications of the printed layers in both battery designs in BASMATI, the technological requirements for the different printing processes are defined.
• Suitable reference inks developed were tested in four different printing technologies. Printer settings were adapted to the available inks. The printing results are required to optimize ink recipes in a feedback loop.
• The substrates under consideration are Al foil (reference substrate for cathode materials), PI, PET, Al/PP sandwich (reference protective layers for pouch cell batteries), Kapton and glass.
• The testing and evaluation of post-processing methods is still ongoing and will be an important part of the remaining time of this WP.
• The characterization of the printed layers is an essential component of the work. The consortium provides a large scala of available characterization methods. Methods are selected to provide adequate feedback to optimize inks and
printing settings.

4. Pilot line production
• Five partners have designed and installed pilot lines for the synthesis and functionalization of nanomaterials, and for the formulation of conductive and electrochemically active inks. Commissioning tests are ongoing.

5. Functional assessment of printed materials
• The design for stacked batteries and for interdigitated batteries is described. A model was developed to calculate the battery properties as a function of the design parameters.
• Varta started to work on hot-embossed Cu and Al substrates.

6. Nanosafety and environmental evaluation
• Administrative work is ongoing to select adequate workstations for worker exposure measuring campaigns at partners. Lab-scale release test are set up to study the consumer exposure.
• Literature data is studied in the field of human toxicity and ecotoxicity for the different products developed in BASMATI. Investigations are continued by means of experimental toxicity tests.
• The goal for the Life Cycle Assessment of a printed, flexible battery was defined. The study is ongoing.

7. Dissemination and exploitation
• The BASMATI project identity set supporting our public communication is available.
• The dissemination actions are coordinated according to plan.
• The Key Exploitable Results have been defined. The related business cases are being developed.

8. Project management
• The technical and administrative coordination of the BASMATI project is carried out according to plan.
• The collaborative platform and other internal communication tools have been set up.
• The quality plan is put into place.
The project will overcome technological and economic barriers inherent to the availability of inks for printed electronics:
- Supply of low cost conductive inks: reduction of 50% compared with current silver based inks
- High availability: production of relevant quantities of electrochemical (150 kg/batch) and conductive inks (350 kg/batch)
- Compatibility with high definition printing processes: different inks will be developed both for high throughput (screen printing) and for high resolution (inkjet printing) printing technologies
- Nanosafety guidance will be carefully applied at all steps of powder synthesis and ink formulation
- Ink formulations involving water based and non-toxic solvents will be studied.

The project covers two kind of nanomaterials inks:
- Conductive inks based on Cu and Ni will be suitable as a low cost alternative to silver for a large range of applications (RFID, photovoltaic, sensors, vehicles, smart packages).
- Electrochemical inks will be targeting printed energy storage applications (printed electrodes, thin-film printed batteries).

The project consortium brings together the whole industrial value chain covering nanomaterials inks formulation and upscale (nanomaterials synthesis, ink formulation, ink production, printing equipment manufacturing and end-user). Collaboration between all stakeholders in the value chain will enable a better integration of the different technologies developed in the project facilitating the industrial take-up of ink productions in printed device applications.
Logo BASMATI project 646159