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Bringing innovAtion by Scaling up nanoMATerials and Inks for printing

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - BASMATI (Bringing innovAtion by Scaling up nanoMATerials and Inks for printing)

Reporting period: 2016-07-01 to 2017-12-31

- Project context and objectives -
The BASMATI project acts right in the heart of the worldwide evolution of low-cost, high-throughput printed electronics. The availability of so-called functional inks with specific physical or chemical properties is key. Moreover nanoparticles are required in these ink to ensure printability. With the knowledge achieved and the pilot lines, BASMATI will pave the way for the industrial production of functional inks for mass applications.
Two axes:
1.Develop generic methodology to formulate suitable inks based on existing functional materials, for example copper or Li-ion cathodes. First, nanomaterials with suitable composition and properties are synthesized. Then, nano-inks with these active particles are formulated and optimized.
2.Install pilot lines for large quantities of nanomaterials and functional nano-inks. The effect of the most important process parameters on the upscaling is studied.
The BASMATI methodology for functional nano-ink development is applied to a concrete demonstrator case, namely a printed Li-ion battery. We develop both conductive nano-inks (copper, as electrical contacts inside the battery), and cathode nano-inks (NMC and LFP , as the active Li-ion battery material).
Two different printed battery designs and four printing technologies are considered. Nanosafety is considered. Water-based inks are developed without harmful organic solvents.

- Conclusions of the action –
*The synthesis of nano-Cu, nano-NMC and nano-LFP is in line with the BASMATI objectives. Al and Ni are no longer considered.
*The ink formulation work at lab-scale, including optimization and preparation of the upscaling, is according to objectives. The inks are developed to be compatible with high-throughput printing processes
*The pilot lines for nanomaterials and nano-inks are operational within the scope of the project objectives. The first batches have been produced successfully.
*The BASMATI consortium has printed a stacked Li-ion battery, showing good battery behavior. The industrial production process for stacked printed batteries is mostly clear
*The work has been guided by nanosafety recommendations. Water-based inks, without harmful organic solvents, have been developed.
- Main results achieved -
Nanomaterials and nano-inks
*Development of a new, efficient synthesis method for copper nanoparticles
*Formulation of copper nano-inks, adapted for inkjet printing, reaching very high conductivity after post-processing
*Formulation of copper nano-inks for screen printing and for inkjet printing, with commercial nano-Cu powders
*Development of a synthesis method for high performance nano-LFP and nano-NMC cathode materials
*Formulation of water-based nano-inks for Li-ion cathodes
*Validation of carbon inks as an anode material in Li-ion battery systems
*Formulation of gelled electrode inks containing electrolyte for aerosol jetting
*In-depth characterization and database generation of NMC material by XRD

Pilot lines
*Installation of four pilot lines for the production of nanomaterials (Cu, LFP, NMC) and the formulation of nano-inks based on those materials
*Production of pilot batches of nano-LFP powder (300 kg), nano-NMC ink (150 kg), nano-LFP ink (150 kg), nano-Cu ink (2 kg) and nano-graphite ink (270 kg)

Printed Li-ion batteries
*Development of an inline laser curing system for conductive nano-inks during inkjet printing
*Printing of cathode and anode material by screen printing (stacked battery) and by aerosol jetting (interdigitated battery)
*Proof-of-concept for dispenser and inkjet printing of the anode and cathode material onto the current collector for Li-ion batteries
*Proof-of-concept of the interdigitated battery design
*Good battery performance achieved for printed stacked Li-ion batteries
*Definition of a route for mass production of screen printed Li-ion batteries on Roll2Roll machines for high volume-low cost production

Environment – Health – Safety
*Study of the human toxicity and the ecotoxicity of NMC and LFP
*Workplace measurements for the production and handling of nanomaterials
*Recommendations regarding safe handling, production and use of nanomaterials and nano-inks
*LCA studies for nanomaterials, nano-inks and printed batteries

Business Plans
*Analysis of the market potential for printed rechargeable batteries and related nano-inks
*Calculation of the cost of ownership and return on investment for the BASMATI pilot lines

- Exploitation of Results -
The status of the Key Exploitable Results is evaluated:
*KER #0 - Pilot line for producing nanomaterials and inks [Umicore, Prayon, Genes’Ink & Gwent] > Status: Available for toll research and manufacturing, and for research projects
*KER #1 - Nanosized inorganic material suitable for making functional inks
-KER #1A - NMC nanopowders [Umicore & CEA] > Status: Available at TRL6
-KER #1B - Cu and Ni nanopowders [Genes’Ink & CEA] > Status: Cu NP are available at TRL6; Ni NP are not available
-KER #1C - LFP nanopowders [Prayon & LEITAT] > Status: Available at TRL7

*KER #2 - Functional inks
-KER #2A - Nano Cu ink [Genes’Ink & Gwent] > Status: Available at TRL6, thermal post-processing under normal atmosphere
-KER #2B - Aqueous binder products [JSR] > Status: Commercially available
-KER #2C - Characterization service for printed layers [AUTh] > Status: Available for research projects
-KER #2D - Nano NMC inks and nano LFP inks [Umicore, Prayon, Gwent, CEA & LEITAT] > Status: Available at TRL6, water-based
*KER #3 - Flexible printed Li-ion batteries [Varta, CEA & LEITAT] > Status: Available at TRL4
*KER #4 -Services on nanosafety [Leitat & CEA] > Status: Commercially available

At the end of the project, two more results are identified:
* Electrochemically active composites in polymer/plastic-crystal gelled matrix [CEA]
* Inline laser sintering of nano-Cu ink during inkjet printing [Microdrop]
Both innovations are in an early stage of development, and still require a significant development path.
BASMATI overcomes technological and economic barriers to the availability of inks for printed electronics:
*Supply of low-cost conductive inks, compared to silver inks
*High availability: production of relevant quantities of functional inks
*Compatible with high definition printing: inks are developed both for high throughput (screen printing) and for high resolution (inkjet printing) printing technologies
*Nanosafety guidance is applied
*Ink formulations involving water or non-toxic solvents are formulated

The project covers two kind of nano-inks:
*Conductive inks (Cu) as a low cost alternative to silver for a large range of applications (RFID, photovoltaic, sensors, vehicles, smart packages).
*Cathode inks (NMC, LFP) for printed energy storage applications (printed electrodes, thin-film printed batteries).

The project consortium brings together the whole value chain covering nanomaterial 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 facilitating the industrial take-up in printed devices.