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What is a structural battery?

A structural battery is a multifunctional lightweight material that combines mechanical and electrical performance. This means that a single object have two functions:

  • Structural: it can sustain mechanical loads, as the chassis of a car
  • Electrical: it stores electrical energy, as a standard battery
Hence the name: Structural Batteries
cell battery plus a rigid panel equal to structural battery

How is it made a structural battery?

In the literature there are two different approaches to achieve combined mechanical and electrical performance in structures.

One approach is to add functionalities into a component. This is done by, for instance, embedding thin-film batteries within composite laminates. Such devices do not rely on multifunctional material constituents but is rather an assembly of components.

The second approach is to make a multifunctional material in which every constituent performs multiple functions. That is the case of Volta structural battery,  where the electrodes of the battery are layers of a sandwich panel capable to sustain structural loads.
exploded view of Volta's structural battery

Depending on the materials used, the structural battery can exploit different electrochemical reactions to store electrical energy. Most of the structural batteries under development exploit the better known lithium-ion reaction. Volta’s structural battery is based on aluminum-ions reactions, a promising new type of battery in which metallic aluminum is used as the negative electrode.

What is a structural battery for?

Structural batteries are aimed at all electrically powered systems requiring load-carrying frames with stringent demands in terms of range, mass and volume, lifecycle, and safety.

By using this technology, it is possible to distribute the stored electrical energy in the frame of the system by replacing structural elements such as satellite body panels, a car roof and hood or an aircraft wing section. With this concept, battery packs are not anymore heavy and large inert masses but contribute to the shape and mechanical properties of the vehicle enabling volume and mass saving.

structural battery on satellite, car, plane and bus

In combination with these mechanical advantages, Volta’s Aluminum-ion chemistry provides significant electrochemical improvements compared to the most common Lithium-ion technologies.

Contact us to find out what our structural battery can do and if it is suitable for your system.

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Volta Structural Energy S.r.l.

Via Alberico Albricci 8
20122 Milano, MI, Italy
tax code: (IT)11497270964

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