US start-up aims to revolutionise lithium-ion batteries

28 May 2012

Depiction of how the Prieto battery will wrrk. image credit: Prieto Battery

Prieto Battery, a spin-out from Colorado State University, is on a mission to create lithium-ion batteries that are up to 1,000 times more powerful, 10 times longer lasting and more energy efficient than batteries that are currently available.

The start-up, which spun out of Colorado State’s clean energy commercialisation facility Cenergy in 2010, has raised US$5.5m of a planned US$6.8m funding round, according to a filing in the US.

The battery technology is the brainchild of Amy Prieto, an assistant chemistry professor in the university’s College of Natural Sciences.

Prieto is aiming to create a 3D battery architecture that charges faster, lasts longer and is better for the environment.

The technology, if it is commercialised, could transform the battery life in everything from smartphones to tablets and electric vehicles in the future.

According to the company its battery technology uses a process called electrodeposition. It said it would have higher power and energy densities than any traditional lithium-ion battery currently available on the marketplace.

Prieto is leveraging nanotechnology to create its 3D battery by integrating nanowire or copper foam substrate. It means the cathode and anode will be intertwined. In traditional lithium-ion batteries, lithium ions travel from the anode to the cathode through the electrolyte.

Prieto’s battery will apparently be a solid-state battery with no liquid electrolyte.

Prieto Battery

Image courtesy of Prieto

It said its highest performing battery will be based upon growing nanowires in an aluminum oxide template to increase the surface area for lithium-ion diffusion by 10,000X.

Prieto is aiming to commercialise the technology in the next 12 months.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic