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Prieto Battery and Intel have announced a business collaboration to accelerate the introduction of Prieto’s 3D solid-state battery cell into the marketplace. Prieto, a spinoff company out of Colorado State University, has agreed to complete a series of milestones focused on improving the performance of the battery against size, energy density, and complexity vectors. Intel will be staging their investment to each milestone; and in exchange, Prieto is granting Intel the ability to implement the technology first in computing devices.

 

Prieto will be initially focused on introducing a novel 3D anode in late 2016 to replace a segment of the market served by conventional graphite anodes. Prieto then will incorporate that anode, which is said to feature higher energy density and safety levels, into its patented 3D Lithium-ion, solid-state battery cell.

 

Prieto Battery’s patent-pending architecture is designed around a porous copper structure (a copper foam, which is approximately 98% air), coated by an ultra-thin polymer electrolyte and then surrounded by a cathode matrix. The result is a three-dimensionally structured lithium-ion battery composed of interpenetrating electrodes with extremely short Li+ diffusion distances and a power density claimed to be orders of magnitude greater than comparable two-dimensional architectures in use today.

 

At the heart of this product is a technology for the fabrication of the copper antimonide (Cu2Sb) foam substrate. Using a novel electrodeposition method, the Cu2Sb may be directly deposited without the costly requirement of further annealing or other post-treatments. This technique ensures continuous electrical contact throughout the 3D anode.  The fabrication of the electrolyte layer is accomplished through an electrochemical polymerization method - specifically designed to uniformly encapsulate the entire conductive surface of the anode. Prieto says the anode has already demonstrated excellent capacity over extensive cycling.

 

Then the cathode material is applied as a liquid slurry.   Due to an increase in surface area of approximately 60X, Prieto's foam battery is expected to have power densities reaching 14,000 W/L while maintaining energy densities of 650 Wh/L. The foam battery will be capable of being optimized for either power density or energy density. 

 

The foam battery measures a couple of inches across and is as thin as a sheet of paper. Sealed in a plastic pouch, the Prieto battery is said to be able to charge quickly, store up to twice as much energy per unit of volume as conventional batteries, and does not have lithium-ion batteries’ propensity to overheat.