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Prieto Battery receives investment from Stanley Ventures to pursue commercialization of 3D Li-ion battery

Prieto Battery, a company commercializing a 3D Lithium-ion battery technology (earlier post), announced a strategic investment from Stanley Ventures, the newly-formed venture arm of Stanley Black & Decker, a world-leading provider of tools and storage, commercial electronic security and engineered fastening systems.

Prieto Battery Inc. was founded in June 2009 to accelerate the shift of Prieto’s innovations from the research laboratory to the commercial marketplace. The company’s mission is to commercialize a patented 3D lithium-ion battery technology that delivers transformational performance at a competitive cost using non-toxic materials with the ability to customize shapes.

The Prieto battery is designed around a porous copper structure (copper foam), conformally 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 that is orders of magnitude greater than comparable two-dimensional architectures in use today.

The use of copper antimonide (Cu2Sb) electrodeposited onto copper foam lends an unprecedented degree of stability to the anode and has already demonstrated excellent capacity over extensive cycling. Such materials and the underlying technologies lend themselves to low cost manufacturing and production scale-up.

At the core of this product is a patent-pending technology for the fabrication of the Cu2Sb copper foam substrate. Using a novel electrodeposition method, 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 designed to uniformly encapsulate the entire conductive surface of the anode. The electrolyte is conformal and very thin to allow for the subsequent interpenetration into the structure by the cathode material. This layer is pin-hole free, which is critical for the overall performance of the battery. The strict demands on the electrolyte form the basis for additional intellectual property protection.

Due to an increase in surface area of approximately 60X, Prieto expects its 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 customizable, capable of being optimized for either power density or energy density.

Alongside the technology, Prieto has also patented a unique electroplating manufacturing process for its battery that uses non-toxic materials and will be price competitive.

This investment from Stanley Black & Decker is an important step toward bringing Prieto’s innovative battery technology to market. Securing strategic partnerships has been a focus for us, both as a way to capitalize our company and as a way to define the markets where our battery technology can demonstrate a competitive advantage.

—Dr. Amy Prieto, CEO, CSO and Co-Founder of Prieto Battery

Comments

Earle Beach

"The strict demands on the electrolyte form the basis for additional intellectual property protection."

In other words, the original patent was close to expiring?

HarveyD

TESLA-Panasonic should invest in this start-up (and others like it) for future 3X (+) batteries?

DaveD

The power density on this thing is *great* compared to most other Lithium chemistries I've seen, easily 10-20X. But it's energy density (Wh/l) is about the same as the Panasonic cells that Tesla uses today.

They don't list any figures for it's Wh/kg or W/kg so those specs must not be anything great....or they'd be bragging about them rather than hiding them.

But the cool thing is with that kind of power density, you could fast charge these things in a couple of minutes (assuming you had enough power at the fast charger, of course).

DaveD

Actually, as I think about it, this battery might be exactly what a person like me is looking for. I would NEVER pay for more than 200 miles range if I could recharge it in a few minutes. I simply don't drive long distances so I'm not paying for the extra weight to lug around.

The fast charger network is already built our around any trips I ever take anyway and it's growing every week. So this could be the first step in getting many more people into EVs.

Lad

Like the Nissan Leaf, 60-80 miles per charge is not enough, especially as the battery ages and loses even more range; 200 is fine.

That's the mistake Nissan made...not improving range along the way and lastly not offering upgraded batteries for their older models. There are 200,000,plus Leafs out there in want for a better battery.

HarveyD

The first prototype may be out by end of 2016 but the first commercial unit may not be out before end of 2018/2019.

This will probably produce a very light batter ultra quick charge battery. With an energy density by volume of over 600 Wh/L, one may presume that the energy density by weight may be over 300 Wh/Kg?

Alex_C

@Harvey,
"This will probably produce a VERY LIGHT ... battery"

I think it would be more appropriate to say "It'll be a HEAVY battery". This is a language question - what we perceive as light and what as heavy.
I never heard that existing lead-acid batteries were called 'light'. Or that anything made of lead was called 'light'. Probably people call a box of certain volume 'heavy' if it is difficult to lift (by hands), and 'light' if it is easy to lift.

In other words Prieto battery would appear 'heavier' than other Li-ion batteries.

BTW this type of battery is what is needed for plug-in hybrids with sub-10 kWh battery, as used in recent European PHEVs.
For a PHEV it is far more important that the battery pack, of fixed energy capacity, takes up 10 liters of space less, than that it weighs 10 kgs less.
PHEVs of up to 10 kWh usually don't put battery pack under the floor, like BEVs, but in a limited space under (and around) rear seat.

Batteries with high energy density by volume are very desirable for PHEV's, especially if they also have high power density (by volume).

From this perspective Toyota's decision to stick with proven NiMH batteries in HEV Prius, until 2016 (? the latest Prius HEV uses Li-ion) looks very reasonable. By using Li-ion batteries they wouldn't have saved (much) space, just some weight (power density might have been another reason for NiMH).

Alex_C

@Harvey,
"This will probably produce a VERY LIGHT ... battery"

I think it would be more appropriate to say "It'll be a HEAVY battery". This is a language question - what we perceive as light and what as heavy.
I never heard that existing lead-acid batteries were called 'light'. Or that anything made of lead was called 'light'. Probably people call a box of certain volume 'heavy' if it is difficult to lift (by hands), and 'light' if it is easy to lift.

In other words Prieto battery would appear 'heavier' than other Li-ion batteries.

BTW this type of battery is what is needed for plug-in hybrids with sub-10 kWh battery, as used in recent European PHEVs.
For a PHEV it is far more important that the battery pack, of fixed energy capacity, takes up 10 liters of space less, than that it weighs 10 kgs less.
PHEVs of up to 10 kWh usually don't put battery pack under the floor, like BEVs, but in a limited space under (and around) rear seat.

Batteries with high energy density by volume are very desirable for PHEV's, especially if they also have high power density (by volume).

From this perspective Toyota's decision to stick with proven NiMH batteries in HEV Prius, until 2016 (? the latest Prius HEV uses Li-ion) looks very reasonable. By using Li-ion batteries they wouldn't have saved (much) space, just some weight (power density might have been another reason for NiMH).

Alex_C

@Harvey,
"This will probably produce a VERY LIGHT ... battery"

I think it would be more appropriate to say "It'll be a HEAVY battery". This is a language question - what we perceive as light and what as heavy.
I never heard that existing lead-acid batteries were called 'light'. Or that anything made of lead was called 'light'. Probably people call a box of certain volume 'heavy' if it is difficult to lift (by hands), and 'light' if it is easy to lift.

In other words Prieto battery would appear 'heavier' than other Li-ion batteries.

BTW this type of battery is what is needed for plug-in hybrids with sub-10 kWh battery, as used in recent European PHEVs.
For a PHEV it is far more important that the battery pack, of fixed energy capacity, takes up 10 liters of space less, than that it weighs 10 kgs less.
PHEVs of up to 10 kWh usually don't put battery pack under the floor, like BEVs, but in a limited space under (and around) rear seat.

Batteries with high energy density by volume are very desirable for PHEV's, especially if they also have high power density (by volume).

From this perspective Toyota's decision to stick with proven NiMH batteries in HEV Prius, until 2016 (? the latest Prius HEV uses Li-ion) looks very reasonable. By using Li-ion batteries they wouldn't have saved (much) space, just some weight (power density might have been another reason for NiMH).

yoatmon

The limiting problem of energy density is inherent to the Lithium chemistry. It is mandatory to lithiate an anode material (generally graphite or other carbon allotropes); too much lithium, even though increasing energy density, also makes such an anode more volatile / dangerous.
Magnesium belongs to the same family as Lithium but has larger ions and diffuses more difficult than Lithium. However, larger quantities of Magnesium are less dangerous to handle than Lithium and allow a far higher degree of energy density.
To be on the safe side, Magnesium could be alloyed with copper (CMg1) directly, making it safer and still allow for high energy density; the copper conductivity is virtually unaffected.
This alloy could be foamed like copper and be processed as a 3-D structure as is the present case.
The Prieto approach is certainly unparalleled but the chemistry itself could certainly endure improvement.

HarveyD

The world may have to wait another 3 to 5 years to find out what the energy density (by weight) will be. It will have to be close to 300 Wh/Kg or better to be used in 2020 BEVs. What will be the limits of this technology after it has been fine tuned?

The very quick charge capabilities are interesting for current short and mid-range BEVs and PHEVs?

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