Everyone seems to be riding the 3-D wave this year...even a chemistry professor at Colorado State University who thinks it could be the next big thing in batteries.
One of the biggest needs in today's transportation market are electric vehicles and consumer products that can retain energy longer and use it more efficiently. Traditional batteries can't do this, and even the rechargeable batteries on the market today fail to meet current needs.
In order to create the electronics and vehicles of tomorrow, we need a battery that's just as futuristic. That's been the research focus of Amy Prieto, an assistant chemistry professor in Colorado State’s College of Natural Sciences for the past few years.
With the help of students and colleagues in the Chemistry Department, Dr. Prieto has designed a revolutionary three-dimensional battery that lasts longer that traditional lithium ion batteries, and takes only minutes, not hours, to recharge
The problem with current rechargeable batteries, reports Wired, is that "the electrodes are arranged in thin layers. Lithium ions move from the anode to the cathode during discharge, then back again when recharging. That configuration accounts for some of the technology’s drawbacks: Long recharge time, limited lifespan and a propensity of overheating."
How The Preito Battery Works: Using a process called electrodeposition, Prieto deposits or grows nanowires that make up the first key piece of the battery, the anode. She again uses electrodeposition to coat these tiny structures with polymers – organic materials – that conduct lithium ions but that keep the anode and the cathode electrically separated. The separation is important for keeping the battery from shorting. The cathode material is added, and the result is a three-dimensional battery. The nanowires that make up the anode cover a surface area that is 10,000 times greater than a traditional battery. By comparison, roughly 1,000 nanowires could fit in the width of a human hair.
“Battery systems are the single most important component when it comes to reducing the cost of PHEVs and EVs,” said L.G. Chavez, president and CEO of The Burt Automotive Network in Denver. “We are routinely asked by our fleet customers when new battery technology will be available. Dr. Prieto's battery could not only help our industry take a significant step forward but also change the world as we know it.”
Prieto expects to demonstrate the first prototype of her battery by early next year.