Colombian-born inventor Amy Prieto’s research on new, fast-charging, long-lasting, and green rechargeable batteries. She joined the Colorado State University (CSU) chemistry department in 2005 after completing doctoral and post-doctoral work at the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard University. She says that she was attracted to CSU because of the culture of collaboration there, with an openness to sharing resources and knowledge that she believes is crucial to her work.
Prieto founded her company, Prieto Battery, in 2009 to take the battery from research to prototype to commercialization. Still in development, the heart of the battery is a thin slice of copper “foam” that, like a sponge, is full of holes. This 3-dimensional structure increases the amount of surface areaand allows lithium ions to move more freely and over shorter distances than in conventional batteries that are assembled in flat layers. Prieto explains that “the ions can go in many different directions, but they don’t have to go very far.”
In addition, Prieto’s solid-state battery contains none of the toxic or flammable liquid components found in traditional batteries. “As part of our mission to deliver a battery that can be used by the masses,” the company asserts, “Prieto is working to develop a process that is cost competitive and friendly to the environment.” This includes water-based manufacturing using citric acid (a common natural preservative) and a standard electroplating process.