Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

EV Obsession


Copper Foam Batteries = Better Batteries Developed By New Colorado Startup

Copper foam batteries — a new, cheaper-to-manufacture, faster-to-charge, and longer-lasting alternative to the batteries in common use today — may soon be headed to the commercial market as a result of the efforts of a new startup created by researchers at Colorado State University. The first prototype will be finished within the year, according to the researchers, with third-party testing following after that.

The researchers think that, given the limitations of current battery technology, there should be a market for the new copper foam batteries. “I think almost any application in technology you can think of is currently limited by the battery,” explains Amy Prieto, a chemist at Colorado State University and the leader of the new startup. “But two main issues limit the functionality of modern batteries — low energy density and low power density.”

copper foam batteries vs lithium ion batteries

Image Credit: Prieto Battery

To address these issues, and others, the researchers set out create an ‘ideal’ battery — making a list of the desired properties for each of the main battery components. They then set out to develop each component one at a time, while utilizing a copper foam structure that they purchased to serve as the current collector on the anode side of the battery.

“Foam is relatively easy to manufacture,” states Prieto. “It also has a 3D structure that increases the surface area of the electrodes and brings them closer together, which in turn increases the power density of the battery. In terms of energy density, the foam should also get more bang for the buck. The intricate 3D structures utilize the electrode material more efficiently than a flat surface.”

The American Institute of Physics provides more:

On top of the copper foam, the researchers electroplate the anode, made from a material called copper antimonide. In a kind of bootstrap battery building, the anode then serves as an electrode for an electrochemical polymerization reaction that deposits the battery’s solid electrolyte. Finally, the team fills the space within the foam with a slurry that is dried to form the cathode. An aluminum mesh structure collects the current on the cathode side.

The electroplating equipment the team uses is inexpensive compared to the equipment needed to make other types of batteries. Prieto estimates the cost to manufacture the copper foam batteries will be about half that of conventional lithium-ion batteries made in China. The team also calculates that the foam battery should store the same amount of energy as conventional batteries in two-thirds the volume, charge five to ten times faster, and last up to ten times longer.

The new battery also possesses a number of significant advantages over conventional batteries with regard to safety and the environment — only water-based, non-toxic chemistry was used to manufacture the battery.

“This was my personal dream,” explains Prieto. “I didn’t think it would actually work, but it now looks like it will.”

The first applications that the researchers have in mind for the new batteries are electric bikes and portable electronics — two technologies which would benefit greatly from improved battery technology.

“We are less than one year from our first prototype, after which we’ll have third party testing,” says Prieto. “We’re aiming for low volume, early market beta testing shortly after that.”

Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.



Free electric vehicle news daily


Tesla Seat Factory Tour



You May Also Like

100% Electric Vehicles

Revolutionary EV concept provides solution to aftermath of natural disasters delivering large mobile battery supply to power recovery operations PARIS – Nissan has unveiled a...

100% Electric Vehicles

Mazda’s first battery electric vehicle, the Mazda MX-30 EV will arrive in the UK next March. Limited to 500 cars in the UK, the £27,495* Mazda MX-30 First...

EV Companies

In a new interview on the podcast Sway, Elon Musk shared his thoughts about A.I. and several other things. Although the main topic was...


Rolls-Royce has completed testing of the ground-breaking technology that will power the world’s fastest all-electric plane. All the technology has been tested on a...