July 27, 2012

Out of Power? Print a New Battery! Berkeley Grads Create Printable Battery

Imprint Energy is a new start up founded by campus graduates Christine Ho and Brooks Kincaid that has created printable batteries. The design, produced in part due to a $250,000 grant from the university, is seen as a new way for batteries to be produced and disposed of in way a less harmful to the environment.

But how does one print a battery?

“It’s a variety of inks, and in combination they create a battery,” Kincaid said. “There are four to five layers that, once deposited, create the battery.”

Kincaid explained that the process used is called “screen printing” — the same type of industrial printing that is used to print T-shirts or other high-volume materials. At the moment, it is not possible to print at home, but Kincaid said this could still become a reality in the long term.

“We don’t use heavy metals or seriously toxic materials,” Kincaid said. “We use materials that are widely available and at a low-cost battery technology.”

Professor of metallurgy James Evans, who taught Ho when she was a graduate student studying materials science and engineering, further explained the company’s sustainable nature.

”The invention here is a way of making a rechargeable battery with a zinc electrode work. Because you can recharge it, it has less of an impact on the environment,” said Evans, who is also an adviser to the company.

The start up is currently located in Alameda and employs five people. According to Kincaid, the company is seeking to grow and develop more investors and customers.

By Levon Minassian
Curated by Limewit Blog

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