Many of the fellows are in the corporate world, where you succeed by being very careful and not making mistakes,” said Friesen, who is on the faculty of the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, one of ASU’s Ira A.Fulton Schools of Engineering.

Friesen does fit in with the group by virtue of his entrepreneurial drive the key trait the Aspen Institute considers in selecting new Crown Fellows.

Friesen has developed the first rechargeable metal-air battery, one that significantly decreases the cost of storing energy.

The second start-up, Zero Mass Water, uses technology Friesen’s team has developed to produce potable water, using solar energy to power the machinery that performs the process.

Friesen’s promising work has brought four grants from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy an especially high number for a single researcher.

The early success of the two companies has led to the establishment of Zero Mass Labs at ASU, which Friesen said he hopes will lead the way in establishing a more advanced platform for university research labs to move emerging technologies to product development and then into the marketplace.

Friesen graduated from ASU with a bachelor’s degree in materials science and engineering and went on to earn a doctoral degree in the field at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.