EEStor should talk

Is EEStor’s ultracapacitor-based storage device for real? Will it meet its ambitious — some would say unrealistic — claims? And even if it does, can we realistically expect the product to just instantly change the market? After all, developing a game-changing technology is one thing, but the process of changing the game takes a lot of time and money. Given that we haven’t heard a lot about EEStor, other than the few articles that have appeared over the past two years (including my own), and other than the speculation that continues to be rampant on the Net, I think it’s fair at this point to expect a status report from the company. I know Dick Weir, EEStor’s CEO and co-founder, never wanted the publicity — but the cat has been out of the bag for long enough now. Time to fess up.

Personally, I’ve been hopeful over the past two years that EEStor is indeed for real. But I’m beginning to have my doubts now. I just confirmed that Morton Topfer, former vice-chairman of Dell and director with AMD, left EEStor’s board about five months ago. Not sure why… but it begs the question. Also, a well-placed person within the Kleiner Perkins circle told me recently that he’s not convinced EEStor’s energy storage system will work as claimed.

The problem with silence is that it leaves people like myself speculating. Why do we speculate? I don’t know about you but I can’t help it. I want EEStor to work, and I crave more information. But still we have no Web site. No comments from Kleiners or the CEO. Nothing.

113 thoughts on “EEStor should talk”

  1. On triple checking, I found this quotation from Ian Clifford (CEO of Zenn):

    “It is anticipated that the relative permittivity of the current powder will-either meet and/or exceed 18,500, the previous level achieved when EEStor, Inc. produced prototype components using its engineering level processing equipment.”

    Which implies prototype components have been bult and tested. They are clearly pretty confident that eestor can supply these devices. They – eestor – are going straight to production which unless they are crazy, implies they are confident the devices will work.

  2. These people are masters at ambiguity, I think.

    I read this to say that they have not yet made the BT powder, but they “anticipate” it will achieve the 18,500 K that they previously saw. That K itself is not unusual for this class of BT ceramic. What stretches the credibility is keeping that level after mixing it with glass (in the case of the second type) or plastic (in the case of the first type in the world published application).

    “Components” means the parts of something. The BT powder that they spent two years making is a component, they have to mix it with glass yet, and then set about making a capacitor, a long, complex process. They have a couple surprises coming.

    Again, the telling part, is they have not claimed the milestone for the permittivity of this “new” production process.

  3. And, while I am wound up, let me predict what will happen next.

    The BIG NEWS will be that they have achieved the permittivity target, but will be silent on whether it remains high with applied fields of the order they need.

    Up will go the enthusiasm, and bloggers and followers will be back to the “where is the power coming from?” “BIG OIL” will buy them out, etc, etc.

    In the meantime, they will buy a couple more quarters to get more money.

    Then in a year, they will come out with a “Oops” there are unknown physics problems that prevent commercialization of this wonderful process.

    One real problem has been that none of the interviewers really understand (nor should they be expected to) the subtleties of the dielectric behavior. These BT formulas are very sensitive to voltage and temperature. The leakage current for such a large part will be about a hundred amps. The electrode material is not compatible with that formula, and so forth.

    Then, an amazing goof on the part of one interview, where Clifford said they had found a wat to harmlessly short the power to ground almost instantly. See, they dont even know about the law of conservation of energy. How do you benignly dump the power of a hundred sticks of dynamite.

    I could go on, but I think you get the point. This is not real, in my opinion, with 30 years in the business backing me.

    It is strange that the more unlikely something is, the more believable it is in some quarters. Those of us who work with this stuff everyday, are accused of “sour grapes” or worse.

  4. John, I followed you here from the Volt site. You seem to have changed your mind perhaps as to whether you think the EEStor-Zenn setup is a deliberate scam — why? The slippery answers to questions about a prototype, the permittivity-round-the-mulberry-bush announcements, or what?

    Franklin

  5. I read it. The whole anonymous deal, Weir talks to the blogger “because it amuses him” — once again strange and fishy smells emanating from a closed paper bag. Tyler is hyping this link to his readers. ZNN stock is drifting lower so I’m inclined to think this is more pumping. Take money out, let it go lower, re-buy, pump it.

    Franklin

  6. All of the criticism on EESTOR from those in the scientific hierarchy are based on the old Patents filed by EESTOR in the USPTO.

    For example, retired scientist and inventor Anatoly Moskalev, the person who is often cited as having put the brakes on EESTOR because of the “dialectric saturation” issue, made the same mistake as you and others on this blog did recently in assuming that EESTOR hadn’t discussed or measured “dialectric saturation”.

    I quote Moskalev below from the Tesla blog at:

    http://www.teslamotors.com/blog2/?p=46

    Anatoly Moskalev wrote on January 22nd, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    “1. If you use Eps = 300 instead of Eps = 18500 you get ~50 times less energy per unit of volume.

    2. There is no previous experience of use the dielectric material in question for implied field strengths

    3. There is not a word about the effect I described from EEStore. And this effect does not make any trade secret – no reason to hide it. Actually would they comment the effect upfront themselves they would get better credibility.”

    Unbeknownst to Moskalev at the time, the WIPO/EPO Patent application, published prior to Moskalev’s comments at the Tesla blog did, in fact, address “dialectric saturation”:

    Results indicate that the composition-modified barium titanate powder that has been coated with 100 A Of AUO3, immersed into a matrix of PET plastic, and has been polarized provides a dielectric saturation that is above the 5000 V limit and the relative permittivity is highly insensitive to both voltage and temperature.

    http://www.wipo.int/pctdb/en/fetch.jsp?SEARCH_IA=US2005028970&DBSELECT=PCT&C=10&TOTAL=18&IDB=0&TYPE_FIELD=256&SERVER_TYPE=19-10&QUERY=%28IN%2Fweir+AND+IN%2Frichard%29+&ELEMENT_SET=B&START=1&SORT=41231903-KEY&RESULT=5&DISP=25&FORM=SEP-0%2FHITNUM%2CB-ENG%2CDP%2CMC%2CAN%2CPA%2CABSUM-ENG&IDOC=1324301&IA=US2005028970&LANG=ENG&DISPLAY=DESC

    I have asked Dr. Moskalev to comment at the Tesla blog. My request was sent to the moderator.

    We shall see what happens.

    The latest WIPO/EPO Patent Application that we’ve been discussing this week was published on September 3rd, 2006, a full FIFTEEN MONTHS before Moskalev made his infamous comments.

    Funny how things come out of the past. The new Patent application only surfaced this month. I could find no references to it in other blogs or comments prior to July 2008.

    The “scientists” came upon the inferior USPTO stuff, made up their minds this was garbage and stopped right there.

    Had the scientific “hierarchy” done a more thorough search, as those of us here at B’s blog did, they would have found what Nekote and Jay from this blog found this month and perhaps the dialog would have been much more productive and educational.

    Instead, we got this from Dr. Mosklaev:

    Under this conditions I would think that at least some proof is needed that effect I estimated and explaned in such details is irrelevant.

    OK I am nobody and piece of trash and EEStore people are great Gods. So whatever they just say with no proof is surely gospel truth and who am I to question Their Majesty. Want to have faith without proof in this technology – just do it – no issue with me.

    The scientific “hierarchy” focussed on the USPTO Patent Application… which clearly does not hold the keys to the Kingdom.

    No, that bit of bounty was cleverly filed by Weir with WIPO which, due to the USA having signed the Berne Treaty, negated the need for EESTOR to have also sent an Application to the USPTO.

    The WIPO/EPO Patent Application for a fully working production line created to print these “game changing” capacitors via the “Patent-pending” silk screen process has, as far as I can tell, never been discussed by Dr. Moskalev or this Dr. Randall or anybody else in the scientific “hierarchy”.

    With all the “great minds” out there telling us that EESTOR’s world is flat and not round, have you seen any of them include the WIPO/EPO data in their analysis?

    If so, please provide a link.

    This is not to say that if they did see that data, they would certainly agree with it. All I’m asking is if anyone in the scientific hierarchy, ie Dr. Randall or Dr. Moskalev, has come up with critiques of EESTOR that make direct reference to the data, measurements and other information included by EESTOR in its WIPO/EPO Patent application?

    Posted by Steve

  7. Steve:

    It all comes down to whether one believes that WIPO application was real or made up. There is no independent corroboration of the insensitivity to voltage. I dont think one can use that data to defend itslelf.

    There are two many problems with that disclosure, not the least of which, the results cant be duplicated, which means it not a real patent.

  8. Anonymous may know his high school physics and a bit about integration, but his understanding of the size effect on nano crystals is completely lacking. Understandable if he’s not in the field of nano tech research.
    I site “Size Effect for Barium Titanate Nano-particles” by Tomoya Ohno, Daisuke Suzuki and Hisao Suzuki of Shizuoka University, Faculty of Engineering and Takashi Ida of Nagoya Institute of Technology, Ceramic Research Laboratory, a peer reviewed paper in which they observed a roughly exponential increase in the dielectric constant of Barium Titinate particles when the size was reduced below 100 nm diameter. As reference, at ~30 nm the dielectric constant was ~2500 and rising with decreasing size (see page 199 of the paper).
    As for the claim that permittivity reduces with electric field strength, this is true for bulk material where no attempt has been made to control purity and defects of a surface coating which is on the scale of 20 nm. It’s not necessarily true on the nano scale.
    The arguments that Anonymous makes are analogous to saying that just because you can’t make a modern efficient transistor by sticking two electrodes and a ground to a 1 cm thick chunk of un-purified un-doped silicon, the transistor as we know it today is impossible….
    I find it plausible that a thin enough film of a pure ferroelectric like Barium Titinate prepared on a surface perfect enough could produce some interesting results. I’m not suggesting that EEstor have achieved this, but the science IS plausible despite the engineering being cutting edge to say the least.
    As for Richard Wier, he has 25 years experience with HDD data storage. Considering what has happened with that technology in the last 5 years I would think he has exactly the skills necessary to do what I describe above.
    Secrecy makes perfect sense as does limiting the results available until you have at least a working prototype. Media attention is not wanted during an R&D to pre-production phase, it’s just a distraction (and a potential security risk). If the prototype delivers on even half the claims within 1 year EEstor will still have plenty of interest and will not need to solicit investment. The net effect of what they have said is that it has generated a lot of dis-belief. Considering that the number one way to challenge a patent is to claim it only describes existing best practices and knowledge in the field, what better way to defend against such claims than to elicit the sort of comments some experts have made.
    I don’t know if EEstor can do what they say, but since there is only money changing hands between businesses with knowledge in the industry a scam seems unlikely to me. If you wanted to scam someone why would you aim for Klein Perkins, Lockheed Martin and Zenn? Wouldn’t you go after some easier targets?

  9. I must agree – Tyler, you should number the various anonymous comments by sender, it gets a little complicated to follow the volleying.
    And if I’m allowed to say so, there’s one contributor, no matter how interesting his part is in the thread who is ‘sorry’ far too often…straighten that spine a little buddy!

  10. Mr. Hamilton,

    You could change the date of this blog to today Feb. 9, 2010 and nothing has changed over the last 2 years.

    Expect an email from b/eestorblog/Baghead. Do not give him any information of your source at Kleiner Perkins off the record. Baghead cannot be trusted.

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