Lockheed names EEStor in “body armor” patent

A new Lockheed Martin patent published last week by the World Intellectual Property Organization gives us a glimpse of the miltary contractor’s relationship with Cedar Park, Tex.-based EEStor. It could also explain why EEStor has been reluctant so far to reveal its progress.

Lockheed’s patent details plans for “body armor having an electrical energy storage unit formed as a layer that substantially conforms to an armor plate.” According to the document, the electrical energy storage layer has “a plurality of sections.” The idea being that if one section is damaged in combat the other sections would remain operable. Two or more sections can be electrically coupled, either in parallel or series. Electrical connectors would “provide access to electrical power stored in the electrical energy storage layer.”

The armor would be a form-fitting utility garment worn like a vest. The patent goes on to say the electrical energy storage would be composed of lithium ion polymer batteries, or alternatively “one or more solid state, capacitive, electrical energy storage devices, such as those provided by EEStor Inc. of Cedar Park, Texas… Such solid state electrical energy storage devices comprise calcined composition-modified barium titanate coated with aluminum oxide and calcium magnesium aluminosilicate glass.

It’s been well known that Lockheed was participating in the U.S. Department of Defense’s “Wearable Power Competition,” which was announced July 2007. And it’s been long suspected that EEStor’s EESU was part of Lockheed’s entry. Indeed, Lockheed’s team leader in the competition — David Hoelscher — is named as co-inventor on the company’s patent. The patent filing confirms the speculation.

The contest winners were announced Oct. 4 and Lockheed didn’t make it to the Top 3. The winners used lithium-ion batteries, fuel cells or some combination of the two. I’m not sure where Lockheed did end up ranking, but the fact it didn’t rank high could raise a few eyebrows about its relationship with EEStor and confidence in the EESU technology.

But back to the patent. There is also mention of the electrical energy storage layer providing additional protection from bullets and ballistic fragments. And an external fuel-cell would be used to recharge the storage layer in the body armor.

What do we make of all this? An optimist would read Lockheed’s patent and see it as a huge boost of confidence in EEStor. That’s because Lockheed goes out of its way to mention EEStor, whereas mention of lithium-ion and nickel-metal hydride batteries remain generic. An optimist would also read the title of the patent — “Garment Including Electrical Energy Storage Unit” — as another endorsement of EEStor, given that its product has always been called an EESU or Electrical Energy Storage Unit.

A pessimist would focus on Lockheed’s wording in the patent, which could be interpreted as calling the EEStor technology a secondary choice after the preferred choice of lithium-ion batteries. A pessimist might also ask: So what? What if EEStor is mentioned in a patent application? Does it really say anything about EEStor’s technology, whether it works, or whether it can be mass produced?

Me? I think Lockheed could have just as easily not mentioned EEStor in the patent, so I take this as a good sign. But let’s keep in mind the patent was filed on April 8, 2008. This is before DoD awarded its wearable power prize, and it’s nine months of time during which anything could have happened — positive or negative.

So let me just end by calling this yet another interesting development that tells us precious little, makes EEStor seem more real, and keeps us hopefully engaged.

16 thoughts on “Lockheed names EEStor in “body armor” patent”

  1. Actually the term “electrical energy storage unit” predates EEStor’s use of the term, and one can easily find non-EEStor specific references to the term by Googling . Such references appear in other patents, and there is no valid reason to conclude Lockheed Martin’s (LM) use of the term is anything more than a generic description. Also note that in the patent, LM referred to EEStor’s device as an “electrical energy storage *device*”, not “…unit”.

  2. I am affraid you are right- this really does not give any indication of the current (;-) viability of the EESTOR EESU as yet, even though I remain optimistic for the long run. I am not an expert on Patents, but could Lockhheed Martin protect the use of EESU’s in body armor by making them part of the patent for the body armor, whether the EESU is working or not at this point?

  3. Nice analysis. The never ending story continues. It’s a good thing I’m not holding my breath, much.


  4. Tyler,

    I attended the WPP and before arriving I too suspected Lockheed’s entry would be using EEStor’s technology as I spelled out in this post at the blog.


    But after getting a look at the Lockheed entry it was pretty clear this was not an EESU. Here is a press release on the technology (Fuel Cell) and company (NanoDynamics Energy) that Lockheed partnered with.


    That being said, there was something funny going on with the Lockheed entry. Lockheed actually had two units in the competition. The contest eligible unit failed before the final field test and was disqualified. But Lockheed’s second unit was allowed to complete the full round of testing including the final field test. This is why Lockheed’s name doesn’t show up as one of the teams that made it to the field test. Lockheed was the only team allowed to have their second unit complete the field test.

    Lockheed personal at the WPP said the first unit failed because of a “broken wire.” Was Lockheed’s first unit an EESU that Lockheed purposely broke so they didn’t have to publicly display the unit? I doubt it, but there is no way to verify this didn’t happen as the first part of the test where held in private. Also Lockheed’s public relations person, Craig Vanbebber, specially requested WPP staff to prevent me from asking the Lockheed personal on site at the WPP anymore questions about the unit. In my opinion that was kind of dumb as all it does is feed conspiracy theories, but that is what Craig decided to do.

    I talked to several of the team leaders both during and after the event and the “real” prize was access to the DoD procurement process and people. Since Lockheed’s second unit completed all test, Lockheed is now on the list of companies with access to the DoD purchasing channel for power storage requirements. This is a BIG deal as there is a huge amount of money involved with these contracts.

  5. I love how everyone seems to know it’s a huge contract. Everyone knows it’s a lot more power than a soldier needs for his communication devices. Yet, No one on any of thse sites is saying the obivous question. WHY? Thats what these people need to focus on. All the battery technology the people wanting to save the environment and make some money with are creating might lead to some guilt. Have you ever thought all this power and productivity might just be leading to building your own cage? Say you are informed enough to know about high powered low frequency waves that can throw you in a coma(paralysis(yes like in ironman). Say you know about the ability for different rays/waves to effect mood or thought patterns. Say you know about the fact that they now have waves that can shoot a football yards length to make you get the sensation of being on fire. Then lets say you see a battery pack of the latest technology cuppled with a vest which looks like that of authority, with enough power to run a small electric car. Can I really make the inferances more obvious? Learn and apply.

  6. LOL wow I am not sure I would want that strapped to my behind unless I knew for sure that if it got damaged I wouldn’t fry like fireworks on the 4th of July. But I suppose it is possible to circumvent that. I believe being in a conductive shell may provide the needed protection due to physics of why being in a car is safe when struck by lightening.

  7. EESTOR is a scam! They have suckered everyone into believing they have something when they have nothing.
    Ask Mr. Tyler if he or anyone outside Dick Weir’s fantasy world has seen an operational ceramic battery which meets the patent claims by EESTOR.

  8. There’s less and less woof in EESTOR’s bark every month. Whatever, they’re barking up the wrong tree anyways. The future of high capacity electrical storage and quick-charging batteries is in plant biomass doped with metals and cooked through HTC (hydrothermal carbonization).

    The stimulus for this new development was the discovery of a cheap method for converting biomass into nanoparticles in a pressure vessel by Dr. Markus Antonietti, Director of the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam. Merely heating a soup of water and high carbohydrate biomass with an iron catalyst within a pressure vessel, will initiate an exothermic reaction which ends up with carbon nanoparticles, several hours later. All of the carbon is turned into nanoparticles, with absolutely no pollution.



    One new company in Germany, Suncoal Industries, is already in the process of developing a large scale prototype to manufacture carbon.

    A number of scientists are quietly experimenting with different ingredients to dope their biomass soups, racing to see who can come up with the optimum combination for carbon fibers with high speed electrical conductivity and storage capacity.

    Believe it or not…the future is in batteries made from grass.

  9. Its great that Lockheed is making strides towards green technology when it comes to body armor. But they should develop the technology using their own money and not by lobbying Congress to approve funding that could otherwise got towards providing better equipment and necessary supplies to our troops overseas. As Americans we should put our troops first over the enviroment.

Comments are closed.