Friday, July 18, 2008

EEStor Beyond Permittivity

In April of 2008 in Cedar Park, TX, Richard Weir called a meeting together to brief key investors and stakeholders about the progress of EEStor to date, according to sources familiar with the event.  The purpose of the meeting was not to talk about the Permittivity milestone, because "the science" of that milestone had been completed as early as September of 2007.  What Weir wanted to talk about was the next milestone for EEStor Inc, which is the construction of a new facility with 6-7 production lines to join the one that is now either fully completed or nearing completion.   A key difference between the current production line and the future ones is in the instrumentation attached to gather metrics as the EESU's are created.   It should come as no surprise that the confidence in EEStor's ability to pass a 3rd party permittivity test (largely trumpeted by Zenn Motors in the context of their confidence at receiving production EESU's in 2008) has significantly to do with how Weir and team have set up their first production line.  The idea is that they can already run the permittivity tests and know now and for quite some time that the permittivity tests are old news.   So, what's behind the delay in announcing this milestone publicly?


Two things:  (1) Before Weir lays the Permittivity tests on the table which would to some degree subject them to a degree of uncontrollable public attention and more importantly, possible insights for competitors, he wanted to protect his intellectual property by filing an additional 21 patents.  Its this work on patents that has largely been behind the delay in announcing permittivity.  While Zenn Motors is bound by non-disclosure agreements with EEStor, it is also bound by being a public company with a perceived obligation to disclose any material facts about the company such as whether or not there are any issues with passing permittivity.  And according to sources familiar with EEStor's status, Zenn is not announcing that because presumably they know well that things are going well.  With their additional investment, Zenn Motor will own 6.4% of EEStor although it's been reported elsewhere that that figure could go over 10%...which is not likely to happen since Kleiner Perkins and other investors can excercise options for further funding.   It would be highly unusual (although not impossible) for EEStor Inc, to announce permittivity AND not receive a sizeable influx of additional capital capping Zenn's investment at no more than 6.4%.  


In addition, sources have said that Kleiner Perkins would likely exercise all of their options for the next round of funding.  There were rumors that Kleiner even pressured Weir to reduce or take Zenn out of the picture but Weir rebuffed those efforts to stay loyal to his early backers at Zenn.   For their part, Kleiner Perkins clarified what they told me earlier regarding EEStor not being on their website.  Originally, what Bill Joy's secretary said was "if a company is not listed on Kleiner's website, then it is not an investment of Kleiner's."  This week, she clarified by saying, "if an investment is not listed on the website, it is policy not to comment on it. "  Attempts to reach Bill Joy, who presumably manages the EEStor investment failed. Apparently he travels constantly and has no near term public speaking engagements.  


And what about that second reason behind the delay in announcement of Permittivity?  Marketing. Although it does not appear to me to be a carefully crafted set of plans, it does seem fair to say that a key reason for the EEStor's secrecy has been to whip up additional attention.  An idea summed up well by paraphrasing the Toa of Steve, "we're attracted to that which repels us."   While it's true, EEStor has an interest in protecting it's intellectual property properly  and with great care and thus are not foolish enough to share key aspects of their breakthroughs too soon, I have learned from a source within EEStor that the secrecy serves a dual purpose. I even know who claims to be the architect of that strategy but I agreed not to say so in this article.  


There may be at least 5 entities ready to take part in a second round of funding.  Kleiner, Zenn, an investment arm within Lockheed Martin, Mort Topfer and a mystery billionaire in Austin, TX.  One source was bound not to mention the name of the theoretical investor.  A second source flat out said, "the rumor is Michael Dell may be ready to invest at the advise of Mort Topfer."   It's important to note that that piece of information is an unsubstantiated rumor.  Messages left for Mort Topfer have so far been unanswered. 


In addition to the briefing in April, Weir provided an updated tour of the facility he has now.  On one end of the facility, there are raw chemicals. At the other end is a printing facility. They print the capacitors 24inches round and then cut them to spec as at an Integrated Circuit Fabrication Plant.  What Weir is building is a blueprint of a fully integrated, fully automated production line.  This is a "no touch" production line from start to finish.  The idea for expansion is to custom modify the production line for the application in question and license the results.  The production line is mobile in the sense that it could be assembled at the site of the licensee.  For example, at a Toyota Prius or GM Volt assembly line.  One source said that the rumor is Weir removes one thing from the plant floor prior to a tour: the printer heads. 


A source familiar with the April gathering said it was very probable that EEStor would not simply announce permittivity results but would also announce the new patents, turn on the website and start talking to financial analysts and investment banks on a much wider scale.   (A source within EEStor confirms their website design is almost complete)  It would seem logical that as we near delivery of production EESU units for Zenn, EEStor would have a plan to maximize visibility to gain capital to expand rapidly.  Once their business goes into the public arena, one thing that would set them apart from competitors is an enormous infusion of capital.  For now, the Zenn-EEStor-Kleiner stance with regard to publicity is a case study in conflict.  Zenn needs publicity to sell cars.  EEStor needs publicity to drum up additional funding but publicity too soon would enable or simply embolden competitors. For Kleiner, publicity of EEStor means additional competition from other investment sources.  Thus, as you probe around for information, you get alot of different interpretations about what can be revealed and talked about and what can't.  All of this creates problems for traditional journalists attempting to cover the story given their obligation to substantiate facts, another factor in the mystery surrounding EEStor. 


On a related note, I spoke to a person who has attended various meetings with EEStor involving various investment entities.  A sort of pattern seems to have emerged:  NDAs are signed, a large financial firm flies their Subject Matter Expert to Cedar Park and a group of people gather in a conference room. The SME starts firing off questions designed to trip up Weir, catch him on some aspect of the science that he should be aware of.  These meetings often end up being the SME and Weir going back and forth with everyone else having a dumb look on their face.   Then the SME invariably starts to get a smile that he/she can't get rid of and it often stays with them out into the parking lot and all the way to the airport.  And on a related note, I've learned that all of the provisions related to succession are now in place, eg, what if Weir gets hit by a bus, etc.   The IP is protected then on multiple fronts. 


Finally, I'll end with a new application concept:  vacuum cleaners.  A source within EEStor shared with me a possible application of an EESU to illustrate a point.  "Take a vacuum cleaner. Today, you have to drag around a cable and keep plugging/unplugging the unit as you move around the house. With our technology, that would be unnecessary as you would simply charge the unit and be able to vacuum pretty much as much as you wanted with no worries about running out of juice.  That's the kind of technology that would cause housewives to send us Christmas Cards each year. " 

239 comments:

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Marcus said...

To put it in more simple terms, I did not take your words as the truth.

Marcus said...
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johng said...

Y-PO

Of course, you are right.

All our energy storage capacitors are built from Mid-K dielectrics, about K=2000.

At high fields, they retain more K then the Y5V stuff, which is what EEStor is based on.

Thanks for the note.

Marcus said...

Y-Po and other "FUDers", here is perhaps a more detailed description of the material they are using from a more recent patent application. Is there anything new here that changes anything in your opinion?

[0016]High-permittivity calcined composition-modified barium titanate powders can be used to fabricate high-quality dielectric devices. U.S. Pat. No. 6,078,494 (hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety) describes examples of various doped barium titanate dielectric ceramic compositions. More specifically, the '494 patent describes a dielectric ceramic composition comprising a doped barium-calcium-zirconium-titanate of the composition (Ba.sub.1-.alpha.-.mu.-.nu.A.sub..mu.D.sub..nu.Ca.sub..alpha.)[Ti.sub.1-x- -.delta.-.mu.'-.nu.'Mn.sub..delta.A'.sub..mu.'D'.sub..nu.'Zr.sub.x].sub.zO- .sub.3, where A=Ag, A'=Dy, Er, Ho, Y, Yb, or Ga; D=Nd Pr, Sm, or Gd; D'=Nb or Mo, 0.10.ltoreq.x.ltoreq.0.25; 0.ltoreq..mu..ltoreq.0.01, 0.ltoreq..mu.'.ltoreq.0.01, 0.ltoreq..nu..ltoreq.0.01, 0.ltoreq..nu.'.ltoreq.0.01, 0.ltoreq..delta..ltoreq.0.01, and 0.995.ltoreq.z.ltoreq.0 .ltoreq..alpha..ltoreq.0.005. These barium-calcium-zirconium-titanate compounds have a perovskite structure of the general composition ABO.sub.3, where the rare earth metal ions Nd, Pr, Sm and Gd (having a large ion radius) are arranged at A-sites, and the rare earth metal ions Dy, Er, Ho, Yb, the Group IIIB ion Y, and the Group IIIA ion Ga (having a small ion radius) are arranged at B-sites. The perovskite material includes the acceptor ions Ag, Dy, Er, Ho, Y or Yb and the donor ions Nb, Mo, Nd, Pr, Sm and Gd at lattice sites having a different local symmetry. Donors and acceptors form donor-acceptor complexes within the lattice structure of the barium-calcium-zirconium-titanate according to the invention. The dielectric ceramic compositions described by the '494 patent are just some of the many types of ceramic compositions that can be fabricated using the processes and techniques of the present application.

Marcus said...

Ok Y-Po and JohnG below is a quoted paragraph from the patent located here:

http://www.wipo.int/pctdb/en/fetch.jsp?SEARCH_IA=US2005028970&DBSELECT=PCT&ABIMAGE=09032006%2FUS2005028970_09032006_gz_en.x4&C=10&TOTAL=18&IDB=0&TYPE_FIELD=256&SERVER_TYPE=19-10&ELEMENT_SET=B&START=1&SORT=41231903-KEY&QUERY=%28IN%2Fweir+AND+IN%2Frichard%29+&RESULT=5&DISP=25&FORM=SEP-0%2FHITNUM%2CB-ENG%2CDP%2CMC%2CAN%2CPA%2CABSUM-ENG&IDOC=1324301&IA=US2005028970&LANG=ENG&DISPLAY=DESC


copied from the above referenced patent:

The following data indicates the relativity permittivity of ten components measured at 85° C, then 85° C and 3500 V, and the last test 85° C and 5000 V. Components 850 C 85° C - 3500 V 85° C - 5000 V 1. 19,871 19,841 19,820 2. 19,895 19,866 19,848 3. 19,868 19,835 19,815 4. 19,845 19,818 19,801 5. 19,881 19,849 19,827 6. 19,856 19,828 19,806 7. 19,874 19,832 19,821 8. 19,869 19,836 19,824 9. 19,854 19,824 19,808 10. 19,877 19,841 19,814 Average K 19,869 19,837 19,818 Results indicates 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.

Now they not only state measurements but also they clearly mention dielectric saturation.

For one this decidedly eliminates the theory that they are not aware of potential dielectric saturation effects. Secondly it strongly indicates they have measured it.

steve said...
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steve said...

I've withdrawn my last comment re: Y_Po... It's an offer for him to do the same with his erroneous comments which stated EESTOR hadn't confronted "dialectric saturation".

He even went so far as to state that they may not have even considered it and there were some pretty dark motives associated therewith.

As you've stated Marcus, dialectric saturation has been confronted and measured and such measurements have been included in the EESTOR Patent application.

If everybody here is simply trying to get at the truth, there ought to be some retractions on the part of the naysayers.

Y_Po said...


OK, polarization calculation: I get 50,000 J/cc, 7 times more than EEStor reports if i move 2 electrons the 5.7 Angstroms from top to bottom:
38 cc/mol * Avogr Num * 2q*2q/4/pi/e/5.7A = 50,000 J/cc

Where did you get 5.7 A & 2 e from ?
I did exact calculation using these numbers myself
and for optimal k=~200 and break-down voltage of 500 V/micrometer I got 250 J/cc
Which is upper limit, you can't go higher than that, which is consistent with current record results for BT of only 10 J/cc. They claim 10,000 J/cc which is 40 times higher then calculated limit.

Y_Po said...


Ok Y-Po and JohnG below is a quoted paragraph from the patent located here:

Assuming they did in fact made a measurement, I think they made a mistake during measurement.

I think what happened is that their sample was not k=20,000
but something much less than that.
In that case there will be no dependence and since most likely they assumed k=20000 and looked at the relative change of k they got what they got.

The reason why I think thet had k<<20,000 is the fact they use mix of BT with some other much lower k dielectric.

Y_Po said...

And another fishy thing about measurement is the fact that it got into patent before they even promised to release results.
What is the point of releasing it now if it is in patent ?

Y_Po said...
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Y_Po said...
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Y_Po said...


For one this decidedly eliminates the theory that they are not aware of potential dielectric saturation effects. Secondly it strongly indicates they have measured it.

They had been harassed for a few years before that. And it is not exactly what experts expected to hear. Seriously, they apparently discovered new physical effect and all they could come out was a set of numbers in some stinky patent application. How about press release saying something "We made biggest breakthrough in ferro-electrics and we are sorry we forgot to mention it in previous patent"?

Y_Po said...

Ok, I thought about it a bit more and
now I am pretty sure these measurements are complete BS or fabrication.

The reason why we can safely exclude possibility of breakthrough is simple - no voltage dependence of k were observed. If it were the real breakthrough there would be some dependence. It is highly unlikely that a known nonlinear material mixed with something else becomes absolutely linear. These idiots simply forgot to turn the voltage on. (or as I said before their k was much lower than 20000). Result fabrication is also possible. There is no possibility of breakthrough.

David said...

Anyone know how a U.S. citizen can buy shares of Zenn? I looked into it a few months ago and was stymied--it didn't seem easy. Not many U.S. brokers seem to trade on the Toronto Venture Exchange.

Any advice I could get would be greatly appreciated (I'm an investing noob).

Vijay said...

If you go to the ZENN website, you fill find on it (somewhere, and I cannot find it now since I am travelling) that Mr. Clifford says that he has seen it with his own eyes.
This led me to believe that the EESU exists, but not in production mode.
Can anyone back this up?

Ted said...

EEstor has the capacitor. The technology of storing electricity has been around for over one hundred years. It's a simple matter of relativity. Considering the difference between small consumer grade batteries and large industrial lithium ion batteries and the short time which technology has dramatically improved, there is no doubt that EEstor can, and will do what they say. Now, as far as them being secretive and not releasing the product; let's consider the true impact of their technology. Unpremeditated release of a product that will immediately have a negative impact on the World's automakers and fuel suppliers would be similar to the 1944 Allied troops invading Omaha Beach with BB guns. Imagine the power of the hundred year old auto and fuel industry, then imagine them being threatened with a technology that could possibly eliminate their future markets. BB guns are simply not effective against the most powerful arsenal on earth, automakers and oil. When EEstor's arsenal is large enough is when the invasion starts. They have to be in a position to become allies with many established powers and avoid enemies at all costs. I believe this is what they are doing and why they continue to operate incognito. Rest assured that auto and oil companies are not just sitting and waiting for this new capacitor technology to replace their hundreds of billions of dollars of profit. Auto and oil are heavily armed and ready to go to war, or they are looking to ally in a way the will continue their lucrative history. I believe the war will be avoided and the alliance will start very soon.

johng said...

Ted, you are kidding, right?

Ray-Where is that independent reference that had a field-independent ceramic?

I completely agree with Y-PO. Something is drastically wrong with that patent. I and others have tried that mixing of BT in plastic, I got much less, I think it was around 30.

And again, people are mixing up the patents/applications.

johng said...

Marcus @ 9:37

The '494 patent describes a high-K ceramic, but it is not field-independent. Again, there are dozens of BT formulations with permittivities around 20,000. Product is sold every day with it. BUT IT DOES NOT KEEP THE HIGH K WITH MORE THAN A COUPLE VOLTS ON IT. What about this is hard to understand?

Marcus said...

johng, since that post I have gained a better understanding of the problem - see my later posts.

Gaurav said...

One speculative explanation of the electronic mechanism is a new material structure that provides a large number of higher energy states, perhaps even multiple states per electron. Thus instead of an electrochemical process, there is a solid state quantum exchange process, highly reversible, that is storing a large amount of energy, at lower voltage. The small particle dimensions may also indicate tunneling of electrons between phases.

Y_Po said...

Gaurav,

There is a little problem with your theory, it is their apparent claims of the effect before actually observing it.

It is like average Joe placing ALL his money on a bet which has astronomically low odds and then winning.
Do you really think anyone would believe that?

mjtimber said...

Y_Po,

You have, to date, made many astute and informative posts. I think all of those who fall outside the "true believer" category appreciate these.

This most recent post does not fall in that category. How can you dismiss this idea out of hand? Do you have no clue how the world of business works? Why would they explain how to create this particular effect without having protection for their invention? Just to prove you wrong? Perhaps, unlike the rest of us humans, you have never been wrong. But this post shows you to be nothing more than the anti-Steve, relying not on science or principle, but on absolute believe in your own position. Stick with science, and the knowledge that all of us, you included, are fallible.

Y_Po said...
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Y_Po said...

mjtimber,
You can protect your invention without making yourself look like a complete idiot. Truth is - bogus patents don't protect your invention simply because they don't apply to actual invention. Unless you are suggesting that EEstor have gone completely insane I see no reason discuss such wild speculation.

kingami said...

Y-Po, have you actually read the article before you posted your BS comments? They are preparing 21 new patents to protect every aspect of the invention and that's the primary reason for the delay of news release.

You reminds me of some Asian guy I know who is very technical but know nothing about business and totally full of himself.

Y_Po said...

kingami,
Yes I have rad the article.
Have you actually read what I said?
Because I think you have not.

mjtimber said...

Y_Po,

Perhaps the patent is an attempt to gain investment on nothing (which is quite possible). Or maybe they have an invention and wanted a quiet way to raise capital, without revealing processes that they are still working on. You are correct that the patents filed do not adequately describe the invention, but that doesn't exclude the possibility of said invention. You are speculating on the same limited information as the rest of us. But while Steve has professed proof when no proof is available, you insist their process infeasible when there is no process to evaluate! So while I appreciate your knowledge base, I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest you aren't omnipotent. To summarize my last post, there is always a possibility that you are wrong, and qualifiers are always a wise choice in scientific discourse.

Y_Po said...
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Y_Po said...
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Y_Po said...

mjtimber,

You are so slow that it is not even funny. Everybody have already agreed that their patents can not have any relation to the presumed "discovery". The problem with yours and others theories is that EEstor patent don't mention word "saturation", that fact immediately suggests their utter ignorance. Your theories have to incorporate this fact somehow. What would be the point in creating impression of being ignorant? How does it help anything?

Vijay said...

I am at a bad keyboard. so, excuse the typos.
It appears that something exciting is going on at EESTOR. One interesting way to find out what is happening in that secretive company is to follow the money.
One thing that stands out is how money is flowing to Zenn and has flowed into EESTOR.
For example, Zenn got a $15million investment a few months ago. Do you think that those guys would have invested $15M without checking out EESTOR?
I posted earlier that Mr. Clifford has said that he has seen the EESU with his own eyes. My guess is that this is what convinced the guys to invest this money. Otherwise why invest in ZENN? Without the EESU, Zenn stock is woorth about a speculative $1.00.
Lockheed recently (last year) pumped in money to EESTOR. So, it appears that "things" are happening and it is difficult to make a definitive statement.However, speculatively, i have gone with a big investment in Zenn.

mjtimber said...

Y_Po,

Everybody agrees? Well, at least everyone in your head. And what "theory"? I only restated your previous post, that the patent was vague, and if it's as vague as you say, how can you have enough information to know it to be false?

I was so wrapped up in my own thoughts, I neglected to realize that they were writing their patent according to the required Y_Po international standard. So, if I write a patent and include the magic word "saturation", I'll get even more funding than EEStor? Sign me up!

But which patent are we discussing? The WIPO patent DOES mentions saturation, as in "provides a dielectric saturation that is above the 5000 V limit". Obviously, this doesn't change the validity of the patent, but it does address your main concern, and I will require a new "silver bullet" from you as to why they are wrong/lying and, more importantly, you are right. As I said, I don't claim knowledge one way or the other. I've never build an EEStor unit, imaginary though it might be. Have you?

As a previous poster requested, what are your qualifications? Lots of free time? A textbook on loan from the library? Or do you actually have an appropriate background to comment? Clearly, your most important asset is your inflated sense of worth. Sorry if this post was a little "slow", bear with me.

Ah, trading insults is such fun! And productive! Your turn!

johng said...

vijay @11:26

With regard to the financing you discussed, I believe there are two critical errors.

According to their last financial statement, Zenn is floating more stock to get 15 million to continued their main business, they say nothing of investing it in EEStor. They apparently have not gotten the business level they need with the battery powered Zenn, and are in fact, in danger of losing their contract with the "glider" supplier. (They get the cars assembled, but without engines, they put in their battery powered motors)

The second error is that Lockheed did NOT put in any money. They just extracted an agreement to have first dibs on military applications. They are laser people, and capacitors are a common source. That does not necessarily qualifiy them as capacitor experts, trust me.

Y_Po said...


But which patent are we discussing? The WIPO patent DOES mentions saturation

And why does it mention it? Is it because they realized they were idiots and mentioned it this time. Do you realize how ridiculous they would look if you only understood the physics?

Shane said...

Johng is correct...

The $15M was from a stock offering 2 years ago when Zenn changed its name from Feel Good Motors... (or something like that) to Zenn.

Also, Zenn is LIMITED to how much they can invest in EEStor. They have a MAXIMUM investment ability of 6.2%, which could be diluted significantly depending upon influx of other funding sources. Also, at the current time, they are awaiting 3rd party verification of permittivity which will trigger another round of investment, $500K I believe. Followed by another round $750K I think (could have these reversed) upon delivery of usable EESUs.

Tom Villars said...

Actually the CDN $15 million was May 30th 2008 as announced in this press release from ZENN.

Second the minimum ownership ZENN can acquire after permittivity results are announced is 6.2% with a maximum of 10.5% as documented on page 13 of the FY08_Q2_Management_Discussion_Analysis.

And finally here is breakdown of ZENN"s financial commitments to EEStor from the 2007 Annual Report:
As at September 30, 2007, the following payments had been made to EEStor,

(i) US$100,000 upon execution of the amended and restated agreement,
(ii) US$650,000 upon the earlier of the Company raising $3,000,000 or January 31, 2006,
(iii) US$550,000 upon third party verification of the technology developer producing barium nitrate powder with pre-defined specifications and payable no more than five business days following the Company's successful raise of at least $5,000,000.

As at September 30, 2007, the remaining payments totaling US$1,200,000 were scheduled against the following milestones events:

(i) US$700,000 payable 30 business days following third-party verification of defined permittivity standards, and
(ii) US$500,000 payable 15 business days following third-party verification of delivery of a full production quality EESU (battery) meeting defined operating parameters.

Although the financial terms of Lockheed's purchasing agreement where undisclosed it seems reasonable to me to assume they were similar in structure to ZENN's deal which does include payments to EEStor as certain milestones are reached.

I strongly recommend anyone interested in investing in ZENN to read the company reports available on ZENN's website and located under the investor/financial information section.

Satya51 said...

zawy,
Thanks for the BT powder cost link. I may be mistaken but I was thinking that Eestor was making their own powder rather than just coating someone elses. Still that is a good reference price. I doubt my search skills would have ever led me to it.

Robert said...

Are we are being deliberately misled into treating the EESU as a capacitor with 3500v across every plate rather than distributed across an array. Surely DS is hardly relevant with a large enough printed array. More important would be balancing methodologies etc. Sorry if this view is too simplistic.

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