Friday, July 25, 2008

EEStor Blog Reader Writes EESU Assembly for Dummies

In a truly remarkable turn of fortune, one of the readers of this blog has been able to piece together a complete assembly process for an EEStor EESU.  Or so he says.  I spoke just now to avid reader Jay to get a feel for what his game was with this publication (tongue in cheek) and he basically wants to offer everyone a layman's version of what's contained in some of the EEStor patents.  I've got to admit, I'm a bit upset with Jay since he used a picture of me on the cover without my permission.   To the kitchen we go.....put on your aprons, we've got some baking to do!


64 comments:

Marcus said...

"According to Hansen patent “6,078,494” the modified barium titanate allows for improved service life, greater reliability, a high dielectric constant and a low temperature-dependence of the dielectric constants over a wide temperature range. This alone overcomes many of the challenges of using pure barium titanate, Weirs vision begins to come into focus."

Does it overcome non-linear dielectric saturation as well? This according to the experts I've read is the single most important impediment.

Satya51 said...

Marcus, I posted this on the utility prep topic, but I guess we moved on.

First, it is clear to me that the information issues to be determined are not the science of permativity and whether or not the cells store what is claimed. Obviously the cells can do it (to me, and a few others feel that). The key is the ability to mass produce the cells at target costs. That actually has been the whole effort.

Moving on from this point of view, in regard to the ability to manufacture, the rumor is that Eestor is building 7 second generation production lines with upgraded instrumentation. That implies to me that Eestor is ready for production on a limited scale, possibly for Zenn.

As to third party permativity testing. I don't think patents are the hold up, but rather the testing is being strategically delayed while logistics are dealt with and the lines are debugged. Furthermore, of what value is there in a third party test of a pre-production cell, or a cell in a first generation production line? Eestor only needs it when they are fully prepared to go commercial. Another issue is the readiness of companies to use the product. For instance, Think! is not quite ready for the US, and Volt is still on the way. After all, I am not sure that Zenn will ever really get past neighborhood vehicle manufacturing. It makes far more sense to license their rights to a Think! City, or GM, etc. (my wag)

My question to those that blog or read here is what are the products of these production line: ESU cells, or completed ESU's, and what through put would a production line achieve? We know the wafers are 24 inches in diameter, we know the number of layers per cell and steps of processes. Any one here want to take a stab at it?

Satya51 said...

I looked at a Eestor patent application, and my wag is with seven lines, Eestor could produce 24 15kwh ESU's/day. I was hoping that someone with some real manufacturing background could bail me out with a well reasoned estimate.

Beale said...

Is there not a step where 5,000 volts is applied? iirc to "polarize" some molecules?

Or is that part of modifying the barium titanate prior to assembly?

Feel free to ignore my post here which is based on hazy memory and probably a faulty reading of a patent that's WAY over my head ... and thanks for illustrating te possible assembly line scenario. If the whole EEStor thing works... may there be thousands of assembly lines! fingers crossed.

Satya51 said...

It looks like "Assembly for Dummies" refers to the old patent. The newer one uses aluminum and plastic instead of nickel, and avoids the higher temperatures, thus saving energy of manufacturing costs and probably decreases manufacturing time (temperature ramp time).

Satya51 said...

Beale,
There is a 5 minute polarization of 4000 volts (+2000v and -2000v) mentioned in the 2006 WIPO patent.

Manthan said...

blah... i just want to see an EESU.

your science is way beyond my knowledge/understanding.

all i know is that if EESU does not work im going to egg richards weirs house, with 3 dozen dozen eggs.

seriously i will be sooo mad if this is some hoax.

nekote said...

This simple blog software doesn't allow posting of {img src=""} html in comments.

So, Image snippet of Higher K results based on various dopants, as discovered from Marcus' first post on Hansen patent.

Results were K = 20,200 to 33,500

Marcus said...

nekote is there a dielectric thickness reported for those voltages? This is the missing information that many are complaining about. Field strength measurements, ie energy storage potential, require a distance as well as voltage. Even then, these measurements should be in line with the measurements done by countless others with similar materials.

satya51, as for it being obvious that permittivity is no longer an issue, this is correct if your only source of information is hearsay. Those with a science background demand more substantial evidence. Good luck.

Eric said...

Can you guys just stop the scientific mumbo jumbo and tell me where I can buy one of these things? I want to hook one up to my Beemer, my Harley, my vacuum cleaner, and maybe my weed-whacker. I think I might want one of those rail guns too, if it will kill varmints. I'm also a compulsive gambler/early adopter. How can I make some money off of this damn thing?

Marcus said...

Just to clarify, I realize all of us range from those that are happy relying on hearsay to be convinced to those that demand hard data and that this is a continuum. We will all invest accordingly. I have no problems with what ever decisions people make. I really don't see the point in arguing over all this anymore since all should have been warned on the scientific issues by now. Good luck.

Satya51 said...

One important delay in Eestor developing their ESU fabrication process must have been when they changed from nickel to PET plastic and aluminum. That must have helped their quality control as well as lowering their production costs. Also considering how many ESU's will eventually be made, avoiding 36 Lbs of nickel per 52 kw ESU is nice strategically for the USA. What a nice breakthrough.

Satya51 said...

Marcus,
I really do appreciate your effort in understanding the permativity science. It seems to me though that the patent is clear about test results at operating voltages and temperatures for laboratory cells. It is another thing entirely to manufacture economically. If those test results listed in the 2006 WIPO patent are considered hearsay, then I can understand your position better.

From the point of view of dropping major bucks into Zenn, there are way too many unknowns relating to what can happen even after Eestor is successful. I think it is worth chancing losing a few bucks though at this point.

Thanks for your previous posts, I have found them useful.

Marcus said...

Satya, if you are really interested in the validity of those patent figures you should read Tyler's blog starting at the post by "Aurelien"

http://tyler.blogware.com/blog/_archives/2007/11/1/3328442.html

I think it would be a fair bet that "Anonymous" is Dr Randall. This should be required reading for anyone trying to do their "Due Diligence" on EEStor.

Marcus said...

eric, go see Tom Villar's post on investing:

http://bariumtitanate.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2008-07-23T06%3A12%3A00-07%3A00&max-results=10.

ZENN motorcars (ZNN) are traded on the Toronto exchange.

Satya51 said...

Marcus,
Thanks for that reference. I had read it before but went back to review it and also reread the patent section referred to. The ten components tested had a dielectric layer thickness of 9.7 u. It is not stated in the permittivity measurement paragraph, but is mentioned in the breakdown voltage paragraph.

I appreciated the poster's doubts about the results from his experience, but I did not read into the patent wording an attempt to misrepresent the actual testing.

The reason of course for doing single layer tests was to see statistical variations that would be lost in a multi layer component.

Dan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan said...

Marcus,

I've just had a look at the document below, I've included an extract which may in part answer your question about thicknesses. It's still not got the test Voltage listed but it does mention "exceptional high-voltage breakdown".

This document is worth a look, it seems to my untrained eye to give information on how to manufacture an EESU (not just the powders or components), and suggest that Eestor are much further along than some think. Of course it could all be rubbish too :-)

Anyhoo, here's how to get to the page, and the extract .........

http://v3.espacenet.com/textdoc?DB=EPODOC&IDX=EP1789980

View document in European Register

All Documents

28/03/2006 "Priority Document" (at the bottom, this is the original submission from what I can make out)

Extract : Page 9

"Yet another aspect of the present invention is that the alumina-coated calcinated composition-modified barium titanate (alumina-coated calcinated CMBT) powder and the immersion of these powders into a poly(ethylene terephthalate) plastic matrix provides many enhancement features and manufacturing capabilities to the basis material. The alumina-coated calcinated CMBT powder and the poly(ethylene terephthalate) plastic have exceptional high-voltage breakdown and when used as a composite with the plastic as the matrix the average voltage breakdown was 5.57 x 10^6 V/cm or higher. The voltage breakdown of the of the poly(ethylene terephthalate) plastic is 580V/um at 23deg C. The voltage breakdown of the alumin-coated CMBT powders is 610V/um at 85deg C"

mrjerry said...

Satya51
thanks for the post, I was real concern with the nickel alloy, I heard nickel is rapidly going up in cost, and you might have plenty of barium titanate in the world but if you have limited nickel, it becomes the next gold and it's not scalable anymore. That is why Ian Clifford worries me as the spokesman for eestor (saying we have enough material to make 9 billion cars) since he is the only one speaking (oh sorry B), he might not always give you the complete picture, even though I think he a terrific ceo and person.

richterm said...

Eric -

Buy Zenn or I have some other ideas in the comments of this thread..

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=8489475285158529856&postID=2790590192706296114&page=1

gile said...

Looks like EESTOR has a competitor The company’s press release http://www.1-ltl.com/press%20release.htm pending patent links http://www.1-ltl.com/patent.htm

As a second company have a similar device, it looks like EEStors EESU is for real.

Marcus said...

gile, they report their energy density is similar to a lead acid battery. Now go look at the table b posted earlier to compare to EEstor's claims. The innovation here is cost reduction for normal capacitors, not a vast increase in energy density. This has no bearing on whether EEStor is for real or not.

steve said...

Giles,

I've just had a look at the LTL Patent. It appears to be something influenced by the EESTOR Patent where in they use the term "ceramic dielectric powder" where EESTOR would use "barium titanate powder".

The LTL alleged claim to fame here is that they have created a "fuse" to insert into an ESU based on the EESTOR ESU style.

On page 4 of the "Description" (page 3 in the page finder because of cover page) it makes direct reference to EESTOR's Patent:

US 7,033,406, is an example of an ESU (Electrical Storage Unit) that use state of the art ceramic capacitor technology in its manufacture. The ceramic capacitor in the ESU have no mention of fuse elements or other electrode tehnology to provide a degree of failure resistance.

http://patents.ic.gc.ca/cipo/cpd/en/patent/2598754/summary.html

Also, the person who applied for this Patent is named "David Kelly".
Perhaps it's the same David Kelly seen commenting on EESTOR in the blog post from August 17, 2006:

http://thefraserdomain.typepad.com/energy/2006/03/an_overview_of_.html#comment-21223590

This "other" patent application was filed on August 21, 2007, years after EESTOR filed.

Perhaps this is something for EESTOR's Patent attorneys to look at.

Jay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
steve said...

More on Lionel Liebman, manager of Program Development – Applied Research at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

Here's some more due diligence on Mr. Liebman.

Not only is he all of the above, Mr. Liebman is also an inventor as well. Check out his Patent application for "Single detector receiver for multi-beam ladar systems". This is in the field of lazers:

http://www.freshpatents.com/Single-detector-receiver-for-multi-beam-ladar-systems-dt20060907ptan20060197936.php

He is also listed as an inventor on 4 WIPO Patent applications:

http://www.wipo.int/pctdb/cgi/guest/search5

Mr. Liebman had this to say about his career at Lockheed Martin:

I went to Lockheed Martin as an electro-optics designer for LADAR systems. Over the last 5 years, I've become the resident optics design and fiber optics technology subject matter expert and have 5 filed patent applications - primarily in areas of fiber optic transceiver technologies. This year I moved into a new role as business development manager for applied research.

Obviously, this is a man who knows how to read a Patent and who would have had the same questions others in the scientific community have had.

Perhaps his background, as both an engineer (on a pretty sweet career path) and as an inventor, will shed more light on the following statements he made to the GM-Volt blog:

Q:What have you seen from EEStor in terms of their technology?

LL:We’ve visited their facility. We were very impressed. They are taking an approach that lends itself to a very quick ramp-up in production...

Q:Do they have something that they’ve tested that you’ve seen which makes you want to work with them?

LL:We haven’t personally tested their prototypes yet...

Q:Are you confident that their technology will offer a greater amount of energy and power density than batteries?

LL:Yes, and at a fraction of the cost.

Q:Do their caps hold 10x the energy at 1/10th the weight of a lead acid battery?

LL:Yes....

Q:Is there a production plan for 2008?

LL:Yes for EEStor. Their approach is when they start manufacturing these batteries, not just the cells, but also the package assembly, they will be in production. If you can get a visit to EEStor they’ll show you their process and everything they’ve got in place to support that.

http://gm-volt.com/2008/01/10/lockheed-martin-signs-agreement-with-eestor/

Matt said...

@jay: 52KWh in 4541 in3 is 2500 J/cc. Still a lot.

I've just noticed in the WIPO patent that all their tests are done at 85 degrees C. Is that because the unit has to be kept hot in order to work properly? That would certainly qualify as a significant departure from current capacitors.

Jay said...

Here is an interesting fact a EEstor 52kw EESU containes 31,351,000 capacitors.

A EESU contains 31,351 components.
A single component contains 10 elements.
A element is made up from 100 cell capacitors. Which is sliced from the base material after screen printing is complete and baked.

Jay said...

Thanks Matt I converted in3 wrong.
So
joules = watts x seconds
52kw = 187200000 Joules
4541 in3 = 74290.76 cm3
so 2,519.82 Joules per cm3 for an eestor eesu

richterm said...

"a EEstor 52kw EESU containes 31,351,000 capacitors."

Perhaps that explains what they claim to be the safe nature of the EESU? Perhaps it's designed to prevent total discharge if some of the components are damaged (such as driving a spike through it).

Jay said...

Its amazing the density they have managed to pack the capactors together in about a .6 cm3 area they have managed to place 100 capacitors.

I wonder if we could have something similar to moores law when it comes to energy density.
I could see the next generation of Integrated circuits having it own power source built directly into the chip.

Tom Villars said...

jay,

Whether EEStor's technology would follow Moore's Law was the second question on the list sent to EEStor's Board Of Directors. I really hope they answer it, but my favorite was:

Would it be theoretically possible to capture energy from lightning in a giant EESU?

In other words is EEStor lightning in a bottle?

steve said...

Has anybody come across the use of "cerium", or alloys that contain cerium, in any of EESTOR's Patent applications?

Perhaps in other people's patents cited by EESTOR? Or published articles cited by EESTOR?

Book-em-Dano said...

Steve, I haven't come across any references, and I Wiki'd cerium and couldn't tell from the listed applications what you were driving at. Care to share?

Book-em-Dano said...

... and while I'm here:

Is it just me, or does the cost of known/rumored EEStor activities, past and present, far outstrip known capital investment from ZENN/Kleiner-Perkins, or am I missing a published investor or two?

This doesn't add up for me.... is it definitive that Lockheed-Martin is not financially invested in EEStor? Since LMC is a publicly traded company, wouldn't they be required by law to publish any financial contracts it enters into?

Since they are a military supplier/R&D firm, are there any "national security clauses" that may free them, at their own discretion, from reporting?

How much starting capital did EEStor operate on for years of R&D before ZENN/KPCB came along?

It just seems to me that if you add up (ballpark/back-of-the-napkin) how much they've spent and are spending, it's easily 2 times greater than the funding that's been published, maybe as high as 4 or 5 times (guessing). Anyway, has this issue been bugging anyone else?

Dan

steve said...

Dano,

(I've dropped the "book em", hope that's ok with you)

To the first part of your question, it's not possible for us to determine what EESTOR has spent. We have no idea, not the wildest guess, ie...we don't know what their rent is.

We don't know if they have other private investors besides Kleiner and Zenn. And what about Mort Topfer? Do we know if he has personally invested?

For all we know their landlord could be an investor and so they have no rent. We don't know how much Weir and Nelson may have invested of their own money.

The words "far outstrip" are not fair since we have no way of determining what they've spent and what they received.

You asked:

... is it definitive that Lockheed-Martin is not financially invested in EEStor? Since LMC is a publicly traded company, wouldn't they be required by law to publish any financial contracts it enters into?

As to Lockheed Martin, there's a difference between investing as an "equity investor" and entering into an exclusive licensing agreement.

This from Liebman's interview with GM-Volt:

Q:Is it a financial contract?

LL:We’re not taking any sort of ownership of EEStor. It is an exclusive rights agreement...

Lockheed isn't an equity investor in EESTOR so they own no shares.

But they have entered into an "exclusive license" agreement and this is a contract.

The law requires that, for a contract to be legally binding, both parties must exchange "consideration".

In this case, the "consideration" EESTOR gave to Lockheed Martin is the "exclusive contract" to use their ESU technology for military applications.

We don't know what "consideration" Lockheed gave to EESTOR. EESTOR must have got something or there would be no legal contract between them.

Had Lockheed become an equity investor in EESTOR, as ZENN had, then they would have to report the number of shares bought and capital expended.

I'm not sure, but the license agreement may be seen as a business expense and may not be subject to the same reporting requirements as equity investments. I don't know.

I haven't looked at Lockheed's books.

But I do know that for there to be a legally binding contract, there must be an exchange of consideration.

So, as I stated at the top of this comment, we have no way of knowing how much capital EESTOR has spent or how much capital they have in reserve.

Satya51 said...

Steve,
If you want to get an insight into state of the art of manufacturing, check out Eoplex.com. Their first factory is scheduled for Q4 2008. Coincidence? Do you think Eestor could be a secret customer?

Is there any doubt now that Eestor's capacitors can be manufactured?

Satya51 said...

Here is an excerpt from their web site:

EoPlex’s manufacturing process starts by forming “inks” - pastes based on metal, ceramic, or polymer powders that are then extruded through specially designed printing plates to form layers 10- to 25-┬Ám thick in a large panel format. This is the “active” material. Each layer needs to form a planar surface, so a fugitive, or sacrificial material, is extruded in a pattern that is the negative of the active material design. Fugitive materials must be individually tailored to match the properties of the active material in the layer, since the two must be cured together. Subsequent layers are applied, up to several hundred for a finished component, and then the entire assembly is sintered. Firing can be done in air, nitrogen, hydrogen, or vacuum, or some combination of these, depending on the material set. The fugitive materials evaporate or diffuse through the active materials during the sintering process while the active material densifies, leaving a structure that can include a wide range of geometric features, even moving parts. Since the entire component is sintered in a single step, the set of materials needs to be compatible in terms of coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE), shrinkage, and other properties. Most of EoPlex’s IP is in materials development, and as Mohammed said, “every week new materials are being created.”
Advanced Packaging November, 2006

Satya51 said...

It would seem to me, based on comments from Eoplex on this type of manufacturing, that Eestor would place a manufacturing line at, say, a Volt manufacturing plant, and station tech's to run it. That would keep proprietary knowledge secure.

Eoplex implies that this type of process is not trouble free and would need a tech to run it.

Nice to have a web site to look at to get some insights into what Eestor would be up to. For example, why screen printing and not ink jet?

Tom Villars said...

Eoplex's factory is for "Manufacture New Types of Cell Phone Antennas."

Satya51 said...

Tom,
First factory in Q4 2008 is for the cell phone antenna, but they have been developing their factory line since company formed in 2001. This gives some perspective, for me at least, on the technology art, both in what can be done and how long to develop a factory line.

Folks keep wringing hands wondering why the Eestor delays, so it just gives me a comparable project.

I still feel that third party permittivity tests only make sense for certifying the factory line. So the earliest I expect them is when the lines are up and debugged.

Tom Villars said...

The technology page on EoPlex's website talks about the minimum dimensions. Is this similar to what EEStor needs to make EESUs?

Satya51 said...

Ran across this article when I looked into Eestor before and thought it might interest some:

ABSTRACT

The substitution behavior and lattice parameter of barium titanate between solid_solubility with a dopant concentration in the range of 0.25 to 1.5 mol% are studied. The influences of dysprosium-doped fraction on the grain size and dielectric properties of barium titanate ceramic, including dielectric constant and breakdown electric field strength, are investigated via scanning electronic microscopy, X-ray diffraction and electric property tester. The results show that, at a dysprosium concentration of 0.75 mol%, the abnormal grain growth is inhibited and the lattice parameters of grain rise up to the maximum because of the lowest vacancy concentration. In addition, the finegrain and high density of barium titanate ceramic result in its excellent dielectric properties. The relative dielectric constant (25 °C) reaches to 4100. The temperature coefficient of the capacitance varies from -10 to 10% within the temperature range of -15 °C -100 °C, and the breakdown electric field strength (alternating current) achieves 3.2 kV/mm. These data suggest that our barium titanate could be used in the manufacture of high voltage ceramic capacitors.

Keywords: dysprosium doping, microstructure and properties, barium titanate ceramic.
http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=s0366-69132005000300007

Satya51 said...

Tom,
When I looked into their manufacturing guidelines, it seemed to me that Eestor' cells would be less complex. One thing that Eestor mentioned was the need to change the dielectric at the edge of the metal layer to keep the voltage gradient from being too high. Eoplex should be able to do this with their line.

I am not saying that Eoplex is providing the print heads for Eestor, just that the manufacturing has been perfected by Eoplex, so Eestor should also be able to do it or get help.

Just my thoughts.

steve said...

Came across an article on the "Top 100 New Clean Energy Technologies". They weren't numbered but EESTOR was listed 7th from the top.

I asked about "cerium" earlier because of this reference to a company named in that article, Plurion Systems:

Plurion Systems - Zinc/Cerium Redox technology for renewable or grid electrical storage provides the highest power density of any battery on the market. The environmentally benign organic electrolyte is maintenance-free, making it possible to engineer sealed battery modules in the range of 250kW - 5MW, which can be connected to meet larger power requirements.

http://www.windenergy.com/news/news_Xenophilius_3-10-08.html

http://plurionsystems.com

Also, while google-ing cerium and eestor, came across this about doping BT:

For photorefractive applications, barium titanate can be doped by various other elements, eg. cerium.

http://www.answers.com/topic/barium-titanate

Book-em-Dano said...

Steve - Thanks for the analysis and info, especially for that bit about mutual consideration - very interesting, and makes perfect sense in retrospect. I believe the legal term is "equitable" arrangement? Something like that.

And thanks for the info about cerium - wasn't aware of that company or that battery tech, I'll study it.

Satya51 - I've been thinking about the statement you posted near the top of this thread: "the wafers are 24 inches in diameter". I've read this statement somewhere before as well (can't remember where at the moment) and thought it was very odd, and inconsistent with all the other info I read, in the patent applications and elsewhere. The production process detailed everywhere else is based on a linear production line, including extrusion and (partly) moving assembly.

Circular components are undesirable in this type of assembly. The only instance where one may be constrained to use "circular wafers" is if they were sliced from a cylindrical ingot of a monocrystaline material grown by "pulling" ultra-pure molten feed from a seed crystal in an oven. This is only necessary if you need microcircuit-quality semiconductor material as a substrate. This is just weird and doesn't fit with anything else.

Could you post a link so I can go back & qualify the source?

Dan

Book-em-Dano said...

To everyone - an open question, and a "core dump" of sorts:

How do you feel personally about the uncertainty in this situation, and your own level of investment in EEStor through ZMC (if any)?

Personally, even without EEStor on the scene, I would have invested in ZENN anyway just because I like the company`s vision, product, and the fact that Ian Clifford et al are doing everything right.

For what it`s worth, I came across mention of EEStor on the net about a month ago. My first reaction to the purported EESU specs was "yeah, right". But I was intrigued, mainly because of the entire context of the article (who else was involved and the particular details, the exact wording of what was said, even what wasn't said and the specific subjects that got a "no comment".

At this point I should mention that, funny as this may sound, I recalled being in this same situation before. It was about 20 years ago, and I was working as an electronics technologist for the Canadian Navy in sonar, radar and communications systems. A coworker came up to me one day and said "Did you know that they've just started marketing a 1 Farad cap?". I blinked and said "Holy crap! Really? How big?". He said "About the size of a lifesaver.". I said "Wow .... what's the rated voltage?". He said "2.7 volts.". I said "oh....". He said "Yeah, I know. Still, it could make niche applications like in-circuit battery backup obselete". I agreed and looked up specs on the new devices and thought it was interesting as an incremental development, but not game-changing, and went back to doing what I was doing.

The point is, it was obvious to me, as it would be obvious even to a hobbyist or TV repairman, that one of the first things you'd want to know in this situation is "what's the rated voltage?". And of course this would also mean that this would be the last spec I would try to fudge if I were running a scam. Then I ran across all the posts warning about the electrochemical impossibility of the high voltage permitivity claims, and had to agree. On the other hand, I knew enough to realize that no one in my field, not even a TV repairman, would "fail to take dialectric saturation or breakdown" (the characteristic that gives a capacitor its useful voltage range) into account.

So, I got to the point where I was convinced that neither "scam" nor "ineptitude" was credible, either from EEStor or from significant equity investors ZENN & KPCB. So at that point I asked myself "if I was ZENN or KPCB, would I invest that much without evaluating or to see evaluated, a working component?". The answer was "no way in hell". And it's very easy to do: high voltage power supply, high voltage resistive load, and DMM/scope with high voltage probe, and a stop-watch.

I was at the point where neither scam, ineptitude nor "working device" was credible? WTF? This is way strange, I have got to be missing something. So I asked myself "is there any way it could possibly have the breakdown voltage described? Any possible way at all? I thought long and hard, through reading layman-level scientific publications all my life (yes,I'm a geek). I realized that, if true, there could only be one reason why experts cried "impossible"! It's because there was no practical way to prove the effect theoretically - that meant computational intractibility. There are two fields I know of that suffer from this: protien research and nanotechnology. In both cases, methods of discovey are mostly relegated to what my college prof called "suck it and see". In other words, you just have to try different things, using educated guesses, and see what comes out.

So now I'm saying to myself "well, at least it's marginally possible". Doubtful it has anything to do with protiens. I'm left with a nanotechnical slant. I try and recall what I understood about the field - not much, I'm no expert - but I do understand that the appeal is that the small feature geometries (i.e. several micrometers down to several nanometers) often provide "new and unique properties that are substantially independant of the properties of the base material".

I then had to suck back and reload, because my head was spinning (too much detail, had to stop & integrate). I realized that something else was bugging me - it was the general behaviour of the invested parties. It wasn't consistent with a scam, or ineptitude, nor did it seem to me like overzealous attachment to secrecy due to some paranoia on the part of the insiders. What it mostly seemed like to me was "laisez faire". They were trying to keep some things secret (technical, operational, etc), but they just didn't seem too concerned about what was being said about them or their relationships, good or bad. I'm no financial sector whiz or lifetime equity investor, but even I could see this was very unusual. I then put myself in Weir's position, assumed it was true, and asked myself "how would I act?". I quickly realized that I would try to keep certain critical things secret as long as possible, I might talk to outside people about certain things as time permitted, but I wouldn't really care too much about what was going on in the press/web (laisez faire attitude), because I knew it wouldn't matter. I had a lock on a working product (not just a technology) that will be categorized in hostory books as a new "age" - the "energy age", just like the "industrial age" or the "information age". Under this working theory (I'm still not convinced at this point) the behaviour of the players started to seem consistent with a working product as described.

There was still the nagging question of "is it even possible, never mind probable". So, I started sweeping the net again. Then I ran across a statement from EEStor about how the dialectric particle sizes are critical - several microns in scale. Within the bounds of unique properties afforded by feature geometries at the scale encompassed by nanotechnology. I re-read this line several times. I kept telling myself that this couldn't possibly be true as the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up.

My mind telling me one thing ("this is NOT 100% certain!"), but my gut telling me another ("this is a revolution - transportation, power grid, consumer devices, military, space!"). Very disconcerting. My gut won out. I spent the next hour or so researching the financial matrix of this setup, confirmed that ZENN was the only game in town, then the next day I put my entire net worth in ZENN. The above sequence of events is my own warped sense of due dilligence to myself. Haha.

Yes, I'll admit I'm a geek AND a fool. Sometimes. But my total net worth is only $6k (4 kids & 2 ex-wives, long story), which invested any other way would mean very little at retirement (about 8 years away), so I stand to lose everything, which is actually not much.

But you know what? Even if this doesn't pan out - and I personally guestimate about a 5% chance of that due to concerns raised here as well as other possibilities no one has come up with yet (things sometimes turn out in ways nobody can predict), I will remember this as one of those times in your life when you felt most alive. The excitement and building anticipation of a global paradigm change that few saw coming, one in which you have a glimmer of the real possibilites embodied in this change, and you're filled with amazement and wonder. Having loads of money by itself can't do that to your quality of life, although I do admit that it can alieve you of financial worries enough so that you can concentrate on the better aspects of being alive. I guess it all depends on your mindset. I'll be content and remember this time fondly either way. Great time to be alive...


Dan

Marcus said...

Dan, I'm not going to comment on your decision to bet your whole net worth....!

A lot of what you say makes some sense but here are just a couple of exceptions in my opinion:

"On the other hand, I knew enough to realize that no one in my field, not even a TV repairman, would "fail to take dialectric saturation or breakdown" (the characteristic that gives a capacitor its useful voltage range) into account."

Is this really true? We are talking not about dielectric saturation in general, we are talking about the specific non-linear behavior of dielectric saturation as it pertains to BaTitanate. Anonymous over at Tyler's blog (IMO Prof Randall) comments:

"This is nothing new. Everytime an electrical engineer or physicist or unaware scientist learns that there are dielectric materials with K > 10,000 out there, they recall Energy = 1/2 CV2 from physics class and get excited. They work through the geometry of the problem, note that energy density is therefor 1/2KE2, so if there is any kind of reasonably high breakdown voltage (E = V / thickness), they have a miracle material. Then they focus on maximizing E (because they believe energy supposedly will increase as E squared), and expect to store incredible amounts of energy. Those of us involved with these materials our whole lives know the real story. Energy increases linearly with field, and you can't store more than a few J/cc."

Now look at the original patent. It fits the pattern.

Another point:
"So I asked myself "is there any way it could possibly have the breakdown voltage described?"

The stumbling block isn't breakdown voltage, it is dielectric saturation. Something quite different. Nano-techniques are nothing new in the capacitor industry. People have been at this for a long time.

Thirdly:
" I realized that, if true, there could only be one reason why experts cried "impossible"! It's because there was no practical way to prove the effect theoretically - that meant computational intractibility."

I'm not quite sure what you are getting at here. People who have contributed to this blog have done some calculations for the material described in the patent (I don't know how well qualified these people are...). And, they have reported experimentally recreating the material described in the patent and testing its properties. See some of Johng's and Y_Po's comments on the "Beyond Permittivity" post.

If you haven't read this thread you should:
http://tyler.blogware.com/blog/_archives/2007/11/1/3328442.html

I am still at the WTF? stage. Its all not making much sense. If I completely ignore the science and patents - yes it all looks very promising. But I am a scientist (albeit not a chemist/physicist) so this is hard for me to do. If ZNN shares are on an up trend then there may be not too much risk in the short term unless KP suddenly announces a pull out. Ouch!

Eric said...

Hey Dan-

Enjoyed your post. Let's hope this thing pans out. The world needs it to work. I know what you mean about that feeling of anticipation. My left brain says, "Nah, too good to be true." But my right side says, "Yeah, but what if it is!" Right now, I'm going with the right.

I hoist my frothy mug.

Satya51 said...

Dan,
the 24 inch in diameter pizza shape came from this web site. Eoplex makes their pattern square, other processes are ribbon or tape like. So, I had the same puzzle as to why they would do it (I wonder if it is actually not round in other words).

In regards to investments, a little at a time over a long period is how I got where I am. I don't buy lottery tickets, and I live within my means. In regards to Zenn, as a competitive business, the Chinese are getting into the neighborhood vehicle business too so the market could get crowded quickly.

Still, I like the excitement that Eestor brings and the ability of Zenn to license to lower Hp and mid size EV's. So I see Zenn as just an Eestor play.

The snags in the Eestor capacitor story in my mind have been addressed and I think it is just a matter of time before products start to roll. Zenn is saying end of this year and I believe them this time.

After the products roll, we will have to see what develops.

So, I don't see any reason to criticize your thoughts or investment in Zenn.

Jay said...

qoute:
"The energy is not proportional to the voltage squared. That is EEStors problem. Energy is equal to 1/2CV2 only for linear dielectrics. Barium titanate is highly nonlinear, and the energy is approximately proportional to V, not V squared for a high field application like energy storage. EEStor only calculates energy storage -- never measures it, so they don't have to face this reality. By the way -- this creates a factor of several hundred difference between their calculated energy density, and the actual (which I have measured in the lab, and has been verified many times since)"

Why is that people keep qouting the properties of Barium Titanate. Eestor patent clearly uses a modified Titanate as the dielectric, the properties are covered in us patent 6078494.

Here are the characteristics,
* greater reliability
* high dielectric constant K
* low temperature-dependence
* low loss factor, a
* capacitance with a low voltage dependence

And yes in EEstor newer patents they have measured Permitivty at 3500v and 5000v with no problems..

weird_science said...

I'm new to this mystery but it seems that we are at a point where only two possible outcomes exist..

1. It works as claimed.

2. It's a complete scam - Richard Weir is lying and purposely perpetuating this scam for some unknown(financial?) reason.

The accusations of errors have been around far too long for EEstor not to be well aware of them much before the April meeting and recent statements of skeptics having egg on their face.

steve said...

Dano,

Freakin hell, man. GREAT POST. I just want to thank you for writing that. Nobody should read anything into my response other than that was just fun to read. We've all been going through our little personal scenario and contemplating what this technology could mean to the world at large (which we all inhabit...I think?).

It was great to read your story and to be allowed into your unique thought process. Thanks for making the effort to put it out there, was a fine compliment to my cheap shiraz.

:)

steve said...

Jay said,

Why is that people keep qouting the properties of Barium Titanate. Eestor patent clearly uses a modified Titanate as the dielectric, the properties are covered in us patent 6078494.

Well said, jay. I agree.

Regardless of whether people have a problem with "dielectric saturation", it's annoying to see the invention mis-characterized.

It's also not clear to me from reading Tyler's blog that the anonymous bogeyman was familiar with the second/WIPO/EPO patent. His comments indicate that he was focussed on the USPTO Patent which does not go into as much detail as the WIPO patent application.

Book-em-Dano said...

Marcus (and others) - I understand the frustration in dealing with a situation like this when you're not knowledgable about one aspect of it. For me it's the financial market side of things. I'm 47 and up until a month ago had no understanding of the finer details. I've had to deal with a mountain of jargon-filled, seemingly contradictory info - even on so-called "tutorial" pages. Imagine my suprise when I finally found what I thought was the right kind of company info page, saw a link called "technicals", and sighed "finally, some technical info on their products!", only to be met with more financial alphabet soup like EPS, Capitalization, Valuation, etc - and feeling like a moron.

Like I said in the previous post, all the discussions about permitivity, non-linearity wrt voltage, dialectric composition, etc were either besides the point, red-herrings, or just plain posturing or attempts at stock price manipulation for pump 'n dumpers (had to learn about that term too), but again, from_my_own_personal_perspective.

All I based my decision on was 2 things:

1) The apparent confidence in the product displayed by two heavily invested and very different companies that would definitely have applied sufficient due dilligence before investing, using even more expertise than I had, even though what I have is way more than enough to determine the energy capacity of a device in front of me.

2) Whether, based on everything I knew (or thought I knew) about the natural world, was there something at all to indicate that this was even possible. I concluded that there was (again - based_on_my_own_life_experience).

That is, in essence, all I required to conclude that the EESU is as described, to 95% confidence (for me personally). Nothing is ever 100%, and remember I'm a newbie.

But like I said, I can empathize with the frustration of non-experts, being one myself on the financial side of things.

Can I make a suggestion to everyone that may be in the same boat? Don't listen to technical details from ANYONE on the net who doesn't post his full name, address, home, cell & work phone, and a scan of his I.D. and credentials. I've been doing research on the net since it was just DARPA, Government, Universities and associated Corporations, running commands like archie, veronica and gopher on a command-line interface - and even back then there was a pervasive warning: "on the internet, no one knows you're a dog".

Go to your local college, Tech Institute or University, have some face time at the office and let them know you'd like to talk with the teacher/prof most responsible for teaching ANALOG circuit theory (not digital), or the physics prof teaching electrical component theory to first-year electronics students. They'll probably be more than happy to connect you up. Be up front with the teacher about EESTor right away, tell him you need clarification because this is way over your head. Ask him: whether or not all you need to know about how much energy a capacitor can hold (within the guaranteed tolerances) can be derived from the manufacturer's stated capacitance and maximum working voltage, or do I also need to know details of the dialectric such as specific aspects of permitivity vs voltage, etc. They're usually happy to show you how much they know. A group of 2nd year E.Eng students in the cafeteria is also good.

I'm sure this won't be enough to feel completely satisfied in the current situation with EESTor and related net-noise, but I believe it will "quiet things down" significantly for you, so you'll know how much of that noise you can safely ignore - info from someone you've met and actually know in person. Seriously, they're usually glad to help. I'm betting he/she (and all the students) are already familiar with EEStor and EESUs.

Anyway, all I can add to that is to say that anyone who does anything material and significant in their life based on anonymous text on the net, rather than their own wit & wisdom or from someone they trust, is a bigger fool than I am - and that's really saying something. Everybody's got to follow their own head, heart and gut on this one.



Eric - I hear ya. Let's enjoy the euphoria while we can, cry and feel REALLY stupid if it goes wrong, and remember the glory days either way. Skoal.



Satya51 - you said "the 24 inch in diameter pizza shape came from this web site.". ok, but do you know where it originated? What company's web site, or whatever, was it taken from? It's not hugely important, but I like to chase inconsistencies.... I hear what you say about the chinese, but I think ZENN realizes that highway capable, affordable and utilitarian (i.e. sedan, mini van, cross-over etc) is the way to go - not $100,000 sports cars, not if they want to get market penetration and visibility/brand-recognition as quickly as possible. So far they seem to be doing the smart thing. Dynasty didn't - I really feel for those guys (and gals).

I don't know about the Chinese companies - more research I guess. And thanks for letting me know how you feel and how you're responding to this whole business - I was hoping to hear other's stories! And rest assured, I'm a fool but a responsible fool. I'm a single dad so I have to do the 9-5, fill my kid's cake-hole and keep him stocked up on X-Box games and porn mags.



Jay - Amen. Except that's what EEStor *says* it measured in the patent. Do civil proceedings exclude claims made in patents? What about criminal court for fraud? Which jurisdiction? Way out of my area. More research, more frustration. At least I'm learning new things about how the human (rat)race works.



weird_science - That's the bottom line, isn't it? It will either work substantially as described, & released in a reasonable amount of time (3 years max?), or it won't.

More to the point for us - nothing said here or elsewhere on the net will have any effect on EEStor one way or the other. ZENN? Maybe, but I doubt it.



Steve - Thanks - and "cheap shiraz" or not, some of the stuff you and others have posted here have saved me a sh** load of wasted time on pointless dead-end searches with all this corporate-legal-financial-market crap. I owe you a beer.


It's witching hour on the left coast. Working for the Feds is a soul-sucking dance with officious martinettes - I need my "cheer-bear" sleep.


Dan

nomlas said...

Does anyone know when the EESTOR board of directors will meet and look at the questions?

johng said...

Satya51@9:49

That breakdown voltage is not very good...its 3 volts/micron. EEStor wants to RUN thier part at 300 volts/micron.


dano:

It is not practical for people to put their company id, it could create legal problems if the opinion is considered that of the company, plus the personal security concerns.

johng said...

Marcus @ 12:38

I know you have already come to a similar conclusion, but for the rest of the folks, I went to that patent 6078494 and read it in more detail. It characterized the dielectric as being a "Y5V" which means it loses 85% of its capacitance at 85C.

But more telling is the chart of results, that showed service life of 100-300 hours when subjected to HALT (High Acceleration Life Test) with 350C and 900 volts. This was on the 17 micron dielectric, which is about 50 volts/micron, about 1/6 the stress EEStor wants to use.

Now, taking into account the industry accepted acceleration factors, this means if one were to use that dielectric in the EEStor product, it would last 2 hours.

Probably not a good thing.

Satya51 said...

johng,
The permattivity is also not as good, but I thought the researchers conclusion that their material was suitable for a high voltage capacitor (without resorting to a thicker diaelectric) went contrary to some thoughts. (Some might say these researchers also don't know about saturation voltage no doubt.)

Also, I thought the research was interesting from a couple of points of view. The authors mention that purity is important (which is no where near Eestor's 2007 certified powder), and fine grain size which leads to high density microstructure is important. And I thought it was interesting to see how sensitive the material properties were to the dopant levels.

So, people that try to duplicate Eestors results and have not succeeded really need to do their tests at exceptionally high purity, with the right dopants and dopant percentage, and with high density microstructure of the ceramic. I am not convinced that they have.

Satya51 said...

From my point of view, the fact that Eestor is building production lines (this, buried, from Zenn's web site) that are expected to go commercial this year puts Eestor ESU past the saturation voltage doubt. There are some that will be convinced once the car drives down the road, but I don't see Zenn's stock selling for the current price at that point. Maxwell's stock price might also change.

With respect of all view points, I've always found proof is expensive, but then again, so is being very wrong!

Satya51 said...

jhong,
Also, the research paper mentioned has some good permattivity curves versus temperature. But of course all these characteristics are very dependent on the exact material. Good luck on your continued research.

johng said...

satya51;

Most of us in the business use that purity or higher. Thats why I could not understand their making it. You can look into most any chemical supply catalog and order it.


There are also some other subtleties about BT that not a lot of people know, for example, the ratio of Barium to Titanium cannot be 1. Even that is specified to four decimals, and if you are on the wrong side of it, you cannot use nickel electrodes.

The role of dopants are well known, and where they go, either into the A or B position, or into the grain boundaries.

"Good" temp response is relative. The '494 patent claims Y5V temperature characteristics, which is not really very good. It can lose up to 85% of its cap at the higher normal operating temperature, so it is generally not used widely. It also generally means that no more then a couple volts can be put on it.

Satya51 said...

jhong,
I don't know what to tell you. You clearly know more than I as I only surf the free publications. On the other hand, a fully automated production line won't go for less than a million (based on Eoplex), and based on Zenn statements they're in the process of building them.

I can only guess that if you are frustrated in not knowing then there are a lot of high voltage capacitor people who would like to know how to do it just for circuit board components.

We may never know how they do it (if Eestor has its way). But, my observation holds. They are building the commercial lines, and this is based on a Zenn comment, not Eestor (I doubt Eestor will say anything more until the ESU boxes roll off the line and the capacitor companies all buy Zenn cars just to try to reverse engineer them.

Marcus said...

johng, could a reason for them making their own powder be outlined in one of their latest patent applications?

(WO/2007/103421) METHOD OF PREPARING CERAMIC POWDERS USING CHELATE PRECURSORS

Here they talk about particle size inhomogeneity as well as contaniments as problems with commercially available powders. Thus the patent is about an alternative preparation procedure. Any thoughts?

Satya51 said...

This must have slipped past me before, but In interview part 3, Weir is quoted as saying early 2009 for production, whereas Ian is on record as saying commercial in 2008. Is this an unofficial change in outlook?