Tuesday, July 29, 2008

More info on the EEStor press release today

About 2 weeks ago, Edward Golla from Texas Research International, acting on his own behalf and not that of TRI entered the EEStor facilities to perform some analysis related to chemical analysis, an engagement that would take no more than half a day. First, his task was not to run any tests himself but rather validate two main things: 1) that EEStor possessed the equipment necessary to perform the tests whose results are touted in the recent announcement and 2) that persons who work for EEStor are competent in their use. According to Golla, that equipment is made by Perkin Elmer and is known as an Inductively Coupled Argon Plasma (ICAP) spectrometer. The model in use was an Optima 2100. After verifying that EEStor had the equipment necessary to make the purity measurements of the materials in use, Golla interviewed the chemist in charge of operating the equipment and found him (at the time I spoke to him, Golla did not have the gentleman's name in front of him) to be competent and able to operate the equipment.
Golla wanted to make it clear that he has a chemistry background and not an electrical energy background of the type required to evaluate EEStor's capability claims...but, he was aware of concepts like break down voltage, etc from his former days operating radio equipment. He is as in the dark as everyone about whether or not EEStor can deliver on it's ultimate claims to"have the capability to compete against all existing battery and capacitor technologies." (EEStor Press release). He was not provided with a tour of the facility and instead worked in a lab with the chemist personnel. For some background, Golla went on to explain that in scenarios such as these where companies like EEStor are purchasing bulk chemicals, they need a way to test for impurities. So, his certification was related to testing chemicals for impurities prior to and after an EEStor process. Thus, in the course of his work, Golla followed the chemist to the location of the ICAP, verfied that things were clean and orderly and then proceeded to interview the chemist and validated that he knew what he was talking about....none of which revolved around knowledge of capacitors but rather only chemical analysis.
Note: it does appear to be the first time that EEStor has solicited "requests for more information" by emailing them at info@EESTOR.US.


ricinro said...

#1 ?

Wait until they interview the guy washing the windows...

ApplewoodCourt said...

c'mon - this is no different than an "independent test lab" showing up to Discount Tire Co to test their air gauges and testing their staff to see if they can read an air gauge - then releasing it as news in a press release.

ackkk said...

b's new information confuses me.

So....Eestor brought in an independent chemist to verify that the spectrometer eestor bought actually works, and that eestor knows how to use it. And then released the chemist's conclusions as a press release?!

Isn't that weird? Am I missing something? How much does a Coupled Argon Plasma (ICAP) spectrometer cost?

For whom is the press release written? Is it supposed to convince zenn, or kleiner perkins? Why would anyone else care?

steve said...

Most important two words EEstor has ever uttered are in that press release:

"present products"

which I am sure will be the debate of the hour.

what's the meaning of "present"?
what's the meaning of "products"?

this is fun. loving it

richterm said...

Ok Steve, let's have some fun. (And by the way I'm rooting for Eestor)

"This level of crystallization provides the path for the possibility of EEStor, Inc. providing the published energy storage for present products and major advancements in energy storage for future products. "

And eating my veggies provided the "path for the possibility" of me becoming a world class athlete. But it never happened. So they may have a product, but what if it doesn't do what it's supposed to.

b-low-s-high said...

Ok...I'll step in.

Perkin Elmer ICP machine are Expensive. I worked for a software engineering co. quite a long time ago and helped to create the first automated QC (Quality control) software for their Elan series and at that time the new Optima series, (crap I'm old). Don't want to even try to remember how long ago this was but the cost of the Elan series ran in the 250k-500k range, Optima's was less don't know if today's would be that much cheaper.

You do need qualified lab techs/chemists that have been trained to use these things.

Depending on your application you would create a QC protocol to follow to make sure you're machine is working as expected. These machine are obviously very sensitive and lot's of things can put a machine out of whack...

QC protocols generally employ placing "standards" strategically in your sample run with a known concentration of "X" say at 10 ppb. You start your run measuring your samples, when your QC protocol says check your standard you take a sample of the QC material...if it doesn't come back with your known concentration...we have a problem batman, you then go through a number of automated procedures to bring the machine back into calibration etc...

Your QC protocol is your proof that your ICP equipment is working correctly at the time you took your measurements on the things being sampled.

The results of what you are sampling is the proof that your process/manufacture is working as expected...in EEStor case
checking their BT powder processing is producing the purest form powder consistently.

1) You would find these machines in commercial labs that for example would test your drinking water for a fee and tell how many ppb of lead/arsenic is in it etc...

2) You might need one on site in environments that you need more realtime feed back like maybe a sewage treatment plant where you need to know the treatment process is working correctly and the water you're dumping back into the river/lake is actually clean all the time. In this case you can't use scenario one then go oops that sample we sent to the lab last week came back bad and oh shoot all that water we've been dumping is toxic

In EEStor's case the second scenario may be important for the QC protocol they defined for their application but interestingly, it would really only make sense to me to have a machine like this ready on site is if you where currently ironing out the FINAL STAGES OF A PRODUCTION LINE to get it operational


Tom Villars said...

b-low-s-high said, "it would really only make sense to me to have a machine like this ready on site is if you where currently ironing out the FINAL STAGES OF A PRODUCTION LINE to get it operational"

Why would you emphasize ...FINAL STAGES...? Why do you only need it towards the end and not through the whole process of building and testing the line?

b said...

b-low-s-high, thanks for the insights

Schneibster said...

By request, from Tom Villars who I have corresponded with on another forum, I'm going to post my take on this here. Hopefully some folks will get some use out of it. b-low-s-high covered the same material, but from a slightly different perspective; so between us, folks who haven't worked around manufacturing of this type will get a good idea of what's going on, I think.

Tom asked:

I need this EEStor press release from today dumbed down.

As far as I can make it it is not certification of permittivity, but the potiential for very high permittivity is definitely possible becuase of improvements in the purity of the chemicals. Or I could be totally wrong.

I answered:
This has to do with three things:
1. The purity of the interiors of the BT powder after modification and coating (the previous purity testing and certification was for the uncoated powder).
2. The purity of the aluminum oxide coating material; I can't tell from the press release whether this was measured before or after coating the BT powder particles.
3. The particle size distribution.

The purity after coating is important because they need to be sure that their coating process doesn't contaminate the interiors of the particles; this could reduce the permittivity and/or breakdown voltage (dielectric strength) of the particles. The purity of the coating material is important because it could affect the interaction of the charge within the particles with both the charges in other nearby particles, and with the plastic substrate the particles are embedded in; the electric field must act through the coating, and impurities in the coating could affect this negatively. The particle size is important because there is strong evidence that the particle size must be very small to remove the nonlinear behavior of permittivity with electric charge typically seen in bulk BT capacitors.

None of these specifications appears in the Zenn motors list of milestone certifications. I suspect that there is some other agreement that is not public that some other investor specified that identified these as risk factors for the technology, and that these milestones were added. Either that, or EEStor themselves identified these as risk factors and obtained certification to ensure that their process (which is in development) was on the right track.

After answering Tom, I re-read the press release and realized I'd missed something. So I edited my post to add:
I missed something important. An independent lab has also certified that EEStor's internal lab measuring equipment and procedures are capable of providing the required testing accuracy for them to continue "tuning the recipe" to get the materials purity and composition they want. This is important because they need to be able to get reliable tests in-house rather than wait for turn-around from an external company, not to mention not having to pay for it to be done. This is essential not only for continuing development efforts, but also when they crank the production line to do in-process inspections, detect developing problems in equipment, improve or correct procedures, and keep the yield high. SOP for semiconductor manufacturing does in-process inspections of randomly chosen production samples at various points in the production cycle to ensure that problems in the process are caught before final test. For example, most wafers (slices of silicon crystal, generally from a few inches to a foot or so across, with multiple chip sites on them) are inspected at each step in processing for things like proper doping of the sites currently exposed, proper thickness of thin-film depositions, absence of optically detectable line width and contamination defects, and so forth. Sometimes these are passive tests, sometimes they are destructive. A single wafer can contain hundreds of thousands or even a million or more dollars' worth of chips, so detecting problems in the processing is essential to ensure that lots of expensive processing isn't done on a bunch of defective parts, and that if there is a process problem, it is corrected as early as possible so that the number of defective parts is reduced to reduce costs by increasing yield.

Now I'll amplify and qualify what b-low-s-high said as well:
I'm not so sure this equipment indicates that they're going to production really quick, but it certainly indicates that they're in the process of building the procedures needed to run a production line, and figuring out how to do in-process testing so they can detect and correct problems before they make much defective product. On a semiconductor production line, I'd estimate weeks to months from production at this stage; semiconductor manufacturing, however, is a well-known discipline, whereas this may have some extra wrinkles. But it certainly sounds like they're doing all the right things.

Tom Villars said...


Thanks for coming over. I hope you find it more interesting than that "other" place.

You might want to read this post to see what started all this.

ackkk said...

thank you Schneibster.

My question remains: Why distribute this as a press release? If there is another investor who requires this 'milestone,' why does it need to be released pubicly?

I appreciate what many of the implications of the news might portend, but I still don't understand why they are releasing the news this way.

I still can't even imagine a good reason for it.


Marcus said...

schneibster, can you give a reference or at least your source for the assertion:

"The particle size is important because there is strong evidence that the particle size must be very small to remove the nonlinear behavior of permittivity with electric charge typically seen in bulk BT capacitors."

As you probably know this is THE issue cited by most experts.

Beale said...

(This is basically the same question I ask in the "Comments" under the topic of the Tuesday 7/29/08 press release from EEStor)

In the world of hi-tech materials measurement, how rare and/or significant is that "100% crystallized" reading?

[then arriving at a 99.92% crystallization average in CMBT samples]

Does it mean there needs to be an even higher hi-tech measuring device? [for EEStor's purposes]

Would a "bad batch", so to speak, lead to a less-excellent capacitor, perhaps -or- on the other hand, fire or explosion?

johng said...

Good catch, Marcus, I hope he answers, it will be news to me!

"The particle size is important because there is strong evidence that the particle size must be very small to remove the nonlinear behavior of permittivity with electric charge typically seen in bulk BT capacitors."

Y_Po said...

Good catch, Marcus, I hope he answers, it will be news to me!

Trust me, he will not answer :)