## Tuesday, July 29, 2008

### Reader Zawy on EEStor Purity Announcement

If you read this blog, it doesnt take long to realize that many of the comments are more interesting than the original posting.   I'd like to start  highlighting some of these interesting comments by pulling them out into their own separate posting to allow some focused discussion around the concepts involved.   Regarding today's EEStor PR, reader ZAWY had the below comments.

zawy said...

They have revealed a few tasty tidbits.

1) pure aluminum oxide (AlO3) coating of the pure 1 micron powdered composition-modified barium titanate (CMBT) allow "the **potential** to reach its target working voltage. " The 2 "sentences after that indicate that purity is needed for resistance to breakdown (catastrophic leakage).

2) the AlO3 coating and the closely-sized 1 micron CMBT "assists" in "meeting the energy storage stabilization over the temperature range"

3) the plastic PET matrix is key to physically turning the particles in a strong electric field to get the best polarization. Polarizing BT in a strong electric field while the material is still hot during manufacturing is standard practice, much the same way magnets are created by using a magnetic field while the metal is very hot. "Polarization along with other proprietary processing steps provides the **potential** of a polarization saturation voltage required by EEStor." The plastic matrix is unique and this may be the explanation I have been looking for. I believe i had guessed here before that better polarization was the reason for the PET.

to better explain polarization: the CMBT crystals work best when oriented in a certain way. That orientation is forced up the crystal by a very strong electric field as the last stage in manufacturing. However, it's not completely effective when the crystal are "bumping" against each other. This causes some "domains" (localized volumes) of the BT to be better oriented than others. However, using the plastic PET keeps the particles seperate so that they can achieve perfect polarization if the plastic is melted during the manufacturing polarization, with each 1 micron particle having a homogeneous single domain. The plastic also allows the domains to expand/contract more during use which allows more energy to be stored so that energy saturation is not reached. Being perfectly aligned also helps for greater expansion/contraction.

HOWEVER,
The press release states very clearly that either they DO NOT have any prototypes ... or ... DO NOT KNOW if they can achieve production of a high energy capacitor described in the patents by their use of the word "potential" in the following sentence:

"Polarization along with other proprietary processing steps provides the potential of a polarization saturation voltage required by EEStor."

"polarization saturation voltage required" means "energy storage" (high permittivity saturation) as the crystal is polarized during use and not to be confused with the polarization step during manufacturing which is the meaning of "polarization" in the first part of the sentence.

1,100 V/micron applies only to the AlO3 and not to the BT which is 350 V/micron. And "breakdown voltage" does not mean energy storage or maintaining high permittivity.

steve said...

If B can confirm the following statement directly from Richard Weir or Ian Clifford, I'll retract everything positive I've ever said about EESTOR:

ZAWY wrote:

The press release states very clearly that either they DO NOT have any prototypes ... or ... DO NOT KNOW if they can achieve production of a high energy capacitor described in the patents by their use of the word "potential" in the following sentence:

I'm only considering that this statement could "possibly" be true on account of B posting it here and drawing attention to it.

I'm asking B whether his posting the above was on account of B believing the statement is true or was it because Weir or Clifford has said it's true.

Marcus said...

I agree this is the most interesting stuff. We need more technical expertise at this site. Any luck with Prof Randall b?

Marcus said...

Steve, I take it that zawy meant MASS production. Is that your interpretation?

zawy said...

Has anyone seen that patent application 5812758? I can't find it, just an old patent on something else.

Another place that they use the word "potential" :

"Achieving these levels of purification are additional major factors in allowing EEStor, Inc. the potential to reach its target working voltage."

Not the most positive news to me. So that's two places in the press release they state that they do not know if they can do it.

People keep mentioning the 1,100 V/um, but it's really not one of the things i was concerned about. It applies to only the AlO3 coating, not the CMBT.

Concerning the discussion about "possible" and "present products":

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

That's a little hard to interpret. I don't think it's intentionally vague, but may include things we don't know like a "present product" that had carefully prepared materials verses the "possibility" of bulk material handling doing as well.

zawy said...

Yes, i meant mass production of more that just a few test samples.

Steve, "potential" in their sentence means they have not achieved the energy storage density. That much we know. What we don't know is why the world patent application seems to contradict this press release. Possibly they were referring to mass production levels have the "potential".

I remember when cold fusion came out. People really wanted it to be true. And still to this day people argue the details. Physics journals have just decided to not publish on it anymore until real proof appears. Anyway my point is that really wanting something to be true can cloud the reasoning process.

steve said...

Zawy,

You've quoted it out of context:

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.

He's made a clear distinction between "present products" and future products".

I think it's important, the context that is. I also think that Mr. Weir has carefully chosen the wording in this PR. I think its a BIG mistake to assume Weir hasn't carefully crafted this PR.

It's important to me that he used the word "product" instead of "prototype".

You sell a product.

You experiment with a prototype.

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

Yes, I also think they are giving the impression at least that they are referring to mass production levels. In one way this is perfectly consistent with their gradual disclosure of methods on the road to production and perhaps not disappointing in this regard. However if this were pertaining to any prototype made this would be directly contradicting their patent as zawy pointed out. Again it comes down to the question of whether they have working prototypes...

b said...

Steve,

i replied to you in email as well. i posted zawy's comments because I though they were interesting....not to imply I agreed with him that they do not have prototypes.

I believe there are prototypes but only because it doesnt make sense to me to build a production line with fully automated robotics for something you havent been able to get right yet in a lab. It's kinda like, "hhmm, I think I want to start mass producing a fashionable new clothing line to compete with Christian Dior, Chanel and Versace but I havent actually stitched anything together yet."

Today's press release is about "production processes" which have to be 100% repeatable in order to
"meet the most critical demands of business segments for production throughput, cost, and energy storage."

EEStor is not targeting Celebrities with their fashion line, ie one of a kind articles of clothing--but rather, the masses---a t shirt with the mysterious eestor blogger on the front ready for it's first 100,000 production run.

b said...

marcus,
i reached out to prof randall again today but it was after hours. will try again tommorrow.

steve said...

Zawy said:

Steve, "potential" in their sentence means they have not achieved the energy storage density.

I understand why the word "potential" causes you to believe that statement.

And I certainly do not have your level of technical expertise.

However, based upon the wording of the press release, and reading it as one whole statement, I believe there are other possibilities than what you have stated unequivocally to be true.

Forget about what I want to believe. I want to get at the truth. And I admit, the language of the PR, when taken out of context from the entire document, does make your assertion appear true.

That's why I asked the following question before. Nobody responded. So I'll ask it again:

Is it possible that "potential" might refer to a "future product" while still leaving the door open to EESTOR having already created a "present product" which has something short of the power of their target working voltage at 350 volts per micron?

steve said...

Thanks for clearing that up, B.

Much appreciated.

zawy said...

To be skeptical, "Present products" could be capacitors that don't have the energy storage we seek and future products could be the 52 kWh that we do seek. I read it as it provides the *path" to the *possibility* of achieving the [advertised] capabilities of the [claimed] present products. Maybe I'm just being skeptical. They had named their "product" the EESU when all they seemed to have was a patent.

I wonder if this is the first time a plastic matrix has ever been used. I know it ruins the overall permittivity as does the AlO3 (both reduce capacitance as an MIT poster once briefly mentioned and reduced capacitance means the measured overall effective permittivity will be less). I carefully considered his suggestion that the AlO3 coating catastrophically reduced the permittivity and came to the conclusion that he was abolutely right. BTW, this press release confirms that the U.S. patent that mentioned two coatings is not as up to date as the world patent application. Even the world patent said 0.67 micron particles instead of the new 1 micron CMBT mentioned in the press release.

But the AlO3 has a terrible permittivity of 10 and using a 10 nm coating as stated in the world patent and assuming 10 layers of 1 um particles in a 10 um capacitor, i get an overall permittivity of no better than 600 instead of 18,000. I and the MIT poster used the series formula for plate capacitors as an overestimate approximation to calculate combined capacitances to back-calculate the overall effective permittivity. But for spherical particles and coatings instead of simple plates it's even worse. In short, you have 20 layers (top and bottom of each CMBT particle) of AlO3 which ruins the permittivity.

Marcus said...

I have a separate question for zawy. Is there any published evidence that an increase in production polarization, say mediated by the PET and grain size or anything else for that matter, enables a higher dielectric saturation?

zawy said...

PS, i'm invested in Zenn, so despite my technical skepticism based mainly on the capacitance, I still can't get my intuition to go against their claims. My social intuition says there is something there based largely on lockheed and KP. But they can't get the AlO3 thinner and they can't change the permittivity of AlO3. Based on this, the permittivity can never be more than 500. I'm very interested to see how this is resolved! The idea that it's a scam or that they would be this technically skilled but miss some key simple stuff is almost as ridiculous as the idea that they have something!

zawy said...

I had not run into anyone else doing this. Only one other patent mentioned metal oxide coating. Plastic has a permittivity of only about 50 and it also acts in series with the CMBT which also ruins the permittivity like the AlO3 coating. 5% of the material is plastic according to the world patent. A real math geek would go and calculate the volume between 1 um staggered spheres supported in a matrix that made up 5% of the weight, but darn that internet takes all the fun out:
http://www.tiem.utk.edu/~gross/bioed/webmodules/spherepacking.htm

So that says you can have 25% volume between closely packed spheres and since PET is 6 times less dense than CMBT, we get about 4% PET in the voids by weight so therefore EEStor's CMBT sphere are tightly packed. But the capacitance calculation for the PET is not as east as for the AlO3

b said...

zawy, thanks for posting your insights here.

steve said...

ZAWY,

Check me out now:

I get the impression that Weir has used the word "potential", not in the "every day" use of the word for "something that may happen" in the future, but rather as the specific technical term of art, "electrical potential" whilst describing something he's already achieved (a technical "noun" if you will).

Electric potential

At a point in space, the electric potential is the potential energy per unit of charge that is associated with a static (time-invariant) electric field. It is typically measured in volts, and is a Lorentz scalar quantity. The difference in electrical potential between two points is known as voltage.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_potential

Here's a quote from an unrelated Patent, (US Patent 7081662 - ESD protection device for high voltage), which used both, the technical term of art, and the ordinary grammatical every day use of the word "potential":

It is well known that extremely high voltages can develop in the vicinity of an integrated circuit due to the build-up of static charge. A high potential may be generated to an input or output buffer of an integrated circuit, which may be caused by a person simply touching a package pin. When the electrostatic energy is discharged, a high current is produced through devices of the integrated circuit. Electrostatic discharge (ESD) is a serious problem for semiconductor devices, since it has the potential to destroy the device and the entire integrated circuit.

http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/7081662/description.html

Now go back and read Weir's PR with that in mind. Let me know if you see things differently. I certainly do, and I'm getting kind of excited at this moment.

steve said...

Compare and contrast the following two passages from today's PR:

The first sees Weir using "potential" as a technical term of art (a technical noun):

The target working voltage of EEStor's chemical processes is at 350 volts per micron. This provides the potential for excellent protection from voltage breakdown.

And in this second example, Weir is using the word "potential" in its "every day" application:

EEStor, Inc. published patent, application number 5812758, indicates the flexible matrix concept that could provide the potential of multiple technical and production advantages.

It appears that the term "flexible matrix concept" is something entirely new to the world. When you google the term "flexible matrix concept", the only hit that comes back is EEstor's press release. Apparently, this new concept has great "potential" to give EEstor advantages over the competition.

Weir is a genius.

ackkk said...

and you are wearing blinders.

zawy said...

No, sorry. I'm an electrical engineer and if that were the meaning in any of the 4 times they wrote "potential" it would be a gross miscarriage of English.

Potential = voltage. For example, if what you're saying were true it would read: polarization provides the [voltage] of the voltage. Now polarization does actually provide a internal reverse voltage that allows the external forward voltage, but that would be really really stretching it. And the other sentence it could be used that way too. But that would be a really weird and redundant way of saying things.

steve said...

Zawy,

Correct me if I'm wrong, but if Weir used the word "potential" as a technical term of art in today's PR, than hasn't he just announced the revolutionary Permittivy breakthrough to the world:

Achieving these levels of purification are additional major factors in allowing EEStor, Inc. the potential to reach its target working voltage.

steve said...

You don't sound all that confident here:

Now polarization does actually provide a internal reverse voltage that allows the external forward voltage, but that would be really really stretching it. And the other sentence it could be used that way too. But that would be a really weird and redundant way of saying things.

You seem to be saying it's possible, though.

steve said...

Zawy said:

Potential = voltage.

It's a lot more complicated than that. From wikipedia:

Explanation

Electric potential may be conceived of as "electric pressure". Where this "pressure" is uniform, no current flows and nothing happens. This is similar to why people do not feel normal atmospheric air pressure: there is no difference between the pressure inside the body and outside, so nothing is felt. However, where this electrical pressure varies, an electric field exists, which will create a force on charged particles.

Mathematically, it is the potential φ (a scalar field) associated with the conservative electric field \mathbf{E} (\mathbf{E}=-\mathbf{\nabla}\varphi) that occurs when the magnetic field is time invariant (so that \mathbf{\nabla} \times \mathbf{E}=0 from Faraday's law of induction).

Like any potential function, only the potential difference (voltage) between two points is physically meaningful (neglecting quantum Aharonov-Bohm effects), since any constant can be added to φ without affecting \mathbf{E} (gauge invariance).

The electric potential φ is therefore measured in units of energy per unit of electric charge. In SI units, this is:

joule/coulomb = volt.

The electric potential can also be generalized to handle situations with time-varying potential fields, in which case the electric field is not conservative and a potential function cannot be defined everywhere in space. There, an effective potential drop is included, associated with the inductance of the circuit. This generalized potential difference is also called the electromotive force (emf).

 Introduction

Objects may possess a property known as electric charge. An electric field exerts a force on charged objects, accelerating them in the direction of the force, in either the same or the opposite direction of the electric field. If the charged object has a positive charge, the force and acceleration will be in the direction of the field. This force has the same direction as the electric field vector, and its magnitude is given by the size of the charge multiplied with the magnitude of the electric field.

Classical mechanics explores the concepts such as force, energy, potential etc. in more detail.

Force and potential energy are directly related. As an object moves in the direction that the force accelerates it, its potential energy decreases. For example, the gravitational potential energy of a cannonball at the top of a hill is greater than at the base of the hill. As the object falls, that potential energy decreases and is translated to motion, or inertial (kinetic) energy.

For certain forces, it is possible to define the "potential" of a field such that the potential energy of an object due to a field is dependent only on the position of the object with respect to the field. Those forces must affect objects depending only on the intrinsic properties of the object and the position of the object, and obey certain other mathematical rules.

Two such forces are the gravitational force (gravity) and the electric force in the absence of time-varying magnetic fields. The potential of an electric field is called the electric potential.

The electric potential and the magnetic vector potential together form a four vector, so that the two kinds of potential are mixed under Lorentz transformations.

 Mathematical introduction

The concept of electric potential (denoted by: φ, φE or V) is closely linked with potential energy, thus:

UE = qφ

where UE is the electric potential energy of a test charge q due to the electric field. Note that the potential energy and hence also the electric potential is only defined up to an additive constant: one must arbitrarily choose a position where the potential energy and the electric potential is zero.

The proper definition of the electric potential uses the electric field \mathbf{E}:

\phi_ \mathrm{E} = - \int_C \mathbf{E} \cdot \mathrm{d} \mathbf{\ell}

where E is equal to the electric field, ds is an unknown, and 'C' is an arbitrary path connecting the point with zero potential to the point under consideration. When \mathbf{\nabla} \times \mathbf{E} = 0, the line integral above does not depend on the specific path C chosen but only on its endpoints. Equivalently, the electric potential determines the electric field via its gradient:

\mathbf{E} = - \mathbf{\nabla} \phi_\mathrm{E}

and therefore, by Gauss's law, the potential satisfies Poisson's equation:

\mathbf{\nabla} \cdot \mathbf{E} = \mathbf{\nabla} \cdot \left (- \mathbf{\nabla} \phi_\mathrm{E} \right ) = -\nabla^2 \phi_\mathrm{E} = \rho / \varepsilon_0

where ρ is the total charge density (including bound charge).

Note: these equations cannot be used if \mathbf{\nabla}\times\mathbf{E} \ne 0, i.e., in the case of a nonconservative electric field (caused by a changing magnetic field; see Maxwell's equations). The generalization of electric potential to this case is described below.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_potential

ackkk said...

Steve,

If the release had meant 'voltage' it would have said 'voltage.' That the 2 terms are written in the same sentence indicates their meaning is different.

This speculation is really out of control.

steve said...

ackkk,

Look at the wiki explantion.

"Electric potential" does not mean voltage, it's a hell of a lot more complicated than that.

ackkk said...

But I still think that one would have to be completely 'reading between the lines' to arrive at this interpretation.

Why would they obscure their news like that. Why even put it out there if they have to disguise it?

Marcus said...

Steve, I'm afraid you're loosing it..

ackkk said...

I guess it really makes sense when you understand that Al Gore and Colin Powell are involved.

steve said...

If it's wrong, then prove it.

Sarcasm doesn't prove anything.

steve said...

Ackk said:

Why would they obscure their news like that

To prove a point.

ackkk said...

I've been involved in this discussion for a while now, and I can't get any closer to an understanding. The wild speculation is outrageous, and makes me doubt even more.

But I still wonder what the fuck these people are up to.

AC

Marcus said...

Steve, for starters I don't understand why you are so concerned. It quite possibly only refers to mass production specs.

Secondly if you keep up this "hidden" message, "Weir is a genius" BS we may have to certify and take you off to the looney bin. SERIOUSLY!

ackkk said...

Steve,

Your big misconception is that we other participants in this conversation must prove your theories wrong.

I give you credit for putting some very intriguing/fun/fantastic interpretations into this discussion. It is fun for me; I find the entire conversation amusing.

I can't even reply to your 'to prove a point' comment. I've considered it and still can't understand any logic behind it.

Nonetheless, I thank you for your input and look forward to more.

AC

steve said...

Marcus,

"Not being known doesn't stop the truth from being true."

Richard Bach

"Don't turn away from possible futures before you're certain you don't have anything to learn from them."

Richard Bach

Marcus said...

Ok, I can join the fun.

Conspiracies no sooner should be formed; Than executed.

steve said...

Ackk said,

Your big misconception is that we other participants in this conversation must prove your theories wrong.

Nobody "has to" do anything. But if people are going to ridicule what I've said, they ought to be able to prove that what I've said is worthy of ridicule.

Thank you for the kind words, and the same to you and everybody for providing a challenging thought provoking dialog.

ackkk said...

Probably the last:

I reread this thread and place myself in Zawy's camp. I am invested in Zenn on intuition alone. Nothing else satisfies, and many of EEstor's comments/releases completely perplex me.

I began asking questions soon after the press release, and have not seen any comments that satisfy.

I continiue to ask "why release this information publicly?" Who benefits?

There was an answer (apologies to the writer) that it might convince investors to not invest in alternatives. So far, that is the best to my reckoning. It seems outrageous that the news' intention was to provide a secret clue for the astute listener. Is Weir trying to signal success to those who can interpret it?

But these people have a lot hanging on them and a lot of public ridicule/incrimination if they are behind a scam.

And so I remain
perplexed.

ackkk said...

meant

perplexed.

AC

steve said...

THE PLOT THICKENS

"Potential" and "voltage" are not the same thing. Below, I've quoted from two links which discuss the differences between the two.

The first is taken from a a physicsforum.com bulletin board. The thread is titled:

Potential vs Voltage

Electrically speaking, Electric Potential and Voltage are measured in the same units ... but not the same.

I've also found a link to another board, featuring a thread titled:

theoretic thought on voltage vs potential and dielectric material

OntarioInvestor said...

I can add some light to why the information was released, as I am a banker and have done some VC work. The giveaway is in the press release title "EEStor Announces Certification of Additional Key Production Milestones and Enhancement of Chemical Purity". It is very simple actually, strict legal production milestones trigger investment from VC/Investors. This third party verification was obviously an important step as the investors saw it, and wanted independent verification that it took place.

From my humble opinion working in VC, it is sometimes better to take a step back and not get caught up in the details. There has been nothing to indicate that this is anything even close to a scam. It is typical to be secretive like this when dealing with a breakthrough technology. EEStor doesn't owe anyone an explanation except it's investors, so rather than ridicule what they are saying realize who this statement was made to (Zenn, LM, Kliener). As far as I am concerned, if they are happy at this juncture, so am I.

Recapping:
1) LM, Zenn, and Kleiner engineers have all been excited enough to invest in EEStor.
2) All "milestones (key word)" have been hit by EEStor.
2) All have toured the EEStor plant, have continual dialogue where they can address issues.
3) Investment in a production facility with commercial production lines have been made.
4) New patents have been applied for.
5) I think a key point here is that EEStor, Zenn, Kliener, and LM have not been promising the world and have in fact been avoiding the press, which is reassuring they have something.

I will be honest, the closest example of a company that this reminds me of was in Waterloo, Ontario about 15 years ago when RIM started up....lots of skeptics, and lots of hype..and even after it launched, people didn't believe in the blackberry because it wasn't profitable. RIM made the mistake of launching too early without the patents 100% secure and had to pay for it in patent court later. I for one am glad to hear EEStor is taking it's time to get this right.

I will post this in this section, and the newer post. May I recommend that people continue the disucussion in the newest post, so we all don't have to backread in different posts. I have enjoyed the ongoing commentary. Cheers!

Keerthi said...

I did see an article stating that they had prototypes way in 2006. i could not verify the same elsewhere.

http://tyler.blogware.com/blog/_archives/2006/3/29/1849708.html

Red Ken said...

There are some very good posts trying to explain the rationale for Eestors behaviour.

Having been educated some more. I am not inclined to call them scammers, although the alarm bells do ring. Some the behaviours demonstrated are similar to some dubious research and development activities.

Why did they bother to make such public claims in the first place? Maybe some VC expert could enlighten me.

My guess is they had a good idea, with decent enough intentions. Through technical difficulty or mis-calculation things are not moving as fast as planned. They do keep delaying announcements right?

Now what is the harm in coming public and giving the true status of development? If they need 5 years instead of 5 months... so be it. Their investors won't hurt, competitors are none the wiser and no investors in Zenn will make a rash mistake.

I have a lot more respect for the approach of other researchers in the storage field such as Yi Cui.

He is realistic about his claims. He provides sufficient information to generate confidence in his integrity. At the same time he engages partners and intends to commercialize his products. He provides sufficient IP safeguards, without putting up some BS secrecy facade.

Compare his approach with Eestor. So maybe they are "not wrong". IMHO they have not been particularly professional either.

Then again they could be on the fringe of something monumental and are correctly preparing the ground before going public. (There goes my hat)

Book-em-Dano said...

OntarioInvestor - Thankyou.

All of the salient points you made sorely needed to be restated at this point, and you packaged it with professionalism, clarity and tact.

The volume and signal-to-noise ratio on this blog was getting to the point where I couldn't keep up and didn't want to.

What's the fun in the prospect of getting rich, or maybe even being a part of history, if you're not in the right frame of mind to actually enjoy it, or the stress kills you?

If you're stressed because of your investment, divest yourself 50%. If you're stressed because you don't like the current risk, but don't want to miss the "ground floor" before an unexpected breakthrough announcement, invest 50% now and hold back the rest. Whatever.

There's a lot of vague and often technical info flying around. If you can't see the forest through the trees, back up. If you're getting hot under the collar, back off.

Seriously, the seconds of your life clock tick away regardless. Is this really how you want to spend them?

I want to enjoy myself here during this time. I hope you do too.

Dan

steve said...

Another interesting choice of words which supports my theory that Weir announced permittivity yesterday:

The certification data described in this press release will assist in indicating the success EEStor, Inc. has had in completing its objectives.

"present products"

potential = "electric potential"

EEstor "has had" "success" in "completing its objectives".

After further study and many reads of the PR, I am convinced EEstor has just made a public announcement of permittivity and has also announced they have a "present product" ready to launch.

Yes, Lucy...I believe the great pumpkin has arrived.

zawy said...

"potential" in physics can refer to the electric field (measured in VOLTS period), or magnetic field, or gravity field, or any other energy difference, or momentum.

Yes, i did say in a complicated way that's it's possible that potential could refer to electric potential (or energy or magnetic potetntial for that matter, but that's really getting absurd.

I agree with OntarioInvestor about the VC support is very promising. But to me, this is very different from Rim because Rim never appeared to be breaking the laws of physics.

Yes, changing size of particle and changing the ability to polarize has a huge effect on the permittivity. Changing size down to 1 micron was thought only just a few years ago to decrease the permittivity and then they found out that it might even increase it.

The most troubling technical point to me are the AlO3 coatings. They can't get those hardly any thinner than 10 nm (about 50 atoms thick) and as a coating over every CMBT particle, there are over 20 layes (top and bottom of each particle) between the 10 micron plates that do not do anything other than to greatly reduce the permittivity by at least a factor of 30 below what EEStor claims.

To my knowledge, no one, including EEStor, has ever said they have a working prototype except for the world patent that gives some numbers in a chart.

zawy said...

I should have said "world patent APPLICATION" which can lie without consequence, whereas a press release has to be honest. I don't think it's a scam. I said "scam" earlier in a sarcastic way in a complicated sentence and I that got misinterpreted. But I'm just saying....the facts in front of me point towards something smelling really fishy, except for the VC investment which is supposed to have much greater skill and access than me in determining if it's real.

steve said...

Zawy,

Here's more evidence to support my theory:

From the PR:

These key certified production milestones of particle crystallization, size, purity, and polarization are expected to assist EEStor in providing not only present and future energy storage requirements but also production consistency.

People seem to be ignoring that EEstor has "certified" the "production milestone" of "polarization".

What does it mean if the "production milestone" of "polarization" has been certified?

I believe it means that permittivity has just been announced.

Check out the following passage from an unrelated Patent (US Patent 7164303 - Delay circuit, ferroelectric memory device and electronic equipment) which uses the terms, "electric potential", "voltage" and "polarization" in the same paragraph:

4. A delay circuit generating an output signal by delaying an input signal, comprising: a ferroelectric capacitor having a first end and a second end; an inverter inverting a polarization of the ferroelectric capacitor by producing an electric potential difference between the first end and the second end based on an electric potential of the input signal; a generator generating the output signal by delaying the input signal based on a change in an electric potential of the second end caused by the polarization inversion; a voltage source generating a predetermined voltage; and a resistance provided between the first end of the ferroelectric capacitor and the voltage source.

http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/7164303/claims.html

Zawy, I have provided multiple links to further this conversation in a rational scientific manner. Can we please focus on the science and leave the ridicule behind? I have not ridiculed you, so please grant me the same courtesy.

My research reveals many instances where "voltage" and "electric potential" are used in a mutually exclusive manner. Why do you say my theory is absurd?

If you're going to ridicule my theory as absurd, then you should at least have the courtesy of "proving" that my theory is worthy of ridicule. Sarcasm proves nothing.

Jack said...

I like this response on another blog to the "purity of powders" press release:

"'Don't hesitate to tell us what you think of it,' said one of the weavers.

"'Oh, it's beautiful -it's enchanting.' The old minister peered through his spectacles. 'Such a pattern, what colors! I'll be sure to tell the Emperor how delighted I am with it.'

"'We're pleased to hear that,' the swindlers said. They proceeded to name all the colors and to explain the intricate pattern. The old minister paid the closest attention, so that he could tell it all to the Emperor. And so he did.

"The swindlers at once asked for more money, more silk and gold thread, to get on with the weaving. But it all went into their pockets. Not a thread went into the looms, though they worked at their weaving as hard as ever."

steve said...

Jack,

EEstor didn't just PR 'purity" of the powder, they also said they achieved a certified mielstone for "polarization".

Discuss.

Satya51 said...

Zawy,
As you pointed out "But the AlO3 has a terrible permittivity of 10 and using a 10 nm coating as stated in the world patent and assuming 10 layers of 1 um particles in a 10 um capacitor, i get an overall permittivity of no better than 600 instead of 18,000."

However, this assumes the coating is intact. But BT is a pieziolectric crystal that might fracture the AlO3 layer during the polarization step. This could change the destructive effect on the permattivity, no?

Satya51 said...

In English, as I reread their certification announcements, the January 2007 certification announcement was for their production of purified chemicals used to make their production crystals. The July 2008 certification announcement is for producing their crystals in the form that their silk screening process will use to make the capacitors. Further, chemical production certification seems complete for military (Lockheed) and commercial products (Zenn, etc).

steve said...

THE MILESTONE OF POLARIZATION HAS BEEN ACHIEVED ACCORDING TO THE PR

POLARIZATION is PERMITTIVITY

Look it up. Here's one reference:

Recent studies have shown that SWCNT–polymer com-posites possess high real permittivity (polarization, e) as well
as imaginary permittivity (adsorption or electric loss, e) in the 0.5–2 GHz range [26], indicating that such composites
could be used as the electromagnetic shielding material for cell-phone electronic protection [11].

http://64.233.169.104/search?q=cache:edR9PpSZoKYJ:nanocenter.nankai.edu.cn/script/nanocenter/paper/carbon_2007_HY.pdf+%22permittivity+polarization%22&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=61&gl=us&client=firefox-a

Here's another relevant quote:

This subject is really closely related to permittivity, polarization, birefringence and other factors affecting the dielectric constant of materials.

The "polarization" milestone is the proverbial elephant in the room.

From the PR:

One of the technical advantages indicated is assisting in providing polarization of the ultra capacitors. Polarization along with other proprietary processing steps provides the potential of a polarization saturation voltage required by EEStor, Inc.

These key certified production milestones of particle crystallization, size, purity, and polarization are expected to assist EEStor in providing not only present and future energy storage requirements but also production consistency.

EEstor has announced achieving the permittivity milestone, but in the PR they don't call it permittivity, Weir threw a curveball and use the term "polarization" instead.

steve said...

The silence is deafening.

batter up.

zawy said...

Steve, I did not mean any harm or ridicule. Instead of saying "absurd" let me say, "there's no way" their use of the word "potential" could have meant voltage or energy storage, even though it's theoretically possible to make the sentence grammatically and logically correct.

If the AlO3 is fractured, it only opens small cracks as locations of excellent permittivity, not counting the PET plastic. So the useful area of the capacitor with good permittivity would only be the top-view area exposed by the cracks. Also, AlO3 as a metal is going to be much more flexible than CMBT crystal so that i would not expect "cracks".

zawy said...

Their world patent application says 4% PET by volume, not by weight which is absurd if the particles (of whatever shape) are packed in as efficiently as spheres. 25% is void if they are spheres. With only on this glaring piece of mis-information, the world patent application that gives the permittivity for 10 EESU components seems to be a hoax. I'm undecided today on if I should keep my huge investment in Zenn or not.

Charles Barton said...

Steve may prove to be right, but considering what EEStor has announced the failure to report certification of a third party verification of an existing working prototype still represents a red flag. Present products could refer to the materials mentioned in the press release. Future products could mean actual EESUs.

Two things have occurred to me today:
1. Past accounts of EEStor prototypes did not refer to working prototypes. Perhaps the "prototypes" were just mockups.
2. EEStor has to achieve its milestones before it can produce a working model. It has lacked until now the highly refined materials required to build a working EESU. That would explain why the production line is so important, and why a working prototype has not appeared yet. I just thought I would throw you boys a bone to chew on. Mind you this is all what I regard as highly suspect speculation.

zawy said...

This post is to prove EEStor cannot be using a 10 nm AlO3 coating on 1 micron CMBT particles as they claim and have a permittivity anywhere near their claims.

As an overestimate of the permittivity we model the matrix as alternating layers of 1 um CMBT and 20 nm aluminum oxide. Modeling it this way adds 25% more CMBT and takes away 36% of the alum oxide coating and orders the material in the most efficient way possible. :

C = 1/(ns/(e*kb*A/db) + nc/(e*ka*A/da))

Where:
C = capacitance
ns = # of 1 um CMBT particles -> layers as overestimate
nc = # of 0.01 um AlO3 top and bottom coatings = 0.02 um
e = permittivity constant of free space
kb = permittivity factor k for CMBT
ka = permittivity factor k for aluminum oxide
A = area of plates
db = thickenss of CMBT spheres
da = thickness of each aluminum oxide coating

moving things around & plugging
in known values:

C = A*e/(11/21,000/1 um layers) + 11/(10/0.02 um coatings)
C = A*e/(0.0006/um + 0.022/um)
C = A*e/0.0226/um (notice 0.022 for coating has largest effect)
C = 44*e*A/um where the 44 * 10 um is the overall permittivity of 440.
Notice that if we remove the portion 11/(10/0.02 um) caused by the coatings, then we have
C = 1909*e*A/um which gives an overall permittivity of 1909 * 10 micron = 19,090.

I did not include the PET plastic in the capacitance to keep things simple. It would only lower the overall permittivity.

zawy said...

PS, since the layers are capacitances in series, the equation comes from the standard equation for capacitance:

C total = 1 / (1/C1 + 1/C2 + 1/C3 + ... )

C1 can be the capacitance of 1 layer of CMBT: C1=e*21,000*A/1 um. Next layer CMBT is C2. Since they are the same, the 1/C1 can be changed to number layers / C1 to account for all layers.

So i hope b will push 2 tech questions on everyone available: why only 4% by volume of PET in the patent, and how do they avoid the permittivity penalty caused by the AlO3 coatings.

garrett said...

IMHO, the fact that LM is working with the Predator UAV tells me that what they call future products is not the same as the standard 52kwh EESU that weighs 300 lbs.

The standard EESU does not have the energy density to really make that work. Double it and it becomes possible.

OntarioInvestor said...

Just off the press

EEStor's Weir on ultracapacitor milestone
July 30, 2008 - Exclusive
By David Ehrlich, Cleantech Group

Similar
EEStor claims third party verification
Zenn gearing up for EEStor-powered car
Lockheed Martin to use EEStor's ultracapacitors
Zenn electric cars cleared for Canada
Golden Dragon Bus to use Maxwell ultracapacitors
The stealthy energy storage developer's product is real and will meet specs, claimed passionate CEO Richard Weir in an exclusive interview.
Cedar Park, Texas-based ultracapacitor developer EEStor could be a step closer to shipping its first product, announcing the certification of production milestones and the enhancement of its chemical purification processes.

The secretive startup has made bold claims for the performance of its upcoming solid-state electrical energy storage unit, yet the company has some significant partners backing its claims, including Toronto-based electric vehicle maker Zenn Motor (TSX: ZNN), Silicon Valley's Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), the world's No. 1 defense contractor.

Richard Weir, president and CEO of EEStor, told the Cleantech Group his company's certification announcement is significant.

"It certainly allows us to meet present specifications and major advances in energy storage in the future," he said. "It'll meet the voltage, we say that, it'll meet the polarization, saturation, we say that."

EEStor is developing an ultracapacitor which it said will be longer lasting, lighter, more powerful, and more environmentally friendly than current battery technologies.

Texas Research International, acting as an independent laboratory, certified the level of crystallization in EEStor's composition modified barium titanate, or CMBT, powders at an average of 99.92 percent. EEStor said this puts it on the path toward meeting its goals for energy storage.

The company expects its ceramic ultracapacitor, which it said uses no hazardous materials, to have a charging time of 3 to 6 minutes, with a discharge rate of only 0.02 percent over 30 days. EEStor said that compares to more than 3 hours to charge a lithium-ion battery and a discharge rate of 1 percent over 30 days.

"It's all certified," said Weir. "No bullshit in this."

EEStor's milestone comes on the same day that San Diego-based competitor Maxwell Technologies (Nasdaq: MXWL) announced a supply deal (see Golden Dragon Bus to use Maxwell ultracapacitors).

Maxwell shipped its Boostcap ultracapacitors to Xiamen, China's Golden Dragon Bus for use in diesel-electric hybrid buses in Hangzhou.

EEStor said the enhancement of its chemical purification processes is one of its most critical technical milestones, but EEStor has yet to release the results of permittivity testing, which will trigger the next milestone payment from Zenn. The automaker said permittivity is a measurement of how much energy can be stored in a material.

In a statement today, Zenn CEO Ian Clifford said the news "bodes well for EEStor's completion of its third party verified permittivity milestone and is a very strong affirmation of our investment in and the rapid progress of our business plan."

Zenn currently makes low-speed electric vehicles, shipping its first production vehicles in October 2006, but plans to roll out a highway-speed vehicle powered by EEStor's technology in the fall of 2009 (see Zenn gearing up for EEStor-powered car).

EEStor totaling $1.3 million. Another$700,000 is payable after the permittivity testing, with a final $500,000 due when EEStor ships its ultracapacitors. Separately, Zenn also holds 3.8 percent of EEStor after investing$2.5 million in the ultracapacitor company in April 2007. After EEStor's permittivity milestone, Zenn has the option to boost its investment to a range of 6.2 to 10.5 percent.

In 2005, Kleiner Perkins invested a reported \$3 million in EEStor. The percentage of Kleiner's stake has not been revealed.

"We were invested in to put in a high-volume production line. I think this says we've made some very major strides to completing that," said Weir.

"The plant is going in right now in Cedar Park as we speak. And then we'll, of course, we'll always expand from there."

Lockheed Martin announced its contract with EEStor in January, saying that it plans use the ultracapacitors for military and homeland security applications (see Lockheed Martin to use EEStor's ultracapacitors). The defense contractor did not release the financial terms of the deal.

Weir wouldn't disclose if EEStor is working with any other companies, saying only, "Once contracts are signed, I'm sure we'll have a news release on them."

EEStor's ultracapacitors were previously set to come out in 2007, but Zenn has since said that EEStor has committed to commercialization in 2008, with EEStor's first production line to be used to supply Zenn.

When asked for an update on that schedule, Weir said, "Good things should happen in a reasonable period of time."

Satya51 said...

zawy,
Thanks for the response, but AlO3 is not a metal, and being just a very thin coating, should not restrain expansion of the BT crystal during polarization. With respect to cracks in the M&M like surface being too small to offer relief to their effect on permattivity, that does leave some doubt. But, then I am just trying to see how it could work.

On the other hand, once shattered, how effective is the resistivity of AlO3? We're just going to have to make one and find out.

I wonder what are the other milestones between now and commercial production, if any? I wonder if this is the all aboard call? Only one way to find out for me, wait and see.

zawy said...

People are hung up on this "permittivity testing" milestone. First, if that milestone has not been reached, what was the data in the world patent? Prototypes? Second, permittivity of the CMBT is well known and easy to achieve, so what's the big deal? Has ANYONE said that permittivity test will be at high voltage that can demonstrate the needed energy storage? Third, if it is not tested in a completed EESU and only as a non-coated CMBT powder, it does not take into account the effect of the AlO3. I'll only consider it meaningful if it shows high permittivity WHILE high voltage is applied on FINISHED AlO3-coated particles. Fourth, it shouldn't be on just the powder. It needs to be on an EESU because it needs to include the effects of the PET plastic which also lowers the permittivity. But if they come up with a way around my other two concerns of point 3, I'll completely trust them on the PET. Heck, if they can just show the CMBT at high voltage with high permittivy WITHOUT the AlO3, they'll gain a lot of trust.

zawy said...

I would think AlO3 (a metal oxide) to be as flexible as a metal, but maybe it doesn't stretch coherently as well as metals. I believe it's the coating on aluminum cans, and that's a lot of adherence while stretching, although i don't know that there are no cracks. I didn't imply the coating would prevent the crystal from stretching. I want to see "lots" of crystal stretching ("lots" for a crystal that is) because it means more energy is stored. But still i don't think any crystal can outstretch any metal or metal oxide....crystals are known for being more rigid than glass because glass is really a highly-viscous liquid.

zawy said...

To put it in numbers, I have seen one reference that claimed the modified BT stretched 0.4%. It stretches from the piezo effect perpendicular to the applied field so that yes, it could open up cracks. Let's say by the miracle of perfectly oriented crystals in plastic their crystals can stretch a whopping 4% to store all that energy. That would cause a max area in cracks to be 4%. So it would achieve only 4% of the permittivity claimed.

zawy said...

I believe crystals would form as rectangular shapes. These may pack more closely than sphere, which would explain why they say they will need 6 times less PET than i estimated. This is probably why they mentioned in the release that the size distribution had to be very precise: packing rectangular cubes of different size would have much larger gaps that would require more PET that would ruin the permittivity. But the edges would be irregular so that it's still not clear that it would have smaller voids than closely packed spheres. This includes the idea that the cubes have to physically oriented to be flat face on flat face to minimize voids which makes the polarization step more important in this matrix than any other BT system. So maybe that answers one of my 3 tech complaints.

steve said...

Richard Weir, president and CEO of EEStor, told the Cleantech Group his company's certification announcement is significant.

"It certainly allows us to meet present specifications and major advances in energy storage in the future," he said. "It'll meet the voltage, we say that, it'll meet the polarization, saturation, we say that."

Compare this to what he said in the PR yesterday when said they had achieved their milestone for polarization.

Then the article says this:

The company expects its ceramic ultracapacitor, which it said uses no hazardous materials, to have a charging time of 3 to 6 minutes, with a discharge rate of only 0.02 percent over 30 days. EEStor said that compares to more than 3 hours to charge a lithium-ion battery and a discharge rate of 1 percent over 30 days.

"It's all certified," said Weir. "No bullshit in this."

They've done it.

steve said...

Zawy,

Do me solid and drop the equations for this reply. Just examine what Weir said in the PR yesterday... when he said that they had certified the key milestone for polarization.

Explain polarization and how it relates to permittivity. Forget about whether the math adds up, just comments on Weir's PR.

Thanks...

zawy said...

They only certified that they have the ability to measure the purity.

The "polarization step" during manufacturing is important to make it have a high permittivity and higher energy density. "Polarization" is also used to describe a completely different thing: it's what happens to the material when the capacitor is in use. "Polarization saturation voltage" aka "dielectric saturation voltage" means the permittivity starts dropping due to the voltage being too high. All the electrons and atoms in the material have been moved to the limits of their ability to move easily and thereby will no longer help keep the permittivity high which is the same as saying they refuse to store more energy. This is completely different from "breakdown voltage" which is what happens if you continue to raise the voltage: electrons start to flow through the material and release all their stored energy.

steve said...

Zawy,

Weir just told B that they have built prototypes and they've tested prototypes along time ago during the research and development phase.

They are far beyond being able to make this revolutionary ESU.

He also said alot of people have seen the prototypes.

He said it works. "No bullshit."

The prototype achieved phat ass permittivity.

zawy said...

Sounds great. Glad i didn't sell. Now if someone could explain how they are doing that with a AlO3 coating not killing the permittivity.

Marcus said...

zawy, did you try emailing them and asking? Can't hurt.

Marcus said...

Ok I see Anon on the Clive Randall post above has referenced a possible answer.

zawy said...

yes i emailed them 20 hours ago. I'll definitely post again if they reply. It would be good if b could people could forward all responses EEStor gives to b and he post the Q and A. However, i suppose EEStor may have "do no disclose" requests as their signature.

zawy said...

b, i see you have a future place for tech discussions. Here are the topics i think are important and interesting:

1) How can the 10 nm AlO3 coating not kill the permittivity?

2) A good image of the material giving the information that we have: 10 layers of 1 um cubic-shaped CMBT particles covered in 10 nm AlO3, immersed in 4% by volume PET, between 1 um aluminum plates 10 um apart.

3) Are there any experts that can calculate a theoretical maximum energy density? From y_po's estimation of no more than 1 electron per sq angstrom of surface charge and using E=QV/s, we get 2,800 J/cc, somewhat less than EEStor's 7,000 J/cc.

4) A recap that immersion in melted(?) PET plastic during polarizing during manufacturing could be a key to energy storage. To quote the press release, "One of the technical advantages [of the PET]
indicated is assisting in providing polarization of the ultra capacitors. Polarization along with other proprietary processing steps provides the potential of a polarization saturation voltage required by EEStor.".

5) Press release stated purity is needed for resistance to breakdown (catastrophic leakage).

6) the AlO3 coating and the closely-sized 1 micron CMBT "assists" in "meeting the energy storage stabilization over the temperature range"

7) The modified BT material being used has a Phillips Corp patent. Replacing some of the barium with calcium broadens the optimum temperature range, replacing some of the titanium with zirconium increases the permittivity, and other doping reduces the Curie temperature, Tc, that allows the peak permittivity to be at 85 degrees C.

zawy said...

One of the most interesting things to me is that the PET plastic occupies only 4% of the volume to fill the voids between the particles according to the world patent. For closely packed spheres it would have to be 25%. I assume randomly-oriented crystal cubes would have more void space than spheres. Therefore the cubic crystals must oriented (stacked) extremely well (face-on-face) and of the exact same size, to have only 4% void. The press release does indicate they require them to be very close to the same 1 um size. The only way to get them to be stacked so well would be with a polarization field while the PET was melted, and they did mention that the plastic has importance in polarization. So there are several technical things they've told us that connect very well (PET only 4%, PET needed to achieve polarization, and the need for identically size cubes). I have not seen any other BT reference that discusses immersion in plastic, only in the last few years has the best BT composition been found, and only recently did they discover that 1 micron particles retain or even increase permittivity.

Marcus said...

zawy did you see the section from the wiki discussion page (or perhaps was this you?).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:EEStor

Also I saw your latest extended exchange with Y_Po and suggest that you also try Prof Randall for some answers. I'm sure he would be very glad to explain things very clearly.

johng said...

Zawy:

Alumina is pretty tough, it is used for substrates in hybrid circuits. It is a ceramic, after all.

Ontario investor;

Thanks for the insight. I wonder if you can clarify one point. When a topic like this comes up for a potential investment, wouldn't someone check with any one of the hundred or so known experts? Its not hard to Google Barium Titanate and get the main researchers in the field.

Certainly, there is merit to the argument that someone had a breakthrough, but wouldn't the concerns at least give pause?

Certainly KP or LM should have been able to get the other view?

There is a lot of frustration evident, because the key technical answers are being avoided. We want to know that the ESU really can store all that energy, but instead we get pallatives like: "Hey, we got really pure barium nitrate" and a couple months later: "We have been certified"...( I wont say it)

What gives?