Thursday, July 17, 2008

Your Chance to ask EEStor a Question

Yesterday, as I was continuing some efforts to do some fact checking, I spoke to an official at EEStor who provided me with alot of no comments and then something different:  an offer to submit a set of questions for board approval to which EEStor would respond in writing.  Now, let me say this very clearly:  I do NOT know if I am being played here or if the offer is genuine. But I was told whatever outcome would be turned around fairly quickly.  My sense is that the list of questions I submit may all get rejected. Then again, I won't know til I submit them.   So in pondering what questions to submit and asking a few interested parties what they thought, it occurred to me that if you read this blog and participate in the discussions, why not solicit some questions from the reader---many of whom in all likelihood have much better questions than I do.   

So, with the above caveat that this may not bear any fruit, I'm throwing it open and asking you to help me get some questions together for EEStor.   Use the comment field.  I'm probably going to moderate the comments so people actually do feel comfortable submitting questions--fair warning to any grumpies out there. 

I asked myself why would they do this now?  In my conversation with the EEStor official, I learned that they feel that some of the discussion about them on the Internet is just plain wrong.  Additionally, I was told, "Alot of people are focused on the wrong things right now.  If they would just put their thinking caps on and take out a calculator, they could figure out some things themselves."  I asked, "So do you read what they say about EEStor on the Internet?" and was told, "Yes and most of it is incorrect."   Additionally, with regard to some of the naysayers who come at EEStor with this or that scientific grounding for why what their doing is impossible, I was told, "There's alot of people in the scientific community with blinders on and if they would open up and look around even outside the USA, they would be opened up to alot more information. There's going to be alot of people with egg on their face."

On a related note, and for what it is worth, I was told that the website design for EEStor is almost complete.  Does that mean it's about to be turned on or is even built?  Dont know.  

Oh yeah, what about the other info I havent posted yet?  Stay tuned!  :-(

58 comments:

b said...

hey, also, one more thing. if you aren't comfortable using this Comment feature to submit a question, then just email it to me: eestorblog@gmail.com

i dont promise to respond to every email. :-)

Pete said...

Here's my question:

Given the present state of development, what is your best estimate of how EEStor's technology will compare with current battery technology in terms of both unit of energy storage per dollar and unit of energy storage per unit weight?

Thanks.

Dwight said...

1) Are there indeed pre-production prototypes, and of what capacity (eg 15 KWh, 52KWh,etc)?
2) Has EESTOR done shock testing - how confident are they that their storage units will hold up in actual use on the road?
3) Is the exclusivity agreement with Zenn for vehicles under 3100 lbs only for EVs or does it also give ZENN exclusivity for plug-in hybrids under 3100 lbs?

steve said...

Questions:

Ian Clifford of Zenn stated,

"Since EEStor has prototyped, they are going straight to production, so ZENN will receive production, not prototype ESUs."

Is the prototype Ian Clifford mentions above a prototype for a working EESTOR energy storage unit?

Ian Clifford also stated that a third party company is in charge of adapting the "power electrics" from EESTOR energy units for specific use in Zenn cars.

Is that third party company adapting such power electrics in relation to an actual working EESTOR energy storage unit or are they adapting the "power electrics" for a purely conceptual design?

Quotes taken from Ian Clifford's comments here:

http://www.evworld.com/article.cfm?storyid=1197

richterm said...

Can you give a general estimate on when you expect that permittivity test results will be released?

richterm said...

Is Eestor still planning on delivering product to Zenn this year?

Is Eestor currently in the process of moving to a new larger property?

mrjerry said...

The questions here are soft questions that I think eestor would answer and i leave the hard hitting ones for someone else.

Question 1 - There has been some reports, including Richard Weir even as early as (March 31st) who said eestor will release the permittivity results soon, but this has not happen. My question is is the delay because of the permittivity results have not been completed and favorable?

Question 2 - Many articles have stated that eestor does not intend to manufacture the eestor essu on a mass scale but have license agreements to have it produced by other companies once the initial manufacturing has proven successful, has that changed?

Question 3 - Give us one of the most difficult problem recently that you have overcome?

Question 4 - On this blog, from an interview by Tyler Hamilton back-in jan 2007 Richard Weir stated "Weir says the voltage will be stepped down with a bi-directional converter, and the whole system will be secured in a grounded metal box. It won't have a problem getting an Underwriters Laboratories safety certification, he adds. "If you drive a stake through it, we have ways of fusing this thing where all the energy is sitting there but it won't arc … It will be the safest battery the world has ever seen." Is this still an accurate statement?

Rp said...

Hope the small footprint for the ZENN works out and the thin slice design for the Lockeed drones, but can you make an inexpensive larger module for home storage of alternative sources and/or off peak storage for extended backup for residental usage. A 3 or 4 foot cube outside with control electronics would be fine if I can charge with solar or wind or off-peak power to maintain home for extended power outages.

marcus said...

I would like to ask a question related to the science since 1) this is really the fundamental issue for whether this is going to happen or not and 2) EEstor seem almost willing already to point out some of the flaws in critics arguments.

One of the principle arguments is dielectric breakdown at high voltage. Can you give any info what so ever for why the critics arguments - that what EEStor has claimed is impossible - are wrong? Or examples overseas that point towards explanations?

richterm said...

I suspect that they are referring to the work BASF (German company)has done woth barium titanate. I believe I saw a patent on some work they did a couple years ago.

richterm said...

Here's what I was thinking of..

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/7023687.html

marcus said...

Your technology on the face of it seems capable of mitigating both our climate and transportation energy crises since cheap energy storage should make intermittent renewables capable of supplying 100% of our energy needs. These crises are perhaps together the biggest challenges we have faced during the history of civilization.

However in order to address these challenges the technology will have to be adopted extremely rapidly world-wide. Have you a plan in place for achieving this? Am I expecting too much from this technology and if so why?

Thorny said...

Given the quick charge time of capicitors (anticipated 3-6 minutes for the EEStor ESU) what would the ampacity requirement be for a home charging station?
Do you envision a set of "donor" caps at the charging station that could be charged at a slower rate and then be used to transfer the charge to the vehicle ESU?

Tom Villars said...

dwight said, "3) Is the exclusivity agreement with Zenn for vehicles under 3100 lbs only for EVs or does it also give ZENN exclusivity for plug-in hybrids under 3100 lbs?"

ZENN's own website and 2008Q2 reports say "All Electric Vehicles" soit would seem both HEVs and PHEVs don't need to go through ZENN.

cd said...

Just two I would like answered,
1) is the delay for any information because of waiting for the patent to be granted?
2) will/or is there any thought of Eestor going public?

cd said...

Sorry last post should say patents (12 I believe)

Mike said...

1) Has anyone approached you for an exclusive license for motorcycles?

2) I'm an electronic engineer and I'm building an electric motorcycle. Will I be able to purchase an ESU? (I'm willing to show my schematics for the charger/motor controller if you have safety concerns.)

praskal said...

Dick Weir replied to an email I wrote to him back on 2/6/07 about providing me a "battery" for my electric bike. He suggested I contact him in late 2007 or early 2008. I have written him a few times and received no answer. I know he is busy, however, is there any chance EEStor would be able to make custom EESU's for varied applications?

Alex said...

My questions are,

1) Who is the 3rd party conducting the permittivity tests and when will the results be publicly available?

2)If the results are in and satisfactory, when will demonstrate the manufactured prototype to the public?

Technopete said...

Questions.
1) Do you have any working prototype units, of any size, that match the energy storage specifications of 300KJ per lb (equivalent to approximately 170 watt hours per lb) given by Zenn in their Annual Information Form (21 January 2008)?

2)Are there any difficulties envisaged in aggregating sufficient of these units or making these units mechanically robust enough to provide a 52 KWHour capacity power source suitable for electric vehicles?

Twistnshout said...

First: Please tell Mr. Weir and Mr. Nelson thank you for their efforts in developing a potentially viable energy storage device!

Second: Thanks you for a great blog! Despite the detractors, I appreciate and enjoy your style of "reporting". Congrats on your having developed rapport with Mr. Weir and others.

Questions:
- In addition to Topfer, who else is on the board?
- Any plans on an IPO? If so, when?
- Is EEStor presently well enough funded to bring their product through to commercialization... or is further investment required?
- How much has LM invested?
- What is presently the most challenging manufacturing obstacle between now and production ramp up?
- Given the advice that one should look abroad to open their eyes... any specific places to look?

Thanks again,

J

Joao said...

1-Is EEStor agreement with Zenn compatible with the eventual supply of ESSUs to "Project Better Place"?

2-When is EEStor planning to show publicly a working ESSU?

3-Is EEStor going to license the tecnology only to US companies or first to US companies?

PPP said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ken said...

In a recent presentation by Maxwell Technologies at an SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) Hybrid-Elecric Vehicle Technology symposium, it was stated that a significant barrier to adoption of their ultracapacitors in vehicles are the technical challenges and high costs associated with the third party power electronics systems required.

Q: Is EEStor actively working to create relationships within the industry such that when the EESU goes to market, electrical engineers and systems design teams can get a quick start at integration?

If so, I will provide my contact information directly to the appropriate person at EEStor. My company is a leading provider of design and virtual prototyping software technology to the major automotive OEMs and their tier 1&2 suppliers. This includes groups doing EV/HEV development. We would be interested in a discussion with EEStor about ways in which an early partnership could hasten the successful market adoption of the EESU.

Keith G. said...

I am most interested in whether they have delivered a unit to a third party for permitivity testing yet.

Manthan said...

i want to know when they will be able to deliver their prod.Zenn

go said...

Here's a question:

Regarding the 12% permittivity decrease from the aluminum oxide coating:
Is the coating absorbed, flows with the PET coating, or some other explanation?

nomlas said...

At over $6.00/imperial gallon I have only one question: WHEN WILL IT BE AVAILABLE?

Greenautos said...

ZENNs rights in regards to the EEstor unit are worldwide and technically do not expire. They have the global rights to ALL vehicles under 3100 lbs, so this would include the Plug In Prius or ANY other car under the 3100lb threshold!!! ALSO, ZENN owns the global rights to EVERY vehicle regardless of weight for ANY conversions done to exsisting vehicles wanting to use the EEstor. PERIOD!!!

Tom Villars said...

greenautos,

The exclusivity agreement between EEStor and ZENN for new cars is as follows:

* All Electric
* 4 Wheel
* Personal Transportation Usage
* 1400 kilograms (3086 lbs), net the weight of the "battery"
Source: ZENN's own website and quarterly reports


This means all HEVs & PHEV manufactures can negotiate directly with EEStor. Also Aptera and other 3 wheelers are out of scope of the agreement as well.

For conversions it is limited to passenger vehicles which I agree may limit how quickly consumers can convert their personal vehicles but ZENN will have to make the conversions attractive as he'll be competing with all the EEStor enabled HEV and PHEV that should shortly be on the market.

Gert said...

Q: are the resources available to build your EESU in world wide mass quantities? What I mean is whether the production process is reliant on some scarce resource? (like tantalum for mobile phones)

Manthan said...

this article makes me think that EEStor could be legit:

http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?ch=specialsections&sc=batteries&id=18086&a=

what both EEStor and this other company are saying about barium-titanate makes me think that it is possible and it is a breakthrough.

I would also like to ask this question to EEStor: are they having problems with BASF?

Manthan said...

this car looks way better then almost all of Zenns cars combined:

http://www.phoenixmotorcars.com/

its not that much too.

also this car is 20,000$ and is amazing:
http://www.greenvehicles.com/

steve said...

Manthan,

The Phoenix SUT with the 100 mile range and highway speeds won't be available until 2010 at the earliest and it will be about $40,000 at that time according to this article from July 5th, 2008

http://wewantelectriccars.com/2008/07/05/the-phoenix-motor-cars/

The CityZENN blows that away and is on track for 2009 at half the cost.

As for the Greenvehicles highway capable TRIAC, it's a three wheeler like the ZAPP.

http://www.greenvehicles.com/specs/triac.html

Funny thing is, unless you really look at these cars and their web sites and the reviews, a first glance at their official web sites make it seem as if the future has arrived.

It hasn't and it won't until EESTOR and the CityZenn hit the streets on a timeline that if kept to will blow the competition away...

Just my opinion, do your own DD.

Manthan said...

well im fine with three wheelers if they are 15,000$ less... i would actually really like a three wheeled car as long as its cheap and fast and good for the environment

steve said...

Manthan said:

"i would actually really like a three wheeled car as long as its cheap and fast and good for the environment"

So would I, but Greenvehicles isn't selling a "car" that does that, they're selling a motorcycle and it's legally classified as such by the Government and that's why they can up the speed to 80 MPH, because being a motorcycle they don't have make it comply to legal safety guidelines necessary for cars traveling at highway speeds.

If you want a three wheeled electric motorcycle for highway driving, you can get one from Greenvehicles, but you cannot get a highway capable "car" from them.

G. Richard said...

1. Have you attempted to build small versions of these (or even can you)? I was thinking in terms of lawn equipment. I currently have a rechargeable electric mower, but it only does 1/4 acre, then requires a 6-8 hr charge. It would be interesting to have a lawnmower that does 1/8 to 1 acre, but can be recharged in 5 minutes on a home line.


2. Others are asking about world-wide distribution. Will you be looking at a similar model as other manufacturers where you move all building out of the states and then import it at a high price? Or will this be a case of jobs staying here?

Phil said...

I feel that eestor technology will not be available to the public for national security reasons. Maybe that's why Lockheed Martin ( number 1 defense contractor ) has a strong interest in this technology. Maybe that's why the technology is enshrouded in secrecy. This technology is in a league by itself. The Holy Grail of batteries.

Rei said...

"You at Eestor are working on a technology that could revolutionize transportation as we know it; the potential value of this technology is almost unimaginable. Given this, why did you sell off exclusive rights to the technology for automotive applications to Zenn so cheaply?"

mjtimber said...

The two most important question, in my mind, are the following (yes, these have already been asked):
1) Many posts, which I'm sure are considered incorrect, have pointed out that permittivity is not constant with voltage across the dielectric. Can you clarify how this is incorrect, or tell us the parameters for the permittivity testing performed?
2) While the technology for converting a constant voltage to AC current in a small package is available, it is still relatively expensive. On top of this issue, the EEStor device will have a severe voltage decay during use. Do you have a company that you are working with to develop this technology, or is it already available? If available, how expensive would this make the power system?

garrett said...

"Do you folks at EESTOR see your technology as having the potential to transform general aviation in the same way as surface transportation?"

richterm said...

Rei said, "...why did you sell off exclusive rights to the technology for automotive applications to Zenn so cheaply?"

Sorry I can't resist giving an answer to this because I've asked myself that question too. My take is that..

1) Zenn was the first investor, and first to believe in the science. Eestor needed the capital at that time - it was before any VC were in the picture. It seems Weir hit it off philosophically with Zenn, and is loyal to them.

2) They really sold off a small fraction of the rights for applications to Zenn. I think selling the rights for use does not mean Eestor will not make money in those markets. They'll make it by selling the product to Zenn.

3) Most car manufacturers who want to use EESUs going forward will just engineer their cars over the 3100lbs limit of Zenn's rights. That still leaves a nice sized market for Zenn, but a tremendous market still left for Eestor to license out.

richterm said...

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

Quonset said...

This mirrors a question that Ian Clifford and Zenn often answer in the affirmative: is EEstor confident that Zenn has the capacity and resources to deliver vehicles or drivetrains employing EESUs once they're in production?

Jacò said...

1. How does the permittivity of the dielectric change as a function of applied electical field strength?

2. At what field strength does the permittivity drop to 50% of it's no field value?

3. At what field strength does the dielectric break down?

nekote said...

Any plans to standardizing the battery configurations - voltage, terminal layout, .... ?

So most all of the re-engineered electrical devices can use the "same" "battery"?

It would be oh so nice if there were, for the great bulk of applications, some very limited number of (World Wide) fixed specifications.

A la A, AA, AAA, C, D batteries.
120 VAC.
240 VAC.

3,500V?

Two or 3 prong plugs.

50 or 60 cycles.

Standardized, world wide interchangeable capacities / form factors, anyone? :)

Twistnshout said...

Regarding a production line... how many units and/or kw can one line manufacture per 8 hour shift?

nekote said...

What is the general physical nature of an "element"? What familar items might be "similar"? Very small ceramic tiles - tough and strong, but brittle? Can be fractured by finger pressure? Bends like aluminum, but that compromises the "ceramic" component?

Given that nature, could / how would "elements" be integrated with / embedded in other materials, so as to perform dual roles - electrical storage *and* something else - probably not structural.

Say, for example, embedded in gypsum wall board (dry wall), insulation, bricks, cinder blocks, roofing tiles? Or interior aspects of an aircraft - floor, seats, storage compartments, veneers, whereby they might also contribute some stiffness or strength and partially offset their weight / volume?

On a different tack, any dual role for the foot soldier - as part of the uniform, ballistic armor, weapons, magazines, helmet, webbing, backpack, ... all that "stuff" that already gets lugged around? I'm looking for some way to (partly?) kill 2 birds with 1 stone. To not be adding yet another "stone" to the current burden!

John Futhey said...

Assuming everything works as advertised, and the technology is quickly embraced, what thoughts have been given to the increased energy demands on an already strained electrical grid? If even 10% of automotive use were using ultracapacitor technology, that's a huge incresed demand on the electrical grid. Can it keep up?

Thanks
John Futhey

Y_Po said...

So many soft questions to select from. I don't see the point of asking hard ones, they will most certainly be ignored.

Matt said...

Why do EEStor's patent lawyers take so long to respond to communications from the European patent office?

Red Ken said...

1. When does withholding "material" information (i.e. permativity results) by Zenn or Eestor, infringe Canadian stock manipulation regulations or US company law?

2. If your storage system has potential to "save the planet for humankind" do you have any moral dillema about exploitation for personal wealth?

Red Ken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rp said...

If EEStor's storage system has the potential to "save the planet for humankind" I hope they make gazillions and are rewarded beyond measure for their creativity and productivity. People of talent are what will save humanity, not philanthropists, guilt-preaching religionists, or envious non-producers. Hope I can benefit from the use of their products and my investment in the creators. Go ZENN, go EEStor, go individualists. Go away socialist, non-productive bureaucrats and looters.

Red Ken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Red Ken said...

Nice sentiment from rp but real life is a tad more more complex.

Often the greatest achievements come from those not seeking profit, personal welfare, fame or glory.

Now let's try to be more clear about my real concerns here.

1) Why has Eestor made extravagent claims about the potential of their product. But they are not willing to publish permattivity results?

A company makes amazing claims that leads many members of the general public to make speculative investments in a partner company.

Do they or do they not, have a legal or moral obligation to reveal known data on the efficacy of their product.

Obviously I don't know the answer. That's why I'm asking.

2) It is thought global warming has the potential to effect millions of peoples lives. As an example millions could die of starvation in Africa.

Eestor products could make a significant impact to quickly mitigate global warming.

A good example of my concern here. Drugs companies refused to produce low cost HIV drugs for the 3rd world to protect their profits and shareholder interests. Millions have already died.

Sure as hell, I have a non-politically motivated issue with that. I'd like to know if Eestor folks have similar concerns.

I'd like to take back the personal question to Richard Weir. I don't know the man and I leave it his own integrity. I have no idea whether or not people have been deliberately misled in this saga. I pray they haven't.

Satya51 said...

Back in 2006 I asked Hamilton Tyler if Wier would consider talking to EOPLEX (eoplex.com) for fabricating their capacitors. Is Eoplex involved now?
Eoplex web site says their first factory is scheduled for Q4 2008 coincidence?

If anyone has any doubt that Eestor parts can be manufactured, check out the eoplex web site!

James said...

I also see a great potential in boating and RV's. Both can support substantial weight, and would be far more efficient with electric motors. I have an RV and would love to convert it. It would take 4-5 of the 55kwh units.

The best possibility would be in marketing the units to the power companies. They could use the units to buffer their power. The end user would operate from the storage units, getting a price break for off-hour purchases, and an uninterrupted power supply. (also a way to quickly charge your EV). Could probably eliminate a coal plant or two. As far as I'm concerned, the sooner they (EEStor) can produce volume, the better.