Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Actors Get Brains?

Source: Pisqa
Finally, after decades of being little more than pretty faces, actor activists (actorvists (I didn't coin that)) are getting smart....at least George Clooney is anyway. You've probably read that Clooney, unlike most uber famous hollywood stars, has taken on a cause that might easily one day lead to his untimely death: Sudan.  According to a recent Time magazine article, Clooney had the bright idea of using charity to fund the use of satellite reconnaissance to keep a watch over Sudan after its January referendum on independence for the south. If you're like me, you probably have no idea what is going on in Sudan thanks to our media that would rather inform us about weather and....ah hell, in a post wikileaks world, the mainstream media is too easy to pick on.

Sudan? Let me break it down for you.  The islamic totalitarian government (big fucking surprise) in the north (composed mostly of Sunni Muslims (yeah, the dudes from Iraq and Saudi Arabia) are nothing more than dark skinned Hitlers who use religion as an excuse to commit rape & murder.  What do you think the barbarians in question want in the south which is inhabited mostly by Christians and Animists?  You guessed it--oil.  Thus the south wants to declare independence from the north. (good idea)  The Sudanese government does whatever they want simply because they have no fear of the sentiments of civilization....perhaps mainly because civilized humanity is largely unaware of the Nazi-style brutality taking place there in Darfur.   But now, the threat of modern satellite imaging which could provide evidence of atrocities and troop movements, there may just be a small hope for a new way forward.  Make up your own mind about whether it could be useful.

Personally, I think Clooney has a brilliant idea  here.   I know this is the case because I sat in a philosophy course stumped one time when the Prof asked if anyone knew what the number one deterrent to crime was.  The typical answers of education, lack of poverty, etc were thrown out.  Wrong, wrong, wrong came the reply.  D E T E C T I O N.  It may be different where you are, but where I am, people don't commit crimes when they are in full view of everyone.  Surveillance cameras, alert citizens and an underlying rule of law prevent crime.  Feel free to debate this but the idea of using satellites to keep an account of what is going on in Sudan is fantastic.  The thing I like about it is the Sudanese warlords are on notice that everything they do could have a photographic record.
Source: huffington post

The problem I have is that private charities have to fund this.  Why can't all of the largest countries in the world agree to pool all of the govt satellites and keep them over Sudan and similar world hot spots all the time?  I know---the unrealistic words of a dreamer...  or maybe the reality is much simpler:  people don't complain enough to political authorities about this.   It is 2010, why can't we get smarter with modern technology and political conflict?

The firms providing the private satellite images are GeoEye, DigitalGlobe and ImageSat.

Clooney's charity is here:  http://notonourwatchproject.org/

In the past, I have made liberal use of my right to petition my government representatives on the topic of Darfur. The responses I receive from elected officials are often bland and impotent, unfortunately.  But don't let that prevent you from taking 15 minutes to write to your representative at his or her website which typically makes it extremely easy to do just that.

Also, I note that Not On Our Watch has a ton of media (images/videos). Is there some reason why you jerks haven't made it embed-able?    It's not like you should be worried about copyright you media geniuses.  What are you going to do, make a few million off a documentary?  Geeze.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Secretary Chu On Lithium Ion?

Source: NY Times
Like most public officials,  DOE Secretary Chu can be both praised and criticized for the choices he has made to advance the mission of the agency he leads.   My initial worry with Chu was that maybe he didn't prioritize energy storage enough  in his overall plan so that research funding was being spread too thinly across various renewable energy technologies.  I also worried that the DOE was a bit too cozy with campaign donors to the Obama administration, for example, giving enormous funding to electric car makers Fisker and Tesla....when what was actually needed more urgently were batteries to propel such vehicles.

The more I get to know Chu via his numerous public presentations, the more I come to the conclusion that he's doing a pretty good job.  In fact, I find it hard to believe we have ever had a former DOE head that has even 50% of the efficacy of Chu.   Everyone talks about how smart he is as a scientist. But I think lately, he seems to be paying more attention to economic viability.   

Case in point.  Last week in Cancun, Mexico at the UN Climate Change Conference,  Chu gave a very interesting presentation.  Notable is the discussion starting around 25:00 where Chu begins to compare liquid fuels to lithium ion batteries.   He then goes on to recognize that lithium ion has a very long way to go to be viable for consumer adoption in cars.  According to John Petersen, he actually paints lithium ion as a dead end.  Although I don't quite go so far based on what he presented. But, of course, I personally have a considerable reservations about it based purely on supply. 

It seems to me that Chu is paying most of his attention to research and appears to have put together a team that is achieving demonstrable progress.   Now, of course, not everything DOE funds is going to come to fruition.  But really, all we need are a few key ones to succeed with energy storage being chief among them.   

You may say, well, if EEStor produces finally (after torturing everyone with a long announcement delay chosen solely by Dick Weir and no one else) then doesn't that mean DOE is wasting a lot of funding on batteries?   I don't really think that's the right question. What I'm curious about is if EEStor produced, what would Chu's DOE do in response?    I think he's a guy that would use his resources to make the most of it.    So, I am not skeptical of Chu. Instead, I'm interested to see where he could take us. 

My only other concern is whether or not our attempts to cooperate with foreign governments such as China on the level of research is actually in our best interest as a country.  We always tend to come up short on trade negotiation.  I think that one issue is one that separates the climate change crowd from the energy independence crowd in the USA.   To the EI group, the CC group appear alarmist and economically wreck-less. To the CC group, the EI group are insufficiently alarmed and possibly nihilistic.   But, at least both groups can agree that we need to get rid of fossil fuels for transportation and power generation.  

Credit: thanks to the anonymous emailer who brought Petersen's article to my attention.  

PS: My view is if we have to depend on lead acid as Petersen suggests, let's call everything off.  You know, throw in the towel and have a end of the world party.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wikileaks Heats Up Lithium Ion Drama

The global race to develop lithium ion batteries has suddenly become far more interesting thanks to new Wikileaks documents released recently. According to one of the cables,  the Inter-American Development Bank has given the government of Bolivia a report "that details the serious potential for environmental damage in extracting Lithium."   The cable paints Morales as an eager industrialist who dispenses Climate Change rhetoric but rejects the Copenhagen Accord. Another cable suggests that Morales has a serious tumor whose treatment may be impacting his ability to govern.  In response, Morales used a press conference at the Cancun Climate Summit to express is distinct lack of trust for the American government. He suggests that US intelligence agencies are waging various disinformation campaigns--such as the rumored tumor-- in South American countries which reject capitalism.  This week Bolivia began directly hosting some of the Wikileaks released cables on their own website. 

The US Geological Service estimates that Bolivia has 50-70% of world lithium reserves making it a key supplier for any country attempting to invest in lithium ion manufacturing.   As we learned a year ago, a key part of the US stimulus plan included several billion dollars of funding designed to launch a US based battery manufacturing industry much of which went to lithium ion start up firms. 
UPS Plane destroyed by lithium ion battery fire

Anyone who is paying attention may wonder what will happen if these battery start up firms actually create tenable manufacturing technologies.   Will the price of Bolivian lithium make their accomplishments irrelevant?

Even if a new administration can later smooth over relations with Bolivia, we may be years behind the US's chief competitor in lithium ion production: Japan.  Last week, Japan Prime Minster Naoto Kan hosted--you guessed it--Boliva's Morales who was there to sign deals with Japanese interests for what else--lithium. 

Note: I could not find an environmental risk report for lithum extraction in Bolivia on the IADB website.   

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

I know it's been a long time since I wrote to you and we both know the circumstances which have made me largely ineligible to benefit from your work, i.e., that I've been a bad boy for a long, loooong, loooonnnggg time.

Rather than live in the past, I thought I would try and start anew, first, by saying I am so sorry for being bad. I will try and not act like the world revolves around me any more.

I'm sure you get sick of so many letters from people asking you for things.  So, I mean, hey man, how are *you* doing???  Hopefully, very well indeed.

Santa, as you know, we are engaged in quite a game of waiting around for old St. Dick, I mean for Dick Weir to wrap up whatever last things he needs to complete prior to making EEStor's next announcement.  I was wondering if maybe possibly if I'm a good guy from now til Christmas if maybe possibly you could use your influence with Dick to get him to finally provide an update on EEStor progress.  If you choose to accept this mission, please don't let him simply say something like "everything is going well" or "we're proud of the progress we've made" or "we're soooo close."  Instead, you gotta nail him down, Santa and get him to reveal publicly that, "the production line is fully certified" or "the EESU components energy density is X as certified by_____" or "the throughput of the production line is _____" etc.   Santa, get ahold of him and make him say something specific.

Yes, I realize your normal role is to bring toys to good boys and girls. And in this case, I'm asking you to maybe suggest to Mr. Weir that all those new toys he wants next year (major financing deal, new building, new production lines,  major new partners) might be withheld if he isn't good.   So, yes, that may be awkward but think of the upside Santa.  Those new batteries will reduce your current battery shipping weight by 4X and last I checked, none of your reindeer are getting any younger.  So, it is important. It is important to you. It is important to me.  So, let's work together.

And that's it, Santa. That's all I want for Christmas this year besides of course peace on earth for every human soul.



Dear B,

Hey man! Good to hear from you and thanks for asking about me.

Trust me, B, I need old Dick to come through as much as you.  Today's batteries are killing us all. The reindeer are on board. The elves are on board. The kids are definitely on board.   So, I'll have a little sit down with Papa Weir at the mall.  (he frequents the chinese buffet in the food court )   I think he just needs to learn that hide n' seek with the EESU isn't winning him any popularity contests.  He's a good guy, B, just let me explain to him how important it is to stamp out myths with verifiable facts so as not to give rise to crazy wackos.

Also, note, you haven't been bad at all. You're just too old for Santa now.  You "get" that, right?  Ok, peace my brotha.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

NASA Press Conference Bubble Burst: No Life Found On Other Planets

"No life has been found on other planets. "  So says Dr. Steven Benner, panelist scheduled to take part in a NASA press conference tomorrow.   Every major media outlet along with about a hundred thousand blogs are reporting that the press conference may include an announcement of a discovery of life on other planets.

I spoke with Dr. Benner this afternoon and while the exact contents of the press conference are under embargo, he did confirm a few key facts.

1) The press conference will NOT include an announcement of life on another planet. Instead, "it will be all Earth centric. We're going to be talking about the basic chemistry of life on earth and whether it can be different. "

2) Dr. Benner will be the skeptic on the panel "and you're going to hate me at the end of the day.  I'm going to be there to say that this is not proven and I'm going to dampen everyone's enthusiasm."

3)  The discussion will focus on a paper to be published in Science by Felisha Wolf-Simon, one of the other scheduled panelists.  According to Dr. Benner, "she will be excited."

4) Some journalists have been given advanced copies of the article under condition of an information embargo.

5) NASA will not be releasing any new information on EEStor energy storage which clearly is of alien origin since no one can figure out how the technology works including inventor Dick Weir.

PS. If you are an alien, I'd love to interview you.  But only if you're using EESU's.



Monday, November 29, 2010

Chu Touts Metal Air Ionic Liquid Battery

US DOE Secretary Chu spoke today at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.  After spending a good deal of time talking about innovation and it's importance to the USA's economic future, he presented a few potential breakthroughs.  First on the list is the Metal Air Ionic Liquid battery under development by a spinoff from Arizona State University called Fluidic Energy.    See slide 23.  Chu says this battery could be 3-5X cheaper than "today's lithium ion" and enable an electric vehicle range of 500 miles.  It would also be "inherently safe."

Apparently this press conference was available via webcast.   If you attended the presentation or listened online, shoot me an email: eestorblog@gmail.com

Thursday, November 18, 2010

EEStor Followers Resort to Open Weeping

Reader mail suggests that the mood surrounding EEStor followers is a somber one even giving way to open weeping.   The underlying source of tears appears to be Dick Weir's adept performance of the quiet game.   Sure, in the past, many EEStor followers (and Zenn shareholders) have expressed anger, outrage and even open hostility and mental derangement.  But now, it seems a new phase is coming over the believer set:  profound sadness at having ever gotten involved in the EEStory saga.

Some readers have written to me to see if it would be possible to connect an EESU to Dick Weir's butt.  That is possible but not recommended and it would probably actually delay things greatly if it were discharged.  This reality seems to have caused even more tears to flow.

Naturally, some think I can offer some words of encouragement and solace.  Even if I had some, I think a better approach is to simply say this:  go ahead and have yourself a good cry.  Really let it out too.   Don't be ashamed because crying is a natural part of experiencing grief and holding back only prolongs the inevitable.  So turn on the tears and set it to high.  If it helps, write a poem or song or long journal entry.  Remember, you are the first line of defense on your mental health.  You may have a lot to cry about.  So cry then.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


You could have done a million other things with your life.  Some of those would have been far more financially rewarding, less physically demanding and require less of your courage.  But you didn't go down that path.  You chose to serve your fellow citizens, to make personal sacrifices for a greater good.

For your choices, your effort & your service.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

EEStor & Halloween: Halloweestor?

If you live in or around Cedar Park, TX and a gentleman in his 70s tries to trick or treat your house this year, would you please inform the Great Pumpkin to finish his work with the batteries first.  There will be plenty of time for great big bags of candy in due time. 

Here are a couple vids to help true believers feel good about Halloween. Enjoy

Regards to RT for originally drawing this to my attention.  Halloween is over and I missed it!   You owe me restitution!


Friday, October 22, 2010

EEStor's Law Firm Sued: Intellectual Property Conflict of Interest Claimed

Former Entrepreneur
In the United States, we are proud of our entrepreneurs.  They create. They innovate. They take risks and create new businesses and jobs.  Venture capital firms seize upon this sentiment and often claim loudly that they deserve credit for sharing the risk and providing the financing and connections required by start up businesses.  Often times what turns out to be the most valuable asset of such start up firms is the intellectual property it wins through the work of it's attorneys.  Therefore, this legal work is an important essential component of the success of American innovation.   To be a successful entrepreneur then one must go beyond having a workable idea--you have to hang on to it and fight off more powerful entities such as VC's and law firms.    Therefore, the entrepreneur is always the underdog which gives us all the more reason to admire their accomplishments.

So, it is accordingly horrendously shocking when an IP firm teams with a VC firm to bully an entrepreneur.   A lawsuit by a biotech startup against Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati--EEStor's legal team-- raises this awful spector.   The claim advanced by startup Existence Genetics is that WSGR was hired to advance their IP claims but failed to disclose they were also working for a competitor. How was this discovered?  Navigenics patents were published by the USPTO revealing the same firm was supporting both organizations. 

Even if WSGR successfully defend themselves against this lawsuit, this is NOT GOOD AT ALL for entrepreneurs wishing to work with this law firm.   Here's why.   Even if they throw a couple of their attorneys under the bus (namely Vern Norviel who apparently caused this mess to ensue by apparently failing to identify the COI), it strongly suggests that as an organization,  WSGR does not have good controls over prevention of conflicts of interest.   I mean really---it's 2010, how can something like this really happen from a technological & procedural point of view? Are there no checks and balances against such an arrangement or are attorneys able to be judge, jury and attorney when bringing in new clients?  WSGR will no doubt have a spirited defense but they are certainly not going to extend an olive branch here due to the $100Mil damages figure appended to the complaint. 

In the complaint, we learn a bit about how WSGR may have interfaced with EEStor in terms of deal structure which allowed them to become part owners of EEStor.   According to Existence Genetics, they were offered $20,000 worth of patent protection work in exchange for 1.5% and a 10% discount on legal fees.  WSGR apparently also said they would not require payment til the fees hit $100,000. 

Apparently in the dealings leading up to inking an agreement,  Vern Norviel advised against working with Kleiner Perkins.  The claim makes it seem like he did this in order to conceal an already established arrangement with Navigenics.  But, one wonders whether this is about billing legal fees or possibly there was also an equity stake in Navigenics in play.   Additionally, when the conflict was discovered, why was the non Kleiner funded company the one severed? 

Personally, I want to believe that the most powerful law firm in Silicon Valley is cleanly run by people entrepreneurs can trust. I want to believe that if the claims have merit then they reflect only the actions of an individual and not an organization.  Because let me tell you something,  if you bully entrepreneurs you are bullying American Innovation!   

If I were WSGR, I would begin making some courtesy calls to all of my Intellectual Property clients to assure them that conflicts of interest do not exist in relation to their support of their particular firm.  Better to be proactive than to have the USPTO running public affairs for you.  If it turns out that WSGR has actually more instances of this problematic case, then all trust is certainly lost when it comes to WSGR providing IP support to entrepreneurs.  There's a reason why law firms are named after the individuals who compose it--because trust is the fundamental grounding for the services they provide. 

If you're with me, and you see a problem here, then take a moment to think about Venture Capital firms. Luckily, legal firms have these conflict of interest issues to deal with when bringing on new clients. But what about VC's?  Do they have any legal obligations to ensure conflicts of interest do not occur and that firms into which they invest receive undivided support?  I don't know the answer to that.   We know VC's often back two or three battery companies, solar companies, wind companies, software companies, etc etc.   What transpires when these investment firms are actually competitors?  Would a VC with a larger stake in one company use its access to the competitor to gain valuable information?  I don't even like to think about the answer to that question.  But I definitely think VC's should answer to it...so ask them. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Yet Another EEStor Patent Allowance: Method of preparing ceramic powders using chelate precursors

Patent application 11/369255 has been issued an allowance by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

It means it will soon be granted a patent number to become a full fledged piece of EEStor intellectual property.

This patent was hard fought if the submission of 4 affidavit's is any indication.  

Many are rightly wondering what the significance of this patent is amid all of EEStor's IP pursuits.  I think I can shed some light on that subject.   Here are 10 key points to summarize its importance.

1) This is the most important patent ever allowed anywhere on earth ever.
2) This is the most valuable patent ever allowed anywhere on earth ever and always will be forever.
3) This is the most awesome patent ever conceived, prosecuted, considered, fought over and read ever.
4) This is the greatest patent in the universe
5) This is most well worded, succinct, thrifty, friendly, wholesome, insightful, analytic, beautiful patent ever allowed
6) This patent is better than 80% of Shakespeare's plays
7) This patent is the key to taking over the world and holding everyone in it hostage (oops, that's an exaggeration)
8) This patent has magical properties making anyone who reads or understands it able to chelate out
9) This is the sexiest patent alive
10) This patent proves beyond any doubt that the US Government loves EEStor Inc with all of it's heart


11) Whoever wields this patent is the most powerful force in the Milky Way
12)  All other patents strive to be a fraction as good as this patent
13) .....  [please feel free to grow the Top 10 list to infinity with your praise]

PS: Photo of Ben Franklin included to further intimidate.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Three EEStor Insiders Break Their Silence: "We're Upset With Dick Weir"

"We are upset with Dick and want him to hurry up."   So say three people very close to EEStor Inc. operations in a recent interview I was solicited to perform via conference call earlier this week.   Lockheed Martin's CEO, Bob Stevens, Dick Weir's wife Betty Weir and Jesus Christ, Son of God are all in agreement, Dick Weir is taking waaay too long to deliver.  

Tuesday October 12, 2010:  Panel Transcript

B: First of all, thanks to all of you for asking me to conduct this interview. I'm very humbled by your request and incredibly interested to see what you're hoping to discuss with me.  Who wants to go first?

Bob Stevens:  Betty, JC, if I may?

Betty: Sure.

JC: As you wish. 

Lockheed CEO: Bob Stevens
BS:  Thanks.  Ok, B, here's the deal.  Dick is completely out of control with this stealth thing.  It's gone on LONG ENOUGH!  I've got a business to run and we need those batteries. Let me give you an example, ok? I was in Austin recently and I popped by Dick's office.  When I walked in, I knew he had an EESU sitting his desk. What do you think he did?  Yeah, he quickly stuffed it into his desk like if he were hiding a candy bar. I mean COME ON, DICK! I run Lockheed big guy!  

Betty:  That's right B.  As Bob says, we're all really frustrated with Dick.  I love him dearly but it might be time to see if maybe he's ever going to let me see the EESU?  I'm not making this up, B. Sometimes Dick brings an EESU home and carries it around the house under a silky black cloth, you know, like the sort you would use for a reveal.....pull back the covers as it were to reveal the device.  I said, Dick, are you ever going to pull the curtain off that thing, dear or just talk about pulling it off?  He got so testy with me.  But he's cute when he's upset. 

JC:  Dick Weir I DO NOT approve of any more EESU hiding games.  Bring forth the EESU into my Divine Light. 

[Lightning cracks]

B:  Wow, ok, I get it. So, you three wanted to come together and deliver this message together. Fascinating.  But, honestly, don't you think Dick's got really good reasons for not pulling the curtain off the EESU yet?  I mean he could really juice up his competitors don't you think?

BS:  B, we looked at this thing 14 ways to Sunday. (Sorry, J) Anyway, there are no competitors. That little mad scientist figured out how to store energy, a TON of energy in a tiny little footprint.  The man's a genius but holy cow, someone make him check box a calendar already.  

JC:  Everything in the universe is mine, B. You know that.  Dick is merely a steward of MY EESU.  Lately, I'm thinking if he's going to dilly dally, I might just taketh away what I have giveth.  Cometh to think about it, how is he even storing energy in barium titanate anyway? HHhhmm.

B: Lord, if you were to taketh, who might you giveth this to?  

JC:  I don't know, B. I haven't thought it out yet.  Do you want it?

B: Lord, I am definitely not worthy.  You know how I lose my car in the mall parking lot all the time.   I am just happy being your humble dumb servant.  But can you make the Zenn stock go up, Lord?

JC: No, B. 

[Lightening cracks]

B: Ah. OK. 

Betty Weir
Betty: I know what you should do, Lord if you decideth to taketh away.  Giveth it to Chilean miners.  I loveth watching the rescues. Those happy sardines know what to do with their time on earth.  They aren't going to be purifying powders, I bet you. 

[All three laugh and then tear up thinking about those happy miners.]

B:  I want you all to know I respect all of you for obvious reasons. But I'm on Dick's side in this thing.  After all, he invented it.  That must also necessarily make him an expert in communications, media relations, corporate image, brand, financing, large scale manufacturing, international commerce regulations, barium mining and credibility and trustworthiness.  He knows it works.  That's good enough for me.  I love that guy, you know?

BS: B, we all love Dick very dearly. Me especially. I want to see his battery on a satellite so we can perform space based laser surgery on the bad guys, if you know what I mean, B. I can't wait to high five Dick when we are frying ants like with a giant magnifying glass.  Zap! Zap!   [Stevens has both hands cuffed and his thumbs are pressing down like on a video game.]

JC: Hey, heeeyyyy!  None of that!

BS: Oh, sorry about that. 

B: Well, what can we do, here?  How can we all work together to get Dick to get off his hands and share a little information already?

Betty: He likes Chinese food. Loves it actually.  Maybe our plan could involve Chinese food?

BS: HHhmmm, that's got me thinking. 

JC:  I know.  I will cause a rice famine until Dick reveals the EESU! 

B: Lord, no, please spare us this deserved punishment.  If it please you, give us a positive incentive for Dick to act quickly. 

Jesus in his carpentering days. 
JC:  Well, let me thi...ok, I'm done.  From this day forward, all Chinese food sold in Cedar Park may be obtained ONLY with EESU currency.  Don't worry children, I am only requiring one tiny component with the required ED, PD and durability for a quart of pork fried rice. 

Betty: Lord, I your way is brilliant. 

BS:  That's definitely got legs. 

B:  I think that will definitely bring this thing out into the open.   See how we all worked together?  I like teamwork. 

Well, to wrap up then, I have a lot of other questions for all three of you.  Do we have any more time to....

[Three conference call departure tones play in rapid succession.]

Thanks to Nekote for preparing this transcript for us. 


Note:  I apologize if any Chinese people were offended by this poor attempt at humor. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

10 Ten 10

1)  This secret's a secret even after its told. 

2)  To know it is to love it, to understand it is to hate it.

3)  To not understand it is to love to know it and so hate it.

4)  To aim for it, is to lose it. It's already there. 

5)  Thus, this secret is secure.  

6) A secret's not a secret after it's told.

7) Hating to know is loving to understand.

8) Owning is knowing to hate loving.

9) Words are more than numbers.

10) This ten's 10 are all 10. Beware of 10 10 10. 

10-10-10 Part 2

EEStor: 10-10-10

Friday, October 8, 2010

States of Texas Declares EEStor Titan of Industry: Only Kidding

The Texas Workforce Commission has released a new book this month called "Working Texas Style" which includes a quote from EEStor's Tom Weir in Chapter 14 on "Hot Technologies in Today's Texas."   Weir claims 2010 will be a big year for EEStor (gulp) and that they plan to be a Texas based company.  (no, not Brazil)  Intriguingly,  Weir claims they will begin hiring less advanced engineers than they have today...

I'm going to quote the book at length:

Batteries and Energy Storage
Storing electric energy is the Holy Grail for both the utility industry and the auto industry. Texas is home to several battery company headquarters but has not been as successful at luring the companies’ production factories. For example, ActaCell Inc., a specialized lithium-ion battery maker, has its headquarters in Austin but its major employment operations in Asia.
In 2008, several companies that make or research battery technology formed a consortium called the National Alliance for Advanced Transportation Batteries (NaatBatt). Lured by incentives, the consortium chose to locate its research, development and production operations in Kentucky rather than Texas. This loss highlights the limited success of Texas in the battery field. Yet Texas isn’t out of the game.
EEStor Inc., based in the Austin suburb of Cedar Park, claims to have made an Electrical Energy Storage Unit, or EESU, that can be charged at a much faster rate than current technology allows and can power an average-sized automobile for roughly 300 to 500 miles on a single charge — the equivalent of the drive from Dallas to Houston and back. By comparison, the new Chevrolet Volt electric car can go 40 miles per charge. If EEStor’s advanced capacitor technology works and if it becomes commercially accepted, then EEStor may become the definition of disruptive technology — or unexpected innovations — and Texas will be a big beneficiary. “This is game- changing technology,” said Tom Weir, vice president of EEStor. “We believe 2010 will be a big year for us, and we plan to stay in Texas and grow in Texas.”
Weir stresses that EEStor is making electrical energy storage units that are more like capacitors than traditional batteries. A battery is simply a container of chemicals that interact to store electricity, whereas a capacitor involves layers of metal that store an electrical charge. This different approach to discharging portable energy could make the small Cedar Park company a poster child for disruptive technology.
EEStor has raised more than $8 million in venture capital funding since 2003. The firm currently employs 11 people in 8,000 square feet of space in an industrial park. If the company’s product catches on, however, that payroll number could grow quickly. Until now, the company has primarily hired employees with Master’s and Doctoral degrees in electronics and engineering. Going forward, Weir said the company will primarily need workers with “normal” engineering degrees and extensive product development experience.

The Texas Workforce Commission is what

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Battery Hype + Electric Delivery Truck Hype = Electrification Hysteria!

Full Disclosure: before I wrote this article, I bought 2000 shares of Enova stock at $0.74 today.  I have no intention of trading the stock or flipping it for a short term gain. As with my Zenn investment (which I have never sold), I intend to take a long term investment approach.  Most of my investment decisions lead to failure so do not construe this article as an invitation to join me as I wheelbarrow more of my money off a cliff.  There are plenty of other ways to piss away your own money.  Get creative. 

The chairman of the Enova Systems Inc. board of directors has joined Zenn Motor Company's board of directors and shall be addressed using his full name, John Robert Wallace.  Wallace fills a vacancy created with Peter Mackechnie's resignation announcement issued in the same press release.   Once they repair the window Mackechnie threw himself out of due to losing his mind waiting for EEStor to do something interesting,  Wallace has a lot of interesting challenges ahead chief among them is guiding Zenn to a place where they feel comfortable talking about what the hell they've been up to for the past year or so on the apparently uber secret ZENNergy drive project.  If Wallace can induce that Oprah moment, we might learn if there is true synergy between Enova and Zenn or if this is just a cocktail  napkin AH HA moment among people promoting their own short term interests.

As far as EEStor is concerned, this announcement probably changes nothing.  If Zenn added one of the Apostles to their Board of Directors, they would still have the problem of trying incessantly to liquor up Dick Weir and push him out in front of a bunch of cameras and microphones to coax a statement.

Yet Wallace has a background that certainly makes his rolodex impressive.  Sure, Enova like Tesla or any similar project tied to vehicle electrification has it's stock set of naysayers.  But within that world, what counts as credibility certainly seems to be with JRW.   Enova sounds like a company many 2 years ago had hoped Zenn could turn into.  They're building electric drive systems seemingly geared mainly for delivery or service vehicles.  Think box trucks like UPS or FEDEX which would be great except that skeptics have questioned whether a company like Enova can scale up to address customers of that size.  I have no idea if they can do it.   I would love to be at that first meeting at Zenn when they walk Wallace into a large cold empty condemned God forsaken warehouse outside of Toronto and pull his blindfold off, "Surprise! This is ZENNergy!"

In terms of electrification, I do like the cold hard rationality that exists in the business market vs the consumer market. This is because businesses look at a business case with far less emotion that consumers look at their car so that if there is a business case to be made for electric or hybrid delivery vehicles and the electric drive systems that make them possible, adoption will occur at the speed of of business.

In the coming days, I'll be looking for the herd at TheEEStory.com to identify the positives and negatives of Enova, Wallace and Zenn even if many think EEStor has no working product.

Of course, if you work at Enova, your new loose association with EEStor may make you think Oh No! va!!!  Especially since they actually make things and sell them to people.

Image Source: astarfrommosul.blogspot.com

Sunday, October 3, 2010

HP, their EEStor Patent and Ray Lane, their new Chairman

Ray Lane  Source: Flickr
It would be problematic if I didn't write an article highlighting something TheEEStory user Muftee pointed out.   Hewlett Packard recently hired Kleiner Perkins exec Ray Lane to be it's chairman.   Additionally, a recent HP patent application included a reference to EEStor.   Probably unrelated, sure.  But one mustn't forget that Ray Lane is one of the Kleiner partners mentioned on the SEC records which established that Kleiner had invested in EEStor.   And several months ago, he played coy with a gr33ntech media blogger about 2010 possibly being the year we go back to the future, ie, a reference to EEStor's ultra-flux-capacitor.

One thing I haven't noticed any news articles mentioning though is the prior connection between KPCB and HP vis a vis Tom Perkins, KPCB founder who left the board of HP in 2006 amid a strange story involving leaks.  Those damn leaks.
And why shouldn't we engage in a little speculation given how this all ties together? Who will get the first EESU's for personal computers?  HP?  IBM?  Dell?  Apple?  If Kleiner is involved with HP, it probably won't be them.  Sure, Tom Weir & Mort Topfer worked for Dell and Greg Weir works for Dell and we know that Michael Dell knows about EEStor.  And EEStor is in the Austin area but something tells me it's not the likely first place.  Dick Weir worked for IBM but I doubt there is any love there.  I would guess Apple has the best chance of obtaining EEStor technology before any of their rivals.   Of course, anyone with brains knows that the first adopter will be the one who firstly and thoroughly kisses Dick Weir's ass, which isn't so bad because 2nd, 3rd and 4th place will be required to grovel....which is far more demeaning.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

For EEStorians Old News is New News

Rep. Bob Inglis
Three years ago, the US House Committee on Science an Technology's Subcommittee on Energy and Environment (deep breath) held a hearing to learn more about Energy Storage for the purpose of drafting new legislation in hopes of spurring development.   Among the witnesses called before the subcommittee was Ms. Patricia Hoffman of the Department of Energy.  At the time, she lead R&D efforts in Electricity Delivery & Energy Reliability office. Today, she is the Assistant Secretary of that office meaning her boss is Kristina Johnson, Under Secretary of Energy who reports to Steven Chu.  (another deep breath--still with me?)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

EEStor Announces Cause of Delays: Procrastination

In a tersely worded statement shouted out of a slowly moving vehicle today, EEStor's Dick Weir made plain why there's been no commercially available EESU yet,  "I've been procrastinating."

 Followed to the stop sign exiting the EEStor Cedar Park, TX location, a few follow up questions were answered, "Do you think you might get on that sometime soon?"

Weir:  "Well, I've got a lot things to do right now.   I'm busy with Kiwanis and the church.  Also, we have a team in back home that's doing some much needed painting using a new formula we derived from some of our work here.  But I've basically got a ton of social obligations and events and the holidays are right around the corner.  I got a new motorcycle too.  That's fun.  Shit man, there's just a lot going on, what can I tell you?  I'll get to it eventually.  You can't just sort of sit down and start commercializing breakthrough energy storage technology again like you were having a ham sandwich.  I n e r t i a (said slowly and with emphasis) ok?"  

But I thought you were full time working on the EEStor thing?

"I am. Sort of.  Remember now, we got this thing working a long time ago.  Sometimes we forget where we were and we gotta redo it all from square 2 or 3 except for the certified parts."

What's with all of these invitations to AFRL and Sandia, etc?   If you've been procrastinating, why invite all those important groups?

"Frankly, it had been so long since I had called anyone on the phone, I just needed some practice to ramp up, you know? And I didn't really know what to say when they actually answered, so I just blurted out whatever came to mind,  Want a demo?  And of course they did but then I couldnt think of why I would even offer one so I just said, great, because I need more money. "

Well, are you going to be able to show them anything?

"Good question.   We learned, through a little bit of tinkering, that the modules we have for sintering powders do a pretty good job on a Chicago style pizza pie.  Now that's fully automated you see, 24x7 pizza pie manufacturing using only commercial off the shelf automation.   Originally, our plan was for the pizza pies to be delivered robotically directly to my desk where Carl, myself, my son Tom and some geek we hired named Smetty....uh....Getty...no no no, Pettey....and a Dr. Pettey would consume them.  But we didnt have enough buttons so we're working on disconnecting some of the powder production buttons for the pizza pies.  By the way, am I the only one who still calls it a pie?  It is a pie technically. "

Probably not.  How did your investors like Zenn and Kleiner and big ace partner Lockheed like the modifications?

"We haven't told them yet.  We're still on schedule here.  When we saw the pizza pie capability, we knew we had to see where it would take us.  We're almost done.   We'll get back to the battery soon enough."

You know there's a lot of people who are really counting on you.  I think some of them have invested some of their retirement funds in Zenn.  Pizza manufacturing was never mentioned as one of your initiatives.   It just seems so strange. 

"Well how many of those people have ever tried alumina coated deep dish pizza?"

I'm guessing zero. 

"Well find out and get back to me.  I gotta run now. Don't worry about the battery. It's inna de bag mon."

Note to admired readers:  Yes, once again, I got a little bored. Maybe I should just write a play and be done with it?

Rally to Restore Sanity?

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Rally to Restore Sanity
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

For the first time in my life, I will be attending a political rally in Washington DC on Saturday, October 30 2010. I hope they have special seating for prominent bagheads like me.  I'm razor close to making attendance mandatory for Futureman and Whiskeythief.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

EEStor Controversy: Air Force Research Lab Wants to Know What Lockheed Martin is Sssssmokin'!!!!

If someone had pointed out to me 4 years ago that I would soon be authoring a blog about a breakthrough battery technology with thousands of daily readers, I would have asked what they were smoking and then laughed at how weird my life must be if that were to come true.  Later, I would have had a nervous breakdown.  

I don't know anything about batteries or capacitors or storing electrical energy.  But what I've learned over the past couple of years is that what mankind (archaic, I realize) knows about electrical energy storage is S C A N T.  Understand me here.   You can find a battery conference program and scan the academic papers presented to see that there are a ton of smart people looking into energy storage and it's complicated and their papers seem erudite and grand.  But there is a simple fact that no one disputes.  Electrical energy storage, ie, batteries aren't too much better than they were 100 years ago.   No, not 10 yrs or 30yrs ago,  ONE HUNDRED years ago.  Thomas Edison talked about batteries that could propel the vehicles of his day as far as the GM-VOLT does today.  (forget about weight for a second).

So, if someone suddenly emerges on the scene promising to bring to energy storage the sorts of gains in performance achieved in fabricated integrated circuitry, ie, computer chips, then my friend, they will stick out like a  SORE THUMB.   That's EEStor in a nutshell.

Imagine for a second, you've been immersed in the scientific culture that hasn't yielded an energy storage breakthrough in 100 years.   Same ole, same ole.  Incremental progress at a snail's pace.  Thomas Kuhn said scientific innovation occurs when thinkers abandon assumptions and tackle problems without inherited baggage.  But that's the rub.  If you abandon the baggage, do you slip off into UFO chasing?

To me, scientists seem particularly unforgiving to those who abandon inherited assumptions.  I think this is a function of academic culture which breeds arrogance rather than teamwork.  But I won't try to esplain it.  You may disagree.  Can you esplain it?

So finally, now that I've aired out my lungs and put a few people to sleep, we turn to our little EEStory.  


According to records released by the United States Air Force to Mr. Tom Villars (EEStory Genius), the United States Air Force Research Lab Kirtland Air Force Base Directed Energy Directorate AppleTurkey, New Mexico......a question has emerged for Lockheed Martin Corporation CEO Robert Stevens.

Lockheed CEO Bob Stevens. Source: Reuters.

Yes, thank you Mr. Stevens.  I am B the Magnificent EEStor blogger representing a Cadre of Fanboyz (and gurlz) at company B  and my question comes from the Air Force Research Lab.  Sir, as you are aware, this is the portion of the United States Defense Department responsible for ensuring the weapons in the movie Star Wars are developed from toys and movie effects into security for the free world.   This is literally the future of warfare, which if successful would put your jet fighter business OUT OF BUSINESS el rapido.   Sir,  I understand you are a Marine. Semper Fi, sir.  Thank you for your service.

But,   really,   if you have allowed your company to enter into a an agreement with EEStor Inc.,  who proposes that none of your geniuses can identify a reason why EEStor's energy storage technology will NOT work, then doesn't that mean that Lockheed Martin is smoking an illegal substance? Or samples of an illegal substance?  (Yes, I realize that the Lockheed Martin Corporation could obtain a medical prescription for smoked goodness in Californ-I-A, sir. )  Again, sir, this is not my question. I think you're doing a fine job and not smoking anything...good.  This is a question posed by the Air Force Research Lab in this released FOIA document.

Sir, very respectfully, I don't mind if Lockheed Martin is smoking something interesting.  And I don't think we should be too critical of our Air Force Research Lab subject matter expert.  NO, not at all.  But,  really, where there is smoke at Lockheed is there F I R E?    If so, let's light it up together. No?


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Max Power in The Power Dome

Over the next few days, we'll be releasing more of the documents obtained from the Air Force Research Lab related to EEStor.   We've redacted the names of the persons discussing EEStor as a courtesy to them.  Their FOIA officer actually could have redacted them under personal privacy provisions we've seen invoked by other govt agencies.   I hope the Air Force Research Lab follows suit as it seems other people are now trying to file FOIA requests for these documents.  Some of these people may not be as civilized as me.  Some of these people are not civilized at all.

I don't claim to have a grand moral vision or stellar philosophy about anything.  But my approach to the use of FOIA has been to request official interviews with govt officials first.  Often this leads to nowhere.  For me, that's generally good enough although sometimes if I feel an agency has something to divulge, which they choose not to divulge, I can occasionally get a little bent out of shape.   But, I still respect the work of civil servants and so, if I make use of FOIA material, I still try to keep that in mind.    FOIA is a very important tool in our democracy but it's all a real pain in the ass to persons who have to comply with the law.    In any case,  striving for the golden mean tends to work for most things so that's typically my goal.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

EEStor EESU Powered Elevator?

Adrian Godwin gives the world an EESU powered elevator....key if you want your elevator to be powered without a power cable always plugged in...or in case the power supplied by that line fails.  Hhhhmmm, how many traditional ultracaps would it take to pull off such a feat?  My guess is about 2 trillion but I didn't get very far in math.

It's a good read, so I'll quote at length:

In a vertical transportation device as disclosed herein, a capacitive device is used as the primary power delivery system to provide power to the stator of a fixed magnet linear motor system. The capacitive device is carried by the passenger cabin and may be used instead of or in conjunction with an emergency power supply. During ascent of the passenger cabin the capacitive device provides power to the stator 120. In this way, the passenger cabin may make an upward journey without receiving power from an external source after it has left the ground floor. The capacitive device receives a full charge or a top-up charge at the lowest point of its cycle. The charge is delivered to the capacitive device from an external power source via electrical contacts on the passenger cabin.
In descent of the passenger cabin, the linear motor may be used as a generator by connecting an electrical load to the stator. The linear motor then acts to retard the descent of the cabin and to generate electricity, which is used to recharge the capacitive device. Thus, in a complete ascent and descent cycle of the passenger cabin, the capacitive device loses only a small proportion of its charge, the proportion dependent on the motor and generator efficiency, and losses due to, for example, friction. Top-up charging is also required to replace the power consumed by the on-board electrical systems of the passenger cabin during its cycle around the shafts. This charge loss is overcome by top-up charging the capacitive device at least once during a cycle of ascent and descent. This charge takes place at the bottom of the cycle to ensure the passenger cabin has enough energy to reach the top of the building.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Air Force Email Indicating EEStor Invite

There seems to be some doubts---based on my prior blog post--- about whether the FOIA records we have obtained contain information concerning an EEStor invitation to a demo.  

Have a look for yourself.    Also,  if you're curious,  this isn't that big of a deal to me personally.  I won't be celebrating until I hear it from a govt person that testing/demo'ing/certifying is either underway or completed.   In the mean time, we only have evidence that EEStor is moving in this direction.  But if you want to get excited about this, be my guest.  

Monday, September 6, 2010

EEStor Teases Government Agencies With Invitation To Technology Demonstration

According to emails obtained via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), on July 8 of this year, a long time researcher working within the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, NM got a call from EEStor's CEO Dick Weir.  According to the email,  Weir was calling to invite him to a demonstration of EEStor technology to take place at EEStor's facilities in Cedar Park, TX. The date of the demonstration was not revealed.  The AFRL researcher in question had been communicating with Dick Weir for at least 6 years and based on other records released via FOIA, Weir was targeting a top government skeptic with this invitation.  The skeptic, who will remain unnamed as an unearned courtesy from yours truly, asked Weir if he had completed fabrication of a device.  No, but Weir felt they were close enough to make the invitation.  Is Weir saying "no" in relation to fully completed EESU's (cf. "pick n place robots") or in relation to basic EESU components?  The records do not clarify and attempts to gain more information via interviews have stalled.  However, through an unofficial interview, it was learned that this particular skeptic would not attend the EEStor event--rather his boss would--who happens to be a notable pioneer in the Directed Energy community.

Around the same time frame, another group of government skeptics at Sandia National Labs were receiving a similar invitation from Dick Weir.  According to three separate Department of Energy sources, Weir was looking for Sandia to perform an independent validation of EEStor technology via testing performed inside EEStor facilities.  Sandia balked initially at the idea of observing a test rather than conducting testing within Sandia facilities (but later consented to all of Weir's conditions).  According to one official, they weren't actually certain of whether or not Sandia owned the proper equipment to conduct a test of EEStor's technology...something declared unlikely by a senior battery tester at Intertek Inc. who was asked whether equipment to test EEStor level technology was available via commercial off the shelf equipment.  According to an AFRL researcher, Weir has his own test gear. Additionally, according to a third company also in discussions to attend their own EEStor demonstration,  Weir has indicated he has hired a 3rd party to calibrate and validate his test equipment.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

New Eestor wipo patent

A new Eestor patent published recently. See theeestory.com for details.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, September 2, 2010