One of the claims made often by EEStor skeptics is that the science behind EEStor's technology is impossible. Capacitors, by their very nature, the argument goes, can't possibly achieve an energy density that exceeds batteries.

Is it time to safely relegate that opinion to myth?

Thanks to a Department of Energy news release covering several grants funded by the ARPA-E division, we learn that Khosla Ventures is helping to launch a Penn State company based on innovative dielectric material which can provide a "cost effective alternative to battery solutions."

Not all of the facts are in yet. And the project only received $1Mil. However, the purported benefits of this "novel energy storage device" are to "catalyze new, related cleantech industries and contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases and oil imports."

In summary, we have here a 'battery alternative' called a "high energy density capacitor' which is not described as a power conditioning device (as many current automotive ultracap projects are due to limited energy density of traditional ultracaps) but rather as an alternative to batteries, aka, devices with much greater energy density that capacitors. For good measure, the category under which the project was chosen is called, " Batteries for Electrical Energy Storage in Transportation."

Here is the PSU project description from the DOE website:

Recapping Inc. (Penn State Univ.) Capacitive Storage: High Energy Density Capacitor Recapping Inc. and researchers at Pennsylvania State University will seek to develop a novel energy storage device based on a 3D nanocomposite structure with functional oxides that provide a very high effective capacitance. The basic fabrication of the dielectric materials and devices will utilize traditional multilayer ceramic fabrication methods that will provide a cost effective alternative to battery solutions, with added benefits of exploiting mechanisms that could maintain higher cycling and possibly deliver charge with high power density. This technology hopes to create a cyclable and economically competitive energy storage device that will catalyze new, related cleantech industries and contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases and oil imports. $1,000,00

The DOE announcement included several other interesting energy storage projects including one for A123 Systems earning $4.3Mil. Stanford University also received a grant for a technology that at least one EEStory observer believes is on the same path as EEStor Inc.

The Penn State researchers responsible for the project have not yet been verified.

Here is the Stanford project description from the DOE website:

"Novel Battery: The All-Electron Battery: a quantum leap forward in energy storage In this project, researchers Stanford University will seek to develop an "All-Electron Battery", a completely new class of electrical energy storage devices for electric vehicles that has the potential to provide ultra-high energy and power densities, while enabling extremely high cycle life. The All-Electron Battery stores energy by moving electrons, rather than ions, and uses electron/hole redox instead of capacitive polarization of a double-layer. This technology uses a novel architecture that has potential for very high energy density because it decouples the two functions of capacitors: charge separation and breakdown strength. If successful, this project will develop a completely new paradigm in energy storage for electrified vehicles that could revolutionize the electric vehicle industry and establish U.S. leadership in advanced energy storage technology for electric vehicles."

Previously, I revealed that Kleiner Perkins paid Penn State University to evaluate EEStor's claims. Coincidence?