Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Good Reporting

CNN piece on oil spills in Nigeria. A taste of the true cost of our oil dependency.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lockheed Martin to help manufacture EESU's? Probably. In Georgia? Maybe.

According to three separate individuals with unverifiable sources, Lockheed Martin will manufacture or assemble EEStor military EESU's at manufacturing facilities in Marietta, Georgia.  (see also)  A quick sweep through a series of regulatory resources including the Environmental Protection Agency's permitting databases could not support the claim.  Furthermore, the sources would not ID their Lockheed-Martin-aware counterparts who were offering this up date on Lockheed's plans with EEStor.   Yet, each source arrived at the same information (with one also saying a facility in Alabama may be involved.)   My only confidence in bringing this information to light is that the original sources appear unrelated to each other and claim familiarity with different parts of the organization.   Also, the sources I interacted with have been reliable in the past.    But,  since the underlying original sources are unverifiable, I can't rule out that this is a rumor with a single nefarious origin. ...but I don't think so.  

In the meantime, Lockheed Missiles and Fire Control continues to ramp up their push into Power Management with a new series of marketing collateral claiming wondrous new super powers.  (great videos guys, where's the product?) The intelligent microgrid solutions appear to combine traditional power management with network based sensors that do for power what routers/switches do for network data, ie, provide intelligent monitoring and failover.  The systems also allow for positioning of monitoring and measurement capabilities.   Are batteries and storage touted in the videos?  Not really but wind mills and solar panels are highlighted, both of which aren't real yet (without batteries) according to Vinod Khosla and Dick Weir in remarkably similar remarks captured about the same time a year ago.  (see VK's google speech and DW's leaked audio--search for it).

In one of the new brochures, storage is flagged as being available via "Multiple Technologies."

The idea that Lockheed will take control for part of the steps required to create DoD/DHS EESU's is plausible to me.   First, Lockheed is one of the largest manufacturers in the world.  Secondly, they offer manufacturing support services...and claim expertise in this area.   See especially, their Build-to-Print Manufacturing Capabilities brochure.   They also tout their ability to assist with offshoring of work, thus, slightly forgetting who they are working for apparently...stuff for a future rant.

If it turns out that Lockheed has cozied up to EEStor and is causing them to prioritize around defense applications rather than Zenn Motor's automotive applications, it raises the question why.   There is likely a good reason for this.  From Dick Weir's perspective, Lockheed is winning the quiet game against Zenn.  Lockheed has somehow managed to keep their executives confined to incomplete thoughts and smiles while Zenn has until only recently (say around January 2010) begun to play the game as well.   Personally,  I do not like the quiet game.  No, not at all.

See bing for further visuals.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Will EEStor Reveal During Oil Spill Crisis?

If you look back over the past couple of years, there have been some pretty extraordinary world events which could have provided a fantastic backdrop for an EEStor reveal. Let's list and examine some of these events

1) Run up in Oil Prices in 1st half of 2008

With all the media talking about how high the prices were going, it would have been one hell of a story to latch on to, "Battery Company Emerges Amid High Fuel Costs" as an example title we would have loved to see. But EEStor wasn't ready in 2008 because in 2007 they told us and their investors they could do it better....and thus, they adjusted their production line with "advanced technology" that allowed them to hit a homerun. (wish we could have seen them round the bases)

2) The Stock Market Crashes in 2nd half of 2008

Ordinary people almost never make the connection between fuel price spikes and subsequent economic downturns but for someone like me, this is innate knowledge I've had since I was young. Accordingly, after the fuel prices went up, the American economy quickly came down. Many were quick to say it was the worst financial crisis in years and years and years. This would have been a great time to do a reveal, in fact, in August 2008, Dick Weir told me that in his opinion if the country didn't get a handle on it's energy dependencies, it could go down the tube. He was not shy about linking EEStor as a solution to a host of the country's ills. A few weeks later, the markets started crashing. So, had EEStor revealed then, we might have seen headlines such as, "Market Turmoil & A Way Forward Through Tiny Battery Company's Technology."

3) 2009-- The Year the US Govt Started Giving Billions of Dollars to Clean Technologies

So, if you had hoped EEStor would emerge while the dark clouds were hanging, you were disappointed all over again. And so, during all of 2009, the name of the game was economic recovery and there was a real curiosity surrounding whether or not EEStor would emerge via one of the lucrative programs being advanced. Yet, EEstor chose to stay the course and did not partake in the handouts which amply capitalized a significant number of EEStor competitors such as A123 Systems and others. Skeptics were quick to seize on fact that EEStor was no where to be found when the money was being handed out. EEStor believers rationalized this by pointing out that EEStor would have to yield IP rights in arrangements with the Federal Govt and that if their technology is as they describe, there would be no need for govt funding.

Which brings us to what is most assuredly Opportunity Number 4 Deluxe Ala Mode. I'm talking obviously about the oil spill crisis. As we all sit and watch the gulf of Mexico become poisoned by a gusher of oil, one can't help but revisit those old thoughts again. Will EEStor finally emerge amid the greatest environmental disaster in the history of the USA? Or will they quietly tweak the powder purity modules connected to the buttons Dick presses? What's your guess?

If they do emerge, here are some sample headlines you may see, "Experts Say Battery Company Announcement Means Oil Now Obsolete" or "Oil's Darkest Hour Parted by New Battery's Light." There are probably plenty of ways to summarize what an EEStor reveal could mean during this particular time in history. I know that I for one am tired of waiting around for it. I want to get on with it.

What I am personally looking for by way of a new announcement is further certification of their production capacity which would flow logically from all their prior announcements. Each step in their production capacity has to be certified for replication....after it's certified, it can't be modified without re-certification. Thus, I am hoping to hear of something such as the number and type of EESU's able to be kicked out by the production line. I'd like to learn what the total output is in terms of overall kWh which could be roughly translated into a number of units depending on size etc. Secondly, I'd like to learn how quickly they can replicate a single production line. How many can they build concurrently? This would probably entail an announcement of the acquisition of a large piece of land near Austin for build out of an EEStor campus.

But you know....maybe EEStor will want to wait for an even better world backdrop to do their reveal. Let's hope we never have to read these articles:

"Earth Begins Descent Into Sun & EEStor Announces New Battery"

"Reports Armageddon Under Way As Tiny Battery Company Releases New Announcement"

"Cubs Win World Series: New Battery In Victory Parade Vehicles"

"New Regulations Force Politicians to Pass Lie Detector Tests--Machines Powered by New Battery"

"Middle East Emerges As Love Capital of The World. Inhabitants Hold Hands And Celebrate New Battery."

"Global Warming Over. Global Cooling Begins. Battery Project Begun Four Generations Ago Finally Complete."

"Anti-Gravity Vehicle To Be Powered By New Battery Says 400 Year Old Company Upon Release Of First Product."

"Ian Clifford IX: My Great-great-great-great-great-great^4 grandfather was right after all!!!"

"Party Like it's 19,999 With New Battery Announcement"

For those interested, here is my reveal day article title:


Friday, June 4, 2010

EEStor No Longer Lone Crazy Energy Storage Company Thanks to Vinod Khosla

According to officials within the Department of Energy's ARPA division, any recently announced winner of funding for the Batteries for Electrical Energy Storage in Transportation (BEEST) program would have been required to provide a "strong potential to meet or exceed the Primary Technical Requirements" for the funding opportunity. Those requirements include EEStor-level energy densities of 400Wh/kg or 600Wh/liter aka ~ 10,000J/cc with not quite EEStor level cost targets of $250/kWh. It is no small surprise then that several projects were awarded to traditional battery based projects including the usual suspects: lithium ion, zinc air, and rarely heard of magnesium ion.

But at least two projects represent capacitor based energy storage systems: one from Vinod Khosla's Recapping Inc. and the other from Stanford researcher, Fritz Prinz. To observers of the capacitor industry, news that capacitor based energy storage techniques with such specifications by such reputable organizations as Penn State (Recapping's research team) and Stanford University is nothing less than astonishing.

"250J/cc is a reasonable guess for the upper limits of energy storage in a capacitor. People have postulated 400J/cc but believability is extremely low for that," said a long time capacitor industry veteran, "and 20J/cc may be the highest you can actually buy today."

According to one BEEST program awardee, "all of the projects chosen included validating data to support their application." Additionally, the ARPA division of DOE hired 20-25 subject matter experts from industry, academia and national labs to perform the evaluations of all of the projects, according to Matthew Dunne, ARPA Chief Legal Counsel.

The funding levels provided to Stanford and Recapping Inc. are consistent with the "Proof of Concept Seedling Category" which requires awardees "to provide proof of concept device performance the coin-cell scale or larger" by the end of the project. The larger awards provided for battery technologies mentioned above all appear to fall within the "Advanced Device Prototyping Category" which requires full scale energy storage devices capable of being inserted into a vehicle at project completion.

This news that Khosla has now an EEStor project should not be surprising. Several months ago, the former Kleiner Perkins partner wrote an article in Grist covering his views on energy storage and included this mixed signal quip about EEStor:

"Even more disruptive approaches that we have not invested in today may be on the horizon. If EESTOR-like approaches work (I am somewhat skeptical of this particular company, though I believe new science similar to that proposed in its patents is possible), then so much the better."

At the time of his article, Khosla had owned Recapping for just over a year, according to filings with the State of California. But more interesting is that, one blogger has said that as early as September 2006, Vinod Khosla "indicated he is invested in this area." Was that in reference to Khosla's work as a Kleiner Perkins partner? Or was that stemming from work performed with his own Khosla Ventures founded in 2004? That's difficult to say because Vinod Khosla is still listed as an Affiliated Partner at EEStor investor Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers. SEC filings for companies listed on that page include documents showing Khosla still associated with investments launched while he was at Kleiner. Further confusing the issue is the fact that in my email conversations with Mr. Khosla, I would address them to his Khosla Ventures email address and he would respond with his address.

You may be wondering why I'm referencing all of these points. It's for the simple fact that in my investigation of Recapping Inc., I've been unable to uncover one of the most mysterious things. Although Penn State is listed as the research team working on the project, they were not awarded the ARPA funding---it was given to Recapping Inc. And despite this arrangement, you might think Penn State is responsible for the fundamental discovery making their project possible. They aren't.

So, the EEStor-sized mystery that Vinod Khosla is sitting on is quite simply: who discovered the insights which would make 10,000J/cc possible in a capacitor based system? ...because most certainly, whoever it was would definitely qualify for a Nobel Prize.

We hope to learn more about Vinod's EEStor project soon.


Image source: CNET.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Loco En La Cabeza USPTO Grants EEStor Another Patent: Cadre of Fanboyz, "Yakety Yakety Yak: Net New News"

Depending on your version of reality, the USPTO has either granted EEStor yet another patent (this time for Utility Grid Storage applications penned originally at, night) or provided more fuel for hallucinating EEStor believers. That second link is to a discussion of a new letter from Carl Nelson penned in November 2008 which goes into greater detail regarding EEStor's claims to have a dielectric that can withstand high field and achieve significant energy density, similar to but much better than flame grilled mexican chicken.

Looks like we may have a winner for that new $10Mil prize found within the Senate's version of the new energy bill. What ever happened to John McCain's $300Mil prize? Come on, John, keep your promises.

As with everything, is where you will hear about EEStor news before any where else...if not from me, then from outstanding individuals like member Mark, who has continued to intrigue with his attention to patent detail.

For those whose beliefs are challenged by the EEStor faith, keep in mind a complete set of articles of confession are available for meditation here. (a link you will always find in the lower right hand corner of While there's probably little time for repenting, conversion is always an option.

Now then, if we can only get Lockheed Martin to say something finally especially since the timing is so correct due to the oil spill. Couldn't pay for a better environment to say something about break through energy storage. De Nada.

Update: This article has too many moving parts. I declare it's author, ON FIRE!!