Saturday, December 17, 2011

From Raw Materials to End Product

For years now, EEStorians have scoured the Internet for the smallest tidbit of new information about EEStor in order to dissect every piece of data from every angle leading into the never terminating debate we all love so much.  One frequent source hit by the cadre is  Unfortunately, some of you have been asleep at the wheel and allowed me to regain my mojo when it comes to EEStor scoops.  Actually, I can't claim credit for anonymous researcher with skills way beyond my own offered it to me.

Well here it is.  The Manager of Research & Development at EEStor has published what he has been up to at EEStor for the past 4.5years.   I'm talking about Lucas Pettey.  Debaters start your engines!!!

What he has been doing at EEStor is summarized here, "Product development for a thin film polymer-ceramic composite capacitor based energy storage device including all manufacturing steps from raw materials to end product."

Discussion Questions
1) Why now?  Is EEStor's rule of secrecy over?
2) Isn't updating your LinkedIn profile like updating your resume, i.e., job hunting?
3) "frequency dependent electrical properties of thin films," "impedance spectroscopy measurements of the dielectric properties of doped ceramic powders," "3 key patent pending processes to increase product voltage breakdown and prevent product degradation," & "lab to pilot scale."  EEStor secrets?
4) Is EEStor ready to move into full production or folding?

If the Contact settings for LinkedIn can be believed, Pettey is looking for work:

Contact Lucas for:

  • career opportunities
  • consulting offers
  • new ventures
  • job inquiries
  • expertise requests
  • business deals

I call this the resume that shocked the EEStor world!  He is certainly a smart guy. Is he throwing in the towel or advertising his prestige?  Don't let me answer for you. Sound off.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

ZNN Trading Halt?

We've been here before. Don't get your hopes too high.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Latest Blog Article

I posted my latest EEStor blog article on last night.  Did you get to read it? It made a few people's mouth water.


Monday, October 31, 2011

I'm Fairly Lucky Now that Trevor Parker is following me on Twitter

I haven't really been a big fan of Twitter due to the dominance that celebrities have over this communication medium.  If people aren't accidentally posting nude photos of themselves, they are often inebriated and issuing a very short speech on a topic we don't trust them to understand (their life for example).   So, what becomes important given a situation such as this isn't who says what but who follows who. (I haven't thought that all the way through though).

Therefore, I'm happy to announce my latest follower on Twitter because it actually turns out to be someone who is trying to do something with their lives rather than sit around in my chat room all day watching the pot boil.  I'm talking about mowing.  With electricity as the fuel.  That's right, you guessed, my latest follower on Twitter is none other than Trevor Parker, partner at Viriditech Inc.  What do they do there, you ask?  They produce or want to produce Canada's first zero emission lawn care products.  Hhhhmmm.

Anyway, thanks to Trevor and the team at Viriditech for trusting me enough to follow me on twitter.  I did nothing to deserve that trust. In fact, I deserve the opposite of trust and I hope they don't try to run me over with an electric mower.    Let me leave you with one thought based on Trevor's last tweet: "Any fleets and/or people interested in a lawn tractor that cuts up to 4 acres of grass on about $1.50 worth of electricity?"

I love it when people can net it out.  Beautiful.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Duke Nukem Forever Release Means EEStor Can Take Forever and Still Might Deliver

One of the things that bothers me (even about myself) is all of the whining and BS surrounding EEStor's obviously L A T E delivery of verifiably working technology.  Well, believers and doubters, keep your tears to yourself because nothing could be worse than promising a simple software game and delivering it 14 years later.   We're talking about energy storage breakthroughs not attempts at incrementally better video games.  Stop sniveling.  In a recent interview with Dick Weir, he purportedly said, "It’s time to kick ass and chew bubblegum…and I’m all out of gum.”  Why does that sound promising to me? Vaporware?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Kleiner, Khosla & WSGR Together on Battery Start Up?

I've written a lot about Khosla's interest in EEStor over the past couple years.  I've also written about Khosla's interest in general in energy storage and Recapping Inc. in particular.  So, I find it interesting that Katie Fehrenbacher is reporting to have "heard that Kleiner’s John Doerr and Khosla’s Vinod Khosla are taking Board seats at QuantumScape," which is based on Stanford's "all-electron battery. "

If that were true, it would be an interesting move.  The problem is when I search SEC records, I can't find any support for the view but maybe it's just me.   I can locate the business entity records here:

Entity Number:C3334840
Date Filed:11/19/2010
Entity Address:650 PAGE MILL RD
Entity City, State, Zip:PALO ALTO CA 94304
Agent for Service of Process:JAGDEEP SINGH
Agent Address:3000 SND HILL RD STE 190, BUILDING 3
Agent City, State, Zip:MENLO PARK CA 94025

For those that don't known, Jagdeep Singh is the founder of telco gear company Infinera and works with Khosla Ventures.  The address above is of Khosla Ventures.  650 Page Mill Rd belongs to Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati, which if you've been paying attention, represented EEStor, for example in this key EEStor stock purchase document.

If Quantumscape is working with Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati, that might not be a very good thing. If you recall, I reported previously that WSGR was sued last year over an IP conflict of interest issue raised by Existence Genetics.   I am not an attorney. I don't know if there is an issue here--maybe there is a firewall in place or maybe EEStor isn't being supported any more, etc. Anyone?

Additionally, it looks like Quantumscape has hired Christian Fesenmaier who came from Nanosolar.

iPhone 5 Delay/Schedule Kills Apple Founder Steve Jobs: Yes, Dead

Less than 24 hours after Apple Inc. created its first post-Steve Jobs, "oh shit" marketing moment by failing to extinguish the world media's most prolific prediction failure (nominally) in the history of human existence, Steve Jobs' internal components have crashed irreparably & permanently.  There is no backup.

Palo Alto, CA coroners Jim Balsillie & Michael Lazaridis report that Jobs, famous for having a temper even Martha Stewart might say was a bit touchy, died from a gradual deterioration of spirits leading up to the supposed "iPhone 5 announcement," (something even Al Gore knew was not coming).

Reaction worldwide was immediate & profound: shock... numbed & dazed by smart phone addiction, even among Droid users on the Sprint network.

With this loss, the rest of the world regains Jobs' estimated $8.3Bil of personal wealth which is a figure large enough  to prevent the death by starvation of 60 million children over the next 10 years, a fact that has newly charitable Bill Gates & Warren Buffet along with less friendly (but also dead) Adolph Hitler & Joseph Stalin adjusting their collars.  Asked about this unheralded Apple milestone via a series of faxed messages today, Jobs' New York based journalist daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs said that it wouldn't be surprising...given that his ludicrous paternity denials left her and her mother stuck on welfare the first two years of her life.  (They eventually reconciled)

In China, where most of Jobs' Apple's Jobs were made, an insightful perspective was provided by The People, who, thanks to communist censorship, were only reachable via the Tor Project network which is a series of untraceable network links used partly by Wall Street insiders to exchange illegal trading tips and which is made possible through the ethical actions of some hacker group.  A man identifying himself as 31 year old Hu Yaobang offered this reflection on the passing of the great Apple innovator, "In rice field, I work 15 hour of twenty two years each day.  I attend five years of people's university to be the nuclear expert. Now we glue glass plate to aluminum band seventeen hours today.  I am desperate to be Steve Jobs."  When reminded that the impetus for the interview was Steve Jobs' death, Yaobang paused and then thoughtfully added, "May I then be the dead toe of Mr. Steve?"

One group who certainly worshipped Steve Jobs over the last several days of his life would be those suffering from Neuroendocrine Cancer, since a portion of Apple's revenue (via Jobs) greatly advanced the understanding of this terrible disease at least among Jobs' medical team.  Due to a knowledge sharing oversight not unlike the famous Apple stock option back dating felonies.. misdemeanors, none of them were healthy or alive enough for comment.

At the house of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen, comments were easier to come by. Recall that last year, Chen's data center was arrested and he was investigated for felony possession of an iPhone 4 as a non-Chinese citizen American and owning too many non-Apple notebooks and servers. "Don't you get it, dude? I didn't know it at the time but I didn't have an iPhone 4. I had a mother fucking iPhone 4S bro!!! THAT'S why they sent the law to my place.  They knew if that thing was announced, it would be the death of Steve Jobs!! Damn, I didn't get it. Damn!!"  Chen issued several more obscenities and became incoherent.

Steve Jobs is dead. There isn't an app for that.

Disclosure: I've been a life long fan of Apple and thus, Steve Jobs. We all handle grief differently.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I'm a Genius: Give Solyndra's Factory to EEStor

Solyndra Finances
The train wreck that is Solyndra continues to unfold in the media, each day seeming to be worse than the prior one.  Now, poor Stephen Chu (nice guy that he is) has stepped up to claim responsibility for the risky decision to fund Solyndra.  Critics such as myself have advanced two main points throughout all of this.  First, investments in technologies like solar and wind are inherently risky due to their success being extremely dependent on breakthrough energy storage which is actually a better focus for research dollars in the short term. Second, a better use of federal funds would seem to be gained from  tax or market incentives for  technologies that achieve specs we desire. This would allow multiple companies to compete for the market opportunity, something we know works well.  But, none of this thinking is going to emerge in any of the public analysis of the situation. Renewable energy is going to get drowned out by oil & gas interests even though we're only a few months beyond two of the most catastrophic energy debacles in human history (gulf oil leak & Fukushima Nuclear accident).  Just when you thought it couldn't get any darker as a renewable energy supporter, now we've got a political scandal on our hands all prepped up for information distortion.  But guess what. There is light at the end of the tunnel via an ingenious solution I came up with all by my lonesome self.

Dude from Solyndra Whose Name I Never Learned
Rather than sit around crying about the waste of money sunk into Solyndra and the struggle to sell Solyndra assets for pennies on the dollar,  lets turn that frown upside down.  Let's figure out a way to take that brand spanking new factory out in California and put it to good use with a company that is probably-very likely-to be ready to put it to good use:  EESTOR BABY!!!    That's right crazy government people and unimportant tax payers, I'm giving you a simple way to salvage this situation by taking an asset we, the taxpayers, invested in heavily and rather than just sell it for a tiny pittance, let's see if maybe a more deserving opportunity could make profound use of it.

What I propose is that the U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Mary Walrath hold her honorable horses so that an official inquiry from the Department of Energy can be made to ascertain the suitability of selling that asset to none other than the world's soon to be favorite energy storage pioneer, E E S T O R!!!

Solyndra Factory Workers Grab Assing With President Obama
Ok, ok, I know reasonable skeptics out there are climbing out of their skin right now at the thought of this maneuver. But consider for a moment, one tiny little thing.   If EEStor produced a meaningful progress report--something that no skeptic anywhere could deny is absolute proof that they are ready to go into production--wouldn't it make sense to make the most of this Solyndra situation and strategically---as a country---get that asset in the hands of an American company that could single handedly get this country moving in the right direction again?  You know that the bankruptcy proceedings are simply going to lead to a foreign owned company buying the property for a major loss to Joe Taxpayer.   I don't care what the details are of ripping out the customized crap Solyndra has in there either.  If I were the State of California and knew EEStor was ready, I'd be begging them to take the property. BEGGING!

Secretary Chu Grab Assing With Governor Schwarzenegger At Solyndra Ground Breaking Ceremony  

Now, then, even though I know I'm right that this would be a brilliant, strategic move that could jumpstart EEStor ramp up, I'm going to close with a question: assuming EEStor is ready to use that factory, is there any other company out there that would be more strategic to use it when it comes to the question of our national economy?
EEStor Grab Assing At Front Door

In case you missed it, the argument here depends upon these conditionals:

IF EEStor is ready.

IF EEStor has the goods. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

DOE Releases EEStor FOIA Response

According to records released today by the Department of Energy Sandia Labs,  Dick Weir is a bit of a tease. In emails between EEStor and DOE, we learn that in the Spring of 2010, Dick Weir re-initiated contact--via phone-- with Sandia Labs energy storage testing team then lead by now retired John Boyes.  EEStor was seeking a "witness test" of a "test capacitor" subjected to the following tests, "energy density, specific energy, weight & volume over a specified temperature range."   Sandia initially agreed but after some internal discussion spawned by an email from DOE energy storage lead Imre Gyuk,  a decision was made to not associate Sandia's stamp of approval via a witness test.  Instead, Sandia proposed to EEStor that they would need to have a sample delivered to Sandia for testing and they provided EEStor with a rough overview of what would be tested and how.   Dick Weir responded to this by agreeing to provide samples for testing at Sandia but first invited them to visit EEStor facilities for an introduction and overview of his technology.   Sandia agreed to visit EEStor with the understanding that no certification would follow regardless of their impression of what was transpiring there and that that would only follow from actual testing at Sandia facilities.   The email trail goes cold at that point and when I spoke with various persons involved months later, they said EEStor simply never followed up and set a date.  Is that still the current status?  I think so but don't know for certain...if anything came together, it apparently didn't generate an email trail.

The release mirrors the AFRL FOIA released last year in containing occasional jabs at EEStor credibility but in a much more professional manner.   The emails show Sandia as curious as one might expect but as out of the loop as everyone.

The records also show that, at some point in 2008, Zenn Motors initiated some dialogue with Sandia about possible validation testing of EEStor technology.  Again, that tapered off as well with no result.

One interesting exchange with DOE came in March 2009 from a former participant at known as MilitantSkeptic but who uses at least two aliases, Tim Stradinski and Tim Adudell. He identified himself to DOE as the owner of a "wind turbine manufacturing company in the US." He was writing to them to let them know that "there is a group of people using the US Department of energy and Sandia as a tool in a stock manipulation scheme."  This email was sent on the same day I published this article...the facts of which are validated by some of the records released today.  ;-)

Other than that, it would appear we have yet another interesting set of documents to peruse but not the concrete info we had all hoped could shed some definitive light on EEStor.   If the release does not stimulate your imagination, take a look at the very thorough letter regarding what records were withheld and why.  That ought to tide you over for a week or so. :-)

Another interesting question you might consider is why did it take Sandia over a year to provide this response...300+ days beyond the legal requirement?

Here are the records:

 DOE EEStor FOIA Response. 

Incidentally, today marks roughly the 4 year anniversary of my blogging illness associated with EEStor.  Thanks to you Mr. & Mrs Reader for making this fun for me even without a publicly released working prototype.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Review UFO's: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go On the Record

Imagine one day, you're walking across a large parking lot at a military base and you look in the sky and see an object you've never seen before. It isn't flying but rather maintaining a fixed position overhead.  It looks like a gray metallic pyramid or triangle and very light clouds are blowing by accentuating the stationary position of the object.  Depending on your disposition, you might quickly dismiss it as perhaps a satellite or some object or space debris or maybe even a new military craft of some sort.  Another approach might be to rapidly conclude it is from outer space and contains alien life forms.   There's a range of possible reactions for a person in that situation depending on the person.

Suppose you shared your story with someone else. Would you expect them to believe you?  Perhaps if they'd known you for a long time and trusted your pronouncements--family, friends, etc.  But if they didn't know you, you'd have a low level of trust and could understandably be at peace if they didn't believe you or showed extreme skepticism.   Depending on the details of the event, you might be spurred to investigate further and see if anyone else saw the same thing.  Was it a boring uneventful viewing of some unrecognized object?  Or more dramatically, was it moving around doing somewhat unbelievable things?  Regardless,  most people whether they have viewed such things or not understand that individual sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena have low credibility and prove next to nothing.

Suppose instead of sighting this alone, you had someone with you and could validate that they saw it too?  Credibility goes up a notch between the two viewers at least.   Next imagine, tens or hundreds of people saw the same thing.   At this stage, the credibility goes up another notch but there's a problem.  Correlating all of the viewings with all of the potential legitimate airborne objects such as planes, satellites, etc is incredibly difficult because almost no effort has been expended to make such investigations possible. Not in the USA anyway.   So, while the credibility of that situation is greater than the others, all it has historically generated doesn't amount to much.  Rare events experienced by human observers, unless resulting in death, etc, have been given low regard by professional researchers even if occasionally it intrigues a  journalist or two.  And these days even photographic or video evidence has become easier to manipulate and generate hoaxes so professional interest remains low.

Such is the lot of the typical UFO enthusiast these days.

But contrast all of the above with a very different set of conditions. First, make the observers trained ones such as pilots both commercial and military, air traffic controllers & bring in physical evidence correlating all of the above with radar with official video/photographic evidence.    It turns out that in the realm of UFO's trained observers in small numbers outweigh large numbers of untrained viewers since first of all, such observers in the case of pilots have a duty to protect the safety of passengers in commercial settings and the safety of citizens in the case of military ones.  Objects occupying restricted airspace are a safety hazard and there are requirements to report such phenomena.  (requirements that are currently obstacled by the cultural stigma associated with reporting).

This is the jumping off point for an interesting new book written by investigative journalist Leslie Kean, whose previous accomplishments included documenting human rights abuses in Burma.  What Kean has set out to do is de-stigmatize the UFO phenomena by focusing on cases which have the most credibility which turn out to be sightings by military personnel around the world.   Although initially very skeptical of UFO's and impacted by the taboo surrounding them, Kean has attempted to see if rigorous journalistic methods could be brought to bear on a phenomena that previously had been largely relegated to amateur self appointed experts given away too easily to government conspiracies.

The result?  By almost every account, she has produced a smashing success.  It may be the single most important piece of investigative journalism ever produced on the subject and I highly recommend it to my readers for the primary purpose of demonstrating how a controversial topic can be rationally dissected in a way that even the most hardened skeptics can appreciate if only because she provides a good target for attack.

What got Leslie Kean to start poking around on such a controversial topic?  About 10 years ago, a colleague gave her an advance copy of a report compiled by high ranking French government officials on sightings there.  This exposed her to the reality that the way UFO stories are regarded in the USA both by the population and government is very different than elsewhere in other cultures where careful steps have been taken to assemble the most valid evidence available in a far more open way than we attempt here.   It was very eye opening and caused her to focus in on the most credible events and evidence and then carefully consider the origins of how the United States has handled similar phenomena.

The book begins with an assembly of the top incidents worthy of review based on a number of factors: number & credibility of viewers, radar data gathered from multiple points, and other physical evidence that varies by case.  The events covered occurred all over the globe and include thousands of witnesses in Belgium, Iran, Peru, Chile, UK, Japan and the USA and are largely based on official government evidence whenever possible.  It was through this careful analysis of FOIA documents and interviews with government officials that Kean was able to identify the origins of the taboo that has pervaded American culture regarding UFO's since they began appearing in the 1940s shortly after the invention of nuclear weapons and power plants...which turn out to be areas where the unexplained aerial phenomena have apparently tended to cluster.

The net result of Leslie Kean's work is a passion for a cause to centralize the research that has been conducted around the world in an organized way.  She advocates for a small government agency to be setup in the USA to conduct this research. As she shows, the effort required is a small one and has already been adopted by governments in Russia, UK, France & elsewhere yet not here in the USA.  (Note: President Jimmy Carter had asked NASA to do this several years ago after he encountered a UFO at a political event in the 1970s....the UFO bug also bit  Bill Clinton as he admitted later.).   Kean has done a great service by showing us in very clear terms how the current government mindset in the USA was formed. It is a very elucidating narrative and jibes with my own distaste for government conspiracies which I believe are often weak in light of more mundane explanations of human failings.  Some of the amusing revelations about our own government's work in regard to UFO's have emerged from FOIA requests in the UK, in particular concerning triangular/pyramid shaped objects with unexplainable high speed maneuvering.  Incidentally, if you chop off the high speed maneuvering part, such descriptions match what a colleague and I appeared to see above a military base in Virginia a few years ago.
I never had much interest in researching that event nor did it increase my already in place interest in the topic.  I drew no strong conclusions about what we saw that day.

Although Kean's book, which is now a New York Times Bestseller, was originally released last year, it has gained some recent attention due to it's use in a new documentary on The History Channel which appeared yesterday, ie, 25 August 2011. I haven't watched it but here is a Huffington Post piece on it.  It includes a trailer from the program.

A lot of people hate it when I bring up controversial topics like this in a blog whose main focus is on EEStor Inc which they are desperate to separate from nutter topics like 9/11 conspiracies.  But I think Kean's book captures some of the elements of dogmatic irrational skepticism shown towards EEStor, which most would probably agree is orders of magnitude less controversial.  How to conduct an investigation of a controversial topic is something I find interesting due to my unique experience covering EEStor.   I think a lot of people who read & try to understand what is going on at EEStor will appreciate many of the insight's Kean's book pulls together.   What can we know when and why are shared themes.

I predict you'll begin seeing a change in attitude about UFO's in the USA in part due to this book but also in large part due to the fact that more people have an ability to record events on camera phones and quickly upload them to YouTube.  Secondly, sensor instrumentation around the world to gather various kinds of things have proliferated particularly among the US Dept of Defense.  There is a much greater chance of capturing odd events now in multiple ways for near immediate analysis.  Don't take my word for it happen yourself by monitoring you'll find new stories on this topic almost every day.

Good luck and may the force be with you.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Review: Mad Like Tesla by Tyler Hamilton

This is me helping sell a few copies of Tyler Hamilton's new book, "Mad Like Tesla" which contains new information about EEStor.  It really does contain new information about EEStor...that I did not know previously. It has fresh EEStor research hitherto unrevealed publicly except in this new book available on Amazon.

What new information you ask?  If I told you, you wouldn't buy the book.  I got the book overnighted to me for around $10.   Basically, Hamilton is giving it away unfortunately not that authors of books make much money.

What's in the rest of the book? Um...uh....ok, I didn't read the book yet.  I can tell you it is about what people mean when they say some new technology is impossible...with past and present examples to sift through all the salient points.  Sound familiar?

In any case, rather than write an article summarizing the EEStor portion of his book, I think it would be better if people actually read it first and then discuss it.   Maybe later I'll write a fuller review.

Only 10 books are left in stock.  Reminder: it has new information.  You want that don't you?  Don't you? Yeah, I knew you did. Get it. Get the information and consume it.

Zenn Works Hard on Relationship with EEStor

On Aug 18, 2011, Zenn Motor Company published an update on it's financial condition which looked weaker than a hotdog stand in the middle of the desert.  The good news though is Zenn is aligning their cash burn rate (formerly known as a bonfire inferno) to match the pace of development at EEStor.  Why is this good news?  It means Zenn now knows EEStor's pace of development.  Or does it?  Well, we know one important thing now: Zenn is spending all of it's time focusing on it's relationship with EEStor:

 "At the same time we have worked hard to build on our relationship with EEStor."  -Jim Kofman

Sometimes people use words like investor, supplier or co-owner to describe relationships such as this but I'm pretty sure this is not where we are in this case.   When Kofman says 'relationship' he's speaking more of what people in therapy mean as in, "I love you so much but we need to work on our relationship."  As I've had relationship difficulties in the past, I've got some advice for Kofman:

1) Never let Dick Weir pay for the all-you-can-eat chinese buffet.  Just make sure you get in line ahead of him so he can't ring his up before you get your tray filled up.  They don't serve alcohol at Dick's favorite spot so bring along a half-carafe of merlot in your coat pocket and casually offer it to him as a special treat.

2) Always set aside time each day to let Dick Weir talk about his feelings, hopes & dreams. This means you can't be looking at your blackberry, Jim.  You have to set it down and validate what he is saying with interesting responses so Dick knows you care.  Be a good conversationalist. Ask him about his plans for his minivan--will he continue to service it or would a nicely deserved cadillac be in his future? How will he pay for it?

3) Hold hands during important conversations.  It's really difficult to yell at someone whose hand you are holding.  Try it even if you feel silly at first.  If his hands are dusty, ask him if alumina coated powders have high permittivity or just uncoated ones.

4) Don't be so mechanical.  Remember to date Dick Weir with as much effort as you put into having business with him.  Take him to the movies--something uplifting where story lines focus around completed Iron Man 2. (BTW, ask him afterwards if he thinks such technology is realistic)

5) Bring back spontaneity and surprises.  For example, do you always have to enter EEStor's offices from the front door?  Why not camp out at the adjoining parking lot for the medical clinic and when things are being delivered out back sprint up with some flowers and say, "hey partners, I've missed all of you so much...these are for you!" You might as well have a look around the production line while you are there since it would be awkward otherwise.  Note anything labeled "Lockheed Martin."

But in all of this, don't try too hard because that makes people flee (investors?).  But if you find yourself not trying at all, then that's equally problematic.  I've got other ideas here but I don't want to seem like a know it all especially since I'm not a mergers & acquisition expert from UBS.  I'm a bit of a dope comparatively speaking.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Oh Man. Discussions Are AWESOME!!!

Whew!  Where to start?  The discussions at have become so incredibly insightful and informative, I can't even begin to describe how awesome it is.  The quality of insight there is way beyond average.  I would dare say even the people who may be nuts are actually brilliant too.  It is incredibly fun to be part of it and to learn --before most of the planet -- all the cool things people contribute.  Should I even bring up the chat room?  Ok, I will. The chat room is 24x7 fun fun fun. Need a laugh or a short pithy insight or just need a recent news photo of Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann?  Wow, the chat room is the place for that especially when you are at home drinking your favorite beverage without relatives telling you to disconnect!   Well, that's all for now. I've got to go login to theEEStory and see if I missed any EXTREMELY IMPORTANT NEWS.  


Friday, August 5, 2011

The Batteries...[It] Was a Big Thing is a website that endeavors to expose information about covert operations performed by governments, corporations and the media.  Kevin Flaherty is it's author and he resides in New Zealand.
Basically, it's a great site to read if you need creative inspiration to come up with a cool movie thriller that has an element of realism.  Or, if Flaherty's views impress you, it could be a life altering journey into the unfiltered truth.

Over the years, Flaherty has reported upon and speculated about EEStor.   His view is that EEStor's technology may have originated from government research...a view I don't share but can't rule out.

In any case, Flaherty drew attention to the recent crash of the Lockheed Martin HALE-D airship because the county sheriff where the experimental vehicle crashed said that one of the major concerns of Lockheed Martin in recovering the vehicle was "the batteries."  Don't believe it?  Well, then have a gander at the video.  The sheriff says "it is top secret through the military. But the batteries was a big thing. They didn't want anyone going around that aircraft once it was down and they wanted us to provide security. "

Here is a gizmag article about the crash.

Even if the batteries in question weren't EEStor related, you have to wonder what batteries Lockheed Martin would be so worried about losing. Hhmmmmmm....


A funny thing about the crash of an aircraft is that many government agencies end up responding and writing reports about what happened.  When the HALE-D blimp crashed in the remote hunting grounds of Pennsylvania, personnel from the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Federal Aviation Administration, Pennsylvania State Police and local fire department responded.

According to an internal report of the incident written by Lockheed Martin and submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, "Primary concerns were ongoing generation of electricity by the airship's photovoltaic array, and the condition of its lithium battery. The integrity of the battery and its container ultimately proved intact."  Lockheed officials confirmed that the battery in question was removed from the area following HAZMAT procedures out of an abundance of caution.

According to Lockheed officials, the batteries used were lithium ion polymer batteries developed by Lockheed's space division for space applications.   Officials within the Army Space and Missile Defense Command in Huntsville, AL, who own the vehicle,  could not immediately confirm or deny any details about the batteries in question.  

The Lockheed DEP report includes this description of the Hale-D:

HALE-D was 232 feet wide, 75 feet in its greatest diameter, weighing approximately 3800 pounds, and with a volume of 580,000 cubic feet.  Its two electric propulsion motors drew energy generated by photovoltaic film on the uppermost portio of the airship's hull, with the energy stored in a metal-enclosed lithium ion polymer battery. Each of the battery cells was sealed individually with aluminum-laminated film.  Liquids on the HALE-D were limited to the solvents within the battery, and to 16 gallons of trim fluid (used to maintain the airships equilibrium by pumping the fluid through a system of tubes and containers) by the trade name "Dynalene MV" (see attached material safety data sheet). 

Two days after the crash or "controlled descent," the HALE-D caught fire destroying the entire envelop or hull of the ship.

My gut says these are not EEStor batteries, folks.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

EEStor Patent Count Up 50% Overnight

Patents baby patents!  You got any patents?  I didn't think so!  I don't either. Nor does Y_Po. But EEStor has patents, applications for patents and future plans for patent applications.  Yeah baby, look at the patents. Breath the patents.  And guess what, these patents are rolling out of Cedar Park, TX faster than a new energy storage device high volume production capability....unfortunately.   In any case, thanks to a change in power of attorney, we now know that around 30 patents are in play at the USPTO signed, sealed and delivered.   Wait a second, that's not right actually.  Tom Villars with the correction:  "Closer to 22 patents and applications as 10 of these are just expired provisional applications. Looks like Mark has already started updating the spreadsheet."  Who is Mark anyway?  Mark is a bar owning patent reader from Thailand who may be  his own best customer. We don't know that for sure but this guy can locate patent updates. 

Remember how I famously predicted future EEStor patent lawsuits as recently as yesterday or so?  Tom Villars is on top of that too.  Some kind of filing or something taking on David Kelly of Lighten The Load fame.  Actually, not very famous but seems to have ideas similar to EEStor.  Great, yet another crackpot solid state energy storage project.   

Speaking of crackpots, as disclosed previously, Dr. Lucas Pettey was named as a co-inventor of a recent EEStor patent application.  This morning, we learned his esteemed colleague, Mr. Alex Bernstein (he dropped the "ander" in the ocean I think) is also a co-inventor at EEStor.  Bernstein's Linkedin profile demurely identifies his work as "Systems/Circuit Designer at R&D Company (choose not to disclose)."  Now isn't that just about the most modest reference to EEStor you've ever seen?   These guys will go to any length to disguise their future titan of industry status.  It turns out, Bernstein cut his teeth in college.  He did have an 8 month stint at AMD in support of the Hyper-Transport bus which...ok, I will fight the urge to end this article with a pun.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Review: Seth Fletcher's Bottled Lightning Fantasy

Suppose you've concluded strongly that the future of energy storage will be based on lithium ion technologies. You know, as in, discussions with others do no good with you because you're completely set in your ways now.  Thus, you decide to write a short history of energy storage and make many elements of the past meld together into a crescendo of lithium ion joy.  Along the way, it becomes obvious that you've basically penned a love letter to your favorite member of the periodic table: lithium.  But unfortunately, once the train is in motion, there is no bringing it to a halt and thus, that's right, you end up kneeling, bowing and kissing the lithium covered parchments of earth (in bolivia and chile for example) in unrestricted, full blown lithium worship.... and all the while you are typing up your manifesto, lithium white powder is covering your entire body as for some kind of nouveau religious ritual trending among writers feigning a low profile in New York Starbucks locations.

That sums up my first impression of Seth Fletcher's new book, "Bottled Lightning."  Shall I go on? Ok, no, I'm only kidding.  This is a really great book, written by someone who has a vision of the future that features lithium ion.   Fletcher makes the most compelling case to date that lithium ion IS the future.   That makes it immediate mandatory reading for anyone nursing EEStoryland Fantasies.   Let me dial down this review and give you some information targets you need to take dead aim at in order to gain enlightenment like me.

Drill into the story of John Goodenough, the inventor of the modern rechargeable lithium ion battery. Fletcher does a great job of tracing the history of Goodenough's work first with the lithium ion cobalt-oxide cathode he invented which made tiny mobile phones feasible.  Note especially how Goodenough signed away royalty rights to this technology to Atomic Energy Research Establishment (AERE) Harwall who made billions in licensing fees and gave Goodenough.......$0.  That's right, the man who invented key elements of the batteries used now by the billions walked away from a key piece of his life's work virtually penniless.  That's impossible! Every person who publishes their work for peer review walks away a millionaire when they invent something like lithium ion batteries, right?  Read Fletcher's book. Find out what it says.

 Goodenough's experience is good nourishment for all of the idiots out there who can't stand it that EEStor won't blab about the details of their even greater accomplishments.  Scientists are geniuses aren't they?   Anyway, Goodenough goes on to continue inventing and has another fascinating intellectual property dispute based on his work with lithium iron phosphate.  The net of  that episode is that the theoretical scientific underpinning of how his system works is still not yet settled among mainstream science.  Wha? Huh?  That's impossible!!??  Read Fletcher's book. Find out what it says.  This confusion over what precisely is happening at the teeny tiniest level laid the groundwork for a dispute between A123 Systems and Hydro-Quebec, who licensed Goodenough's work in this area.  I promise you will love that patent war as it will give you a taste of headaches to come.

In any case, the rest of the Fletcher's book is excellent. You'll love it more than the soup you eat at your favorite cafe reading it.  Fletcher will try to convince you that the sources of lithium are abundant and ripe for exploitation by the modern manufacturing world for use most especially in electric cars we now see coming online all around us.  And after a few glasses of his kool-aid, you'll be comfortable with the idea that lithium ion powered spaceships will assist with the colonization of mars.   Anyway, to wrap up, Fletcher is insane, his ideas are completely bonkers but he is an excellent writer and story teller.   He's smarter than me, (no question about it), but he's afflicted with a profoundly flawed perception of reality that he will likely take to his grave...via an EESU powered hearse....if EEStor is real.  :-)

Monday, June 27, 2011


Late Friday, a mysterious video posted to YouTube purported to be of EEStor founder Dick Weir making wild pronouncements about EEStor technology and it's potential impact on the US economy.   After a brief discussion with EEStor today, I learned it is not credible.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Powder Stash Suggests Maybe EEStor Is In Production

For years, curious searchers of EEStor truth have wondered to themselves, "how can those guys be in high volume production in a tiny strip mall?" Well, thanks to yet another anonymous source, we are now able to confirm the powder production is going gangbusters. Observe.

Secret EEStor Powder Storage Site     Cedar Park, TX
As you can see, the powder production is exceeding the capacity of the secret Cedar Park storage facility.  The issue came to the attention of local citizens when it became increasingly difficult to wade through 3 feet of packed powder all over Cedar Park, TX.  The city council was able to pass a resolution setting lift tickets at $45/day for non-citizens.

Conincidentally, researchers from Penn State recently began posting " Cedar Park vacation pictures" to their facebook accounts like this:

Friday, June 17, 2011

EEStory Finally Talked To Database Table Death

As you rock back and forth with drool escaping on to your clothes and things around you in response to being down, it may be a good time to consider whether your addiction to my website is really the best thing for you.   Sure, it is great fun to talk with others every day about the same mostly silent battery company, but is it good for you?   Perhaps this is a fork in the road for you?  On the right is the path that leads right back to your addiction once we repair the database for the EEStory that houses forum posts.  On the left is the potential of a new turn for you, back into the light wherein you might regain a tiny fraction of the dignity you've lost pursuing barium titanate tidbits at  It is your choice to make. I'm sending you all positive energy, buddy.....don't get zapped by it.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Vinod Khosla's Ongoing Obsession with Energy Storage...Worth Following

I've written about Vinod Khosla's interests in energy storage several times.  He has many strong opinions about many areas of cleantech but energy storage has to be placed near the top of what he is passionate about.  Previously, I reported on Khosla's investment in Recapping Inc., a startup intent on revolutionizing ceramic based capacitor storage using insight gained from semiconductor fabrication experience among it's ranks and combining it with the knowledge & experience of Penn State's leading ceramics researchers Clive Randall, Eric Cross & a few unknowns who probably wish they could get their names published in articles like this one that I write (ok, probably not).  Most of my attempts to get a recent update on Recapping's need to produce a working prototype for ARPA have gone ignored.  I say most because at least one attempt was not ignored and lead to an email telling me to quit bugging the researchers.  :-)

My read on Recapping is the simple one:  what they are trying to do is not easy. :-)  It's amusing to me that they have embarked on what is best described as an EEStor-like project, something many of them have spoken on negatively in the past.  (I put it that way to see if I can invoke correction emails behind the scenes if you must know).

In the meantime, Vinod Khosla is not waiting around to see if Recapping can recreate EEStor technology.  Instead, he has placed yet another bet in yet another similarly described energy storage startup.  As avid readers of this blog know, ARPA provided funding to multiple energy storage startups last year. Two of the projects sounded similar to me: Recapping and a project from Stanford lead by researcher Fritz Prinz.  I learned this week from another cleantech blog that Khosla is also invested in a company which intends to license the All Electron Battery Prinz and team are working on. That company is called Quantumscape, a name chosen perhaps to signal arrival at that "Netscape moment" in energy spoken about by several VC's like John Doerr at Kleiner Perkins over the years.   Khosla's latest slide deck describing his philosophy of energy and interests in it include reference to Quantumscape.  

So what about this other battery project at Stanford?  To find out, I contacted Fritz Prinz who told me that it is "premature to make any statements at this point" about his progress.  I pointed out to him that referencing statement making is rarely done when things are going poorly to which he replied cautiously:

In my long history of science I learned that it take sometimes much longer than one thinks to get things done. Premature statements can lead to loss of credibility. I want to keep my credibility with you and rest of the community high by remaining neutral at this point and not making any statements until we are ready to publish. Our results are not ready for peer review.

Of course, the proper retort was to point out that patent disclosures for his project have included claims of energy density around 250wh/kg which he acknowledged was true.  He told me that the patents are still under review and that some of the earliest identified structures are now out of date....which was intriguing.  We closed out the conversation by agreeing that I would be the first person to interview him once he has news, an honor I won by simply requesting contrast to everyone else who had simply requested an interview irrespective of order. ;-)

Ok, time to drive this article closer to completion.  Why is Khosla so vocal about lithium ion and other legacy energy storage technologies?  Is it because he knows Recapping & Quantumscape have the goods?  You tell me.   If they do or they don't, there is, as it turns out, yet another opportunity to hedge one's bets.

ARPA awarded some funding to Gerhard Welsh of Case Western Reserve University for yet another capacitor based energy storage technology.  In previous disclosures, Welsh has been modest in describing his prospects by saying his technology could be best geared for power electronics applications more so than battery replacement.  He mentioned that he is working with Rutile (TiO2) or titanate based dielectrics (remember Rolf's Quantum battery?).  I asked Dr Welsh about disclosures in his patent application which suggest that 2000J/cc is possible in a capacitor based storage system. Was this something he has achieved?  His reply:

a) 2000 J/cc in a capacitor dielectric is theoretically possible. However, we have not achieved it yet, and it is uncertain whether is can be practically achieved.   The highest we have achieve so far is near 400 J/cc in a self-repairing (Ti-oxide based) dielectric. The self-discharge times (CV-time constants) of such capacitors need improvement. The ARPA-e grant allows us to work on developing dielectrics with higher energy density than the best commercial capacitors and to address their reliability . 
b) the quoted energy densities are for dielectrics operating at a high fraction of their theoretical field strength. Such high fields (500 to 1000 Volt/micrometer) can only be sustained in an electrolytic capacitor. As the volume fraction of dielectric in an electrolytic capacitor is usually less than 20%, the energy density of the capacitor is less than 0.2  times the energy density of the dielectric.  This is still much better than what can be achieved in a ceramic capacitor. With geometric optimization this factor can be improved. We are also working on achieving a high geometrical efficiency (form factor).  In part this enable utilization of a high volume fraction of dielectric. It is also necessary for power, i.e., low series resistance in a capacitor enables rapid charging and discharging of a capacitor.  A power capacitor needs both an energy-dense dielectric and a geometry that allows a low series resistance. 

So, there you have it. Measured results of 400J/cc with prospects for going higher.  I think these projects prove that it isn't so crazy to suggest capacitors will one day replace batteries, as some of us have been saying for years (in my case, upon learning about EEStor).  Congratulations to you if like me, you made such statements when it was deemed crazy talk. ;-)  

Now for an obligatory discussion question.  What do you make of Khosla's money following ARPA's money?  Clearly, he is hedging his bets but isn't it correct to point out that he could shoulder all of these risky projects entirely on his own dime?  This situation caused me to have the following idea.  It seems like it would be a good idea if the US Federal Govt or DOE maintained some level of equity in projects it funds. This would allow things that become a hit to help pay for further research. I hope someone in DOE already had that idea and implemented it.  I'd hate to see taxpayers shoulder a majority of risk allowing billionaires like Khosla to reap a majority of the value.  That's not cool if that is what is going on....unless you are Vinod Khosla.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Zenn & EEStor Renew Vows

When the weather warms up, weddings begin populating the calendar & love is in the air.  In the business world, corporate courting occasionally leads to similar unifications.  Today, Zenn Motor Company announced the intention to repeat their vows with EEStor in a press release issued this morning.  New board chairman, Jim Kofman pledged "to increase its interaction with EEStor and, where appropriate, collaborate with and assist EEStor."  In exchange for carrying out this important new priority, Kofman quietly announced he will be seizing a mere 150,000 stock options.  Additionally, Rick McGraw and Brian Cott have officially ejected Zenn perhaps as part of the effort to have "reduced operational activities and an increased emphasis on collaboration and value creation around its unique relationship with EEStor?"    Later, Zenn plans "a further simplification and restructuring of the organization" ending in a team of approximately 5-10 key players including Jim, Roger, Allan, Ian, Dick, Tom, a few others & "the bag headed one."  

EEStor declined to comment on this story.

Do these new beginnings make other EEStor partner, Lockheed Martin, jealous?  As of this morning at least, Lockheed Martin's Craig Van Bebber says there is "no change to our agreement."  Incidently, if you must know, that statement is nearly the answer to every EEStor question you lob towards Lockheed Martin these days.  Do they feel they've lost credibility for linking up with EEStor?  "No change to our agreement."  Are they worried that they jumped the gun on a perpetual motion equivalent? "No change to our agreement."  Why haven't they pumped about $50mil into EEStor? "No change to our agreement." Are UAV's going to have EEStor batteries?  "No change to our agreement."  How do you handle disagreements with EEStor? "No change to our agreement."  The agreement was green initially but now it looks a bit blue in color?  "No change to our agreement." Does the agreement age poorly? "No change to our agreement." AFRL thinks you guys are nuts. Are you?  "No change to our agreement."  It is a bit robotic but makes it easier to complete this article.

So of course, now, finally, after all of these years, Dick Weir has everything in place as he wanted it and is ready to take center stage and let the cat out of the bag, right?   Sure, ok.

Note: Nothing in this article originated from a drunken txt message.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Bin Laden vs Erik Kristensen

Now that Bin Laden is dead,  we will all be awash in information about his life complete with speculation about why people like him emerge from the masses to perpetuate evil.  These journalistic efforts will no doubt draw on the countless research efforts conducted by astute academics hell bent on understanding Bin Laden's mind through herculean effort to retrace and recount every significant element of his life.  All of this will be performed under the justification that if we can just understand him, we might be able to pinpoint what went wrong and take corrective actions so that millions of future Bin Laden's don't continue the fight of their Martyr.

Well count me among those who think all of this effort to understand Bin Laden is a complete and total waste.  Sure, journalists must present the news and academics must study history but to anyone who wishes to look at the events over the last 20-30 years and pursue something good and noble, I have a very different research project for you.

I don't want to know why Bin Laden and his crew love death. Instead, I want to know why fallen Navy Seal Erik Kristensen loved life.  To whomever can answer that question, a great reward awaits because Kristensen lived a one in million life.  And yes, I am sorry to inform you academics who have put so much effort into studying Bin Laden, but the life of little known Erik Kristensen is easily far more interesting and of lasting value to humanity than anything you can tell us about that crumby person who died in his mansion in Pakistan.  You might have trouble getting some funding together to do it, but the payoff will be so much richer for everyone.

By the way, I'm not kidding about this.  The life of Erik Kristensen should be an academic subject pursued with vigor by academics from every country and culture in the world.  What everyone should be looking for is the Kristensen effect.  Let me tell you what we know about this effect so far based on a survey of people in possession of data related to this phenomena.

According to the observations of those that knew him, Kristensen possessed a little understood and practiced ability to make friends with anyone.  Doesn't that sound valueable? Everyone wanted to be his friend. It didn't matter if you were a jock, a geek, a moron, or just some random person. Everyone was on the same team...always.   Kristensen was laid back and 'content to be himself.' When you met him, he left an impression.  "I only met him for 30 minutes but he made a lasting impression" says one Internet memorial.   He loved life and wanted you to love it with him.   If you didn't, he could easily still make you laugh, a power he wielded well into his military career.  In fact, his sense of humor and wit is probably a key element of the Kristensen effect and may be worth investigation in it's own right.

In another online memorial, Nick Shulz wrote:
The thing that always impressed me about Erik was his character. He had a huge heart (and not just because he was a big guy). I got to know Erik at a time when most young men are tempted to cultivate a phony image — trying hard to be cool, tough, clever or slick. Erik was the opposite. He was self-confident without being boastful; strong without being mean or menacing; smart without being a show-off. Erik made everyone around him better by providing an example of what it is to be a real man.

Although he attended the Naval Academy, he pursued the study of the arts and Naval Academy (and later St. Johns for advanced study).  While his Academy classmates were wondering which military tactic prevailed in some famous battle, Kristensen was trying to figure out if anyone wrote a poem about it.  At his Naval Academy funeral in the summer of 2005,  his cousin told the story of visiting him in Tahiti and being convinced by him to paddle in a small boat to a nearby island. Mid-journey, while Kristensen was laying back in the boat & remarking at how amazing of a place they were, after a moment of silence, he calmly asked her if she happened to know where the paddles were. They had fallen out and were drifting a significant distance away from the boat.  Not exactly a procedure the Academy or Seal training might impart.  Yet another element of the Kristensen effect: luxuriously aloof?

Of those who served with him, the impressions he formed were consistent: funny, witty, bright & unusual.  Well liked by all.  Steve Pulliam:  "I served with Mr. Kristensen primarily on the bridge and quarterdeck. He made every watch interesting, from quoting the Uniform Code of Military Justice to discussing Shakespeare or Melville."  He studied French and prior to his untimely death, had been slated to take part in the Olmsted Scholar program, which would have afforded him a stint at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris.  I don't think very many Navy Seals speak French.  Another interesting tidbit of an interesting life.

The data we have to study the Kristensen effect ceased accumulating June 28, 2005 when LCDR Kristensen lead a search and rescume mission to serve fellow Seals engaged in Operation Red Wings.  He was 33 years old.  I never met Kristensen but I'm far more interested in his life than Bin Laden's.   And if any useful academic out there exists, please know that the Kristensen effect is ripe for study.
A good rule of thumb for anyone is if you ever hear the name Bin Laden, use it as a reminder to learn something about the life of Erik Kristensen.

Phillips Academy Obit
Erik Kristensen Wikipedia Page.
Erik Kristensen Memorial Charity.
Lone Survivor.
Navy Seals
Washington Post Article
Erik Kristensen Online Memorial
Another Online Memorial
Blog Post about Kristensen
USS Erik Kristensen

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Improbabilities Theme: Natural Born Citizens

Given that President Obama released his long form birth certificate today, it seems like a decent time to kick off a series of articles I've been sitting on related to the improbabilities of life that sometimes come to fruition.   Everyone considers EEStor a long shot and an improbability.  But sometimes improbabilities becomes realities.  These articles will offer no new insight to EEStor per se so don't read them if that's what you are seeking.  
Long Form Birth Certificate Released Today Confirms Obama Born in Hawaii

Although born in Hawaii a legal US citizen, President Barack Obama is not legally authorized (by the Constitution) to hold the office of President of the United States.  We know this by way of an astute introduction from a member of a punk rock band in New Jersey who happens to be a formerly retired attorney, accomplished chess & poker player, fledgling screenwriter and blogger and an almost competitor in a British Open, named Leo Donofrio.  This is his improbable story. 

Note: Leo Donofrio contacted me with corrections to the original article which I have bolded in black below.

In the fall of 2008, Donofrio was becoming interested in the "birther" movement which stems from the conspiracy theory that President Obama was not born in the United States. To Donofrio, this was a silly movement centered around a non-issue and obviously very politically motivated. But also on legal grounds, the cases lacked a critical element known as 'standing' which without getting too technical means that a lawsuit can't be brought forward unless an individual can prove they were harmed over and against everyone else.  He was right as many of those cases were dismissed.  But then Donofrio stumbled upon an article in the Michigan Law Review written by Dr. Daniel Tokaji, a law professor at Ohio State which outlined a route around the standing problems via state courts & ballot rules.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Kleiner Perkins' Bill Joy Ends Silence About EEStor

Six years after leading the Kleiner Perkins effort to invest in EEStor, billionaire venture capitalist Bill Joy has finally commented publicly about the investment at the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge this past Thursday evening.  During an open Q&A session, an attendee asked about progress at EEStor and Joy spent about five minutes talking about energy storage in general and offered a few thoughts about EEStor in particular. His comments end speculation about whether or not Kleiner Perkins still has an interest in EEStor.  They do and Bill Joy is still hopeful they will come through but not ready to cease hedging his bets in the energy storage space.

The fireside chat was hosted by Jason Pontin, editor in chief of Technology Review. Below is rough transcript of the exchange on EEStor. (The audio supplied to me was a little rough in places)

Attendee Question:
Since tomorrow is Earth Day and we're here at MIT, it seems like a unique opportunity to ask you about a portfolio company whose lead researcher got his start here at MIT. I'm talking about Carl Nelson & EEStor. I was wondering if you are happy with the progress to date at EEStor and also if everything pans out there, what is your vision for that company?

Bill Joy: 
Well I think. Ok so EEStor is a company that is trying to do a barium titanate giga...I dont know what you call it. It's not hyper super ultra. It's a capacitive energy storage using barium titanate. And it's difficult to do what they are trying to do. And the product isn't out yet. 

But if you look at energy storage you know for...what have we typically done? We pump water uphill and let it run downhill.  People would propose to maybe make an underground cavern and pressurize it and let the gas out something or you do have flow batteries. You start to go into electrochemistry batteries. Flow batteries or you do lithium ion batteries or sodium ion batteries that we talked about.  But ultimately at the end of the day you say, ah,  you know, it's volti, right the voltaic cell. This is old stuff. Kind of violates my rule of not doing something that could have been done in the 19th century. I like to think the future isn't gonna just be electrochemistry that we could have solid state energy storage something that's based on you know maybe early 20th century stuff. It could be a quantum effect or some something that lets us have something which is almost perfectly efficient and has some kind of Moore's law effect to it and be very very durable, high power and  high energy density. 

So you like to have that. And EEStor is an example of something solid state. I always say in investing I prefer solids to liquids and liquids to gases.  And we prefer... semiconductors is our favorite kind of solid.   So... It's just because we can engineer it. When things sit still, we can engineer their structure more and it's more predictable.  And we get access to semiconductor physics which lets us interact with heat and light and all these. There's all of these magical things we can do that came out of say quantum theory.  We're gonna....liquid phase or chemistry, you've got free energy bounds on everything you do and you know, it can get messy. .............reactions and materials fall apart. Whereas a solid state, it is the basis of electronics and it can last basically forever.  And gases, things move around it's hard to have alot of innovations there.  

Energy storage is the same thing. I'd like to see it go from liquid phase chemistry essentially to solid state physics. That would be very desirable. And then you limit cases of energy storage that should be solid state.

Now it is an open question probably whether that...will that transition occur in this decade or the next decade or two decades from now. I'm mean. It's great to have people trying it but it is hard.  And so, when we had this list of 25 grand challenges...when we went out looking for things, we didn't think we would find them all. And if we find investable things that are bred(predicated?) on one of those grand challenges, we don't necessarily expect it to work.  If the list of 25, 10 of them work, that would be a miracle. Because they are set to be very aspirational. So solid state energy storage would be on the list. And that's an example of an investment that is trying to ...with a improvement on an existing technology essentially because barium titanate is used as a material, common material in capacitors. An improvement on the technology to get there through a very you know controversial way of using that material. So.

You can't always predict....things we can't always predict what materials are going to do. You can't do computational level of algebra. We don't have computer simulations with perfect fidelity for any of these things so we have to go try things. One of our sayings is...we prefer things that work in practice to things that work in theory. It's nice if they work in theory but we can always invent the theory afterwards. 
I prefer not to violate the 2nd law of conservation of energy, the standard model. Some things we don't know...any magnetic monopole (?) ....I'm not really interested you know but so we can't always simulate things and we are willing to lose a couple millions dollars to try and see if some effect is plausible or will work ....that we dont have a close form computer simulation. But it's plausible to people trained in the art that it's not.....they can't explain to me on a napkin why it wouldn't work. 

Jason Pontin:  
For what it's worth, every year, Tech Review chooses the 10 technologies we think are most promising to have some kind of a breakthrough in the near future and Solid state was one of them and EEStor is one of the examples we pointed out.

Bill Joy: 
I'd love to find....if someone has another solid state energy's hard enough to invest in another one of those. 

After the fireside chat, Joy answered questions from a small crowd of people for over an hour. 

So, are you still hopeful about EEStor?

Bill Joy:  
Oh yeah. I mean these things are hard so there is always a chance they won't work. But we're very uh......We'll see. I don't know anything that isn't in the press. 

Question:  ....a person team somebody that already may already have a solution that hasn't been discovered, is that something you think is possible?   Like a crowdsouring...somewhere in world that's working....

Bill Joy: 
It doesn't tend to work that way. It proceeds from somebody who has deep expertise in a domain who acquires interdisciplinary collaborators. Thats a better formula. There are no child prodigies in these fields that involve physics and chemistry. 

You really just mentioned Carl Nelson he is like 90 years old an MIT PHD material scientist, who is one of the inventors under EEStor. If you don't have someone like Carl. I mean you ask Carl, tell me something about halfnium. Carl will talk to you for 15 minutes about halfnium. He knows something about every element in the periodic table. He can tell you off the top of his head what its crystal forms are and alot of interesting properties. I mean you have to be intimate with the periodic table to do this kind of stuff.  You have  know... .you really have to have had a career.  With somebody like that, he's probably the oldest founder I ever backed.  But you just have dinner with him and you realize he really understands what he is doing with materials. 

Now what they are proposing to do is wild. And there's lots of reasons in which some of these things could fail to be commercialized. I'm not saying whether it's worked or not and if we've announced it or not, I'm just saying it's hard.  What they're trying to do...obviously, it's took get....since's not easy to do these things. So...but the worthwhile things usually are hard and they always take longer