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EEStor Announces Two Key Production Milestones; 15 kWh EESU on Track for 2007

EEStor, the developer of a new high-power-density ceramic ultracapacitor (the Energy Storage Unit—EESU), has broken a long public silence and announced reaching two key production milestones. First, its automated production line has been proven to meet the requirements for precise chemical delivery, purity control, parameter control and stability.

Second, EEStor has completed the initial milestone of certifying purification, concentration, and stability of all of its key production chemicals—notably the attainment of 99.9994% purity of its barium nitrate powder.

The independent 3rd party chemical analysis was completed by Southwest Research Institute, Inc. located in San Antonio, Texas under contract with EEStor, Inc.

With these milestones completed, EEStor is now in the process of producing composition-modified barium titanate powders on its automated production line, and is moving toward completing its next major milestone of powder certification.

The company anticipates that the relative permittivity of the current powder will either meet and/or exceed 18,500, the previous level achieved when EEStor produced prototype components using it engineering level processing equipment.

The EEStor ESU is projected to offer up to 10x the energy density (volumetric and gravimetric) of lead-acid batteries at the same cost. In addition, the ESU is projected to store up to 1.5 to 2.5 times the energy of Li-Ion batteries at 12 to 25% of the cost.

According to the company’s initial patent, the EESU is based on a high-permittivity composition-modified barium titanate ceramic powder. This powder is double coated with the first coating being aluminum oxide and the second coating calcium magnesium aluminosilicate glass.

The EESU alternates multilayers of nickel electrodes and the high-permittivity powder. The resulting parallel configuration of components has the capability to store electrical energy in the range of 52 kWh, according to the document, with weight for a unit of that capacity in the range of 336 pounds (152 kg).

According to EEStor, the EESU will not degrade due to being fully discharged or recharged, and also can be rapidly charged without damaging the material or reducing its life. The cycle time to fully charge a 52 kWh EESU would be in the range of 4 to 6 minutes with sufficient cooling of the power cables and connections.

The first commercial application of the EESU is intended to be used in electric vehicles under a technology agreement with ZENN Motors Company. (Earlier post.) EEStor says that it remains on track to begin shipping production 15 kWh Electrical Energy Storage Units (EESU) to ZENN Motor Company in 2007 for use in their electric vehicles.

The production EESU for ZENN Motor Company is designed to function to specification in operating environments as severe as -20° to +65° degrees Celsius, will weigh less than 100 pounds, and will have ability to be recharged in a matter of minutes.

Resources:

Comments

tom deplume

High voltage electrolytic capacitors have been in common household products for nearly 60 years and I've yet to here a news report of anyone injured due to malfunction of one of these devices. The cathode ray tubes of TVs and computers need about 1,000 volts per inch of screen size. A 25 inch TV needs 25,000 volts and a 13 inch computer monitor needs 13,000 volts. The insulation needed on the pertinent wires is only a few mm of mylar. Devices to prevent excess current have been in common use for over a century. They are called fuses. Making a 3500 volt ultracap safer than a gasoline tank is a no-brainer.

greg woulf

EESTOR hasn't ever courted the press. They're not for sale to the general public. They've filed patents and built facilities.

I see no reason to think their product will come to market, but I do see a lot to support their belief that their product is genuine and no reason to believe that their product is some kind of scam.

I have great hope that they come to market with something that's even half the performance they claim, costs twice as much and weighs twice as much.

Patrick

Yup, flyback transformers on TVs easily hit 10,000 to 40,000 volts.

Harvey D.

tom deplume: Electric and diesel-electric rail passenger units/cars commonly use 3000 VDC and/or 3600 VAC 3-phase with up to 4000 HP for almost a century and nobody gets electricuted during accidents.

Handling 3600 VDC from a supercap and feeding motors with (=/-) 600 volts (DC or multi-phase) is NOT a major challenge and NOT dangerous.

Lets not fall for oil barons propaganda against electric energy storage units and electric vehicles. They will be safer and a lot less dangerous for human life than the current ICE machines. They will run, safer, cleaner, quieter, cheaper and last much longer than the current crop.

Roy

For a comparison of EEStor to batteries see http://www.plasticlabels.ca/index_files/compareEVbatteries.htm Lithium batteries are already less than lead acid and EEStor is much cheaper. 50kWHr of lead acid batteries would cost a fortune. There are challenges with 3500 volt systems including re-generative braking that has to produce over 3500 volts to guarantee charging up the cap, not nearly as easy to do as with batteries. I think EEStor has a winner!

Roger Pham

John,
In his patent #7033406, Richard Weir, EEstore president, cited data published in 1985 from a Japanese periodical, as basis for the high dielectric property of Barium Titanate (BaTiO3), when coated with aluminum oxide and calcium magnesium aluminosilicated glass. If BaTiO3 capacitor was so good way back in the 1985, the likes of the EV1 would be around evey street corners since 1996.

What held back coated BaTiO3 from becoming superduper Cap was the fact that BaTiO3 has dielectric property that varies by nearly ten folds with just typical seasonal swing in ambient temperature, and the fact that its dielectric property drops by nearly as much with high electrical field strength, as Emosson has brought up!

Apparently Richard Weir didn't know that, since nowhere in his patent did he mention this property of BaTiO3, nor any way to deal with this greatly varying dielectric property of BaTiO3. EEstor's claim of 100x increase in electrical energy storage of ceremic capacitor reflects his unwareness of this knowledge that has barred others from even considering using BaTiO3 as SuperCap.

Roger Pham

continued from above: The following is a verbatim quote from Richard Dean Weir's patent 7033406 to illustrate my previous posting:

Sorry, the entire quote has to be deleted in an attempt to overcome Spam guard in typepad.com. Look up the patent yourself!!


The storage capacity of his EESU is just a projection from data by J. Kuwata et al in Jpn Journal of Applied Physics published in 1985. There was no mention of any actual construction nor testing of any of the coated BaTiO3 superCap that was described in the patent! Little did he know...that he may be able to pull a fast one on the venture capitalists, but he has not fooled all the scientists or engineers here in GCC!

Emosson

Thanks Roger for your explanation on EEStor supercapacitors. Here is another comment by Prof. Anatoly Moskalev (January 20th, 2007):

Teslamotors blog

George

Little did he know...that he may be able to pull a fast one on the venture capitalists, but he has not fooled all the scientists or engineers here in GCC!

So Kleiner Perkins is incapable of hiring a physicist as brilliant as some of the posters on GCC? No wonder they've lost so much money over the years! They keep forgetting to do due dilligence.

Neil

A bold statement Roger. This promisses to be an interesting year, sometime soon you'll be able to prean your feathers with "I told you so's" or pick the crow feathers out of your teeth. :)

Personally, I'm just going to wait and see which it is.

Dinesh

Here are the EEStor patents and patent application details:

1.
Electrical-energy-storage unit (EESU) utilizing ceramic and integrated-circuit technologies for replacement of electrochemical batteries

United States Patent#: 7,033,406
Weir, et al.
Filed: April 12, 2001
Granted: April 25, 2006
http://www.uspto.gov

2.
UTILIZATION OF POLY(ETHYLENE TEREPHTHALATE) PLASTIC AND COMPOSITION-MODIFIED BARIUM TITANATE POWDERS IN A MATRIX THAT ALLOWS POLARIZATION AND THE USE OF INTEGRATED-CIRCUIT TECHNOLOGIES FOR THE PRODUCTION OF LIGHTWEIGHT ULTRAHIGH ELECTRICAL ENERGY STORAGE UNITS (EESU)

International Patent#: WO/2006/026136
Weir, et al.
Filed: August 8, 2005
Published: September 3, 2006
http://www.wipo.int/pctdb/en/

3.
Electrical-energy-storage unit (EESU) utilizing ceramic and integrated-circuit technologies for replacement of electrochemical batteries

United States Patent Application#: 20,060,210,779
Weir, et al.
Filed: April 10, 2006
Published: April 25, 2006
http://www.uspto.gov

It appears as if 3. is replacing 1. as the claims 1-16 in 1. are replaced with a set of new claims 17-40 in 3. This is probably due to the change from using aluminosilicate glass to poly(ethylene terephthalate) plastic as the second coating applied to the barium titanade ceramic powder.

The international patent 2. is essentially the US patent application 3.

Koen

See

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=180075388578&ih=008&category=1502&rd=1

for a 1mfd 4KV DC capacitor.

The question is: did Eestor succeed in enlarging the capacitor surface with a factor 22.000.000, compared with a standard 1mfd 4KV DC capacitor ??
This is a lot, but why not?
You can only wonder why capacitor manufacturers did not try this before; Eestor's patent does not look very extraordinary indeed. But that is not Eestor's mistake, isn't it? Sometimes a good idea is simple.

Secondly, if the capacitor is sensitive for temperature changes, then it is always possible to integrate a temperature stabilizing system with the Eestor unit. Just look at a "modern" ICE (age) car: it has several extra features like cooling, lubrication, electric ignition, etc.... Much more complicated than a simple electric motor car with cooled Eestor capacitor unit.

And no, in principle you don't loose much energy by down-transforming the voltage (only ohmic losses). Some people always confuse voltage with energy. Not Eestor's mistake either.

Many many question about Eestor's unit are still unanswered though. Lets wait and see, "the best sea captains are in the pub".

Beek

George, if quantum tunneling effects have been indeed ignored by EEStor, then you bet any rational operator will try to maximize their assets (coated Barium titanate powder IP for example), while remaining silent on this issue.

You would think that by now they would have produced in the laboratory a 0.01 farad supercap with a 3500 volt breakdown field, and put an end to this controversy?

The literature is rife with classical physicists ignoring the superposition principle of quantum physics, only to discover later that their rationalistic assumptions did not match the empiricism of quantum mechanics.

Beek

Harvey D, where can I buy Chinese made Li-ion replacement batteries for $5.95? I have a few pieces of electronics with aged Li-ion batteries. It appears that subjecting such packs to very cold temperatures (e.g. 0 C) immediately and significantly reduces their capacity/life. Never take Li-ion packs to the skiing slopes.

Roger Pham

Neil,
It does not matter who will be right or who will be wrong. The important thing is intellectual discussion of the facts or evidences regarding which technologies will be most viable and most feasible in the near future to end our oil dependency and to reduce global warming.

George,
You've brought up a good point! If EEstor would only demonstrate to the world one small capacitor cell of their superduper Cap that support their claim, instead of making us wait for them to complete a whole 15-52kwh car battery...Just as A123 demonstrated their nanotech Li-phosphate cells in power tools and afterward winning 15 millions from USABC consortium and other contracts and other big investments...then EEstor would have gotten all the millions of dollars research grants and contracts that have gone to A123 instead!!!...How long would it take to build just one capacitor cell to demonstrate the high 330wh/kg energy density that they are claiming?
Perhaps the USABC consortium and other energy storage research facilities have hire all the high-caliber physicists to work for them already, leaving venture capital firm Perkins et al with less qualified experts?

Dinesh,
US patent application # 20,060,210,779 filed on Sept 2006 mentions nothing regarding replacing aluminosilicate glass with polyethylene as coating. Polyethylene was not even mentioned in this latest patent application. Not much new info in this latest patent application...except some new claims were added on...Same old stuffs that was mentioned in Weir's first patent released on April 2006 that referenced J. Kuwata et al data regarding the high permittivity of their coated poweder as basis for their outrageous claim. There was no mentioning of the tremendous variation in dielectric property of BaTiO3 with temperature change nor with increasing in field strength, nor how to cope with this, either!

Koen,
Of course, you can enlarge the capacitance of a 1mFd 4kV capacitor by 22,000,000 folds and get the 31 Farad capacitance in order to store 52kwh of energy as claimed by EEstor, yeah, you'll end up with a car-size or larger capacitor bank that weighs many tonnes, BUT, you won't be able to get the ultra-high energy density of 330wh/kg, due to the physical limitation as outlined by Professor Anatoly Moskalev's posting on Jan 20 2007
in:
http://www.teslamotors.com/blog1/index.php?p=46

But, the major flaw in EEstor's high energy density claim lies in their apparent ignorance of the fact that the dielectric property of BaTiO3 would decrease drastically with the high field strenght required to support their 100x above the norm capacity claim, hence reducing the capacity by ~20-50 folds.

If they have a secret solution to this problem but do not want to disclose it, then legally, by not mentioning this problem in the patent application(s) and hence without a proposed solution to deal with it, this would render their patent(s) worthless due to failure to disclose sufficient information to make the invention operable as claimed. Just as any patent attorney on this issue!

Caveat Emptor!!!

kert

Harvey D, where can I buy Chinese made Li-ion replacement batteries for $5.95?
Froogle hits 9.99 but not less:
http://froogle.google.com/froogle?q=li-ion&scoring=p

kert

I get 9.99$ per 3.7Volt 1000mAh battery.
This makes $270/kWh, or, around 10 grand for 35kWh reportedly in Tesla.
Keep in mind, thats extremely small-format batteries. If they were made in large automotive format, we'd have significantly smaller prices. Like Chinese ThunderSky already claims to have:
http://www.everspring.net/product-battery.htm
$160/kWh, or $5600 for 35kWh.

I say, we have hope.

kert

Er, actually, the same 1000mAh batteries on froogle can be had for $6.50 on Amazon, so $5.95 is realistic.
Which brings us verified $175/kWh, or ~6200 for theorethical 35kWh pack.
Condider bulk pricing, and lithium-powered conversion looks more and more atttactive.

Roger Pham

kert,
Great! But how many charging cycles will the battery lasts? Typical Li-Manganese or Li-Cobalt will last but 300-500 cycles, depending on depth of discharge and ambient and operating temperatures that the battery is exposed to. High temp will greatly shorten the battery life below rated durability. The exception is nano-tech lithium phosphate (A123) or lithium titanate (Altairnano)that may last thousands of cycles. The cheaper battery may end up being more expensive due to frequent replacement in the long run, plus higher risk of fire hazard, whereas nanotech lithium would be safer.

Caveat Emptor!

Steve

The original article (above) claims that the charging time for a 52 kWh EESU is "4-6 minutes." That's a pretty high rate, it seems to me. You can get, let's say, 2 kW out of an outlet at my home, so it would take 26 hours to charge. Since 26 hours is around 300 times longer than 4-6 minutes, you'd need around 600 kW to charge this thing in 4-6 minutes. I suppose that I could put a "personal power plant" in my back yard....

kert

Or, you could have another set of EEStor devices in your back yard, which are slowly charged throughout the course of the day ( using solar panels if you wish ) and then dumped into your car in five minutes.
Five minutes recharge for EVs has been discussed before, its doable, there are several methods available for doing it, using high-voltage power from grid, flywheels, or another bank of fast-charge-discharge storage devices.

Note that needing both FAST recharge and FULL recharge simultaneously is a rare occassion, except for really long trips where you could use a *gasp* recharge station. IOW, it would be usually enough to dump just 5kWh's or so into the batteries, to go to grocery store, get back from work or smthing like that.

marcus

There are a few more tid bits here:
http://www.technologyreview.com/Biztech/18086/

APosterFormerlyKnownAsAndy

Roger, if they made the discovery first, the U.S. will grant them the patent for their invention. The U.S. is "first to invent" not "first to file" like the rest of the world. Also, they do not have to disclose all of their secrets in patents. If they believe they can hide them indefinitely they can retain their intellectual property beyond the 20 year patent life. Alternatively, they may want to delay filing their patents to extend protection for the full 20 years from the start of production? There are a number of potential explanations. There are very good reasons to be skeptical.

gr

With regard to safety - sensing technology that would fuse/shunt V to ground seems one route. To that end:

Weir says the voltage will be stepped down with a bi-directional converter, and the whole system will be secured in a grounded metal box. It won't have a problem getting an Underwriters Laboratories safety certification, he adds. "If you drive a stake through it, we have ways of fusing this thing where all the energy is sitting there but it won't arc … It will be the safest battery the world has ever seen."
Technology Review interview

Patent filings often avoid full disclosure of "secrets" not only for competitive reasons, but to build the mythology like Coca Cola's incredible "formula." There was lots of speculation on batteries until A123 came along and now Phoenix is on road powered by "real" AltairNano batteries. Could it be that the little innovators like garage born Apple, Dell, Google - actually make stuff that works?

TheNightFly

>In his patent #7033406, Richard Weir, EEstore >president, cited data published in 1985 from a >Japanese periodical, as basis for the high dielectric >property of Barium Titanate (BaTiO3), when coated with >aluminum oxide and calcium magnesium aluminosilicated >glass. If BaTiO3 capacitor was so good way back in the >1985, the likes of the EV1 would be around evey street >corners since 1996.

>What held back coated BaTiO3 from becoming superduper >Cap was the fact that BaTiO3 has dielectric property >that varies by nearly ten folds with just typical >seasonal swing in ambient temperature, and the fact >that its dielectric property drops by nearly as much >with high electrical field strength, as Emosson has >brought up!

>Apparently Richard Weir didn't know that, since >nowhere in his patent did he mention this property of >BaTiO3, nor any way to deal with this greatly varying >dielectric property of BaTiO3. EEstor's claim of 100x >increase in electrical energy storage of ceremic >capacitor reflects his unwareness of this knowledge >that has barred others from even considering using >BaTiO3 as SuperCap.

According to their patent, their ultracaps consist of large stacks of small ultrucaps. When you connect a stack of voltage cells in series, the total current output of the stack is the same as each cell but the total voltage output of the stack equals the voltage output of each cell times the number of cells in the stack. For example, you can connect a stack of 512 9volt batteries (8 x 8 x 8) in series and get 4,608 volts at the stack output while each battery is only outputting 9volts.

Thus, they are probably connecting a bunch of these wafer sized caps in parallel to create high farad stacks and then connect a bunch of these high farad cells together in series to create the high voltage ultracaps. If that's the case, which I believe it is, the electric field stength on the dialectric barriers of each wafer would only be a fraction of the total output voltage.

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