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« Maxwell Receives Order for 200,000 Ultracapacitors | Main | Another IGCC Plant »

January 27, 2006



52 kwh for a 400 pound unit? Do they really make ultracapacitors that will provide that?

Is it possible that they are describing more than one product--an ultracapacitor and also a storage battery?

Jim from The Energy Blog

Yes ultracapacitors(modules)are made that big. It is one product, only an ultracapacitor, no battery. Maxwell makes modules that big, but they consist of many ultracapacitors wired together in one package and will sell units consisting of more than one module. EEStor is much more secretive, but I would expect that they do it the same way.


That's good enough to spell the end of the internal combustion engine.  Even if you cannot discharge it faster than a ten-minute rate, that's 312 kW or almost 420 horsepower.

Man, what a time to be alive.

Michael Cain

If accurate, 52 kWh in a 400 pound package is a specific energy of just over 285 Wh/kg, roughly a factor of 20 improvement over previous ultracaps, and would be better than the best lithium rechargable batteries commercially available today. At $2100 for the unit, the price per kWh is about half that of lead-acid. Unless the volumetric factor is completely out of hand, these are a real replacement for batteries, and become the storage medium of choice for a number of applications.

Nathan Williams

How are ultracaps on leakage over time? Not that batteries are that great on that front, but still.

Michael Cain

How are ultracaps on leakage over time? Not that batteries are that great on that front, but still.

One of the numbers that gets tossed around is that today's ultracapacitors take about 45 days to leak down to one-half the voltage, or about one-quarter of the energy. Given an exponential decay, that's about 3% of the energy per day. Not great, but in applications where there's constant charging and discharging going on -- say, driving around town in a vehicle with regenerative braking -- it's probably not a big deal. OTOH, putting one on the shelf and letting it discharge completely does not affect its ability to be recharged, something that is not necessarily true for batteries.


That implies a relatively constant drain of 60-odd watts; over 200 million vehicles, just maintaining the capacitor charge would take 12 GW.  Not trivial.


"just maintaining the capacitor charge would take 12 GW"

Right, but if I'm not mistaken, that's no different than other batteries including Li-ion and NiMH which also have similar self discharge rates.

Michael Cain

That implies a relatively constant drain of 60-odd watts; over 200 million vehicles, just maintaining the capacitor charge would take 12 GW. Not trivial.

True, but technology does not stand still and they may be able to improve on this. 12 GW is non-trivial, but against the 2004 base of 963 GW of generating capacity (EIA figures), it's 1.25%. It would be useful to estimate the generating capacity that would need to be added to run a fleet of 200 million vehicles and compare that to the 12 GW. From a different perspective, some back of the envelope scratching suggests that this leakage would be less than the current level of leakage through linear power supplies and electronics with badly designed "sleep" modes.

If I can have an electric car with decent range and good performance, that can be "filled up" quickly, I swear to you that I'll find someplace else to save that 60W leakage :^)

Jim from The Energy Blog

According to the Maxwell website "An ultracapacitor will lose about 1.2% of it's energy per day." That is considerably better than 3% a day and would cut the 12 GW down to 4.8GW. No such info is available for EEStor. I believe Ihave read somewhere in the ultracapacitor propaganda that their discharge rate was lower than that of batteries. I missed out on most of this discussion because my computer was down, but thanks for the contribution by everybody.


No Battery watering ( Lead-Acid), no Battery Management system ( all types) , lower weight, smaller motors, better acceleration.

I'll take one.

( I think we can deal with any negatives about this technology, given the overwhelming number of positives ).


I'll stick with my 26 lbs of gasoline for 52 kWhr.

Because it's a solid state battery rather than a chemical battery, such being the case for lithium ion technology, there would be no overheating and thus safety concerns with using it in a vehicle. - FALSE - unless it is superconducting - there will be some waste in the form of heat during discharge.

The batteries fully charge in minutes as opposed to hours. FALSE - see above - the limiting factor will become how fast you can dup energy into the storage system, which is usually a function of electrode design as much as how fast you can drive the reactions in the electrolyte. The electrode design problem will still be present in any capacitor design.

With volume manufacturing it's expected to be cost-competitive with lead-acid technology. - Nothing is cheaper than a lead acid battery


I hear that they are creating a pilot plant in Cedar Park TX


What is the trading symbol for EESTOR ?
Thanks in anticipation.

F. william

If USA want win terrisum, they need to invest more money in Company like EEStor instead of figthing war in fanatic countries. This will completely reduce dependency for oil from Middle EAST.

David Navas

patent application US 20040071944A1

As has been mentioned, the trick is high voltage. Try several thousand volts on for size. Now, how do you create a system that can extract that kind of voltage, and make it run from that very high voltage until it is fully discharge (ie: to a very low voltage)?

It's volume appears to be quite small as well,

Free Energy

Remember, that a super capacitor cannot simply be paralleled with a battery. For maximum storage, the VOLTAGE MUST VARY WILDLY from V max at full charge to V min at full discharge. So high power and very efficient power conversion electronics will be requires to make this “breakthrough: possible.
First, an input inverter must convert whatever charge voltage is available to a voltage that is slightly higher than whatever is already in the super-capacitor. (voltage to voltage inverter)
Then, the super-capacitor inrush current must be regulated so that the current is delivered at a charge rate that does not excessively load the input power source capabilities. (Input current regulation)
Then the desired output voltage must be supplied at the constant voltage desired by the load, while the voltage across the super-capacitor must be allowed to vary wildly with its charge discharge cycle!(buck-boost voltage regulator).
Lastly, the output current demand must be met while preventing damage to the output regulator or the super-capacitor itself from short circuit conditions.
( output current regulator with fold-back current limiting and electronic circuit breaker action).
While super-capacitor technology is racing forward at a fantastic pace, we should prepare ourselves by proceeding to develop the required power conversion electronics for our immediate applications.
Only with efficient and appropriate low-loss synchronous switching power conversion electronics already added to existing applications will super-capacitors become “Drop In Solutions” to become our long sought but heretofore only theoretical solution to meet our “Ideal Battery” requirements.

With Best regards,
Patrick Ward
Richmond, VA
fossilfreedomATyahoo.com [email protected]
fossilfreedomATyahoogroups.com [email protected]

Stephen Boulet

From the patent application here, the discharge rate is "0.1% per 30 days which is approximately an order of magnitude lower than the best electrochemical battery".

Also, am I correct in calculating a 30.5 kW/hr per gallon of gas?


Gar Lipow

I am very skeptical in general of super high charge rates for batteries or ultras or anything. Not the physical possibility, but the huge infrastructure requrements need to get peak electricy rates that high. Imagine if everyone had one, and 10,000 people happend charge a 52 kwh thing all at once. Talk about peak requirements! Of course the power companies could start putting those things in themselve

But really the solution is you don't need to charge that fast most of the time. For norma use you come home every night. Do a trickle charge over eight or ten hourse while sleep, shower and such - give our electric infrastructure a break. On the road, do the same at a hotel. If you need to travel regularly in one shot than a single charge will get - buy Plugin hybrid. If you have occasional needs, buy an electric and rent a plugin hybrid for
those occasions.

In terms of the weight compared to gasoline - don't forget all-electric cuts out not just the 26 pounds of gas, but the 26 pound gas tank, the engine. It pprobably cuts out the transmission; you can use axle motors and send different quantities of electricty to your wheels. And you are eliminating a lead acid battery which has a substantial weight. So on weight you come pretty close to breaking even - and 36% effiency for electricy generation at the power plant vs. 15% TOP efficiency for genration in an IC engine more than makes up for possible weight gain.

Remeber Solectria demonstrated the four passenger solaria with a 90 mpg range equivalent with nickel cadium. I calculate that based on generation in the current U.s. grid. If the electrix source was non-combustion hydroelectic and such the results would have been more like 200+ mpg.

Eric Rouleau

If these ultra-capacitor can store energy that fast, could it be possible that you could actualy harvest the energy of ligthning?


tested to a million cycles? even at an unheard of rate of 15minutes per cylcle, that would take 28 years

Thomas Murphy

That is quite a claim for energy density for a capacitor. Obviously this company would keep the technology under wraps if it was real, but does anyone have any links to in-production capacitors anywhere near this value, or academics with published theories suggesting these levels as possible. The highest energy densities I found at a first look have been less than 10 Wh/Kg

Bob Smith

This cannot be an ultracapacitor, they don't have a dielectric (nor do batteries). To get 350Wh/kg (the number I saw was 52kWh and 336 pounds) is quite unbelievable. This is higher than lithium batteries, never mind ultracapacitors. Can anyone explain how this thing works?

Bob Smith

I just dug through their patent to answer my own question. It's a REALLY BIG dielectric capactor! Running 31F at 3500V in 336 pounds gives them 350Wh/kg.
I really hate to think what would happen if a single one of all those parallel dielectrics failed! 52kWh through a short circuit could melt the thing to slag. It better be self-healing.

Rob Wills

Some amount of cap self discharge could be covered by on-board photovoltaics. An incentive to park in the sun..

Gordon Brown

This ultracapacitor will make storing energy from a wind generator the only way. Lead acid, Lithium-ion, Nmhd are all going to be history. Long live the ultracapcitor. Now if they can just generate power with a Torsion Tec Eric Marshall super high efficiency permanent magnet generator this will be the ultra combo, they will have to be guarded by the CIA for sure.


The latest nano phosphate luthium ion batteries appear to be at least 250 wh per kg. Acheiving about 70 pounds per electrical equivalent to a gallon of gas worth of transportation energy.


The nano phosphate layer reputedly enhances their safety.

Ultra capacitors are really great at providing quick acceleration and hard regenerative braking in electric vehicles.

To mitigate the problem of catastrophic short circuiting in these types of energy storage devices, they need to be located in smaller units around the vehicle to prevent a cascade failure of the whole storage device and protected with internal circuit breakers.


Any update on this?

Jim from The Energy Blog

I have heard that they have an announcement coming out any day now. They have a website that says under construction you might check it from time to time. http://www.eestor.us/


Whats the latest?


To give the charging infrastructure a break... the charging unit could be equipped with an Internet controlled "Charging scheduler" This would charge the car at night at a certain time, as dictated by a central scheduler....

Also for peak times during the day... the charge could be synchronized, so as to not allow too many of them to fire at the same time.



Hopefully the capacitor of 31F 3500volt is confirmed by an independent test soon. Would be ideal for a high-voltage discharge motor a la Edwin Gray, or to test the latest energy flux patent by Dr.Correa. Could be used as an energy flux capacitor, if Correa is correct.


"That implies a relatively constant drain of 60-odd watts; over 200 million vehicles, just maintaining the capacitor charge would take 12 GW. Not trivial."

Since we are far from the 200 million vehicles, the point is simply a reminder that expanded electricity energy generation will be needed to replace the oil-energy complex, should we get to a world of 200 million BEV in USA. We'll need 12 1GW nuclear power plants to meet above need, and a few hundred more nuclear power plants to end oil dependence and get off of fossil fuels once and for all.


The discharge rate, according to the patent, 0.1% per month. Not sure I'm buying any of the hype yet but if true, I will be buying the device!

Currently, only about 60-70% of electrical plant capacity is used, so most of the private transportation sector could switch to electric cars without significant increases in capacity, since most charging will occur at night when demand is low (i.e. unused capacity high). Plus, the increased efficiency of the car would still reduce CO2 and make solar a viable and cost effective means of recharging the cars. Solar would be cheaper that gas per mile.

Chris Harris

I find the foregoing discussion to be very interesting blog, however the 12GW relates to the non-loaded loss associated with the capacitor being fully charged and setting idle for some period of time. Therefore, it would be nice if somebody would recalculate the estimated power grid loads needed to support a shift from hydrocarbon based fuels to the electric grid. Obviously this would not occur overnight because it will take time to replace 200 million vehicles.

The foregoing discussion also relies upon existing infrastructure topology by assuming that recharging would occur in off peak periods at a static location. Why not expand the paradigm shift to include in transit/motion charging capabilities? The process is simple to pass/move a coil through a magnetic field to generate an electrical current. If it only takes a second to recharge a capacitor then at 68 MPH a 100 foot long magnetic field could fully recharge a moving vehicle. More realistically multiple shorter magnetic fields would be a way of topping off/maintaining the peak electrical charge storage in a vehicle or allowing the size and weight of the capacitor to be reduced. Relocating the power grid first along interstates, then along major highways would further enable the paradigm shift by putting the point of distribution at the location of most consumption.

This approach would support the needed infrastructure relocation for a high speed mass transit mag/lev system parallel to major transit arteries or the integration of personal vehicles onto a traffic controlled rail.

Energy consumption is not free! Although very Orwellian, a metered pay as you go system would create an exact record of when, where, and what was consumed and would be ultimately billed to your home or employer. But not much difference than an EasyPass lane on a toll road.

We just need a Leader to establish this as a National Infrastructure Project before we piss away the money to put a man back on the moon or send a crew to Mars.

Chris Harris
Columbia, Virginia 23038


Pretty sure this is a scam. It is pretty easy to check with a basic physics text book. I just ran some reasonable numbers like K=1250, breakdown voltage = 3.2kV/mm, density of BaTiO3=6g/cm3.

Using the quoted number of 400lb, 52kWh, I find that the claim is off by at least 10^6. Perhaps they have found a way to increase K of BaTiO3 by a factor of a million, or I have messed something up, but I doubt both.

S Robinson

You can find properties for electroceramics at www.edoceramic.com, including barium titanate, pzt and niobium ceramic. For EC-55, density=5500kg/m3, K=1220. Maximum energy density in dielectric (J/m3) = epsilon*a^2/2 where a= dielectric strength (V/m). Using their claims, I get a field of 1.03e9V/m, which sounds do-able to me. Rememeber to use SI units everywhere, or you crash into mars.


Well the difference is in the breakdown voltage. The number that I found was 3.2^6V/m and you found 1^9V/m. Since that is squared that would give the factor of a million. I looked for another value of the breakdown and found a paper from 1966 that quoted 1^6V/m, even lower. The claim hings on the acutal breakdown voltage. I think because it is sintered the breakdown can vary considerably with the details of how it is processed. If they really got to 1^9V/m this is really something. It will really change how we use power.

I can't help but wonder if they have such a good thing, why is it taking so long to get it to market. I bet they are having trouble getting 1^9V/m consistentaly.


I got Vbk=3.2KV/mm (from UC Davis), K ~ 1100 (from Wiki), the energy volume density would have made this baterry the size of a truck. Maybe the Al2O3 layer play a roll but I couldn't see how.


The voltage breakdown does seem to be the breakthrough. They quote, according to their patent in claim three, a voltage breakdown of 5x10^9 V/m, enable a micrometer level gap. I'm not sure how they can go about this, as it is significantly better than ANY material, at least that I could find. Maybe there is some strange property with the multiple materials used for the insulator/dielectric, but it seems unlikely. Let's hope they know better! Using this number, along with reasonable safety factors (x4 for dielectric thickness, electrode thickness = dielectric thickness), I get 2600 cubic inches, about 30% bigger than their claim.


Oops, I was off by 10, as they specify 5 MV/cm, and I was thinking V/mm. Hmm, that doesn't leave any room for the electrodes. They could have a method to increase surface roughness, which could increase the area by 2 or 3 times. Remember, the formulas are only for flat plate capacitors, so even angstrom level "grooves" will increase the surface area beyond the x1 we are using. I also found a paper which shows a voltage breakdown of 3.5 MV/cm for Magnesium Calcium Oxide, so maybe the glass they use can meet their requirements. I just don't know if you can have it both ways. Obviously, I'm not an engineer of capacitors, so maybe you can, but it seems like someone would have tried it previously.

Jason Schade

This company had funding from KPCB, which was mentioned in sep2005 article here http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/dealflow/archives/2005/09/kleiner_perkins_1.html

But no mention on the KPCB site that they are in anyway involved in this company.


That's going to be called for to protect the power grid from peak loads is distributed power staging based on local storage big enough to protext the grid from charging peaks. Fits right into the economic niche where transition would make the chemical fuel stations disappear, too.

The impact of electric transport doesn't have to be a big problem. The fix is to adopt EVs in parallel with complementary technologies. I would identify geo-HVAC and energy-smart buildong technologies in general as such complementary tactics.

Here's a little sketchy workup I did on the energy impacts of general adoption of EVs and energy-smart building tech:

Expanding the power grid's a minor issue to non-issue, because the incremental load's not large.

Here's a breakout of energy consumption by use:


Buildings account for about 40% of total energy input.

Transportation's about 28% or so of the total.

Here's an estimated breakout of residential energy consumption by use:


It gives the total contribution of HVAC and hot water to energy consumption as about 55%.

Here's an outlook on the growth of the power grid. It forecasts substantial growth, with costs per kWh rising by only a few percent, relative to current levels.


GeoExchange/GHP/GHVAC systems yield HVAC and hot water for about 40% of the energy input required by conventional electric systems; this would be somewhat optimistic overall, but it does reflect the effect of GHVAC on peak electric loads. Adoption would save about 60% of the 55% allocated to HVAC and hot water, out of the 40% of total energy consumption allocated to buildings. That's nearly 16% of the US energy budget.

Transportation consumes about 28% of US energy input. I recall a value of about 60% of transportation energy allocated to personal transportation, though I don't have a reference handy on that.

Now, something interesting happens to energy consumption when you switch from a gas engine to an electric solution. Vehicles powered by gasoline engines deliver around 25% of the thermal energy of their fuel to the road, optimistically. Electric vehicles can realistically achieve efficiencies of about 80% (Tesla's claiming 85%). This means that each time you switch from a gas engine to an electric solution, that vehicle's energy input per mile drops by two thirds.

If the energy input per mile drops by two thirds for each gasoline vehicle replaced by an electric, and personal transport accounts for 60% of transportation, then full adoption of electrics for personal transport reduces transportation's energy input by 40%. This would drop transportation from 28% of current consumption to about 17% of current consumption. The incremental load on the grid would come to 20% of the current energy input for transportation, or less than 6% of total US energy input.

The combined strategies can effect a net reduction in US energy input in excess of 25%, and can reduce oil consumption for transportation by nearly 60%. The amount of energy recovered by adoption of GHVAC technology (~15%) appears to compare favorably with the amount of energy required for electric personal transportation (~6%).

The only loser in this proposition is the oil industry. Peak grid loads would drop, on a per-capita basis, due to GHVAC, electric vehicles would soak up less power than GHVAC would make available, and we would import vastly less oil, making a significant amount of money available to defray the incremental costs I'm bound to have missed.

Moreover, the money used to upgrade the power grid would contribute to the US economy, rather than flowing out of the country. This, too, has value.


okay, i am not a tech-savvy person whatsoever, but i heard a whisper of this technology on a website and did a little reading about it. how durable would the plates be in driving conditions? i know i do not drive my car now with finesse, and i hit some pot-holes every now and then. what protects the damn thing from cracking or snapping? i realize the potential for energy consumption and the future of the combustion engine...i thought i read somewhere that there was ceramic in the list of 'ingredients'... put it in simplest terms for me.


Regarding the relative permittivity for the barium titanate, EEstor claims to have effectively reached K=29,480, including a 12% reduction for form factor. This is because their barium titanate is composition modified to include metal atom fractions of Ca, Nd, Ti in addition to Ba and Zr, Mn, Y along with Ti. (source U.S. Patent No. 7,033,406).

Note that this composition was not invented by EEstor and is referenced in a prior patent to P. Hansen, no. 6,078,494.

Is there any published science out there validating this?

Jay Dillon

If you drop a Corning ceramic plate on the floor, it usually is ok. So ceramics dont mean the thing will break when you hit a bump, necessarily.

Excuse me for being nasty, but why is it that while USA and Coalition soldiers are being assassinated by Middle Eastern psychos, we get this "news" blast yesterday on a news story that has been on the net since Jan. 2006 or earlier?

Why the "top secret" on this? Why didn't Maxwell Technologies ultracapacitor applications for electric cars get more play previously? Who killed the ultracapacitor Jetsons' VTOL, Edwin V. Gray and all the rest? Why are we hamstringing ourselves with these infernal gas guzzlers when we already have electric cars that can be improved, Seversky Ionocraft and all the rest? What about Henry Wm. Wallace 1971 patent for field propulsion under the auspices of GE? (Dont ask GE to develop it tho, no interest. Boring i suppose.) Some of this stuff works folks. By the way, I dont know about you, but a carbon fiber VTOL personal aircraft with no moving parts sure sounds good! (see Seversky Ionocraft tech). (a few moving parts for steering controls i suppose)


This has been a fascinating string, dating from early this year. I just heard about this company and google brought me to this source of great thinking on the science and application of this potentially extremely disruptive technology. I'm hooked and ready to both invest and buy an end product, should it become available. Couple of thoughts in the meantime:

1. Some really innovative thinking from Chris Harris on mobile recharging. Didn't I just see a special on driverless vehicle experimentation in which California is investing heavily in imbedded magnet-based vehicle guidance systems in major highways? Seems to a non-techie like a short leap in thinking to make the one application relevant to the other.
2. The big losers in the equation are oil companies and nations that like US energy dependence. The implications on strategic fronts alone warrant a Hollywood script. Yes, if claims are valid, guarding what will become national family jewels should be a priority.
3. "If it's real, why is it taking so long to get to production?" Actually not a tough question. The implications associated with fielding a technology this revolutionary warrant getting engineering and production details right. That's gonna take time.
4. KPCB investment of $3M is not found on the KPCB site, but that's not necessarily surprising. There's a blurb on BusinessWeek Online, most of you have probably seen: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_33/b3997015.htm
Also, $3M is a both a pittance and a bell-weather. The $100M KPCB "Green Technologies" fund is a relatively minor component of the fund's investment initiatives. It will get more interesting if there's an announcement of a second round of financing. The $3M announced in July '05 must be gone or close to it. (Anyone heard of any subsequent investment?) If there's a second round then the technology is beyond promising; it's met producibility milestones.

Ryan Webster

This technology is going to save the world. Even if they can only do 50% of what they claim, in time, technology feeds itself. It can only get better. Yesterday, I decided to find out more info about the company. I found a phone number which I called. A message machine with no message. So I left my name and number. This morning I recieved a call from Richard Weir, founder of EEStor. I was totally floored. I spoke with him briefly, and thanked him for saving the world. He giggled and we said goodbye. I am a firm believer in this technology, to the point that I am willing to move to texas to sweep the floors for the company that is going to change the world we live in forever. Now when supermagnet generators come online, whatchout! Goodbye arab oil, and hello clean earth. Bye the way, Im a mobile home salesman in Boise. My conversation with Mr. Weir is truly a personal highlight!


Forget the car. This is going to revolutionize residential electrical usage. Wind and solar constraints due to intermittant supply will be mitigated.


Posted yesterday:

By SAMANTHA YOUNG, - Associated Press Writer Published 6:54 pm PDT Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"California's attorney general on Wednesday sued the six largest U.S. and Japanese automakers for causing millions of dollars in damage through vehicle emissions of greenhouse gases, the latest action to combat global warming by the nation's most populous state.

"The federal lawsuit is intended to hold the auto industry accountable for what regulators say is their contribution to climate change, Attorney General Bill Lockyer said. Vehicles are the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in the state."

If there were ever a technology whose time had come, this is it.

Forget what I posted earlier about a second round of financing from KCPB... for the 2nd round the VC's want a huge equity percentage. If this technology is for real, and if EEStor is down the road a ways on being able to demonstrate key manufacturability milestones, the Big Six will be pounding a path to their door and chunking money in their windows (except maybe GM, which seems perfectly content to let its life pass before its eyes). In fact I'd bet EEStor has already rejected a number of mediocre offers, and is just waiting for the pressure to build. If the CA AG succeeds in nailing one or more of the automakers, EEStor stock (once public) will soon be stratospheric.

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