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

January 27, 2006

Comments

Andy Hughes

I get mixed feelings when reading this blog and looking at info like at
http://www.teslamotors.com/blog1/index.php?js_enabled=1
It seems some technical people are saying it can't be right, and yet we are hopeful that it is. I guess only time will tell, but for right now its "show me the device actually working". No vaporware please.

Bruce Roll

To avoid electrical grid system surges, the distributed recharge stations should be equipped with banks of the very same super-capacitors that will be powering the vehicles. These stations would be capable of fulfilling rapid vehicle recharge requirements, while conducting continuous replenishment through an electrical grid moderated control system.

Tankenstein

More about KPCB's backing. I imagine EEStor is one of the "stealth" companies referred to in this article:

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Forms $600 Million KPCB XII Fund
Announces $100 Million Greentech Initiative

MENLO PARK, CA., February 16, 2006 –

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) – a leader in providing relationship and venture capital SM services to entrepreneurs – announced the formation of its most recent fund, KPCB XII.

KPCB XII plans to invest $600 million over roughly a three-year period, backing entrepreneurs and innovation in information technology, life sciences and other fast-growing industries. Ongoing initiatives include mobile and web services, personalized medicine and medical devices, and communications and semiconductor technologies. In addition, today KPCB is announcing a new $100 million initiative in “green technologies."

For five years, KPCB has quietly backed greentech entrepreneurs, including Lilliputian (battery technology), Miasole (solar cell technology), and a revolutionary solid oxide fuel cell maker. Two other ventures wish to remain "stealth."

"Entrepreneurs are passionate about pursuing clean and affordable water, power and transportation. We’re seeing exciting, sustainable and scalable ventures, including biofuels (like ethanol), energy storage and energy conservation," said John Doerr. "Greentech could be the largest economic opportunity of the 21st century. Disruptive innovations are possible because of recent advances in chemistry, genetics, and material science. American and world leaders are calling for alternatives to $60-a-barrel oil, and entrepreneurs are rising to the challenge."

KPCB XII partners include KPCB XI partners Brook Byers, John Denniston, John Doerr, Juliet Flint, Joe Lacob, Ray Lane, Aileen Lee, Matt Murphy, Ajit Nazre, Ted Schlein, Risa Stack, Ph.D, and Trae Vassallo. New partners added since the KPCB XI fund closed include Bill Joy, Randy Komisar, Ying Lee, Dana Mead, Ellen Pao, and Beth Seidenberg, M.D.

"The pace of innovation is accelerating, as three billion consumers enter the global marketplace," said Brook Byers. "We are privileged to invest this fund in these exciting times. Entrepreneurs will make major improvements in health care, including in personalized medicine, medical devices and therapeutics."

Ray Lane added, "Entrepreneurs and KPCB partners are building outstanding companies, by working closer than ever, typically with more than one partner per venture. We greatly appreciate the long-standing support of our limited partners. Their steadfast commitment enables us to be patient, diligent and dedicated, and to take bigger risks." KPCB’s institutional investors have remained largely unchanged over the past 20 years.

Since its founding in 1972, KPCB has backed entrepreneurs in over 450 ventures, including AOL, Align Technology, Amazon.com, Citrix, Compaq Computer, Electronic Arts, Genentech, Genomic Health, Google, IDEC Pharmaceuticals, Intuit, Juniper Networks, Netscape, Lotus, LSI Logic, Sun Microsystems, Symantec, Verisign and Xilinx. More than 150 of the firm's portfolio companies have gone public. Many other ventures have achieved success through mergers and acquisitions.


http://www.siliconbeat.com/entries/2006/02/15/kleiner_perkins_surprises_with_200_million_pandemic_fund.html

Tankenstein

And one more thought.

IF this technology takes off, and IF the big car companies buy it, will they then use it or lock it away? While it might make for a great investment, the auto and oil industries have a habit of killing off the competition until and if they are ready to use it themselves. It wouldn't necessarily mean that we'll see it in use anytime soon if at all.

Jim from The Energy Blog

Just a note from me. I really appreciate all the comments today. Visitors to the blog have been the highest ever today, primarily to see what I had to say about EEStor. Thank you.

I have a few more recent posts than this one about EEstor, including one today, that can be read by selecting the Energy Storage category in the lefthand sidepanel.

I am with most of you in that I think they have something. But I am very concerned by the news today that they have slipped, by a year, in shipping their product to Feel Good Cars.

There may be more to barium titanate than is in the textbooks, it is being used by several Li-ion developers, including Altair, as a coating on one of their electodes. Note in the EEstor patent: "An electrical-energy-storage unit (EESU) has as a basis material 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 coating is claimed to give it much better properties.

Craig

Found this by mistake, thought some of you might want to see it. If nothing else, just their name for it.

www.freepatentsonline.com/7033406.html

Jim from The Energy Blog

The complete patent is available here.

aries333

So what about the lightning comment? Could enough of these "supercapacitors" be hooked up to store the energy of a bolt of lightning?

Paul

I've read that former Secretary of State Powell is a board member of the KPCB. So he's quite likely aware of EEStor's potential and with his government contacts, could have raised government awareness of EEStor's developments. I also seem to remember that in his January 2006 State of the Union Address that President Bush made a comment of "...new technologies being developed within the United States that will revolutionize energy use...". I took this as an intriguing teaser at the time. However, could Bush have been referring to EEStor?

Jake Jacobs

I am interested in this as wind turbine storage device to mitigate the intermitent nature of wind. Our local utility also does not net meter, which means we are nearly giving away our excess power when winds are high. Would love to store it and use it when wind is not blowing. Any tech advice on the EESTOR tech as a storage device is appreciated. Also will use it to charge the EESTOR powered car(s) when the time comes. Wind generator is a Jacobs(no relation) 20kw on a 100ft tower with 30ft sweep to fiberglass blades.

Frank Baylin

I enjoy this blog as much as others. It is technically enticing. But I get frustrated by the ungrounded enthusiam of some who believe it will solve all our problems. Let's keep it focused within realistic bounds.

Althought the potential for the EEStor device is exciting, I'd like to inject a note of reality into this discussion. Sustainability encompasses much more than a novel, albeit revolutionary, method to store electrical energy. Our problems at their roots are related to inefficiently using our limited resources, not just oil and its associated political problems. If we kill the oceans with petroleum-based nitrogen fertilizer run-off or burn nearly all our forests to make room for an agricultural system that overproduces just four major crops to pour out corn syrup for creation of profitable commodities that replace food and rob us of our health, will we survive? Let's celebrate the successful development of this technology that can revolutionize transportation and stabilize the growth of renewable energy systems. But let's not forget, for example, that some are building 10,000 square foot homes to house families of 3 or 4 and nations around the world are planning to build thousands of new coal-burning utility plants to meet our limitless energy needs while we teeter near the global-warming tipping point. Remember, even though the EEStor ultra-capacitor might give Hummers acceleration 'like a Ferrari' they still have embedded energy, i.e. materials, energy and labor underlie their production.

nicholas  King

What is present range per charge? If 50 miles, then 5 minutes is a reasonable acceptance of the technology.

Luber

I've heard about new super/ultra-capacitor designs based on carbon nanotubes, but don't think they're ready for prime-time yet. EEStor is a greatly improved dielectric cap, but not a quantum leap in technology. It seems to me that these devices might make even better bombs in a car crash than a liquid or compressed hydrogen tank (which seems to worry a lot of people, although these have already been shown to be as safe or safer than a propane tank)

Gabe Rowe

I've done some research on BaTiO3 and its pretty awesome stuff. There is another similar compound BaSrTiO3 (barium strontium titanate). Both of which can have dielectric permittivities (a.k.a. dielectric constant) up to around 6000 (Brandmayr et al. in US technical report in 1965). Yes, 6000, while most materials have around 1-10 and some are maybe up to 100--but 6000 is huge. People have been looking at that material for about 60 years now as a possible high energy density storage solution--however, its not been until the last few years that people have figured out how to make it reliably--because its highly dependent on grain size--make the ceramic at the wrong temperature and it will have a poor dielectric permittivity. In order to create a good sized capacitor that has a huge surface area, you need to make the ceramic material into a resin of some sort so you can coat it onto a thin film and roll it up and let it get hard. When you mix the ceramic into a resin, usually that makes the dielectric permittivity go down a ton--but if you mix them with other materials--not exactly sure what they did, but if you mix in the right stuff, you can get a decent dielectric permittivity.

But if you look at the parallel plate equation, you will notice that the only non-linear term is the gap term--the distance between the plates. So you really have to work on getting the charges really really really close to each other (effectively that gap must be less than a micron, so maybe 100 nanometers). Problem with that is, then you can't go to high voltages--because if you do, you get extremely high fields (aka the breakdown field of the material)--(voltage/gap=electric field) and your capacitor arcs and dies if you use too high a voltage. Notice that with the Ultra Capacitors out there on the market that have like 2600 Farads as their capacitance, they have a very low voltage they run at--2.7 volts for instance.

The problem with running at only 2.7 volts is that energy storage is a function of the equation: U=1/2*C*V^2 --notice that V is squared!! So if you could increase the voltage just a bit you could really increase the energy--which is I'm sure what they did. So a BoostCap 2600 that uses 2.7 volts, and has a capacitance of 2600 Farads would have an energy storage of 9.5 kilojoules, or about 2.6 watt-hours. These guys are claiming 52 kilowatt-hours--but for something that is 400 pounds! Which is about 20,000 times higher than what BoostCap can do.

Ok so how do they do that? Well, of course they have to have a huge capacitor first, second, higher voltage. So lets look at those variables, maybe they can explain it. The BoostCap 2600 weighs 480 grams--half a kilogram. So 400 pounds would give you 363 BoostCap 2600s. So thats a capacitance increase of 363. So now we need to increase the voltage by how much: so 20,000/363=55, so we need V^2 to be 55 times greater, so sqrt(55)=7.4, so 7.4*2.7=20V--nice round number.

Checking the work, 0.5*(943800)*20^2=188 million joules, or approx 52 kW hours.

And since they apparently have gotten the leakage current to be minimal, then these are way better because they run on low voltages (safer and more reliable) rather than the capacitors that can be charged to like 100,000 volts (but are only around 1 micro-farad).

Also, just to mention about the 5 minute charge thing--so if they fully charged it in that time, that'd require 52kW*(60/5)=624kW. Since it needs DC to charge, you'll have some losses due to rectification as well. So Using 120VAC lets say, which powers a DC power supply--so on the DC side we'd need 624kW/20V (20V is max voltage for capacitor in this case), so we need 31.2 amps DC, assuming a recitifier efficiency of about 90% we'd need about 35 amps. Since the 120VAC is dropped down by a factor of about 4 using a transformer your average 20 amp fuse in the breaker box wouldn't blow.

It'd be like running a couple of welders for about 5 minutes solid.

Just as another thought experiment--what could you build with BoostCaps right now? Well, they have a 140 Farad module running at 48.6 V that weighs 13.5 kg. Lets say you get 100 of those (at a cost of $1400 each ouch) and hook them up in parallel so you have 140*100=14000 farads, weighing 1350 kg or 2970 pounds. Which would give you an energy storage of about 0.5*14000*(48.6)^2=16.5 million joules or 4.6 kW hours. By the way, 100 of those would take up a brick size about 4.5 feet by 4.5 feet by 3 feet--could fit that into the back of a small truck bed. 4.6 kW is terribly low power unfortunately--like 6 horse power. In contrast, the device these guys are talking about would have about 70 horse power for 1 hour, or 35 horse power for 2 hours--which isn't too bad. If you drive it like a ferrari, then you will run your battery dead fast.

Dr. Emmett Brown

Marty McFly has had the Flux Capacitor in his DeLorean running at Giga Watts since 1984. Watch out for the terrorists with the missle launchers trying to steal the Flux Capacitor.

anonymous

US Patent 3288641 issued 11/29/1996 to Standard Oil Company looks pretty similar.

link to patent 3288641

anonymous

If somebody wrecks a car having one of these ultracapacitors in it what is the likelihood that the people in the car or the first responders who come to their aid are going to get electrocuted?

Just wondering whether anyone has given any thought to this particular aspect of the technology.

Aaron van de Sande

Firemen are already being trained in dealing with hybrid cars which have a similar problem.

Kai Petzke

Wow, this sounds an astonishing technology! Generally, if they manage to get breakthrough voltage AND dielectricity constant that high, than those capacitors suck up electrical energy like a sponge. I'd be a bit concerned about internal shorts. They might cause huge damage. 52 kilowatt hours would heat 400 pounds of water by 246 °Celsius (if kept under pressure, so that it doesn't boil), and most other materials by a much higher amount. It might bring the supercap well above its melting point.

However, if nothing outgases, and if there are no secondary reaction, a well thermally insulated red-glowing supercap would still be safer, than leaking fuel.


Jag

elvis

well done eestor,the geo battery is next ,what is it? well it simply stores energy sequentially like in isaac asimovs book, simply place your geobattery in the sun for a year and it charges giving you a year supply of energy

randian

All well and good, but how are these systems in real life? With a gasoline engine, I can essentially run it to near zero all the time and then fill up in five minutes, and I only need to fill up about once a week. Plus, modern gasoline engines have essentially zero emissions when warm (all emissions these days stem from cold starting). Charge management makes electric vehicles extremely inconvenient, if not nearly useless, when recharging takes significant time or is frequent. Can you imagine running low and having to wait a couple of hours to recharge your car? Even if it only took 10 minutes, having to do it multiple times in a day? And I can't wait until the "oops, forgot to plug in last night" excuse to explain to my boss why I'm late to work again.

Joe Kasper

Please remember guys, that to charge a battery takes energy. The idea of magnetic fields embedded in the roadway really is equivalent to placing involuntary regenerative brakes in the roadway.

John

How is it possible to test this device for a million cycles. What test criteria do they use and how much time does it take to conduct one test. If it is a minute, that alone would have taken two years at 24/7 to complete the one million cycle test.

oiljobber

I thoroughly enjoy what all of you have written. I happen to be in the retail gas business. I read an article in Business 2.0 about EESTOR today and it piqued my interest. The technologies that are determined to miraculously replace fossil fuel like ethanol, biodiesel, hydrogen, etc. are by and large novelties for the uninformed. To me they do not represent stepping stones but a waste of money. The ultimate key to fueling the future will rely on changing the engine efficiency not swapping one energy expense for another. The allure of alchemy is nothing new. Storing energy is not the same as making energy, which is still managed by the laws of thermaldynamics, right? Personally, I would love for this technology to work. But, like so many of you have provided, the science is complicated and the "net effect" is suspect. And trading oil companies for coal companies or uranium companies may not do much either.

Cor van de Water

EVeryone who likes to know the results of switching to Electric Vehicles should do the calculation of energy use for todays cars, including the energy to get it out of the well, transport it, refine it and so on.
Compare that with the energy to generate the electricity needed for the same cars when using electric motors and you will see that the electric cars need less energy overall than the gas cars need just to get the gas to the pump, let alone burning the stuff!
Oh yes, we will be saving BIG time, not needing to pay billions of dollars to nations that we do not trust. It is patriottic to drive an EV!

One question was about how to test 1 million cycles on this device? Simple: the patent describes a way to connect more than 2000 basic "modules" to get a 52 kWh battery that can be recharged in about 5 min. But if you take just 1 or 2 of those modules then you should easily be able to charge and discharge them in 1 second. 1 million seconds is less than 300 hours so you can do this test within 2 weeks.

BTW - I want one of these devices! My truck now has 1800 lbs of batteries so it would be great to replace that with less than 300 lbs of this capacitor and not worry about cycle life.

HalfABrain

If the claims actually work, and if this product can actually make it to market, this is HUGE news. I've read several possible problems, but nothing I haven't been able to easily refute.

1) What if it shorts out, or blows up?

This shouldn't be too hard to avoid. Break it up into smaller units and wire them together with fuses. We have electric cars that have this much energy on board, and they are wired to not blow up if they short out. We should be able to compartmentalize this unit into sub-units the size of lead acid batteries. Then the problem wouldn't be any worse than a hybrid.

2) It takes a huge flow of electricity to charge a supercap that big in 5 minutes. How will we find a gas station that can handle that kind of throughput, and how will we find a cable big enough to get that much flow to the car? I'd hate to even get close to a cable flowing that much energy.

This is true. 52KWH in 5 minutes = 624 KW. At standard 220 volts that's 2836 amps. Yowser! And if your station has to "gas up" 10 cars at a time, wow!

Well, power companies routinely shove that much power over their power lines all the time. There are industrial sites that pull that much power at times. There would be some minor issues with where to put the higher voltage lines and transformers, but that should actually be easier than the current practice of burying large tanks to hold environmentally caustic and highly flamable liquids and transporting them in huge tanks driven by big trucks.

As far as getting the power into the car, I can think of three possibilities off the top of my head. a) Use many smaller cables. If you had your ultra caps divided into 52 1KW modules, you could have 52 cables. Each cable would run 220 volts at 50 amps. That's about what the wiring for my electric drier in my house it rated at. You could have 52 plugs with safety features under a "gas cap" panel. As you plug them in and snap them into place, the circuitry would turn on and start charging. Then when they're charged, a light would come on and the locks would pop, and you'd pull them out and hang them back up. b) Larger docking bay. You back up to a charging bay and push a button, and the heavy duty docking bay raises up and plugs into the undercarriage of your car. c) Make the ulta capacitor arrays swappable. Since they don't lose ability to hold a charge over time like batteries do, this would be much more of an option.

Of course when you're at home or at work, this isn't as much of a problem. One 50 amp 220 volt plug could recharge the entire 52 KWH in 4 hours 44 minutes.

3) There are still limits on range, and there's not enough power there to match my 300 HP muscle car.

Yes, there are still limits on range. Most current electric cars are built for efficiency. They are light and if you want to get good range on them you drive very conservatively. The real-life data I use when calculating numbers from the electric plug to the odometer is about 4 miles per KWH. That takes into account inefficiencies of charging lead-acid batteries and only cycling them to 20% depth at the most. But it was on a converted Geo Metro. Even then you should get about 200 miles on 52 KWH. I occasionally visit family in the next state over and it's 240 miles from here to there. And I don't want to drive at 55 mph all the way. I'd probably drop two of these units into my car and that would give me a good 400 miles between charges. I'd even be able to run the electric heater in the winter, then. But then range isn't as much of an issue if I can find one of those recharging stations that can recharge me in 5 minutes, eh?

Most electric cars don't have huge horsepower motors. The converted Geo Metro cruises at around 18 HP. You might need two or three ultra capacitor packs in your suburban or Dodge Ram pickup, but a 30 or 40 HP motor would be pretty peppy, and you'd cruise on the highway at a decent efficiency. Unlike gasoline engines, peak power of an electric motor is determined by how fast they can cool it down. They have a continuous rating and a peak rating. You can usually run it for a couple of minutes at 3 or 4 times the continuous rating before it gets too hot. For going up long hills or pulling large loads you'd need a bigger motor, but just for accelerating up to cruising speed or passing on the freeway, this is perfect.

Let's talk about advantages. My car gets 30 miles per gallon of gas. At current prices that's 8.33 cents per mile. My daytime electric rate is 10 cents per KWH. That's 2.5 cents per mile. My night time electric rate is less than 4 cents per KWH. That's less than a penny per mile! If I had 400 mile range, I'd almost never use a gas station, and I'd almost always arrange to charge up my car at night. My commute is pretty big. I drive over 2000 miles a month. And that doesn't even take into account my wife's minivan. Instead of the $166 a month I spend on gasoline, it would be $20 added to my electric bill. I could live with that!

If everyone did this, we'd have to build a few more power plants to handle the additional demand. But... we could get rid of all the refineries and the tanker trucks on the road. And we could quit funding the Bin Ladens of the world. And we'd have much less pollution.

Electric cars have MUCH fewer mechanical problems. Especially if you don't have to do battery maintenance because of this new technology. You do still have to worry about tires and brakes and steering fluid and wipers and headlights and fuses and maybe transmissions. And you might have to change the brushes on the motor every few years. But... you don't have to check the oil or replace the spark plugs or make sure the radiator coolant level is correct. There is no ignition or timing to worry about. No fuel pump, fuel filter, air filter, or oil filter. No muffler or catalytic converter. No vaccuum hoses to fall off, and no alternator or voltage regulator. No starter or solenoid. No fuel injectors to clog, no pistons to throw.

I'm having a hard time seeing much of a downside here. Unless you happen to own stock in Exxon.

oiljobber

If even 10% of the cars on the road converted to this technology, then how much infrastructure will be required everywhere. How many power plants, how many miles of new wire, how many more tons of coal emissions, how many more tons of radioactive waste? By the way, how many years of uranium resources are left in this country or even the world? There are caveats to this that must not be ignored. I suspect that hills and comfort requirements like heat and air conditioning and radio and navigation systems will have significant impacts on customer acceptance, too. If it is a matter of accepting change and compromising, then we should start with carpooling and reduce the speedlimits again.

Woodpecker

Guys like Halfabrain could find a way to bitch about a rainbow. The fact of the matter is that the electric companies produce a whole lot less emissions per kwh than does a current automobile; less than half in fact. Nuclear waste can be effectively stored with no ill effects. The elecrtic grid is very underutilized during the night. If this technology turns out to be for real then the power company could effectivly store its excess power and save it for a peak demand.

Jimmi

"...If even 10% of the cars on the road converted to this technology, then how much infrastructure will be required everywhere. How many power plants, how many miles of new wire, how many more tons of coal emissions, how many more tons of radioactive waste?..." HalfABrain

A few of my friends discussed energy efficiency and we came up with a question. What is the most efficient way to achieve energy efficiency? It dawned on us that one possible scenerio would actually be a redesigned HEV. From my understanding, HEVs today are cars with a gasoline engine as a primary power source with a complimentary electrical support system. Let's say we reversed those roles. Have an electrical system as the primary with a gasoline powered generator back-up system.

Say for instance you take the new car that Altair and Boshart revealed in late Sept. A full size SUV EV that has a top speed of 95 mph and a driving distance of 200 miles. Not to mention it can recharge in under 10 minutes. Take that car and slap a gasoline generator that can recharge the batteries as they lose their charge while operating. Thus increasing the overall driving distance depending on the specs of the generator system and the size of the fuel tank. You'd be able to take this car out just like any other car today. Just fill a few gallons. Might as well make it a plug-in also so you can save money when you recharge at home.

Of course this wouldn't be a no emmision car, it would be a very low emmision car but I'm sure this concept could achieve 50-75% less emmisions than cars today. Not too bad a compromise and well within EPA guidelines for 2020. Not to mention you won't have to build an entire infrastruture as you would need to do with other alternative fuel choices.

The HEV is a nice transition type of car till we can find that silver bullet. We all aren't too thrilled with our dependency of oil and some of my friends and I believe a good way to look is to rethink the HEV. And I can only imagine what the possibilities are with this ultracapacitor or MITs super-capacitor.

The true enemy of the energy revolution is the lack of awareness of it. I think we are in a day and age where we have all the tools infront of us to change but not enough people know about these tools to initiate the change or worse yet, to lazy or just don't care about the future.

Bill Cox

1) What if it shorts out, or blows up?

This is potentially a big problem. Batteries don't discharge all their energy in an instant, but capacitors certainly can. I'd need to see some clever design tricks for dealing with the problem, and data from crash tests, before I'd place my butt on a capacitor holding the equivalent of 100 lbs of dynamite in energy.

Bill Cox

This is true. 52KWH in 5 minutes = 624 KW. At standard 220 volts that's 2836 amps. Yowser! And if your station has to "gas up" 10 cars at a time, wow!

One of my favorite possessions use to be a 250,000 amp fuse I pulled out of a lab that Stanford University had demolished. It weighed about 20 lbs, and looked very much like a plain old fuse you'd see in a radio, just on a very big scale.

It seems that the utilities have the capacity to deliver the needed energy directly to your house, so long as we charge mostly at night. No build-out required. The fast-charge stations along freeways will take many megawatts to power, but heck, modern power plants put out a gigawatt or more. I don't see any problems in the electrical distribution.

Bill Cox

The EESTOR patent is one of the dumbest I've seen, in that Claim 1 is super-super-narrow, and all other claims depend on claim 1.

In other words, if this technology works, it will have essentially NO patent protection. All you have to do is modify any one of the 14 steps described in claim 1, and your new process does not infringe.

oiljobber

I reiterate, The Laws of Thermaldynamics rule. Batteries and capacitors store energy produced somewhere else. The energy still comes from coal, natural gas, or uranium mines. And imagine the draw when millions of vehicles plug in at night. Why would the utilities offer cheaper power rates for night vs. day when the demand is greater? I am not saying it can not be done. What I am saying is that the net effect is nil.

Craig Emmerich

What you don't consider is how little of the electrical capacity is being used at night. There is enough extra electrical capacity at night to power HALF the cars in america. Half the cars if charged at night without building a single power plant. This is also beneficial for the power companies as they can run their plants a peak efficiency at all times instead of throttling down (which results in lower efficiency and more polution) at night.

Jimmi

Even through laws of supply and demand, and the rates start to increase due to increased demand, aren't the peak rates of electricity more efficient than gasoline to power cars. Maybe there will be a nil effect as far as financial concerns for the average consumer comparing day and night rates (but I'm sure till demand reaches considerable ranges for rate price increase, those first to adapt will have a nice discount till the adjustment) there will still be considerable saving from gasoline pump charges.

One of my major concerns is that doen't most of all the air bourne pollutants come from energy companies. Will there be a measurable difference of air bourne pollutants when you take the ill effects from one industry but in turn increase the pollutant discharge of an industry that has the highest discharge rates. With all this potential money being directed to utilities, we really need to inact tougher emission regulations to really make a difference or more of a difference as far as controling air bourne pollutants.

oiljobber

Half the cars in the US? Are you saying that at night the under utilized capacity is enough equal power to get half of our rolling entertainment centers the same distance down the road? What are the total electrical requirements for a typical car today? Not just the amount to get us three hundred miles down a turnpike in Forida; throw in some hills and stop lights and traffic jams.

Craig Emmerich

Take a look at this presentation.
http://www.calcars.org/calcars-technical-notes.pdf
On page 13 they talk about the extra capacity in the US. This is for PHEV's with 40 or 50 mile range, but they estimate an extra capacity to fuel 337 million PHEV cars. I have seen other reports that show anywhere from 40 to 60% of the cars on the road today can be changed to electric and charged at night with our current capacity.
I also get a kick out of people calculating how much energy an EEStor capacitor would draw to charge it fully and then calculate that across the fleet of cars. Why would every car in America need to charge every night? 75% of Americans drive less than 45 miles a day. The EEStor cap. has enough charge for 250 to 500 miles (depending on application and if it actually works ;)). Most Americans would only have to charge once a week.

http://www.calcars.org/epri-driving-solution-1012885_PHEV.pdf

Also, the repetitive "we will just pollute more from our power plants" line gets old too. An electric car emits only 1/3 the greenhouse gasses of a gasoline car. That means that if we changed all cars to electric today, we would have a 66% reduction in green house gasses and it will only get better with the CAIR reduction shown in the above file on page 9. People really need to be educated on these issues. If EEStor is real, it changes everything. These power plants can charge huge banks of EEStor capacitors at night and supply it to customers during the day to level out their load and provide more power during the day. Gas stations (which we'll have to rename :)) will charge banks of EEStors during the night to supply to customers during the day. And, don't forget, if the electric company raises their prices too much, you can just buy a solar panel for your garage and power your car for free from the sun. That's where I hope to be someday.

oiljobber

If you want a frank discussion about flex fuel vehicles,ethanol,PHEVs, then search www.caranddriver.com . It is not agenda based.
You are right that most cars would not need to plug in every night. I'm sure that a mangement system could be designed for docked vehicles that recharge when needed. And if this EEStor product does not require the construction of new power plants then I hope it works. The only way to get the price of gas back down is for the supply to exceed demand.

John

These are all very interesting, but there is a real problem with the underlying technology.

I have been designing these capacitors for decades, and one aspect of Barium Titanate high-K dielectrics is that they drop K drastically with applied voltage. I guess one could build a 30F capacitor, and measure it at 1 volt, (the usual measurement voltage) and demonstrate the capacity...we do it now. BUT when one increased the voltage, even to 100 volts for the 13 micron dielectic they claim in the patent, the cap is half or less. At the unheard of 3200 volts they propose to use, the cap would be less then 2F.

There are a lot of questions on their patent, another non-trivial one is they claim little K loss from adding two glass components, both with less then a K of 100.

Don't know, don't believe it...

Craig Emmerich

John,
You have good points and that is why many of us are skeptical. Has there ever been a breakthrough technology that wasn't first criticized? A favorite quote of mine is from Albert Einstein. "If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it."

John

Craig:

Of course, you are right in that any new serious breakthrough is questioned, all the way back to the earth circling around the sun.

But, having seen so many of these "High K" schemes over the years pan out to be nothing new, its hard not to be cynical.

Each year, we make incremental improvements to the K, a couple percent. Now someone come out with a 10,000% improvement using the same ingredients...to me it would be like someone claiming an internal cumbustion engine that gets 1000 miles/gal.

We go with the odds...I wouldn't bet the farm on it, but some might with all the hype. Suspend judgement if you will, but maintain perspective.

Einstein also said "God doesn't play dice with the universe..."

oiljobber

"It's hard to beat Mother nature." and "The facts Ma'am, just the facts." My favorites.

Keerthi

Looks like Feel Good Cars, has not paid their first tranche of license fee. I am not sure how this is related to developments within EEStor.

Bill Cox

Hi, Oiljobber.

I've read a few other opinions from people who seem to know something about Barium Titanate... They all 100% back you up. The energy density calculations don't work out.

Given that, and the way their patent reads like a scam, I'm putting EEStor in the same category as cold fusion.

Bill Cox

Oops... I meant to reply to John, not oiljobber.

Too bad you can't mod up/down comments here like on slashdot. I'd hike up the capacitor designer's views, and mod down guys who don't seem to understand that a 2X improvement in efficiency is equivalent to doubling production as far as prices go, yet still reduces CO2 dramatically.

marcus

Regarding John's comments above, I would have expected that Kleiner Perkins would have hired someone at least as qualified as John (bringing up the same questions) to look into the Eestor technology before investing no? Or do such companies make silly unresearched decisions?

Cor van de Water

John,
Can you give us a link to a doc that specifies the loss of K (dielectric constant) at high field strength? I seem not to be able to find a good source with Google and all other details from the patent application check out with Physics laws.
This would be the *only* reason I can see that this technology would not work, besides practical issues to make this a reliable solution at high volume production.

John

Cor:

Sure: Here is one site, it also shows the temperature coefficient..

www.niccomp.com-Products-General-Y5Vvolt-capcoeff1200.pdf

TZVIHIGHPOWER

wATCH FOR IMMINENT NEWS ON EESTOR ANY DAY NOW.

Paul

A control system such as in the link by acpropulsion solves a lot of issues stated in this blog. It helps the power grid maintain during peak power and oh so many other soultions to using EV cars.

http://www.acpropulsion.com/technology/gen2.htm

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