The EEstor News

December 27, 2010 | 20 Comments

* This Space Left Blank Intentionally *

The comments and emails over the past year deserve some response and the notation above, familiar to those who’ve seen prepared legal documents will see the humor, explains the situation.  Looking for EEstor news and information in 2010 is a very thin activity.

But does it mean anything? It surely implies a great deal.

EEstor is a year overdue for a promise made to get some info out at the end of 2009.  In the circumstances of 2010 that overdue situation is more of a common matter in development as money has dried up.  Thus in the global sense the ‘way late’ EEstor disclosures could have a firm basis in financing as most others do as well.

Yet the ‘vaporware’ viewpoint has certainly gained ground.  Opposing that is the probability that a technical issue or issues has surprised the EEstor group.  All the best of lab expectations may simply not be getting to any kind of scale.  In fact, as the days, weeks and months pass by; the supposition is that the lab results that raised so much money and attracted so much attention are for the research team at EEstor insurmountable development problems.

That notion pleases this writer, the EEstor matter isn’t replete with indications of an investor fraud, a close tight lid was kept on the public view, and there don’t seem to be the usual suspicious moves of a scam in progress.  We on the outside are exchanging a disappointment or our own into something dastardly of someone else.  That’s not a mature position to take.  Actually what little news there is hints or directly suggests that behaviors are moving to protect observer’s positions instead of providing useful information.  We are the news, not EEstor.

This writer is leaning to the technical matters of scaling up the technology for the delay.  Keep in mind that EEstor is or maybe its a ‘was’ now, trying to handle the electrical energy value of 10 gallons or so of gasoline in an energy density at or better than the chemical reaction potential.  Handling that kind of energy density is going to be quite a challenge and easily quite dangerous. The notion it can be handled simply with resistors overlooks capacitors nature of running at high voltages.  It’s one thing to handle a battery cell at less than 5 volts and quite another to handle voltage in the hundreds or thousands of volts.  There will be heat involved as well, lost during a charge as well as discharge.

The problems of going to scale, can be expected to be very daunting.  EEstor isn’t alone in the research; others are at it as well.  One can expect that the patents that EEStor has filed are and will in all likelihood, be granted setting forth a good chunk of the theory that made EEstor so interesting.  The secrets EEstor and the backers hope to keep under wraps are increasingly likely to escape or be found by others with each passing day.

So far, there is no common use of capacitors as storage for electricity over a long period at high energy density in slow charge and discharge conditions.  For all we know, making up EEstor ultracapacitors is a success, but rigging them for use a mind bending problem.

There is little doubt that ultracapacitors are going to have a worthwhile role in the coming years.  As the information that EEstor seeks to keep under wraps is revealed in the patents and as others come upon them in their own research many more minds will bear on the problems and solutions will appear.  It’s going to take a lot longer than everyone thought.

Meanwhile, the development of materials charges on.  The tiny bits of metal in hard drives continues to shrink, technology to disperse them improves, anode and cathode materials in battery research bounds ahead in great leaps, and electrical components will catch up.

In all likelihood the EEstor basic science might just be to far along for the technology of today to put it to work at scale.   Or maybe EEstor is vaporware.

But this writer’s confidence is about where it was a year ago.  Remember though, there are some good minds at EEstor, and the firm hasn’t closed up shop just yet.  Even if they do, the ultracapacitor story isn’t over; it’s just getting underway.


20 Comments so far

  1. loaddown on December 27, 2010 10:57 AM

    Thank you for your educated, adult view; something that has gone by the wayside in the prevalent condescending free blogspeak.
    Time will tell us about EEstor!

  2. Muffin on December 27, 2010 12:35 PM

    A few things to keep in mind. If there is any technical wall zenn must release that information and Ian stated last AGM that there was no wall and zenn’s actions such as the hires they have done in the last year suggests that. Ian even hinted recently that he can’t talk but to look at the way zenn is acting. Then you have the air force research lab FOIA emails that quote Weir as saying they are very close and implying that he was sending invites to a demo.

  3. Pete on December 27, 2010 1:28 PM

    Thanks for the update. So, no real news on EEstor in about a year, neither good nor bad.

    I had expected them to be a bit more vocal, either by presenting some new independent (or not quite) proof of their claims to keep their investors’ interest alive or by crashing down completely. I used to say “time will tell” when all this started, like the previous commenter. Well, in this case time’s being a bit uncooperative.

  4. Russ on December 27, 2010 3:03 PM

    I believe that time has told.

    They have managed to milk this cash cow dry.

  5. Penny Gruber on December 27, 2010 10:55 PM

    Time has indeed told. From the evidence, it has been over for years. Only some haven’t realized it.

    Dick Weir said in 2009 that his R&D was done years ago. Yet, to this very day there is no sign that Dick Weir has ever successfully demonstrated his core claim of fantastic energy density capacitor technology. The AFRL emails indicate that he was merely hopeful in the summer of 2010 that he would soon be able to demonstrate what he claims.

    This is not some production hitch. This is a fundamental failure to demonstrate basic proof of concept almost 20 years after the technology was supposedly worked out. The Emperor has already died of pneumonia. All that is left is to lay him to rest in his magnificent blue nakedness.

  6. Y_Po on December 27, 2010 11:45 PM

    It is not “technical matters of scaling”. It is inventor’s utter ignorance in physics.

  7. McMuffin on December 28, 2010 6:58 AM

    No EESU Yet?

    “EEstor is a year overdue…”

    That is not true. EEStor has been late since 2007.
    “EEStor, Inc. remains on track to begin shipping production 15 kilowatt-hour Electrical Energy Storage Units (EESU) to ZENN Motor Company in 2007…” from EESTor’s press January 17, 2007

    The Air Force Research Lab emails indicated the DOD declined to fund EESTor because EESTor did not have a functional prototype, and they believed Dick Weir CEO of EESTor is “full of it”.

  8. Matt Musson on December 28, 2010 11:00 AM

    EESTOR was founded upon the idea that they could take something with an incredibly high permitivity and make it into a super capicitor. But, it was much harder to do that anyone first imagined.

    For example, the original powder did not work at all. So, they had to develop a gel formula that might.

    I think at every turn they have run into road blocks that have to be overcome all while money ran out and production deadlines came and went.

    Too many gotchas were waiting to derail this product.

    Now, it seems like every other week we read of some university lab that is discovering a new nanomaterial with a super permitivity that could be the next battery breakthrough.

    But, building a super capacitor is obviously not as easy as it looks.

  9. John Casey on December 28, 2010 12:26 PM

    EEStor made such a great drama. But now it seems like the play is over before the curtain ever rose. One or two missed claims of product-ready-to-ship can be overlooked. But how many is it now, three, maybe four? I agree it’s no scam, but it’s starting to look like the AFRL demonstration invitation was an act of desperation. Nelson and Weir may have worked technical wonders for the CIA (well, at least Nelson did, in Berlin), but at this point it would be much better to admit defeat gracefully than to continue the delusion.

    Of course, it’s always possible that the thing was a ringing success but LM took the product into black program territory via national security regulations. If that were the case, however, the usual MO of doing that is a semi-public, deliberately failed demonstration to cover the action.

  10. muffinator on December 28, 2010 5:37 PM

    The eesu is coming, 2011 ahbl.

  11. Lloydie on December 28, 2010 7:07 PM

    Why don’t they just make 5 volt cells then? There are millions of applications for even 1.5 volt cells aka AA batteries.

    Seems like the obvious thing to do if one is trying to raise funds…

  12. Tec on December 30, 2010 5:32 AM

    The EESU is YEARS overdue. Over the past year, NO information on progress or lack of it has emerged from the company with one notable exception.

    An email emerged from someone in a US air force lab. (AFRL?) saying that Weir had invited him to a demonstration some months back. When this individual asked him if he had a device to demonstrate, Weir is reported to have responded “No.” but added that he was very confident!

    It seems to be believed by many on the EEstory that it is only a matter of production problems that is holding things up. (The EESU is said to contain about 31,000 components each consisting of about a 1,000 individual layered capacitors.)

    But I suspect the problems are much deeper than that. If Weir could make even one of these components – or even a single layer capacitor – capable of meeting high permittivity at high voltage, he could sell these in vast quantities and make a great deal of money. This has not happened! A demonstration with just one component would be sufficient to dispel doubts about the workability of what he claims. This too has not happened.

    The company has spent the last year applying for and getting patents granted, but they are all to do with methods of producing materials said to be needed for the dielectric, and/or production methods, not for the capacitors themselves. My bet is that the EESU project has not worked out, and Weir is currently trying to capitalise on what he can patent from what he’s learnt.

    Nothing wrong with that at all, of course, but I don’t think the EESU is ever going to appear I’m afraid.

  13. Murphyator on December 30, 2010 6:26 AM

    @Tec, Weir did not say he was very confident in the invite AFRL email, he said “we are so close”. You cannot believe anything that comes out of the mouth of Dick Weir the CEO of EESTor. In the infamous leaked conference call June 2009, Weir stated he was assembling EESUs and ahead of schedule…this we know is an outright LIE. The AFRL emails proved as of September 2010 Weir has not yet achieved high permittivity at high voltage.

    “I suspect he will run the demonstration at low energy density but claim great success for achieving a high efficiency and then make a pitch for more funding to increase the energy density. He did mention that he needed more funding. After seven or eight years and several million from Zenn Motors and L-M, it will take a new round of bull****, and an impressive highly visible grand stand demo, to bring in more.”

    If you want to listen to the lies coming out of the mouth of Dick Weir from the leaked investors conference call June 2009, click on the following,

  14. Tec on December 30, 2010 5:06 PM

    Well, I am deeply sceptical of Mr Weir, but I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt wherever possible.

    Whether it is a scam or simply a genuine attempt by someone who tried to achieve something and failed is really irrelevant. The ony thing that really counts is the result. This seems to be stuck at a big fat zero.

    I have to say with years of experience of development that sometime you can be lucky and sometimes you can’t. The one thing you MUST do is to keep the customer honestly informed of progress – or indeed lack of it.

    I have found that customers are prepared to be very accommodating provided you are entirely honest with them, and are prepared to accept the inevitable if need be or give you more time provided they are fully informed of what is going on. Personally, I like to have someone from the customer on site and involved in the development in some way in order to ensure that all is open and transparent.

    The one thing that nobody likes is secrecy. Secrets are generally used to conceal bad news rather than good.

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