Wednesday, December 10, 2008

EEStor Skepticism

The interest in the EEStor battery spurred more interest on my part. Certainly what they are doing is taking an established protocol for a working capacitor and applying thin film methods to achieve a superior product. On the face of it this will work to some degree. The question is then whether the claims made by the company are achievable over which there is a spirited debate. Assuming the company has good reason to make their claims and some comfort that it will be possible to manufacture the final product they are surely doing the right thing in taking this protocol to the extreme limit.

It needs to be done.

This is also opening the door to thin layer manufacturing, a technology begging to be perfected. I have felt that for decades. The unusual differences between different elements, compounds and geometries are hugely magnified when setting things up an atom at a time. A simple example of this is the usefulness of solid crystalline acids.

The EEStor battery is advertised as a sandwich of metal with barium titanate in between metallic conductors. They are working at minimizing the layer of barium titanate by producing a very fine powder. This is reasonable. It still feels like the beginning of a long and arduous journey rather than the downhill romp.

Imagine a materials toolkit that included layers of grapheme, and layers of metal glass easily worked with. Recall that various metal glasses have remarkable electrical-magnetic behaviors. Extracting an ultra capacitor out of that appears plausible. The difficulty is that we are slowly learning now to manipulate these materials, and they all cry for an outer space environment to achieve optimal manufacturing environments.

This is not answering the question of the plausibility of EEStor’s public claims. Yet the issues are apparent to all, and their partners would not let their names be associated with total hooy, thus we must give them the benefit of a doubt and also expect a fair share of missed time lines.

The immediate question is whether they have done enough to fabricate a working product that can give measurable results that are superior. If they can do that and talk about it then the skeptical will step back and provide ample running room.

It is surely too soon to expect spectacular power density but not too soon to expect competitive power density.
When I saw the first sample of a printed solar cell five years ago or so, its efficiency was perhaps 3%. Today they are rushing to market because they have likely hit the 10% threshold. Another decade and we will see 30% and we will all call it am over night success.

This protocol and the competing nanotube protocol replacing the metallic layers for ultra capacitors should travel the same development path.

I wonder if these manufactured layered particles are up to been suspended in molten aluminum and if that would then be an energy absorber?

These items are worth reading as they give a sense of what is taking place technically.

US 7033406 - Electrical-energy-storage unit (EESU) utilizing ceramic and integrated-circuit technologies for replacement of electrochemical batteries; Weir, et al. (April 25, 2006)


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 components of the EESU are manufactured with the use of classical ceramic fabrication techniques which include screen printing alternating multilayers of nickel electrodes and high-permittivitiy composition-modified barium titanate powder, sintering to a closed-pore porous body, followed by hot-isostatic pressing to a void-free body. The components are configured into a multilayer array with the use of a solder-bump technique as the enabling technology so as to provide a parallel configuration of components that has the capability to store electrical energy in the range of 52 kWh. The total weight of an EESU with this range of electrical energy storage is about 336 pounds.

July 29, 2008

EEStor, Inc. has certification data from outside sources that purified aluminum oxide, in the range that EEStor, Inc. has certified, can have a voltage breakdown of 1,100 volts per micron. The target working voltage of EEStor's chemical processes is at 350 volts per micron. This provides the potential for excellent protection from voltage breakdown.

EEStor, Inc. has achieved success on one of its most critical technical milestones and that is the certification of the completeness of the powder crystallization of the constituents utilized in producing its CMBT powders. The percent of the constituents crystallized in the CMBT powders ranged from 99.57% to 100.00% with the average being 99.92%. This level of crystallization provides the path for the possibility of EEStor, Inc. providing the published energy storage for present products and major advancements in energy storage for future products.

EEStor, Inc. has certification data that indicates achieving powder particle of 1 micron and distribution along with the aluminum oxide particle coating assists EEStor, Inc. in meeting the energy storage stabilization over the temperature range of interest for key applications.

EEStor, Inc. published patent, application number 5812758, indicates the flexible matrix concept that could provide the potential of multiple technical and production advantages. One of the technical advantages indicated is assisting in providing polarization of the ultra capacitors. Polarization along with other proprietary processing steps provides the potential of a polarization saturation voltage required by EEStor, Inc. (MarketWatch; July 29, 2008)

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