• Apr 27, 2009
Following EEStor's permittivity announcement on Earth Day last week, I wrote a post that ended with a call for our readers to determine if the stated "relative permittivity of 22,500" was a big deal or not. There were some educated responses (thank you), but one refrain that kept appearing was that everyone is waiting for a real and physical demonstration of the company's supposedly amazing ultracapacitor. "Until then," some of you wrote, "stfu EEStor."

Our friend Darryl Siry, who knows a thing or two about massaging the green car press from his time at Tesla Motors (pictured above) and now runs his own blog and works at Peppercom, has a phrase for what EEStor is doing with their steady trickle of mysterious press releases: "Hype Maintenance." Siry recently wrote about two people, including ZENN's Ian Clifford, who should be able to share information about EEStor but either don't or can't. The EV community is poorer for it, but, Siry notes, ZENN's stock shot up 45 percent on the day of EEStor's announcement. That's something we can all understand.

[Source: Darryl Siry]


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  • 25 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think the skepticism is understandable. At this point we have seen only test results. I do feel, however, that they are the real deal. Rain says that capacitors will never be used for slow power sources, but we have seen hand tools that are now using capacitors instead of batteries. If you visit websites like Engadget, you see plenty of people hyping vaporware all the time. EESTOR feels much different than that sort of hype.
        • 5 Years Ago
        What hand tools use capacitors instead of batteries?

        Test results are not from capacitors. They have a powder. Big woop.

        They have not provided the most basic results of an actual capacitor. Where is info on leakage and dielectric breakdown at high voltages. These are the most critical elements in building capacitors.

        This is a long running scam, duping a few investors.

        • 5 Years Ago
        PeterG,

        - Power tools that use Capacitors:
        http://toolmonger.com/2007/10/16/colemans-screwdriver-look-ma-no-battery/
        http://toolmonger.com/2007/11/05/ultracapacitors-the-next-source-for-powerful-cordless-tools/
        The reason to mention power tools and ultracaps is for a slow discharge of power.


        - In the press release they say: ( http://www.sunherald.com/prnewswire/story/1303385.html)
        "The test results were performed on EEStor's hot pressed dielectric layers..."
        - In an interview with Golla he stated that he tested a hockey puck sized sample
        bariumtitanate.blogspot.com/2009/04/intelligibility-of-eestors-recent.html

        Hot pressed hockey puck sample sounds a lot like a capacitor to me.

        Like I said before, I don't think all the information is there yet, but I don't think big press conferences and scientific papers are the only way to go. I suspect if this is all true, they are trying to keep their processes and methods from being replicated.

        • 5 Years Ago
        PeterG,

        - Power tools that use Capacitors:
        http://toolmonger.com/2007/10/16/colemans-screwdriver-look-ma-no-battery/
        http://toolmonger.com/2007/11/05/ultracapacitors-the-next-source-for-powerful-cordless-tools/
        The reason to mention power tools and ultracaps is for a slow discharge of power.


        - In the press release they say: ( http://www.sunherald.com/prnewswire/story/1303385.html)
        "The test results were performed on EEStor's hot pressed dielectric layers..."
        - In an interview with Golla he stated that he tested a hockey puck sized sample
        bariumtitanate.blogspot.com/2009/04/intelligibility-of-eestors-recent.html

        Hot pressed hockey puck sample sounds a lot like a capacitor to me.

        Like I said before, I don't think all the information is there yet, but I don't think big press conferences and scientific papers are the only way to go. I suspect if this is all true, they are trying to keep their processes and methods from being replicated.
      harlanx6
      • 5 Years Ago
      Rain, history will not bear out your pessimism. The development of graphene is going to revolutionize electrical storage. It might not be EEstor that pulls it off, but this technology is theoretically possible and has the attention of several prestigious universities and the VC to get it developed. The timetable is an unknown quantity, and it may come in small increments, but I am far more optimistic it will be achieved. You have been around long enough to know never to say never.
      I will have to say that (for the first time), I agree with Darryl. EEstor and Zenn are attempting to string everyone along here until either they get the bugs out, or abscond with the money.
      A development as revolutionary as they are proposing would require extreme secrecy for their own safety as well as the protection of any proprietary property they may (or may not) have.
      We will have to wait and see.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        Even if we cant yet create capacitors that have better energy/weight & energy/volume ratios than high end batteries there might still be a place in battery packs for caps if they can take and release a charge quickly over a lifetime of millions of cycles.
        Caps like this could buffer energy from regen braking an spare the batteries from extra charge/discharge cycles.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        JHarlan,Thanks for that.
        Yes,I am pessimistic.
        I have been duped before,like that flying car that has been promised for the last fifty years?
        But make no mistake,I do hope and fervently that EESTOR or any of the major players can manufacture capacitors that will surpass the work of batteries.
        If They succeed then many of the problems that Humankind faces today will be an unpleasant memory tomorrow,and We may finally reach as a People a fraction of Our vast potential.



      • 5 Years Ago
      I realize the EV press are hungry for stories but really the whole EEStor saga is making a mockery of you all.
      For a company playing hard to get and making "out of this world" claims that they can't back up at all.... the only news will be the next time they fail to meet their own deadlines.... Just ignore them!! They're already WAY over due for delivery and still haven't demonstrated anything .. 100% BS, patent and all!
      EEStor has less credibility than Elon Musk claiming he wants to personally go to Mars (he at least has a few rockets)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Its just a scam.
      • 5 Years Ago
      http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/02/feel_good_cars_.html

      "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."

      So on track to ship production 15KWh units in 2007, but today they still haven't shown a prototype cell?

      Too good to be true claims with lots of odd behavior.

      Quite simply if someone reputable actually had this technology, they would give a prototype over for verification and line up for the $billions to flow into their company and to collect their Nobel prize.

      I expect this will unravel in 2010. They will start announcing difficulties. Then there may be court action. In the end there may be some value in some research done and this will be sold for pennies to some capacitor manufacturer. Nothing will come of it. Then we will get years of conspiracy theorist telling us that Big Oil shut down the ultra capacitor that would have changed the world.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Good links to read:

      http://www.technologyreview.com/business/18086/page2/
      "My understanding is that the leap from powder to product isn't the big leap," says Ian Clifford, CEO of ZENN, which is also an early investor in EEStor.

      Here you have one of the lead investors, who clearly doesn't understand the technology he is investing in. That is only one thing and a minor one.

      Serious counter 1: Leakage:
      "We're skeptical, number one, because of leakage," says Miller, explaining that high-voltage ultracaps have a tendency to self-discharge quickly. "Meaning, if you leave it parked overnight it will discharge, and you'll have to charge it back up in the morning."

      Serious counter 2: dielectric breakdown at high voltages.
      Andrew Burke another expert quoted in the article above has a more extensive interview here:
      http://theeestory.com/topics/17
      "as you increase the field, the electric field, the dielectric constant falls
      off very rapidly. And in order to get the energy density that he's
      talking about, you have to go to very high voltages, you have to go to
      2 or 3000 volts and when you do that the dielectric constant changes,
      it drastically decreases. Since there's so much skepticism, there's
      extreme skepticism. The way you dispel skepticism in science is to
      show data that illustrates the contrary, right?"

      So basically Ian Clifford is an idiot. Doesn't understand the technology he has invested in. Likely didn't consult experts in the field who are universally skeptical of the claims which even going on 5 years later have not been supported with data.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think the best thing to do at this time is to observe what both Zenn and KP do now that the permittivity has been announced. I would hope that much more has actually been shown/done to those in the know. If KP and Zenn both up their stakes in EEstor as this announcement would indicate, and each moves to their full investment potential, I would take that to be a good indicator. Let the actions of these two over the next month be our guide as to any forth coming realities.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ultra-capacitors are never going to be a magic bullet by themselves.
      The notion of a Cap ever powering a motor with an instant charge/slow discharge is little more than pixie dust in a bedside story.
      I would love to be proven wrong now and in the future but the way things stand now,it ain't gonna happen.

      Is it a necessary component? Sure.
      Ultra Caps will provide wonderful applications by correcting current dips or sags as the demands change on the vehicle power train,they may extend battery,controller and motor life during use and at end of service.
      They will even help to get the beast to move from a stop when demands on the motor are at their highest in Lock Rotor State by artificially advancing the field and compelling the armature to rotate.

      But as a power source? Fuggedabouditt!
      That is Pogey bait for uninformed investors,to represent otherwise is disingenuous at best and does not suggest a solid business model or reputation bordering on criminality.
      This can only serve to damage the perception of an industry that rather than being in its infancy is instead so old that it might be rightly claimed to be in its second childhood.
      Whatever the analogy and to further it along it is still on life support and does not need a tarnished reputation to make a restart.
      If mankind is ever to grow beyond the latter segment of the dark ages and give the eco-system a chance to recover then this industry must survive and thrive on its own merits and not on misrepresentations of the past.
      So now I would like to join the others who so eloquently posted to EESTOR;
      Put up or STFU!

        • 5 Years Ago
        By the way, my last comment about EESTOR not being real was NOT directed at you Chris, or anyone else with common sense. I was talking to the poor folks who are still believing the EESTOR hype.

        I just read my posting and realized it looked like that comment was aimed at Chris. I was actually interested in his opinion about the rest of my questions/thoughts.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I feel compelled to respond to Rain. Sir, I believe that you are a trifle pessismistic, considering that ultracap powerd hand tools are already on the market. Of course since you are worried about the "Eco system", I would guess that you wring your hands about "Global Warming" and other religous myths, and you really aren't speaking from any scientific backround. Oh well, I guess these comment forums are here to give us all a chance to pontificate at length without actually having to know anything. As for EESTOR, they have made a number of specific claims that would indicate that some important people will end up in prison if the whole thing is fraudulent. I am not a scientist, but I love when people log in and start babbling about "advancing the field" and "compelling the armature to rotate", and other meaningless techno babble. Personally, I am stocking up on guns and food so I can protect myself from wild dogs taking over the Earth's major cities after sea levels rise from the melting polar caps, or maybe I should buy a harpoon for the sharks that will be swimming down my street. Next, we need somebody to log in and start writing meaninglessly complex mathematical formulas showing that not only will the EESTOR Ultracaps never work, but aliens planted life on Earth. Sigh, if only I was kidding.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hey ChrisM (or someone else who might have an idea),

        First, EESTOR isn't real guys, get over it.

        Now for a serious discussion:

        For true ultracapcitors: I was very skepitcal that they could ever approach batteries for energy density....and I still am. HOWEVER, I was talking with a couple of old engineer types that I was working with on some projects and they started telling me about the cost/energy densities available for capacitors over the last 20 years. They were "amazed" when they had a cap come out that was a whole farad! Now you see 3000 farad caps from Maxwell and others and the next generation is coming out that will be 5000-6000.

        I started trying to find data and it's way too incomplete, but I was hoping to plot a curve on capacitors over the years. From the anecdotal data I can find it's almost starting to look like a semi-Moore's Law! My data is far to sparse, but it was intriguing and I was wondering if anyone had some good capacity/price data over the last 15-20 years???

        With the nano-tech, graphene, new electorlytes, etc....it's starting to show some interesting jumps in energy density for ultracapacitors. Compare it with the ~8% a year that batteries grow...I don't know if they can keep up the growth curve, but it's interesting to think about.

        • 5 Years Ago
        "I would guess that you wring your hands about "Global Warming" and other religous myths, and you really aren't speaking from any scientific backround. Oh well, I guess these comment forums are here to give us all a chance to pontificate at length without actually having to know anything."

        Really?,If You don't believe in anything that this blog stands for then the question is;
        Why are You posting here?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Speaking of "pontificating at length without knowing anything", John, what exactly are those "ultracap powered hand tools already on the market"? Brand name? What store? Where? Anything? Unless you can provide some verifiable proof of that assertion, I'll continue to disbelieve it, because current ultracaps are too limited in energy density and too expensive to compete with batteries as a tool power source.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hype Maintenance = Pump and Dump
        • 5 Years Ago
        No, pump and dump can work with a privately funded company...
        that is what Zenn auto is for.
        Every time EESTOR makes a press release Zenn's publicly traded shares skyrocket...
        • 5 Years Ago
        No.

        EESTOR is a private company funding by venture capital.

        Pump and dump only works for companies that are listed public entities, with a public share float.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Cool on the screwdriver. Good use for the limited energy storage of current capacitors.

      But the rest on EEStor. BS. They have patents and patents pending on their process. There is nothing to worry about on anyone stealing the ideas.

      That also doesn't explain no results for Voltage on leakage and dielectric breakdown. They are essentially releasing useless information that might impress the man on the street with no information that indicates they have solved fundamental issues that will prevent them from ever getting anywhere near the practical claims they have made.


      • 5 Years Ago
      This EESCAM drama can be easily settled. Enough of the press release, speculation, and news reports.

      MR. DICK WEIR, DELIVER A PROTOTYPE OF THE CERAMIC BATTERY WHICH YOU HAVE PUBLICLY STATED HAS BEEN, BUILT, TESTED, AND CERTIFIED TO AN INDEPENDENT REPUTABLE INSTITUTION FOR VERIFICATION. WE HAVE BEEN WAITING SINCE 2001 FOR THIS CERAMIC BATTERY.

      PUT UP OR SHUT UP!

      • 5 Years Ago
      All these compagnies and employees are a set-up by big oil and state own employees. All their profits come from legislations. They are at the head of society by simple corruption of everythings. Their logics is that they have to collect money on every breaths you take.

      I said it last month and i repeat, if they observe a single human corpse doing his business with success while not associated to them, then they get sick physically for real in the stomach. Even if you earn 20 000$/year and live happy, then they got sick in the stomach, that's all.
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