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EEStor Issued a Patent For Its Supercapacitor

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the if-it-sounds-too-good-to-be-true dept.

Patents 603

An anonymous reader sends us to GM-volt.com, an electric vehicle enthusiast blog, for the news that last week EEStor was granted a US patent for their electric-energy storage unit, of which no one outside the company (no one who is talking, anyway) has seen so much as a working prototype. We've discussed the company on a number of occasions. The patent (PDF) is a highly information-rich document that offers remarkable insight into the device. EEStor notes "the present invention provides a unique lightweight electric-energy storage unit that has the capability to store ultrahigh amounts of energy." "The core ingredient is an aluminum coated barium titanate powder immersed in a polyethylene terephthalate plastic matrix. The EESU is composed of 31,353 of these components arranged in parallel. It is said to have a total capacitance of 30.693 F and can hold 52.220 kWh of energy. The device is said to have a weight of 281.56 pound including the box and all hardware. Unlike lithium-ion cells, the technology is said not to degrade with cycling and thus has a functionally unlimited lifetime. It is mentioned the device cannot explode when being charge or impacted and is thus safe for vehicles."

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603 comments

It must be real (4, Funny)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198397)

What's the benefit of a patent for something that doesn't exist yet? At most, they're issued for things that are obvious or have existed for decades. ;)

Re:It must be real (4, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198561)

Don't lose hope. Maybe there's a natural occurrence of an aluminum coated barium titanate powder immersed in a polyethylene terephthalate plastic matrix.

For all we know, that could be the composition of the droppings of a rare butterfly.

Re:It must be real (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26198569)

To prevent it from existing unless you pay a ransom.

Re:It must be real (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26198805)

interesting, but... does it timetravel?

I dunno... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26198409)

If it was a dupe, wouldn't they be talking about it a lot? Selling it in magazines? Making a fake model to scam people? Why go to the effort of hiding it? Why not try to make a profit on it while you can?

This sounds more like a "Holy shit, we can make millions! Got to watch our ass..."

"dupe" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26198617)

I don't think that means what you think it means (here)...

Hmmm (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26198415)

I wonder what they will charge for this?

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26198785)

Wikipedia says "an initial production price of $3,200, falling to $2,100 with mass production is projected"

can hold 52.220 kWh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26198417)

kw, not kwh.

No, it's killowatt-hours. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26198437)

Actually the watt-hour is a measure of (electrical, in this case) energy. It's an awkward convention, but it makes sense when you realize that Watts are equal to Joules over time and that multiplying time back in leaves you with Joules.

Re: can hold 52.220 kWh (5, Informative)

Umuri (897961) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198461)

How do you figure?

The patent specifically mentions kW*H in reference to the 52.220 number.

I assume you were just trying to be smart and correct the summary thinking it was a typo. However, a kW*H is a valid unit of measurement.

In fact you could use them interchangably but it would give the very wrong idea as they measure different things.

A watt is one joule of energy flow over a second. so a KW would be 1000 joules of energy flow over 1 second.
A KW*H is a flow of a kilowatt continuously over an hour, therefore it would be a flow of 1000 joules over 3600 seconds.

So to recap:
1 kw = 1000 joules/sec
1 kw*h = 1000 joules/sec * 3600 seconds

If you were just going to measure the total energy usage, you'd have to keep it just in joules, in which case 52.220 KWH would be 187,992,000.

So yeah, big difference caused by little changes in notation. Of course i haven't done electricity in ages so i probably oversimplified somewhere and fubar'd up.

Re: can hold 52.220 kWh (5, Informative)

Kjellander (163404) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198661)

It's NOT KW*H! It isn't kw either, nor is it kw*h.

It is however kWh, meaning kilowatt hour, and it is a unit of energy.

Start getting you units right, and capitalization DOES matter. M = mega, m = milli.

Re: can hold 52.220 kWh (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198897)

It's NOT KW*H! It isn't kw either, nor is it kw*h.

It is however kWh, meaning kilowatt hour, and it is a unit of energy.

Start getting you units right, and capitalization DOES matter. M = mega, m = milli.

kW*h would be acceptable, so would kW.h (with the dot in the middle, not at the bottom, but /. is so stone-age it won't let me write that).

I'm more concerned with the "281.56 pound", which is not only in the summary but in the patent (I clicked the patent link hoping to see a measurement in kilograms, but it was in pounds there too).

Cannot explode but can be used in cars? (1)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198419)

Since when couldn't Gasoline be used in Cars? Isn't the whole principle of it to make it explode to drive the pistons? Now its good that this thing allegedly won't explode while being charged but with all technologies its about minimising risks through sensible practice rather than their complete elimination.

For instance I'd be willing to bet that applying 10MV at 10MA across this thing would cause some pretty funky changes that would look like an explosion.

Personally I'd like to see some sort of Darwin device in the next generation of cars, "cannot explode unless user should be removed from the human race".

Re:Cannot explode but can be used in cars? (4, Informative)

Khenke (710763) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198529)

It's only in Hollywood gasoline make cars explode with impact (or rather just before). In real world gasoline will burn yes but rarely explode as it need pretty exact amount of gasoline and oxygen to explode. Stop using Hollywood movies for education.

Cannot explode but can be used in Fords? (2, Informative)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198577)

It's only in Hollywood gasoline make cars explode with impact (or rather just before).

Sure they don't. [fordpinto.com]

Re:Cannot explode but can be used in Fords? (1, Funny)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198745)

And this is *totally* safe right ? Inside the box is a 52,000 kwh magnetic field. Around that box we have metal (a car) and magnets (an electrical motor).

Does anyone really need convincing of exactly what will happen when the box is pierced by metal ?

Yes it's electrical energy, so the driver might get thoroughly cooked instead of thrown out of the car.

Re:Cannot explode but can be used in cars? (1, Informative)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198535)

It's actually difficult to make gasoline explode- it needs just the right amount of air. Too little and it won't combust, too much and it burns instead of exploding. That's why you rarely see car explosions outside of movies- they may catch fire, but they won't explode.

By the way, you don't really want gas to explode in the engine either- that damages it. In fact, gasolines have a rating called knock which measures it's likelihood of explosion. That's whats measured by the octane of the fuel. Modern cars want very low knock.

Re:Cannot explode but can be used in cars? (5, Informative)

Beltonius (960316) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198731)

Um, not really.

A combustion event, aka 'explosion' occurs at the beginning of every power stroke in a reciprocating internal combustion engine. When an engine 'knocks' there is a combustion event as well. What makes it a 'knock' instead of a normal part of the power cycle is that it occurs at the wrong time. Knocking indicates perhaps a spark timing issue or the use of a fuel with an improper octane rating (which indicates resistance to knock). Octane ratings describe the resistance of the fuel to spontaneous ignition relative to a mixture of iso-octane (by definition Octane rating of 100) and n-heptane (by definition an octane rating of 0). Extrapolation is what allows for an octane rating of greater than 100. Diesel fuel has a similar concept, a Cetane number which indicates susceptibility to "spontaneous" combustion, since diesels use compression to ignite combustion events rather than an electrical spark.

Modern cars do depend on a much higher octane rating than historical vehicles. This allows for running on a much higher compression ratio and/or the use of turbo-chargers which allow for an engine that is thermodynamically more efficient (as compression ratio approaches infinity, thermodynamic efficiency approaches unity). This is one reason why diesels (compression ratios in the 20's rather than 5-10 for gasoline vehicles) get better mileage for a comparable vehicle/power output.

You are, however, entirely correct about the relative difficulty of causing a gasoline burn or explode. Only the vapor state is flammable and only at a narrow range of particle size.

Re:Cannot explode but can be used in cars? (4, Interesting)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198835)

Modern cars do depend on a much higher octane rating than historical vehicles.

It's actually the opposite - Our cars are normally built to run on pretty low octane ratings today. We have to take a huge swath of the stack for gasoline to satisfy our demand for it, and the result is that our gas, knock wise, is pretty low.

From what I can find, the Model T ran on 93 octane. Not exactly what I'd call a low octane.

Early gas was actually pretty high octane(but tolerances weren't as tight); we didn't actually need all that much of it and it was still competing against Ethanol*, among other fuels. It was only later that gasoline demand started getting high enough that they started running short on the higher octanes, and needed to mix in lesser octane hydrocarbons.

One interesting fact i came across was that the Model T was Ford's original dual fuel vehicle - it featured manual spark advance control and could run on anything from 100% gasoline to 100% ethanol.

*During this time period, everything was competing. There were dozens of electric car companies; steam, ethanol, diesel, gasoline were all competing.

Good enough for a couple days at home. (2, Interesting)

Khyber (864651) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198425)

Let's see. 50kwh. That would run my computer for...two days no problem with monitor and broadband modem included.

Gimme two of these and some high-efficiency photovoltaics and good-bye power grid. I don't care if my house is ugly, cover the entire thing with HEPV.

Re:Good enough for a couple days at home. (3, Informative)

erayd (1131355) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198463)

That's a bloody inefficient computer!

Re:Good enough for a couple days at home. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26198473)

No, that's Xxxxxtreme overclocking, bro!

Only a couple of days? (2, Informative)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198475)

The worst, most inefficient computer in my house uses roughly 250Wh in continuous draw (less if the monitor is off, which it usually is). Relatively modern machine too (Pentium 4, lots of disks, etc).

Unless you have some seriously fucked up computer with hairdryers instead of heatsinks or a g'damned Cray as your desktop I can't see how you'd use that cell up in a 'couple of days'.

Re:Only a couple of days? (2, Interesting)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198713)

I hate to tell you but a P4 isn't modern any more. Not even "relatively" modern.

But your point is valid, especially as the P4s were some of the most power-hungry desktop CPUs ever made.
I've measured my pc at 200 W draw under normal use, most of which will be the graphics card. It probably goes up to 300 W when gaming.

That cell would last me about 10 days of continuous use at 200W if I used it as a UPS. That's crazy.

Now for the important bit. For a car:
Wikipedia says cars use between 0.17 to 0.37 kWÂh/mi
Cell is 52.220 kWh
Therefore a car would have a 141 to 307 mile range, depending on the efficiency of the car.

That's pretty impressive, especially if it can be charged rapidly.

Re:Only a couple of days? (1)

LordKazan (558383) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198951)

it is a capacitor... so it can charge rapidly.. so rapidly in fact that they would probably put a high L inductor "ahead" of it in the charging mechanism to prevent current going from 0 to a-buttload-of-amps on contact and causing dangerous side effects.

the limiting factor on charge rate would be how fast the charging station can deliver current to the charging mechanism - once current is stable an inductor doesn't inhibit it, it just inhibits dI/dt.

Re:Only a couple of days? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26198773)

I want a computer likes yours that somehow exists outside the dimension of time and can take a static unit of energy (250Wh) to run forever. Perhaps you meant 250W? In which case I am suspect to the accuracy of your other calculations.

Re:Good enough for a couple days at home. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26198505)

So you're running an old Alphastation at home? I wonder what your electrical bill is like if you run a 1 kW computer all the time... No, your 1000 W PSU doesn't draw even *nearly* 1000W from the grid unless you have three new GPUs or a gigantic pile of hard drives.

A normal office PC takes about 200 W of power when being used. This bank of capacitors could run one for 11 days straight.

Re:Good enough for a couple days at home. (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198759)

You could of course power a laptop with a wireless 3g connection (60W) for 50000/60 hour = 1.5 months. Given occasional microwave use, say 1 month.

I'm skeptical (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26198427)

"It is mentioned the device cannot explode when being charge or impacted and is thus safe for vehicles."

Anything that stores that much energy in that small a space can do something unfortunate if it is released quickly.

Re:I'm skeptical (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198631)

Thats true. I am assuming that because it is a capacitance device it hasn't got a very high internal resistance, which would mean you couldn't discharge quickly. Maybe the device can't explode but a cable shorting it across probably would.

52 kilowatt Hours? (4, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198433)

TFA:

52.220 kWh of energy

A single car battery is about 200 watt hours. The batteries in the Tesla Roadster holds 53 kWÂh according to Wikipedia.

Now thats an interesting coincidence. I wonder if they just worked out how much capacitor would be needed for the power plant of the Tesla.

Much better than a battery for cars. (5, Interesting)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198501)

A capacitor has the ability for almost all braking energy to be fed back into it.

In stop-go traffic this could make a massive difference in mileage compared to a conventional battery.

Re:Much better than a battery for cars. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198571)

A capacitor has the ability for almost all braking energy to be fed back into it.

Maybe, but don't assume that this device works exactly like a 1000uF electrolytic cap.

Re:52 kilowatt Hours? (4, Informative)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198659)

TFA:

52.220 kWh of energy

A single car battery is about 200 watt hours. The batteries in the Tesla Roadster holds 53 kWÂh according to Wikipedia.

Now thats an interesting coincidence. I wonder if they just worked out how much capacitor would be needed for the power plant of the Tesla.

If they can bring it to market at the stated weight (130kg) it'll makes things very interesting. The Tesla's current battery pack weighs 450kg so you could triple its range. Or cut the vehicles weight by 25% (current weight is about 1200kg).

Re:52 kilowatt Hours? (3, Insightful)

zigziggityzoo (915650) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198949)

You can't triple its range if the *size* of the capacitor is the same as the battery. Just because it weighs less doesn't mean it has the same density.

Re:52 kilowatt Hours? (4, Informative)

knarf (34928) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198915)

That is an anemic car battery you have there... Take a car battery rated 12 V, capacity 60 Ah. This battery can keep up a current of 60A for about one hour (actual capacity depends on discharge rate, lower rate equals higher capacity - up to a point). 60A * 12V DC = 720W. It can do that for about an hour -> capacity 720Wh or about 0.72 KWh. The 12V battery in my tractor has a capacity of 180 Ah which roughly translates to (12 * 180 =) 2.16 KWh. It weighs some 60kg. This EEStor maybe-real-soon-now device has a claimed weight of 128 kg. You'd get about 5 KWh worth of Lead-Acid capacity for that weight, meaning this device - if it ever sees the light of day - has about 10 times more capacity per kg.

It's a lot better than that (4, Informative)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198937)

Lead acid batteries start to degrade quickly once taken below 60% of nominal capacity, and car batteries may only stand 30-40 cycles of discharge below 50%. My marine batteries weigh a total of about the same as the EEStor claimed device, and have a real-world capacity of 1.5kW/hour, if I don't want to replace them every 3 years. This is a ratio more like 30 to 1.

Use standard units, damnit! (4, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198465)

the present invention provides a unique lightweight electric-energy storage unit that has the capability to store ultrahigh amounts of energy

Can't you express these things in units we all all understand, like jigawatts per nanofornight?

Re:Use standard units, damnit! (3, Informative)

edman007 (1097925) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198519)

gigawatt is correctly pronounced, "jigawatt", the "giga" pronunciation only became popular when computers became common
Anyways, if you want it in those units, well:
52220 kWh = 155,416.667 GWnFn (gigawatt-nanoFortnights)

Re:Use standard units, damnit! (2, Funny)

iammani (1392285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198591)

Er, From the TFS, its 52.220 kWh

1 kW = 10^-6 gigawatts
1 hour = 0.0416666667 days = 0.00297619048 fortnights

So 52.220 kWH= 52.220 * 10^-6 * 0.00297619048 = 1.55416667 * 10^-7 gigawatt-nanoFortnights

Re:Use standard units, damnit! (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198783)

You missed the nano.
52.22000 (kW hour) = 1.55416667 x 10^-7 GW fortnights [google.co.uk] (same as your answer)
Converted into nanofortnights (not recognised by google :( ) gives 155.416667 GW nano-fortnights.

Incidentally that's a different number to everyone else who's tried to do the conversion so far.
We've had:
155,416.667 GWnFn (used 52220 instead of 52.220 kWh)
1.55416667 * 10^-7 GWnFn (actually GWFn, forgot to nano)
17545920 GWnFn (actually GW/nFn)
1.74x10^-11 GWnFn (actually nGW/Fn)

Re:Use standard units, damnit! (1)

aaron alderman (1136207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198907)

52.2 kW hr = 187 MJ
1 nanofortnight = 1.2 milliseconds
So 155 GW nFn = 187 GW ms = 187 MJ

So I agree with you :)
155.416667 GW nano-fortnights

Re:Use standard units, damnit! (1)

iammani (1392285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198549)

Glad to help. Its 17545920 gigawatt-nanofortnights (Obtained from the TFA/TFS as 52.220 kWh)

Re:Use standard units, damnit! (1)

aaron alderman (1136207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198843)

Thats far too large of a number to be sensible.
A nanofortnight is only 1.2 ms whereas a fortnight is 1.2 Ms (megaseconds).
I calculated the answer to be 1.74x10^-11 gigawatt-nanofortnights.

Re:Use standard units, damnit! (2, Informative)

aaron alderman (1136207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198581)

Jigawatts(sic) per nanofornight(sic) would be a measure of energy transfer not total energy.
If you are looking for Gigawatt Nanofortnights then the answer is 1.74x10^-11.

Bass (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26198479)

Would two these across the inputs of my amplifier boost bass response?

Check out the patent (5, Informative)

shadester (196414) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198487)

A lot of cool data in the patent filing.

3-6 minutes charge time for 52 kWh. 286 lbs for that compared to 752 for a Li-Ion battery. And the Li-Ion takes 6h to charge.

Re:Check out the patent (4, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198637)

3-6 minutes charge time for 52 kWh.

Better use the heavy duty extention cord.

Re:Check out the patent (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198675)

Electric vehicle charge times seem to be limited by the capacity of household wiring at the moment.

Re:Check out the patent (1)

Macka (9388) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198765)

Though if you're parking at home it's likely to be for long periods of time, so a trickle charge would do just as well. Where you'd want a big hit fast is when you're out and about, and it'd be a lot easier to make commercial charge points available that can deliver when needed.

Ultimately this spells the end end for gas stations, when you could potentially plug in to charge up in a supermarket car park when shopping, or at the local cinema, or at work, or anywhere else you can think of where you park the car and leave it for a few hours to do something else.

Re:Check out the patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26198811)

Ultimately this spells the end end for gas stations, when you could potentially plug in to charge up in a supermarket car park when shopping, or at the local cinema, or at work, or anywhere else you can think of where you park the car and leave it for a few hours to do something else.

Somehow I see this work with wireless electricy...

Re:Check out the patent (1)

Hecatonchires (231908) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198833)

Not necessarily. Electricity isn't free, and those petrol stations that are smart will retool pretty quickly as electrical distribution stations - after all, they're already distributed pretty well all over the country. A danger is having a whopping huge spark occur near those petrol vapour remnants. Also, just imagine plugging your car in at the mall, forgetting to set a max out, and coming back to find you've downloaded 32 gigajoules, and that'll be 1000$ please sir.

Re:Check out the patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26198801)

Why not just have charging stations right next to the electrical substation in town?

Re:Check out the patent (1)

iammani (1392285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198647)

3-6 minutes charge time for 52 kWh.

Can a typical household handle such a load, or may be we may have to visit an electricity pumps to recharge. Either way does not seem bad at all.

Re:Check out the patent (4, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198693)

  1. Park EV under power cables
  2. Throw a rope over the Neutral and use it to pull up a steel cable
  3. Throw the rope over the Active. Attach a second cable
  4. ???
  5. Profit! (assuming you are still alive after step 4).

Alternativelyb- lightning? (1)

cheros (223479) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198821)

If it can really handle that sort of charge speed we're heading towards a way to store lightning.

Now THAT would be cool (figuratively speaking, of course :-)

Might be a good patent? (5, Insightful)

Chris_Jefferson (581445) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198493)

It's things like this that convince me that while patents need some serious fixing, they shouldn't be abolished. While we haven't seen all the details, it looks like genuinely interesting and original to me and a step beyond the currently available state-of-the-art. Of course, only time will tell if this is really a good patent, and if the product is really any good in practice. It's easy to make things that look good in the lab but don't do so well in real usage.

Similar companies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26198525)

Internal combustion engines: Orbital Engine Corporation [orbeng.com.au] . In the 70s was going to produce an orbital engine that was going to revolutionise the world.

Printers: Silverbrook Research [silverbrookresearch.com] . Is supposed to take over the world of printing.

Each of these companies were/are big on promises. Maybe they even do have work beating technology. The problem is that they are professed "IP" generators and are so fixated on exploiting their IP that it ends up being easier for potential customers to engineer around their patents and license the bare minimum. End result is they are always on the edge of the "big time", but never quite reach it.

That's incredible. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198683)

I just had a look at the videos on that Silverbrook Research page you linked to. I haven't been so impressed with any printing technology since the first time I saw a laser printer. It's the kind of thing that makes me wish I had a couple hundred million bucks in venture money so I could back it.

-jcr

Wow, cool (1)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198539)

From the numbers in the summary, a fully-charged one of these would supply enough energy to propel a 3300lbs (1500kg) car from 0 to 1100mph (500m/s).

Put another way, my laptop battery is 65Wh. This ultracapacitor holds 800 times as much energy as my battery. If the technology could be scaled down, an equivalent ultracapacitor would only need to weigh 281.5lbs/800 = .35lbs. (My battery clocks in at just under a pound.)

Re:Wow, cool (4, Insightful)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198633)

From the numbers in the summary, a fully-charged one of these would supply enough energy to propel a 3300lbs (1500kg) car from 0 to 1100mph (500m/s)

Ahhh you must be from the Theoretical Physics Department, over here in Engineering we have wind resistance, friction and efficiency to worry about.

Re:Wow, cool (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198875)

From the numbers in the summary, a fully-charged one of these would supply enough energy to propel a 3300lbs (1500kg) car from 0 to 1100mph (500m/s)

Ahhh you must be from the Theoretical Physics Department, over here in Engineering we have wind resistance, friction and efficiency to worry about.

Not much wind resistance in space. This might be useful for satellite power. Certainly the lifespan of small earth orbiting satellites seems limited by nicad battery life. Capacitors would have no age limit, other than maybe leaking electrolyte all over. (Geosynch satellites eventually run out of station keeping fuel, this wouldn't help them much)

I could list quite a few amsats with burned out batteries, heres the most famous, that came back to life a couple decades after the shorted nicads failed open.
http://www.amsat.org/amsat/sats/n7hpr/ao7.html [amsat.org]

Here's an interesting site and quote about satellite batteries.

http://www.qarc.on.ca/minoct02.htm [qarc.on.ca]

There are 5 battery systems that are fed through a Battery Current Regulator (BCR) at 28v. To-date they have used NICADs. AMSAT is looking at other newer types, like Metal Hydride and Lithium Ion to get more capacity at lower rate, plus the number of times a battery can be charged. They still favor the NICADs because they can be charged more often then the newer ones before they have to be replaced. Robin used slides to show the details of the satellite inside and out.

Comparison with gasoline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26198559)

The capacitor described apparently stores ~180MJ.

Gasoline contains 39MJ/litre, so the capacitor contains the same energy density as 1 gallon of fuel (or 1.2 US gallons for leftpondians).

If we new the efficiency of converting energy in the capacitor into kinetic energy, we could compare the usefulness of this technology.

And, for amusement only, it would be entertaining to compare it with aircraft that travel >1000km on a cupful of natural gas. (Sailplanes/glider, of course :)

Re:Comparison with gasoline (4, Informative)

femto (459605) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198657)

In their favour, an electric motor is much more energy efficient than an internal combustion engine. 20% seems to be the maximum for a practical internal combustion engine. Electric motors should easily be able to reach 90% efficiency, with the record being 98% efficiency [csiro.au] . Thus that 4.5 litres of petrol (1.2 US gallons of gas) becomes 20 litres. Not too bad for a first attempt, given that a small car (eg. Toyoto Echo/Yaris) typically takes 30-35 litres of petrol on a fill.

Yaris and their ilk aren't the model of efficiency in their design. Surely it wouldn't be too hard to make a Yaris type car use 35% less energy, resulting in a capacitor powered electric car with similar range to a petrol equivalent?

Re:Comparison with gasoline (1)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198687)

The capacitor described apparently stores ~180MJ.

Gasoline contains 39MJ/litre, so the capacitor contains the same energy density as 1 gallon of fuel (or 1.2 US gallons for leftpondians).

If we new the efficiency of converting energy in the capacitor into kinetic energy, we could compare the usefulness of this technology.

According to Wikipedia the Tesla [wikipedia.org] has battery-to-wheel efficiency of about 90%. Internal combustion engines are about 20% (the thermodynamic limit is 37%).

Re:Comparison with gasoline (0)

Beltonius (960316) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198757)

Electrical energy into mechanical energy is in the 80-90% range. Chemical (via combustion in an internal combustion engine) is 40-50% at best.

Fun fact: on the basis of where the chemical input energy ends up, your average car engine is as good a water heater as propelling the car.

Highly unlilkely (5, Insightful)

pdxdada (684092) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198573)

Ok, I have not read tfa (in this case tfp), but I do know a bit about capacitors. Follow along with me here: You can calculate the energy stored in a capacitor (in Joules) by E = .5*CV^2 where C = capacitance (in Farads) and V = voltage, or
--> V = sqrt((2E)/C)
--> 3500 = sqrt((2*187992000)/52.22)
3500v is a lot. Up until now most comercially available supercapacitors do 5.5v or less and tend to leak energy over time. It's possilbe these guys have really made a stunning break through (the fact they filed for a patent is sure something), but the numbers set off my bullshit detector.

Re:Highly unlilkely (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26198613)

they would also need a breakthrough in matirials as the force exerted by the electric feild in such a small capacitor would rip it apart.

Re:Highly unlilkely (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26198651)

well, your calculations match the numbers that they show in the patent application.

they specificity are claiming a breakthrough in high voltage capability

Re:Highly unlilkely (2, Informative)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198733)

Ok, I have not read tfa (in this case tfp), but I do know a bit about capacitors. Follow along with me here: You can calculate the energy stored in a capacitor (in Joules) by E = .5*CV^2 where C = capacitance (in Farads) and V = voltage, or

--> V = sqrt((2E)/C)

--> 3500 = sqrt((2*187992000)/30.7)

3500v is a lot. Up until now most comercially available supercapacitors do 5.5v or less and tend to leak energy over time. It's possilbe these guys have really made a stunning break through (the fact they filed for a patent is sure something), but the numbers set off my bullshit detector.

TFA (or TFP if you prefer) does indeed state 3500v. The patent also claims leakage of only 0.1% per 30 days. So, big claims. Hopefully they're for real. We'll just have to wait and see.

The real issue (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26198587)

The capacity is impressive for the size but I didn't notice anything about the rate power can be discharged or storage life. The two big issues with capacitors for storage have always been they tend to want to discharge all at once and left for several days they tend to loose power. If they have addressed these issues with this design it'd be a staggering advance given it's size and weight. I didn't try to do the math but it's enough storage to have a respectable range. The weight is actually far less than a standard car when you add in the difference in engine weights where as most electrics it's more because of battery weight. I hope it's real and not another concept where "it'd be great accept....". I'm waiting for the punchline that it'll do 0-60 in under 4 seconds but the power discharges in 5 seconds.

Interesting specifications (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26198603)

No one has noted yet that these caps also have insane *individual* unit specs! They're rated for 3500 V, have about 1 milli Farad and weight about *5 grams* each. This is absolutely unheard of. Normally you have to choose two from: small size, high voltage and high capacitance.

The energy that a cap contains is written as E = U^2*C, so it's obvious that scaling up the voltage gives you high rewards very rapidly. The problem has been that the insulating layers inside caps cannot handle high voltages without being made very thick. This means less capacitance since ideally the plates should be as large as possible and as close as possible.

The bill of materials looks nice too: Aluminum, Barium, Titanium, simple plastic. If they can actually produce the goods, this could be very cheap to mass produce.

If they can commercialise this, it *will* revolutionarise portable power (3500 V inside your iPod?;). But until they show a working prototype I'd hold my horses and not bet on this to solve our energy storage problems.

Introducing : the iTaser (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198671)

> 3500 V inside your iPod

When you popped that one, it became clear to me what the next step would be: a combination iPod / self-defense device....

Re:Introducing : the iTaser (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198697)

Heh.. An iPod that serves as its own security system. I like it.

Not to mention, that if the cops are going to carry tasers, maybe we should, too.

-jcr

Oh, this is clever. (4, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198635)

At first I wasn't getting why this would have better capacitance than conventional materials. Then around page 6, I realized that they're laying down a lot of layers. Like, a micron of conductor and nine microns of dielectric in each pass.

This is what patents are really for.

-jcr

Seems you are a factor ten wrong on the capacity (0, Redundant)

Iffie (1410897) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198641)

In the patant it states 52.22 Kwh storage capacity, not 52.220 Kwh as in thousands (52 Mwh). Thousands are separated by comma in the text.

Re:Seems you are a factor ten wrong on the capacit (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26198699)

But when you're using Kelvin-wh's, what does it matter?

Patent doesn't prove anything. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26198653)

Taken from http://www.theeestory.com/topics/934?page=2 [theeestory.com]
"I have been following this blog for time. I, like most have been very hopeful that EESTOR will be successful. I was very encouraged when they were able to show some third party verification last summer. Then something recently happened that corrected my vision. That something was Gary Madoff. The experts have stated Gary Madoff could not do what he claimed for more than a decade. But peopled believed anyway. Some wanted to believe so much they threw away their entire fortunes. There were two clear signs Gary Madoff was conning people. One, secrecy is a must. Cons must always have a secret process because their process cannot stand independent review. "If I tell you how I do it others will steal my work " is the main stay of any con. Two, A goal everybody wants to believe badly. A con cannot succeed unless the people to be conned are desperate to achieve the goal the con man claims to be achieving. Gary Madoff had secrecy. Gary Madoff had returns everyone wanted to believe were possible. Sound familiar?"

Enablement (1)

Wolfbone (668810) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198667)

The patent (PDF) is a highly information-rich document that offers remarkable insight into the device.

Well of course it is. If you can't actually build a working device from the information disclosed in the patent, the patent isn't valid:

http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/documents/2100_2164.htm [uspto.gov]

Re:Enablement (2, Funny)

Extremus (1043274) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198741)

"But it works in this simulation software that I have just coded! How this cannot count as an 'working device'?!"

More details. (2, Informative)

Spaceball_3000 (807716) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198703)

For more details on this, and people who have analyzed all the current data on in check out --> http://www.theeestory.com/ [theeestory.com]
I've checked it out about once a week, for updates on it, but over the past year, it's heading towards vaporware.

kWh is a confusing unit for energy... (1)

neonux (1000992) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198707)

"It is said to have a total capacitance of 30.693 F and can hold 52.220 kWh of energy."

Wait! How many Library of Congress could that battery power by hour?

Re:kWh is a confusing unit for energy... (2, Insightful)

pm_rat_poison (1295589) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198917)

Oh, yeah. kWh are confusing. I guess it's only natural to ignore the fact that 1 kWh is simply the energy spent by using a device that has a power of 1kW for an hour.
On the other end, 1 foot = 12 inches, 1 yard = 3 feet, 1 furlong = 220 yards and 1 mile = 8 furlongs. Sure. That makes TOTAL sense

Battery backup for my house? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198743)

52.220 kWh

My house = 100 amps (max) * 110V = 11 kW.

So could this thing power my house for about five hours when a power line gets cut? If so, that might not be a bad investment for the house, depending on cost, of course.

Re:Battery backup for my house? (1)

tomtomtom777 (1148633) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198921)

My house = 100 amps (max) * 110V = 11 kW.

I would recheck that. If you really use 11kW, I would throw a way some of those electrical heaters, turn of all your jacuzi's when you leave the house, and look at the efficiency of your greenhouses.

Otherwise Al Gore and I will hold you personally responsable for the global warming...

So where is it? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26198751)

The patent implies they had built at least 10 of these things (they have a table of test results), years ago when they submitted the patent. If it is real, there is no reason they can't demonstrate it publicly now. So where is it?

Might be useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26198837)

I finished my career in physics studying this material and this problem. This could be useful. Hate to see patents encumber material science. Let's get busy.

Instant stats (3, Informative)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 5 years ago | (#26198885)

The stats are awesome for this if it's true. Here's a quick lowdown. Full stats are below (taken from PDF doc).

The weight is more than twice as light as Lithium Ion
The volume is 20% smaller than Lithium Ion
The charging time is 60x faster than Li-ion (15x faster than NiMH)

-----, EESU, NiMH, LA (Gel), Ni-Z, Li-Ion
Weight (pounds), 286.56, 1716, 3646, 1920, 752
Volume (inch^3), 4541, 17881, 43045, 34780, 5697
Discharge rate/30 days, 0.1%, 5%, 1%, 1%, 1%
Charging time, 3-6 min, 1.5h, 8h, 1.5h, 6h
Life reduced with deep cycle use, none, moderate, high, moderate, high
Hazardous materials, none, yes, yes, yes, yes

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