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Lockheed Signs with EEStor to Use New Ultracapacitor

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the no-this-is-not-shocking dept.

Power 50

Over a year ago, we discussed a start-up company, EEStor, that was making incredible claims about their new power source. Later, EEStor made waves with its bold predictions and secretive policies. Now, Lockheed Martin has decided to give EEStor a chance. The two companies signed a deal this week to use the new energy storage units in Lockheed's products. The folks at GM-Volt interviewed a Lockheed representative about the deal. The representative had this to say regarding EEStor: "We've visited their facility. We were very impressed. They are taking an approach that lends itself to a very quick ramp-up in production. We've seen a lot of their testing and efforts to measure the purity of the powders that they use, and the chemistry. Well be working with them very closely this year to develop prototypes in certain pursuits."

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They have to actually MAKE them, first. (4, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026814)

They've missed the publicly announced milestone, and there is a lot of speculation about the practicality of the method. Don't get me wrong, I *really* want them to succeed, but so far, it's 100% vapor.

Re:They have to actually MAKE them, first. (3, Interesting)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026850)

Articles state Lockheed will be helping out in that department - it's a complete collaboration and will probably give 'em a chance. Lockheed's got more pull and power than most anyone else, so in this arena their input is good for development. Now, whether you'd rather have this thing drop immediately into the hands of military contractors is another issue, but you've got to admit - they get the job done.

Goodbye, Sweet Freedom (2, Informative)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027370)

Lockheed Martin to Use EEstors Ultracapacitors for Military and Homeland Security Applications [] January 13th, 2008

The military needs the energy density that this EEstor thing provides for weapon systems.

EEstor: More Clues Emerge []

For years, I wanted to believe that Peak Oil could bring this horror show down. My problem, of course, was that I couldn't ignore simple, observable realities and the fact that evil people have many plans up their sleeves.

Some of you view collapse due to Peak Oil as a given. I understand that desire. Unfortunately, it's just not going to go that way This system is going to limp on, creaking and grinding and murdering and polluting all the way into the grim dystopia of clean, green fascism.

Shell's $30 per Barrel Oil Shale Process []

The technology to build the techno green utopia has been around for easily thirty years. Sorry folks, that's not how it went, and that's not how it's going to go. The primacy of new killing technologies and technologies of political control go hand in hand with the clean energy systems.

Forget the Green Technology - The Hot Money Is in Guns []

What kind of political and economic system are the limousine liberals and the four star generals creating here? (Rhetorical question.)

Kleiner Perkins: Al Gore and Colin Powell, Together at Last to Save the Planet []

To top it off, this Lockheed Martin press release includes one of the most terrifying phrases Ive ever encountered: Energy independence for the Warfighter.

Think about that phrase for a few minutes, if you dare.

Via: Press Media Wire [] :

Lockheed Martin has signed an exclusive international rights agreement to integrate and market Electrical Energy Storage Units (EESU) from EEStor, Inc., for military and homeland security applications. Specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

EEStor, based in Cedar Park, TX, is developing a ceramic battery chemistry that could provide 10 times the energy density of lead acid batteries at 1/10th the weight and volume. As envisioned, EESUs will be a fully "green" technology that will be half the price per stored watt-hour than traditional battery technologies.

"Lockheed Martin has a wide range of innovative energy solutions for federal, state and regional energy applications," said Glenn Miller, vice president of Technical Operations and Applied Research at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "The EEStor energy storage technology provides potential solutions for the demanding requirements for energy in military and homeland defense applications."

EESUs are planned as nontoxic, non-hazardous and non-explosive. Since the EESU design is based on ultra-capacitor architecture, it will allow for flexible packaging and rapid charge/discharge capabilities. EESUs will be ideally suited for a wide range of power management initiatives that could lead to energy independence for the Warfighter.

"Lockheed Martin continues to focus on providing our Warfighters with new and innovative technologies that will make their jobs easier," said Lionel Liebman, manager of Program Development - Applied Research at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "Our ruggedized BattPack(TM) energy storage unit generated considerable interest at the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting in October 2007 for its potential for fuel savings in vehicular silent watch applications. The potential of an even safer, smaller and more powerful EESU in BattPack(TM) would significantly enhance the Warfighter's capabilities."

EESU qualification testing and mass production at EEStor's facility in Cedar Park is planned for late 2008.

EEStor, Inc., of Cedar Park, TX, originally developed its solid-state EESU technology as a longer lasting, lighter, more powerful environmentally friendly electronic storage unit for a wide variety of applications. EEStor's vision also includes EESU facilitating the conversion of wind energy and photovoltaics into primary electrical energy providers and increasing the role of renewables for increasing energy production. Its CEO and president, Richard Weir, is also the inventor named on its EESU principal technology patent.

Lockheed wants to believe (1)

GPS Pilot (3683) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040640)

To summarize the interview with the Lockheed manager: he basically said "We haven't tested any of their prototypes, but we totally take their word for it when they say their product has 10x the energy density of lead-acid batteries. Oh, and at a fraction of the cost, too!"

I sure hope he doesn't end up eating his words.

I wonder (2, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027072)

Can it be recalinbrated (by tapping my hands on a panel a few times) to emit a tachyon pulse? Because it it can't, I ain't interested.

Re:I wonder (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22045570)

No, it can't, but with a slight modification it can produce verteron particles.

Run for it, Marty (3, Funny)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027084)

If this ultracapacitor can discharge its energy at a rate of 1.21 jigawatts, it's no wonder Lockheed's interested.

Re:Run for it, Marty (0, Offtopic)

Bobzibub (20561) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027286)

Just what the world needs, another weapon.

Re:Run for it, Marty (2, Funny)

jmauro (32523) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027304)

Don't feel so bad, this one is made out of used pinball machine parts.

Re:Run for it, Marty (1)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027454)

If you think about it though, almost every technology can be a weapon. Sucks though.

Re:Run for it, Marty (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 6 years ago | (#22029094)

Name one that can't and I'll name a use you haven't thought of yet.

Grapefruit (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 6 years ago | (#22029378)

Don't mention Jimmy Cagney. That was just Hollywood.

Re:Grapefruit (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22029704)

Frozen grapefruit are the right size to be used as ammunition in cannons (including air cannons), as well as onagers and trebuchets.

Grapefruit juice can enhance the bioactivity of certain drugs; by concentrating the active ingredient you could arrange to have someone OD on their prescription meds. It'd look like an accidental overdose.

An impromptu weapon could be made by slipping one into the foot of a stocking -- voila, improvised mace, with which you could bludgeon someone. More effective yet if the grapefruit is frozen.

And so on...

Re:Run for it, Marty (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22029714)

When I was checking in to fly a little while ago, I was asked if I was carrying anything 'that could be used as a weapon.' I thought for a second, and came to the conclusion that I was carrying very little that couldn't be used as a weapon with a little ingenuity. In the interests of a quiet life, I didn't explain this to the security operative, I just mumbled 'no' and carried on.

Re:Run for it, Marty (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031044)

Ah, someone who thinks along the same lines I do. I'm not sure whether to laugh or groan when someone says we should ban all weapons, anything that can e used as a weapon or any thing that could be used by the military.

Re:Run for it, Marty (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22033262)

Aye, they'd have to chop off everyone's arms, legs and head - all pretty effective weapons if used correctly.

Re:Run for it, Marty (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22036354)

If everyone were a Kzinti-like tiger, and could eviscerate, literally, their attackers at a moment's notice, I submit they'd have less crime, not more. Perhaps our high levels of crime are due to the ability of a criminal to easily overpower other people, who have no effective built-in defenses.

Nah. First-order problems solving: Grab it and force it into reverse. Ban guns.

Re:Run for it, Marty (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22036498)

We already have done that in this country (UK). Seems to be working pretty well :P If martial arts were part of formal education then it could make life a lot more interesting, though :)

Re:Run for it, Marty (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 6 years ago | (#22036180)

What about someone that's a black belt? What happens to them these days?

Re:Run for it, Marty (2, Insightful)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 6 years ago | (#22028212)

A simply fantastical amount of human progress has come about through the development of weapons and their subsequent reapplication for less violent uses.

We'd be nowhere if we hadn't first learned how to make knives and spears and bows and arrows.

Re:Run for it, Marty (1)

jdray (645332) | more than 6 years ago | (#22030828)

Beating swords into ploughshares? There are probably more examples of people learning to use everyday implements as weapons. For an example, read up on the history of the Ninja in Japan. Applied properly, your average farm implement can be quite dangerous.

Re:Run for it, Marty (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22036386)

I thought it was materials science that was the real driver behind technological advancements. Before building planes out of fantastic new metals, and engines out of fantastic new ceramics, you have to have the fantastic new metals and ceramics. Before you can build VLSIC chips out of semiconductors, you first have to have semiconductors.


Re:Run for it, Marty (3, Funny)

BobSixtyFour (967533) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027314)

With a discharge like that, the only thing that can charge it up is a bolt of lighting!

Re:Run for it, Marty (4, Interesting)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#22029000)

With a discharge like that, the only thing that can charge it up is a bolt of lighting!

I realize this is just a joke, but that is in fact a great idea. We are looking for ever cheaper energy, and lightning is extremely high power, and rather constant in certain areas. If cheap enough storage devices could instantly store it, it would make an incredibly good power source.

Re:Run for it, Marty (1)

BobSixtyFour (967533) | more than 6 years ago | (#22030886)

Doc> Unfortunately you never know when or where it's ever going to strike. Marty> We do n- oh hey wait...wait reality check... we don't have a time machine that can tell us when or where its going to strike... and it is not necessarily written on a "save the clock tower!" flier with a girl's phone number on the back. Marty> This is heavy.

Re:Run for it, Marty (4, Interesting)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031060)

Doc> Unfortunately you never know when or where it's ever going to strike.

In fact, scientists are really quite good at causing a storm to develop a lightning strike exactly where they want it. Shoot a grounded cable into the clouds, and you've got extremely good odds. For a more sustainable method, building a tower in the absolute middle of nowhere in the flat plains of the US would guarantee a steady supply of lightning strikes, without moving parts, or much maintenance.

Re:Run for it, Marty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22029388)

But.. that's only 1.13 jigibiwatts. They're ripping you off!

Lockheed haven't tested it... (1)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027190)

From TFA:

Do they have something that they've tested that you've seen which makes you want to work with them?
We haven't personally tested their prototypes yet. Its something that we'll work on together this year.
Not helpful in dispelling claims of vaporware. It does sound amazing though. Interestingly, it seems they intend to keep the tech strictly in-house, rather than licensing it. Makes me think of a future where EEstor cells are in everything. Good for standardization I suppose.

Re:Lockheed haven't tested it... (1)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027214)

I wonder if the ads will feature an EEStor Bunny?

Re:Lockheed haven't tested it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22031110)

Maybe they'll team up with Boeing, now they have the appropriate technology to power the Podlenkov devices. Throw it under some blanket project at GM (probably Nortrop Grumman division) and we'll be none the wiser.

Re:Lockheed haven't tested it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22033442)

Makes me think of a future where EEstor cells are in everything.
Start worrying when they change their name to Shipstone.

Funding (1)

sworoc (1061804) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027860)

Lockheed picking this up will help develop the technology more quickly, something that I'm all for. If they can find a way to use this technology usefully and practically (which I think they can), it will change the way that we use electricity on all sorts of levels.

Re:Funding (1)

jswigart (1004637) | more than 6 years ago | (#22028046)

new police tasers here we come!

Re:Funding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22028082)

don't taze me bro!

Re:Funding (1)

Lost Race (681080) | more than 6 years ago | (#22028294)

Finally, a non-non-lethal taser. Hit 'em with that and the hydrofluoric acid spray and there won't even be a body to dispose of.

Not to be confused with.. (4, Funny)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 6 years ago | (#22028342)

Not to be confused with an 'ultracrapacitor' which is apparently something that exists within the guy in the cubicle next to mine... And let me tell you this: it is *real* vapor ware.

Hmmm (3, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22028486)

measure the purity of the powders that they use

Meaning they let the executives snort the primo cocaine off the hooker's pelvis.

Do you realize the streetvalue of this stuff? (1)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | more than 6 years ago | (#22038192)


"Funny" (0, Offtopic)

Fleetie (603229) | more than 6 years ago | (#22029562)

Isn't there a way to set up Slashdot so that I can not have to see any comments labelled "Funny"? Because they're about as funny as a kick in the teeth, and serve only to mark out the less-educated "members" (and I do mean "members"). Pearls before grunting swine - really. Mod me down as much as you like; it's true. Grunting, baaa-ing, bleating ignoramuses who can only react to interesting stories by posting silly quips. It's like fucking Pink Floyd "Animals" in here. Baaaaaa!
Admins: Please do consider implementing a killfile system based on how articles are labelled. I'm absolutely sure many of the less-stupid readers would very much appreciate not having to sift through the 90% of comments that are posted by the ill-educated unwashed and labelled by their peers "Funny".
Wouldn't it be ironic if some of those cretins labelled this comment "Funny"?!

Re:"Funny" (0, Offtopic)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22029742)

Considering that almost as many users have joined after you as before, it is quite astonishing that you haven't worked out how to click on the preferences link at the top of the page, yet feel qualified to call other Slashdot readers 'Grunting, baaa-ing, bleating ignoramuses.'

Re:"Funny" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22031302)

it is quite astonishing that you haven't worked out how to click on the preferences link at the top of the page, yet feel qualified to call other Slashdot readers 'Grunting, baaa-ing, bleating ignoramuses.'

Game. Set. Match. :)

Re:"Funny" (1)

Big Frank (921537) | more than 6 years ago | (#22030278)

I agree. If you find out how to turn off the "funny" comments please let me know.

Re:"Funny" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22031510)

That would be awesome! And while they're at it, maybe they can include a function to filter out stories from certain editors (*cough* I'm looking at you kdawson). But where oh where would they keep these Preferences.? If only they had a control panel to edit such Preferences and allow us to save our own Preferences. Of course, that introduces the difficulty of finding a name for the page where people edit their Preferences. I'm not sure what they should call it, do you have a Preference?

Who's the bleating ignoramus?

Maybe 5% chance this is legit.... (3, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 6 years ago | (#22030964)

It has all the telltales of fraud or of people havinfg unjustified high hopes for their product because of a self-delusion. Of course there is a small chance of this working. Break-througfhs have been made before. But they should not be believed until they produce a working prototype and it has been evaluated thoroughly by an impattiel third party. In the past, this type of claims were either never deliverd on, or it turned out that the devices could not be made to last long. Making an energy-storage device last long is not an engineering task, that can be planned or that is typically successful.

Fundamental physical error. (1)

mbkennel (97636) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040154)

I didn't think this up, but a physicist who had previously worked on barium titanate capacitors for many years pointed out what he thinks is EEstor's fundamental error.

It is true that ferroelectrics (i.e. barium titanate) can give high dielectric constants, and high quality materials processing may be able to improve the dielectric constant non-trivially.

The fundamental error is computing energy storage.

To be blunt, it appears they did this:

1. put in geometry, and dielectric constant K, compute apparent capacitance C, compute predicted energy storage = 1/2 C V^2. Wow! 1.21 jigawatts!
2. Call up the VC's!
3. Go into stealth mode
4. Profit!

The problem is that energy storage doesn't work like this for high voltages, there is well-known dielectric saturation.

Energy storage in that regime with barium titanate is linear with voltage, not quadratic.

Notice how all of EEstor's claims on milestones are about dielectric constant (measured at zero volts of course) or purity of this thing or some production process step.

None of that matters for what people really care about: net energy density at actual working maximum voltage.

That needs to be measured.

3. Find out energy storage is two orders of magnitude lower than we promised.
4. Don't profit.

Re:Maybe 5% chance this is legit.... (1)

WileyC (188236) | more than 6 years ago | (#22065484)

Let's put it in the 30-40% range. Lockheed is willing to gamble now and then (they do have an impressive research wing... which means lots of failures), but they would probably be unwilling to risk it without at least a working model that shows signs of commercial viability. Last week, I'd agree with your assessment! =)

When does this the public? (1)

Bootarn (970788) | more than 6 years ago | (#22033052)

I'm waiting for this invention to reach the public. This could very well be the answer to the environmental issues related to automotive propulsion and the short mileage of electrically propulsed vehicles. Unfortunately this will disappear somewhere within Lockheed Martin and/or some defense department somewhere, or it will get so covered in patents that no one can actually use it, or it will be lobbied to death.

Re:When does this the public? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 6 years ago | (#22043438)

Well hopefully, it will get patented, and the patents will actually spell out everything we need to know to duplicate it. So even if it gets buried somehow, the patents can only last 20 years (unless Congress passes a stupid Sonny Bono patent extension act), so at least we'll all be able to use it in two decades.

But it seems to me the answer to the short range of electric vehicles has already been solved: not long ago, here on Slashdot, there was an article about some university researchers developing some type of "nanowire" lithium ion battery technology, which promised 10x capacity over today's Li-ion batteries. We already have the Tesla, which goes ~150 miles (IIRC) on a charge with Li-ion. Of course, the Tesla is extremely lightweight, not like a normal car, so let's assume that we could stick the same powertrain and batteries into a regular family sedan and get, oh, 40 miles (which is only a fraction of the Tesla's range). Multiply that by 10 with the new nanowire technology, and you get 400 miles, which is perfectly acceptable range for a car. Now the only factor blocking us from completely replacing gas hogs is the charging time, because 400 mile range means you can drive around all you want in one day, and then let it recharge overnight in your garage, but you can't go on long trips conveniently. Of course, if they could get the typical range up to 700-800 miles, then even this wouldn't be a problem, as you could recharge at your hotel; most people probably don't want to drive more than around 800 miles in a day without spending the night somewhere.

We just have to see if this "nanowire" thing actually pans out.

Re:When does this the public? (1)

Bootarn (970788) | more than 6 years ago | (#22048270)

Good thinking. I also saw this "nanowire" article. This could also be a feasible solution. I just forgot it while writing my previous comment. If it could power for twenty hours a laptop which now runs for two hours, then we have a solution to battery life issues with a lot of products.

I also read somewhere about a new kind of solar cell which is supposedly twice as effective as previous kinds. Using a nanowire battery as accumulator for such a solar cell, solar powered vehicles could benefit from both inventions and perhaps reach the size of a regular sedan.
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