Future Energy eNews    IntegrityResearchInstitute.org      Sept. 9, 2006       

1) Flywheels Make Electrical Grids More Reliable - Megawatts from clusters of 25 kW flywheels 

2) STOERN Technology Collection of articles & emails on the Irish claim to free energy 

3) Floating Wind Farms  - 3 to 7 megawatt turbines to be located far out to sea

4) Who Killed the Electric Car? - Movie at COFE2 teaches a vital future energy lesson

5) EEStor Ultracapacitors - Replaces rechargable batteries and have longer life, faster charging

6) Planktos Inc. - COFE2 Speaker solving the other energy problem - too much CO2

7) Solar Silicon from Feedstock - Industrial metallurgical silicon promises cheap solar cells


1) Making Electrical Grids More Efficient

By Peter Fairley ,Technology Review, August 10, 2006 http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=17285&ch=biztech

Beacon Power offers a new way to keep the juice flowing steadily.

Beacon Power's flywheels can absorb and release power in less than four seconds, balancing supply and demand on the power grid faster, cleaner, and cheaper than conventional power plants. 
Electric transmission and distribution has long been a tough nut for technology innovation. But deregulated power markets are helping technology developers bypass notoriously tight-fisted, conservative utilities.

TransÉnergie led the way, using DC power technology to build its own "merchant" power lines that carry power for the highest bidder, rather than simply serving the local utilities (see "TransÉnergie: Playing Two Power Games http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=14287&ch=biztech ).
Now energy storage developer Beacon Power Corp. <http://www.beaconpower.com/> of Wilmington, MA, is proposing a similar end-run around slow-moving utilities. Rather than marketing its flywheel-based energy storage systems to utilities, the company plans to build its own merchant flywheel plants that move power on and off a power line to stabilize the grid.

It is an idea that's attracting attention from the independent system operators (ISOs), the regional organizations charged with operating the nation's power grids. California's and New York's ISOs are already testing Beacon Power's equipment. And Matt Lazarewicz, the company's chief technical officer, says an equally important constituency to impress is Wall Street. According to him, the merchant model is the only model Wall Street will finance. "The returns are higher that way," says Lazarewicz. "As soon as you say a utility's going to buy something or do something, investors roll their eyes and walk away."
Beacon Power's flywheel energy storage systems are designed to provide frequency regulation -- a service for which ISOs paid more than $600 million last year. Grid operators need help with frequency regulation because the frequency of a grid's alternating current is constantly fluctuating as electric devices and generators turn on and off, causing temporary imbalances in power production and demand. Unmet demand puts a strain on a grid's power plants, slowing them down and dragging the grid frequency below its set-point (60 hz in North America, 50 hz in Europe and most of Asia). Excess supply has the opposite effect. And either condition can cause utility lines and power plants to automatically disconnect from the grid, thereby preventing damage to utility and customer equipment, but also increasing the risk of blackouts.

ISOs currently rely on fossil-fuel power plants -- primarily gas turbines -- to smooth out a grid's frequency variations. Utilities bid to provide this service, in doing so, placing a set proportion of their power plants' capacity (some 1-2 percent of a grid's total power generation) under the ISOs' direct control. On signals from ISOs, designated plants ramp up and down to roughly balance supply and demand. It's a costly and polluting process because power plants burn their fuel most efficiently when run steadily and at full capacity. "Doing regulation with fossil-fuel generation is the tail wagging the dog," says Imre Gyuk, who runs the U.S. Department of Energy's energy storage research program.

Gas-fired frequency regulation is also increasingly expensive, due to the increasing cost of natural gas. Dan Mears, president of the San Diego-based energy consultancy Technology Insights, says high-cost gas hits the ISOs twice. In addition to boosting the cost of gas-fired frequency regulation, high gas prices are accelerating the installation of wind turbines, whose gusty, choppy power output may increase the need for frequency regulation. "It's a problem feeding on itself," says Mears.

Beacon Power's flywheel storage systems are programmed to zero out frequency fluctuations by recycling energy: an electric motor uses excess grid power to accelerate magnetically levitated carbon and fiberglass flywheels to as high as 22,500 rpm, then discharge that stored kinetic energy by regenerating the electricity when the grid frequency dips. Unlike batteries -- the leading competitor in energy storage -- Beacon's flywheels can withstand continuous deep cycling without losing capacity.
The most recent test of its technology, a four-month trial begun last week at Pacific Gas and Electric's San Ramon research center, employs seven 6-kilowatt-hour flywheels, each the size of a small refrigerator, ganged together to form a system that can absorb or discharge 100 kilowatts of power for 15 minutes. For commercial systems, Beacon Power is building 25-kilowatt flywheels the size of tall refrigerators, which would be combined in clusters to deliver 1 to 20 megawatts.

The flywheels' rapid response should also make every megawatt go further than the equivalent output from a gas-fired power plant, say officials at the California Energy Commission <http://www.energy.ca.gov/> in Sacramento, which is cofunding the California demonstration with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Mike Gravely, the California Energy Commission project manager tending the San Ramon tests, says gas-fired generators can take five minutes or more to respond to California ISO's frequency control signals (issued every four seconds). By then, the system has often moved back toward equilibrium on its own. In contrast, Beacon's flywheels are capable of switching from full power absorb to full power discharge faster than Cal-ISO can send its commands. "There's a possibility that if you can respond to the needs faster, you may not need as much energy -- you can do more with less," says Gravely.

Gyuk at the DOE predicts that just 100 megawatts of flywheel reserve -- half of what California buys from conventional generators today -- could handle 90 percent of the state's frequency problems. And, if the costs come in as Beacon Power predicts, the resulting savings could be substantial. Lazarewicz says a one-megawatt plant will cost about $1.5 million to build and can expect to earn about $400,000 per year from the ISOs for its services. As a result, Lazarewicz says the plant should pay for itself in four years, even after covering the cost of the power lost in running the systems (about 15 percent of the total energy handled).

Mears says the flywheel's quick response could also have a welcome side-benefit: improving the grid's reliability. Flywheel plants could free up gas-fired plants to provide extra peaking power on sweltering summer days when air conditioners are at full blast and interstate power lines are full. What's more, the flywheel's quick response could keep a tighter hold on the grid's frequency, squelching power deviations that start small but, when the system is overstressed, can initiate a cascading failure. "Keeping the grid stable is the whole idea behind frequency regulation," agrees Lazarewicz. "This is simply a way that we can do that better, and cheaper."

2) STEORN-Technology

Adolf Schneider, adolf.schneider@datacomm.ch (draft version of Jupiter-Verlag article) Sept./Oct., 2006 Issue, NET-Journal, MTFE News 250806 

Steorn Free Energy

For details of the new Irish Magnetic Technology see:



http://v3.espacenet.com/textdoc?DB=EPODOC&IDX=WO2006035419&F=0 PCT-Patent

Publishing date: April 6, 2006, priority date: Sept. 27, 2004

These men think they're about to change the world

The Guardian Unlimited, August 25, 2006 http://environment.guardian.co.uk/energy/story/0,,1858172,00.html

Heard the one about the two Irishmen who say they can produce limitless amounts of clean, free energy? Plenty of scientists have - but few are taking them seriously. Steve Boggan investigates.

Do you remember that awful feeling as a child on Christmas Day when Santa left you the toy you wanted . . . without any batteries? This feeling comes to me as I meet Sean McCarthy and Richard Walshe, two men making the claim that they are about to change the world - for ever. .... Last week, McCarthy, Walshe and the other 28 shareholders of Steorn, a privately owned technology research company, took out a full-page advertisement (for £ 75'000) in the Economist. In it, they called upon scientists to form a 12-member jury to decide whether their free-energy system is real, hoaxed, imagined or incorrectly well-intentioned.

... There is a test rig with wheels and cogs and four magnets meticulously aligned so as to create the maximum tension between their fields and one other magnet fixed to a point opposite. A motor rotates the wheel bearing the magnets and a computer takes 28,000 measurements a second. The magnets, naturally, act upon one another. And when it is all over, the computer tells us that almost three times the amount of energy has come out of the system as went in. In fact, this piece of equipment is 285% efficient.

...Their discovery came by chance...We wanted to improve the performance of wind generators - they were only about 60-70% efficient - so we experimented with certain generator configurations and then one day one of our guys [co-founder Mike Daly] came in and said: 'We have a problem. We appear to be getting out more than we're putting in.'" That was 2003. Since then, McCarthy says, the company has spent £2.7m developing the technology. Steorn has also gone into partnership with a European micro-generator company to develop prototypes. ... According to McCarthy and Walshe, the marketing manager, there have been no fewer than eight independent validations of their work conducted by electrical engineers and academics "with multiple PhDs" from world-class universities. But none of them will talk to me, even off the record.

"It's the Pons-Fleischmann factor," says McCarthy, and he and Walshe look at each other darkly. ..."No one in the scientific community wants to become embroiled in the kind of controversy that Pons and Fleishmann faced....With our challenge, we're hoping to provide a respectable public platform for serious evaluation of the technology. Then, perhaps, scientists will feel confident enough to challenge the conventional view."

... "Some people have said our offices don't exist and one accused us of simply being a call centre in Australia because one of our telephonists has an Australian accent. My favourite is the one that says we are a CIA or oil-industry front intended to discredit research into free and clean energy.

Steorn says it has seven patents pending on its technology, though it is difficult to see what can be patented; magnets already exist and so do the 360 degrees of a circle. Yet it is the positioning of the magnets that seems to be at the heart of this "new" energy. ...We've conducted meticulous research and we're getting such phenomenal results - up to 400% efficiency - that small glitches and errors in testing can be ruled out. We really believe we've found something that can change the world." In the meantime, I ask Martin Fleischmann, the cold-fusion scientist, now 79 and retired, what he thought of the Steorn project. "I am actually a conventional scientist," he says, "but I do accept that the existing [quantum electro-dynamic] paradigm is not adequate. If what these men are saying turns out to be true, that would be proof that the paradigm was inadequate and we would have to come up with some new theory. But I don't think their claims are credible. No, I cannot see how the position of magnetic fields allows one to create energy."

Scientists flock to test 'free energy' discovery

David Smith, The Observer, Sunday August 20, 2006

A man who claims to have developed a free energy technology which could power everything from mobile phones to cars has received more than 400 applications from scientists to test it.

Sean McCarthy says that no one was more sceptical than he when Steorn, his small hi-tech firm in Dublin, hit upon a way of generating clean, free and constant energy from the interaction of magnetic fields. 'It wasn't so much a Eureka moment as a get-back-in-there-and-check-your-instruments moment, although in far more colourful language,' said McCarthy. But when he attempted to share his findings, he says, scientists either put the phone down on him or refused to endorse him publicly in case they damaged their academic reputations. So last week he took out a full-page advert in the Economist magazine, challenging the scientific community to examine his technology.

McCarthy claims it provides five times the amount of energy a mobile phone battery generates for the same size, and does not have to be recharged. Within 36 hours of his advert appearing he had been contacted by 420 scientists in Europe, America and Australia, and a further 4,606 people had registered to receive the results.

Continued discussion about Steorn Technology

Email from Koen van Vlanderen from Aug. 25, 2006:

Hello Adolf,

An inverted hysteresis loop means a violation of the 'second law of thermodynamics', which should be possible. See for instance http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/physics/9912022. If indeed the material of some type of permanent magnets shows an inverted hysteresis loop, then that might explain the OU of several magnetic motors. One should expect a cooling effect, since probably thermic energy is converted into motion. If this is not observed, then another source of energy might be the chaotic ZPE ("always an easy way out").

A PM with negative hysteresis loop means that it takes relatively little energy to de-magnetise the PM (partially), such that the return to the a fully magnetised state of the PM results into a surplus of magnetic field energy. In many setups of magnetic motors a PM is confronted with an opposite magnetic field that may de-magnetise the PM partially, such that the PM's "H-field" follows an inverted hysteresis loop

Steorn's discovery might involve other materials with an inverted hysteresis loop. For instance, a high-mu material with inverted hysteresis loop can be used as magnetic shield and can be magnetised with little energy.

Non-linearity is also an issue, since inverted hysteresis and non-linearity are closely related (critical behaveour, phase transitions) Magnetic properties are manifest many scales of magnitude, and therefore magnetic properties form an excellent candidate for non-linear and negative entropic effects. I suppose an inverted hysteresis loop for magnetic materials at room temperature is as much a holy grail as room temperature superconduction.

A Google search: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2001PhRvB..64m2404O Design and preparation of a bulk magnet exhibiting an inverted hysteresis loop.

Analysis of the Hysteresis Loop of Permanent Magnets by the Energetic Model /M.-H. Yu, R. Grössinger, M. Küpferling, Z.-D. Zhang,H. Hauser, R. Sato and B. Enzberg-Mahlke/ ······· S105 On the Origin of Anomalous Magnetic Aftereffects and _*Thermal Remagnetization*_ /K/


Additional Google research results (info by A. Schneider)

Design and preparation of a bulk magnet exhibiting an inverted hysteresis loop


Email from von W.D. Bauer , Berlin, 26.8.06

Sehr geehrter Hr. Schneider !

At 15:49 24.08.2006 +0200, Adolf Schneider wrote:

I can not see here a direct connection that a scalar field ( whatever it may be) has to do anything with a non-conservative field and longitudinal forces. For me the generation of magnetic longitudinal forces is equivalent with the generation of magnetic monopoles, see my article in arxiv.org under physics/0401151.pdf.

It would be good if Koen van Vlaenderen would give a reference here. Not every overunity claim may fit to this idea. For instance Graneau's experiments with the water arc explosions point out more to cold fusion effects than for longitudinal Ampere forces. Anyway, I have seen Koen van Vlaenderen's article in arxiv.org: From the intention it is a typical top-to-bottom article. If I remember it correctly he overtakes Bearden's hypothesis that the Lorenz gauge relation has to be modified and has to be expanded by a scalar term S. Using this he build together a modified Maxwell theory. However he never comes to the bottom and discusses no concrete examples near to technology with his theory. In my article in arxiv.org under physics/0401151.pdf I tackled the same theme until to the bottom without mentioning Bearden. But anyway his ideas are investigated there. In a appendix of my article you find a classical derivation of the Lorenz gauge from the continuity equation of charge i.e. drho/dt + div j =0.

I did this derivation because for me a question came up: What happens if you want to include in the Maxwell theory the generation of charges, for instance generated by high energy experiments in accelerators, by electron hole pair generation in semiconductors, by ionisation of salts and so on. The answer is: you have to add a source term of charge generation into the continuity equation.
If you look to the derivation of the Lorenz gauge in the mentioned appendix it is immediately clear, that if source terms are added the Lorenz gauge has to be modified as well and a third term appears. Indeed (I agree with Koen van Vlaenderen here) this extension of the theory is important to describe overunity experiments. It is concretely applied in the description of the Yusa-Sakaki FET which is a real overunity device as I believe to have shown in the same article .

This third (source) term may be what Bearden denotes as regauging. However I do not believe that it is a real regauging. G.W. Bruhn has a criticising article of Koen van Vlaaenderen's theory in this respect on his website and I believe that he may be correct. In deed without modifying the continuity equation above you can say as well that drho/dt is composed by drho/dt=drho*/dt+ S_L where rho* is the observed charge density rho* and S_L is the Lorenz-source term S_L. Therefore, in the meantime, I believe that this concept of regauging is born in the following way: Tom Bearden heard it from one of these crazy inventors he is in contact permanently. The inventor found that a source term could explain his observations and attributed it to the S_L in the theory without
understanding it fully. Tom Bearden took it over this concept making his impressing science fiction out of that.
And today the whole world babbles about the theme in this way.

Concerning the additonal comments of Thomas Bearden, like : > There are no "static" EM fields in nature, electrical engineering notwithstanding. Instead, what is called a "static" field around a charge, an electret, a magnet, or any dipolarity, is rigorously the result of a nonequilibrium steady state (NESS) system, in thermodynamics terms....etc. see http://www.cheniere.org/correspondence/031304.htm

That sounds more near to science if compared to earlier times. Thanks also for the URL

Dieter Bauer

3) Floating Wind Farms

Kevin Bullis, Technology Review, Tuesday, July 11, 2006, http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=17069&ch=biztech

General Electric has a solution to the eyesore problem.

Even some energy-conscious Massachusetts residents oppose a plan to put dozens of electricity-generating wind turbines on towers about eight kilometers off the southern coast of Cape Cod, saying they would be an eyesore. But huge turbines in development at General Electric could make battles with coastal residents a thing of the past. Researchers say the turbines could be placed on floating platforms, far at sea and invisible from the shore.

In March, GE announced a $27 million partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy to develop 5- to 7-megawatt turbines by 2009, supplanting the company's current 3.6-megawatt turbines. Each of these giant energy factories, with rotors 140 meters in diameter, would produce enough electricity to power up to 1,750 homes -- and at a more economical rate than smaller turbines, since the cost of building offshore wind farms depends more on the number of turbines than on their size.

Meanwhile, a group of MIT researchers led by Paul Sclavounos, a professor of mechanical engineering and naval architecture, have demonstrated the feasibility of placing such turbines atop large floating cylinders ballasted with concrete and anchored to the seafloor by cables. With this design, wind farms could be located in water ranging from 30 meters deep to 300 -- far out on the continental shelf, where they not only would be invisible from shore but also would catch more wind.

Giant Wind Turbines

Kevin Bullis, May 9, 2006 http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=16801&ch=biztech

Huge turbines mounted on floating platforms could make wind power competitive with fossil-fuel-generated electricity. These advanced wind turbines, which are in development, could be situated far from the shore, too, avoiding battles with onshore residents who object to the presence of large wind farms.

GE has announced a $27 million partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy to develop 5-7 megawatt turbines by 2009, each of which could power well over 1,000 homes. Supplanting the company's current 3.6 megawatt turbines, these giant energy factories should make wind power more economical, since the major cost of building and installing offshore wind farms does not depend primarily on a turbine's size, but on the number of them that need to be erected. By 2015, GE could have even bigger, 10-megawatt turbines, according to Jim Lyons, leader of advanced technology for GE's wind energy business.

[For images and illustrations of wind turbines, click here ( http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=16801&ch=biztech# )]

Making the turbines larger, however, comes with technical challenges. The new turbines will be mounted to towers rising 90 to 95 meters and will have rotors measuring 140 meters in diameter. Imagine a structure larger than a football field rotating at a leisurely ten to twelve revolutions per minute. To decrease the weight of the massive rotor blades and tower, GE plans to use composite fibers, as well as alternatives to the weighty gearboxes now used to transfer energy from the rotor to the electrical generator.

The new turbines will also need to be more reliable than their onshore counterparts, because maintenance will be far more difficult and expensive. GE is developing new ways to deal with the extreme battering the turbines will receive from the wind.

Today's turbines compensate for changes in wind speed by actively turning their blades to catch less wind. The new turbines will adapt to gusts by using sensor-based technology that will quickly angle the blades out of the wind to reduce the wear and tear on the turbine. These sensors could include basic accelerometers, embedded fiber-optic sensors that detect shape changes in the blades in response to gusts, and forward-looking, laser-based "radar" that allows the turbine to anticipate wind-speed changes.

None of these technological advances will make a difference, however, if erecting monstrous turbines is blocked by shoreline residents who see them as visual pollution. A potential solution is floating platforms that allow the turbines to be located farther out in the sea -- and out of sight. Current projects locate wind turbines in waters less than 20 meters deep. Going farther out on the continental shelf, which extends several hundred kilometers from the U.S. East Coast, would mean locating them at depths up to 50 meters, which is probably too deep to build towers or trusses that support turbines standing on the sea floor, at least at an affordable cost.

MIT researchers recently demonstrated the feasibility of "tension-leg" platforms, a technology that oil companies have recently adopted for deep-water rigs. The wind turbines and towers would be assembled at a shipyard and placed on top of large floating cylinders (see images). The canisters would be ballasted on the bottom with high-density concrete to keep the structure from tipping over, and the whole turbine assembly would be tugged out to sea.

There, four steel cables would be attached to the platform, anchoring it to the sea floor. First, though, some water would be allowed into the cylinder, causing the structure to sink more into the water. Once the cables are attached, the water is pumped back out again, allowing the turbine to rise, tightening the cables, and preventing the turbine from bobbing up and down, yet allowing some lateral movement that would help cushion the impact of storm waves on the tower. (The blades themselves would be high enough to avoid even waves from hurricanes.) The cable tension can be adjusted for different weather conditions, says Paul Sclavounos, professor of mechanical engineering and naval architecture at MIT.

Based on wind-speed measurements, researchers at MIT, led by Stephen Connors, director of the Analysis Group for Regional Electricity Alternatives, calculated that large turbines located far offshore could ultimately cost less per power generated than either land-based turbines or near-offshore ones, even factoring in extra costs, such as much longer underground electricity transmission cables. The upside: much more fast and steady wind, which would allow the turbines to generate power at 50 percent capacity on average throughout the year, compared with 30 percent or less with on-land turbines.

Offshore wind farms could also have the advantage of being close to big cities, unlike wind farms in remote areas, which require significant power grid upgrades to transport the power to places where it's needed. "I personally see this as the endgame," says GE's Lyons. "We'll see gigawatt-scale projects delivering clean energy to the East Coast.

But making the technology cheap enough to be feasible will not be easy. "You've got to push all the buttons to get the costs down," Lyons says. Using a combination of far-offshore and land-based farms, however, one day it may be possible to provide 20 percent of U.S. energy from wind, he says.

4) "Who Killed the Electric Car?" SONY Classics Movie at COFE2


Thomas Valone, Integrity Research Institute, Sept. 9, 2006, http://users.erols.com/iri/cofe.html


One of the most important movies for those who think that just good, clean green technology is all that we need to solve our dependence on foreign oil will be screened at the Second International Conference on Future Energy, September 22, 2006 at 7:30 PM. (Movie screening is open to the public - see IRI website for tickets.) Narrated by Charlie Sheen, it is set up like a murder mystery, with chapters on evidence, suspects, witnesses, etc. Very entertaining and heart-wrenching at the same time. How could GM do it? See the movie for clues to the answer. 


Who Killed the Electric Car Presskit


It was among the fastest, most efficient production cars ever built. It

ran on electricity, produced no emissions and catapulted American

technology to the forefront of the automotive industry. The lucky few

who drove it never wanted to give it up. So why did General Motors

crush its fleet of EV1 electric vehicles in the Arizona desert?

WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR? chronicles the life and mysterious

death of the GM EV1, examining its cultural and economic ripple

effects and how they reverberated through the halls of government

and big business.


The year is 1990. California is in a pollution crisis. Smog threatens

public health. Desperate for a solution, the California Air Resources

Board (CARB) targets the source of its problem: auto exhaust.

Inspired by a recent announcement from General Motors about an

electric vehicle prototype, the Zero Emissions Mandate (ZEV) is born.

It required 2% of new vehicles sold in California to be emission-free by

1998, 10% by 2003. It is the most radical smog-fighting mandate

since the catalytic converter.


With a jump on the competition thanks to its speed-record-breaking

electric concept car, GM launches its EV1 electric vehicle in 1996. It

was a revolutionary modern car, requiring no gas, no oil changes, no

mufflers, and rare brake maintenance (a billion-dollar industry unto

itself). A typical maintenance checkup for the EV1 consisted of

replenishing the windshield washer fluid and a tire rotation.

But the fanfare surrounding the EV1’s launch disappeared and the cars

followed. Was it lack of consumer demand as carmakers claimed, or

were other persuasive forces at work?


Fast forward to 6 years later... The fleet is gone. EV charging stations

dot the California landscape like tombstones, collecting dust and spider

webs. How could this happen? Did anyone bother to examine the

evidence? Yes, in fact, someone did. And it was murder.

The electric car threatened the status quo. The truth behind its demise

resembles the climactic outcome of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the

Orient Express: multiple suspects, each taking their turn with the

knife. WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR? interviews and investigates

automakers, legislators, engineers, consumers and car enthusiasts

from Los Angeles to Detroit, to work through motives and alibis, and

to piece the complex puzzle together.


WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR? is not just about the EV1. It’s about

how this allegory for failure—reflected in today’s oil prices and air

quality—can also be a shining symbol of society’s potential to better

itself and the world around it. While there’s plenty of outrage for lost

time, there’s also time for renewal as technology is reborn in WHO



Director’s Statement


Here's what happened: I fell in love with my car.


I've never been a car guy but that all changed when General Motors

leased me its all-electric car, the EV1, in 1997.


Designed by one of my childhood heroes, Paul MacCready, who had

also designed some of the most famous airplanes in the world, the EV1

was truly 21st century. It was fast, quiet, ran without exhaust, and

meant I never had to go to the gas station. It made me feel like the

21st century had arrived.


I thought it would be my second car, but within days, it was my

primary car. I drove it everywhere. And everywhere I went, people

wanted to ride in it. $3 to fill up on electricity and you charged it

overnight. I quickly joined the ranks of those who had driven and

loved electric cars.


But deep and mysterious currents were stirring. Politics, economics

and corporate power stopped California's electric car program in its

tracks. Then the carmakers started taking our cars off the road. I

thought about stealing mine, but the prospect of a felony and legal

fees gave me pause.


So when our best efforts failed and our cars started disappearing,

there was only one thing left I could think to do: get this apparently

forgotten story to the press.


Where were the major investigative news programs on this story?

Not only had billions been invested, but hundreds of amazing

engineers, citizens, politicians, and corporations had been involved in

getting chargers installed and cars on the road all over California.

And then I realized that no one had ever put the actual pieces of this

puzzle together. And no one was going to. What began as a series of

questions began to turn the story into a murder mystery. Some of the

evidence in this story still shocks me.


As we put the whole chain of events together, I realized our tale was a

lot more then just a car story. It demonstrated why America is having

such a tough time getting out of the 20th century and breaking its

addiction to gasoline. - Chris Paine


For more information and movie trailer




5) Kleiner's Secretive Battery-Ultracapacitor Company, EEStor


Matt Marshall, March 12, 2006, http://www.mercurynews.com/

Kleiner Perkins, the well-known Silicon Valley venture capital firm, is backing an obsessively secret company called EEStor, which says it has developed a battery-ultracapacitor technology that "blows away" current lithium-ion technology in all aspects of performance.

See the story here by Toronto Star's Tyler Hamilton.

The company doesn't even want its response published, but Toronto Star publishes it anyway:

"EEStor is not making public statements at present time," company co-founder and chief executive Richard Weir replied when the Toronto Star requested an interview via email. "EEStor would also like to have you and your paper not publish any articles about our company and the Toronto Star is certainly not authorized to publish this response."

This isn't entirely new. We mentioned EEStor before, pointing to a piece that said Kleiner had led a $3M investment into the company. But Toronto Star has more details.

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EEStor Ultracapacitor Shuns Publicity

January 27, 2006 --- The Energy Blog http://thefraserdomain.typepad.com/energy/2006/01/eestor_ultracap.html

Clean Break has an interesting post, much of what I have copied verbatim, on a new ultracapacitor made by start-up company EEStor of Austin TX.  I thought the technology was potentially so important that a record of it was needed on the Energy Blog.  The company is very wary of publicity and the following, which Tyler meticulously chased down, is about all that is known about their technology:

None of these claims except construction and cost are significantly better than other ultracapacitors. Although they sometimes refer to the technology as a battery, it is clearly an ultracapacitor.

Clean Break's resources were:

Kleiner Perkins' Latest Energy Investment, BusinessWeek online, Sept., 3, 2005
Feel Good Cars, Toronto, ON, Canada
MCL Capital Inc. announce Agreement in Principal with Feel Good Cars (In section on History and Nature of the Business this agreement refers to FGC's agreement with EEStor)

Technorati tags: ultracapacitors, energy storage, energy, technology

Kleiner Perkins' Latest Energy Investment

Justin Hibbard, Business Week, September 03, 2005 www.businessweek.com/the_thread/dealflow/archives/2005/09/kleiner_perkins_1.html

Menlo Park, Calif. VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in July led a $3 million preferred stock investment in EEStor Inc., a Cedar Park, Texas startup that is developing breakthrough battery technology.

The company was founded in 2001 by Richard D. Weir, Carl Nelson, and Richard S. Weir, who have backgrounds as senior managers in disk-storage technology at such companies as IBM and Xerox PARC. They previously co-founded disk-storage startup Tulip Memory Systems, where they won 16 U.S. patents.

According to a May, 2004 edition of Utility Federal Technology Opportunities, an obscure trade newsletter, EEStor claims to make a battery at half the cost per kilowatt-hour and one-tenth the weight of lead-acid batteries. Specifically, the product weighs 400 pounds and delivers 52 kilowatt-hours. (For battery geeks: "The technology is basically a parallel plate capacitor with barium titanate as the dielectric," UFTO says.) No hazardous or dangerous materials are used in manufacturing the ceramic-based unit, which means it qualifies as what Silicon Valley types call "cleantech."

As of last year, EEStor planned to build its own assembly line to prove the battery can work and then license the technology to manufacturers for volume production, UFTO says. Selling price would start at $3,200 and fall to $2,100 in high-volume production. Of course, all of this may have changed since KPCB got involved.

KPCB's investments are closely watched because the firm has made some of the most successful bets in VC history (Google, Amazon.com, Netscape, AOL, etc.). Energy investments carry a little extra risk for the firm since it is relatively new to the sector. Speaking at Stanford University in February, KPCB general partner John Doerr said the firm had made four energy investments so far, including fuel-cell maker Ion America. It will be interesting to watch how these companies develop.

EEStor Capacitors- "This could change everything"


Lloyd Alter, Toronto, March 6, 2006  www.treehugger.com/files/2006/03/eestor_capacito_1.php

Tyler Hamilton of the Toronto Star and website Clean Break has been digging around a very secretive company. Asking them for information they said: "EEStor is not making public statements at present time," company co-founder and chief executive Richard Weir replied when the Toronto Star requested an interview via email. "EEStor would also like to have you and your paper not publish any articles about our company and the Toronto Star is certainly not authorized to publish this response." which of course he published instantly in Canada's biggest newspaper, BoingBoing style. . What they are doing in Austin with their Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers money is developing a "parallel plate capacitor with barium titanate as the dielectric" or hypercapacitor as John recently coined. Says Tyler: "BusinessWeek reported an interesting comment from Kleiner's John Doerr, who recently spoke at a California event where tech VCs gather to make their predictions for the year. Doerr reportedly referred to an investment in an energy storage company he declined to name, calling it Kleiner's "Highest-risk, highest-reward" investment." Tyler's source describes it: (warning: if you continue reading you have to eat this post)

The batteries fully charge in minutes as opposed to hours.

Whereas with lead acid batteries you might get lucky to have 500 to 700 recharge cycles, the EEStor technology has been tested up to a million cycles with no material degradation.

EEStor's technology could be used in more than low-speed electric vehicles. The company envisions using it for full-speed pure electric vehicles, hybrid-electrics (including plug-ins), military applications, backup power and even large-scale utility storage for intermittent renewable power sources such as wind and solar.

Because it's a solid state battery rather than a chemical battery, such being the case for lithium ion technology, there would be no overheating and thus safety concerns with using it in a vehicle.

Finally, with volume manufacturing it's expected to be cost-competitive with lead-acid technology.

"It's the holy grail of battery technology," said my source. "It means you could do a highway capable electric city car that would recharge in three or four minutes and drive you from Toronto to Montreal. Consumers wouldn't notice the difference from driving an electric car versus a gas-powered car."

From his Toronto Star article:

Energy storage has long been the bottleneck for innovation, holding back new energy-sucking features in mobile devices and preventing everything from the electric car to renewable power systems from reaching their full potential. Build a radically better battery at lower cost, experts say, and the world we know will be forever transformed.

"There's been nothing big or disruptive, and we're due for it," says Nicholas Parker, chairman of the Cleantech Venture Network, which tracks investment in so-called clean technologies. He says energy storage is one of the hottest areas for venture capital funding right now. "Right across the board, better energy storage is essential."

Among EEStor's claims is that its "electrical energy storage unit" could pack nearly 10 times the energy punch of a lead-acid battery of similar weight and, under mass production, would cost half as much.

It also says its technology more than doubles the energy density of lithium-ion batteries in most portable computer and mobile gadgets today, but could be produced at one-eighth the cost.

If that's not impressive enough, EEStor says its energy storage technology is "not explosive, corrosive, or hazardous" like lead-acid and most lithium-ion systems, and will outlast the life of any commercial product it powers. It can also absorb energy quickly, meaning a small electric car containing a 17-kilowatt-hour system could be fully charged in four to six minutes versus hours for other battery technologies, the company claims.

According to patent documents obtained by the Star, EEStor's invention will do no less than "replace the electrochemical battery" where it's already used in hybrid and electric vehicles, power tools, electronic gadgets and renewable energy systems, from solar-powered homes to grid-connected wind farms.

"If everything they say is true, then that's pretty amazing," says MacMurray Whale, an energy analyst at Sprott Securities and a former professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Victoria. "To do all of that is unheard of when you look at any other battery technology out there."

Tyler Hamilton does not impress easily- he was not impressed with us for falling head over heels in love with the magenn turbine Don't bother googling for a website for EEStor- you will get a clothing site. But do read ::Clean Break and ::The Toronto Star before they send in the lawyers or break his fingers.

For more information

Full Collection of EEStories at http://www.rexresearch.com/weir/weir.htm

US Patent # 7,033,406 - April 25, 2006 - "Electrical-Energy-Storage Unit (EESU) Utilizing Ceramic and Integrated-Circuit Technologies for Replacement of Electrochemical Batteries"  [ PDF Format ] http://www.rexresearch.com/weir/us7033406.pdf


6) Planktos Inc. Offers California Affordable Green Tech to Fulfill New Global Warming Law 

Ecosystem Restoration: Life-Giving Key to CO2 Reduction and Economic Progress

Russ George, Planktos, Inc.

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 31, 2006---Thanks to Governor Schwarzenegger and the California Legislature, the world's eighth-largest economy and 12th largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG) has boldly jumped to the forefront of the international climate change battle. California's Global Warming Solutions Act just passed today pledges to reduce the state's GHG emissions by a whopping 25% by 2020, targeting an annual reduction of over 125 million tons.

Although some critics claim such mandatory reductions could harm the state financially, a closer reading of the legislation reveals a hidden win-win-win solution for the climate, economy and natural environment, too. Specifically, the new law supports atmospheric CO2 reductions via eco-restoration projects like growing new forests and other forms of plant life.

San Francisco Bay area eco-restoration firm, Planktos Inc., has been working to deliver ocean and forest restoration as the most beneficial, cost-effective and largest volume answer to both global warming and the equally severe CO2 crises in the sea. The company will soon be launching a pilot series of commercial scale phytoplankton restoration projects to revive failing ocean life and produce millions of tons of tradable low cost GHG emission offset credits (aka "carbon credits") to finance the work. Restoring these tiny ocean plants, that the company calls the ocean forest, to 1980 levels of health and activity will generate billions of tons of CO2 sequestering biomass and feed the entire marine ecosystem from the bottom up. Our plummeting populations of fish, whales and sea birds might well rejoice that California's climate change solutions may now help rescue them, too.

The Case for Ecosystem Restoration

1) Troubled Waters: While the public and politicians have finally focused upon the approach of global warming, they continue to ignore our greatest CO2 threat, the here and now calamity of accelerating oceanic collapse. The CO2-driven acidification and iron starvation of the seas are decimating the phytoplankton on which all life depends. These tiny marine plants generate most of our oxygen, remove more than half our CO2, and are the foundation of the entire marine food pyramid. Plankton desperately need trace micronutrients, especially iron, to grow and photosynthesize, and have traditionally received it in wind-borne dust from arid regions of the world. Modern agriculture and high CO2 levels have increased drylands groundcover to such a degree that 35% less iron rich dust is reaching the sea than two decades ago. This has already caused a 25% drop in plankton life in the hardest hit regions of the North Pacific, and a 6-9% dieoff worldwide. The knock-on effects are immediate and lethal, starving fisheries, great whales, millions of sea birds, etc. The climatic effects are equally formidable. Compared to 1980 baselines, plankton photosynthesis is now pulling down 3 billion fewer tons of CO2 each year, an amount equivalent to about half of our annual manmade CO2 emissions worldwide. In other words, simply restoring plankton populations to the strength they enjoyed a few decades ago would remove four to five times more CO2 from the atmosphere than universal compliance with the Kyoto Protocol, and generate gigatons of fish and whale food in the bargain.

2) Disappearing Forests: According to UN studies, we have now lost nearly half of the Earth's natural forests, most of them within the last 30 years. Although a few are being replanted--often with "tree farms" or worse, the pace is entirely too slow and the overall impacts on biodiversity, wildlife habitat, water supplies and the global carbon cycle remain pernicious and immense. While large-scale mixed-growth forest restoration in protected reserves seems to offer so many ecological and climatic benefits, this approach has at times been disdained or opposed by both high tech geoengineering advocates and source reduction purists.

3) The Real Meaning of GHG Mitigation Plans like California's New Legislation and the Kyoto Protocol. Critics accurately observe that even universal compliance with California's law or the Kyoto Protocol would do little to solve the true enormity of CO2's global threats. Happily, the real value of such reforms lies not in their minimalist reduction targets, but in their creation of well funded markets for CO2 reductions that generously incentivize innovations for climate redress. Overseas robust Kyoto-spawned markets are already stimulating immense creativity, and even promise major funding to address the sea and forest crises, which would likely remain unheeded if not for their new found "carbon credit" value.

According to Russ George, founder and CEO of Planktos, Inc, a pioneer in the eco-restoration field, "Whether source reduction and/or techno-wizardry can cool the atmosphere a little or a lot, neither hybrid cars nor underground CO2 injection, have any lasting environmental merit beyond the direct greenhouse gas reduction involved. Ecosystem restoration, in contrast, not only reduces atmospheric CO2; it simultaneously regenerates the most vital ecologies on Earth. Now thanks to California's leadership, it can also soon perform this healing in a profitably self-funding way."

"Our wounded planet desperately needs ecosystem restoration first and foremost," says Mr. George. "It is the most important triage decision of our day. Its large effect and low cost also deliver us from the Scylla and Charybdis dilemma of choosing between environmental or economic apocalypse, and we can begin making a big difference right away. Of course, eco-restoration cannot solve the whole climate problem, and conservation and source reductions also have key roles to play. Indeed all approaches are urgently welcomed now because we clearly need the large CO2 reductions California's legislation prescribes both to heal the climate and rescue the seas."

For more information

Science and economics of environmental restoration: see the Planktos website at www.planktos.com. Planktos is dedicated to marine and terrestrial ecosystem renewal, and is a subsidiary of Solar Energy Limited which trades on the NASDAQ as SLRE.ob. (OTCBB:SLRE).

Contact: Planktos, Inc., Russ George, 650-638-1975 russ@planktos.com

7) Development at Dow Corning Could Ease Silicon Shortage 

by Stephen Lacey, September 5, 2006  www.RenewableEnergyAccess.com

Leading silicon producer has begun large-scale manufacturing of metallurgical-grade silicon feedstock for PV cells.

Dow Corning Corporation announced the development of PV 1101 SoG Silicon, the first commercially available metallurgical feedstock produced using large scale manufacturing processes. The announcement was made at the European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition in Dresden, Germany.

Rudy Miller, Global Market Manager for Photovoltaics at Dow Corning Solar Solutions, said that the product and the manufacturing process is a breakthrough for the solar industry.

"Our process [for manufacturing metallurgical silicon] is industrial, and that is something that nobody else has been able to do. There's been some lab work publicized, there's some pilot lines out there, but we've got the only industrial facility operating," said Miller.

That could be just what the industry needs. Over the last four years, demand for silicon has far exceeded production capabilities. This year will be the same.

According to "The Gun has Gone Off," a solar market report from Photon Consulting's Michael Rogol, the solar market's 2006 demand is for 5 gigawatts (GW) of power. But because of silicon feedstock constraints, the industry will only be able to produce between 2.2 and 2.4 GW.

PV 1101 needs to be distributed quickly in order to ease the silicon shortage, said Ted Ciszek, a national silicon consultant who once worked for the Dow Corning Corporation.

"If they can get the product to market fast enough and if there's a substantial cost advantage, then it will most likely have an impact," Ciszek said. "The silicon shortage may not be as big a problem in two to three years, so it's important that the product go out now."

Dow Corning has already allocated its initial supply of PV 1101 to select customers. Representatives from the company would not comment on which customers received the material or how much was shipped due to nondisclosure agreements. However, they did say that demand has exceeded their supply capabilities.

PV 1101 is not a replacement for traditional silicon. It must be blended with polysilicon to remain suitable for PV cells. According to Dow Corning, the typical amount of metallurgical silicon in their tested PV cells is 10%. Miller said that customers had a higher blend in some cases based upon their business model and technology, but he did not comment on specific percentages.

The company hopes that continued development of metallurgical silicon will help the solar market expand. PV 1101 is only the beginning, said Gaetan Borgers, Director of Dow Corning Solar Solutions.

"This product is an option for further growth. We want to gradually gain confidence in our process. Our customers will help us understand the capability of PV 1101, and eventually we will have more generations of this product."

The silicon production facility is located in Santos Dumont, Brazil. It is run by Companhia Brasileira Carbureto de Calcio (CBCC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Corning.