13 Comments

Summary:

Here’s one reason why greentech venture capitalist Vinod Khosla might have been a bit skeptical of stealth energy storage company EEStor last year — looks like he’s invested in a company that could be a competitor called Recapping (that is if EEStor ever releases a product).

Here’s one reason why greentech venture capitalist Vinod Khosla might have been a bit skeptical of stealth energy storage company EEStor last year — looks like he’s invested in a company that could be a competitor called Recapping (that is if EEStor ever releases a product).

Recapping doesn’t have a website or a description on Khosla’s website, but when it won a $1 million grant from the Department of Energy through the ARPA-E program in late April it was described as “a novel energy storage device – a high energy density capacitor – based on a 3D nanocomposite structure,” that can deliver “high cycling ability, high power density, and low cost,” (hat tip Tyler Hamilton).

According to the DOE grant, Recapping and Pennsylvania State University will use the grant to develop the storage device and will use “traditional multilayer ceramic fabrication methods that will provide a cost effective alternative to battery solutions.” Sounds similar to the description for EEStor’s so-called ceramic battery, which has been underdevelopment for years, but has been stalled and has yet to come to market.

EEStor has the audacious claim that its device has 10 times the energy of lead-acid batteries at one-tenth the weight and half the price, and can move a car 400 kilometers after a 5-minute charge. According to the Barium Titanate blog the DOE energy storage projects that won these ARPA-E grants will be shooting to have energy densities in the range of 400Wh/kg and a target cost of around $250/kWh, which would be a similar range to EEStor. The Barium Titanate blog, which is run anonymously by someone who says they have a “small speculative investment” in Zenn Motor (a car company that plans to commercialize the EEStor tech), says whoever is behind Recapping could “qualify for a Nobel Prize.”

According to filings, Recapping raised $500,000 from Khosla Ventures back in 2008, and the only person listed on Recapping’s documents is Khosla Venture’s Alex Kinnier, who was previously a group product manager at Google where he built the Agency display advertising team.

Recapping is probably one of the “science experiments” that Khosla has said himself he is interested in taking a risk on. But until EEStor delivers a commercial product, it will only be a research project as well, despite the fact that Zenn Motors has bet its entire company on EEStor’s innovation. According to Zenn’s latest financials, for the first six months ended March 31, 2010, the company only generated $1.39 million in revenues, while it lost $3.86 million or $0.10 per share.

For more research on cleantech financing check out GigaOM Pro (subscription required):

Cleantech Financing Trends: 2010 and Beyond

You’re subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

  1. MichaelRobert Sunday, June 6, 2010

    Just to let your readers and you be aware the blogger with the bag over his head at the Barium Titanate blog known as Baghead has called EESTor skeptics scumbag, ashle, and schmuck. There must be a reason why Baghead takes it personally if someone believes EESTor is a scam. He demands skeptics to reveal their identy but it’s OK for him to hide behind a bag and pump EESCAM. Baghead is the # 1 pumper of EESCAM.

    Baghead must be investigated to see if he personally profited from the connections he has with Ian Clifford, Dick and Tom Weir.

  2. best best

    best

  3. Praise be Thubten for the truth!!!

  4. Katie Fehrenbacher Monday, June 7, 2010

    @MichaelRobert, The anonymous blogger admittedly holds a stake in Zenn so you can see his bias.

  5. Watch Predators online Monday, June 7, 2010

    Don’t believe that EEStor need to get worried….

    1. @Watch Predators online

      You’re absolutely correct EESTor doesn’t need to get worried. Dick and his 7 Weir’s have been living off investors since 2001 comfortably. Zenn’s investors are the ones that should be worrying especially by the end of the year when Zenn runs out of money and they are left holding a stock that is worth nothing.

  6. Remember, there’s nothing even remotely controversial about claiming an array of caps can store 10x the energy of a battery; or that such an array of caps could charge in five minutes. Even cost is within reach – standard caps are cheap. The issue here is size and weight — in order to meet those two seemingly simple goals, EESTOR’s caps have to work at extremely high voltages and relatively high capacitance, and those are, if not outright impossible, ultra hard targets to hit at the same time, as in, no one has demonstrated this yet.

    But you could build a vehicle that was mostly caps, had room for a driver (maybe even a passenger), re-generated energy downhill and braking, had really low rolling friction and energy-recovering suspension, and stored a great deal of energy in a lot of caps. Would people buy a vehicle that was 90% capacitors internally? I doubt it. Most wouldn’t. I might, though. :)

  7. EECompetitor Monday, June 7, 2010

    How does one “compete” against fabrications and ethereal claims?

  8. “EEStor has the audacious claim that its device has 10 times the energy of lead-acid batteries at one-tenth the weight and half the price, and can move a car 400 kilometers after a 5-minute charge.”

    Excellent writing. Has anyone ever summarized EEStor in a single sentence? Nice work Katie!

  9. I believe that EEStor claimed 10 times the energy density at 1 tenth the weight. 10 times the energy at one tenth the weight would be 100X the energy density.

    See the battery comparison at zenncars.com under Investor relations. It is for a 54KWH ESSU. Same Energy, 1 tenth the weight and one tenth the volume of LA.

    I have no position in Zenn but I hope they or someone else can pull it off.

  10. @Dan it’s easy to make bald claims when you don’t have a product as per EESCAM.

Comments have been disabled for this post