EEStor's Batteries Enlisted for Battlefield

EEStor, the much-talked about ceramic battery maker, has signed an exclusive international rights agreement with military-industrial giant Lockheed Martin to integrate EEStor’s Electric Energy Storage Units (EESUs) into military applications. This is a big win for the stealthy Cedar Park, Texas-based battery maker founded in 2001. EEStor’s claims of making a ceramic batteries that have 10 times the energy density of lead-acid batteries with 1/10th the weight and volume at half the price were met with a due amount of skepticism back in 2006. Since then the company has been tight-lipped about their potentially revolutionary technology.

The release from Lockheed (LMT) notes EEStor’s ambition of using their EESUs in renewable energy generation. “We’re building a high-tech battery that can do a helluva lot,” EEStor CEO Richard Weir told Earth2Tech flatly in a phone interview. “It sure can make wind and solar [energy] real,” he added. Weir declined to offer any other details about EEStor’s cleantech aspirations but it seems clear the energy storage company plans to make big moves in utility-level renewable power.

If EEStor’s EESU does everything they claim it can at the cost and size they cite, EEStor is poised to turn mobile energy on its head. Lockheed, stressing the goal of “energy independence for the Warfighter,” says it plans to put EEStor’s technology through the ultimate crash test: the battlefield. “The challenges and logistics of taking power onto the battlefield are significant,” Craig Vanbebber of Lockheed Martin told Earth2Tech this morning. They see EEStor’s highly efficient ESSUs solving a wide range of combat energy problems: “These could be as small as wearable power sources on soldiers to vehicular power sources to powering command and control centers,” Vanbebber explained.

EEStor also has Silicon Valley venture capitalist all-star firm Kleiner Perkins in its corner; it led a a $3 million preferred stock investment in the company back in the summer of 2005. The Lockheed agreement puts more pressure on EEStor to get its product to market. Last year EEStor was scheduled to start delivering the battery systems to Canadian electric carmaker ZENN Motors but in September pushed back commercial production dates to late 2008, which the Lockheed press release cites as the expected production date for its products.

We’ll see if the clandestine capacitor maker stays on schedule in ’08. EEStor brings ceramic battery technology to the increasingly crowded utility-level energy storage space. Just last week, Deeya Energy, the maker of huge flow batteries, received $15 million to tackle the same problem. The competition among makers is good for renewable energy generators, who will be able to leverage these new technologies for more stable green power sources.