- Registered: Aug, 2008
- Last visit: Wed, 16 Apr 2014
- Posts: 4570
I asked Rud Istivan to comment on the Recapping patent update. He gave me permission to post this response:
I have been following Recapping for at least 3 years. Mark Wendman was used by Vinod Khosla to vet NanoCarbons in the summer of 2008; I eventually chose to turn down Vinod's offer to fund the business, and continued to do so myself. At that time, Wendman knew nothing about capacitors. He was drilling into my manufacturing processes. I taught him and Vinod how big the market potential could be for practical devices.
I have read all three of Wendman's published patent applications, as well as the Arpa-E award announcement, and the most recent collaborating Penn State paper on their materials (high voltage, but dielectric constant of only 170 with a TCC of +/-15%. Aimed at film capacitors for smoothing ripple current in power supplies. Material is about 50% better than what is out there today for high voltage MLCC.)
It is clear that Wendman is describing EEStor-like two layer CMBT grains or equivalent, imbedded in a matrix to remove voids equivalent to PET. He prefers PTFE. If the issued PET EEStor patent were valid, Wendman would probably have no freedom to operate without a license. (But it isn't, see below).
I have no problem with his description of having made small components and having polarized them. Clearly possible. I have a real problem that there is no electrical characterization of any of these parts in any of the three applications. Every single sample of carbon I had made over 3 years of research, totaling over 400 separate batches, was made into at least one working capacitor and electrically characterized. Every single one. And the better data is cited in the patent applications, because that is required by law for the patent to be valid. And my law firm visited the labs, made copies of the lab books for their own records, and verified that the samples had been made and properly tested before they would file the applications.
These application's assertions about voltages to 10000V (highlighted on your blog) are made in an unclear context (volts per what, at what capacitance or relative dielectric?). These statements are not coupled with statements about dielectric constant. They show CV's taken at up to 1000mV/s (one volt/s) showing typical electrostatic charge storage. One volt is the standard for measuring permittivity. Says nothing about energy density, since E=1/2CV^2. They claim IBBL dielectrics to 30000. That is possible; commercial GBBL parts (same thing) from AVX have dielectric constants as high as 37000. But only picofarads of capacitance at low voltages. The same text says the breakdown voltage for such 37000K parts would be 2V-5V, so useless for bulk energy storage.
There is absolutely no evidence (anything asserted or measured) of the combination of high dielectric constant and high voltage, which is necessary for these parts to actually provide high energy density storage.
There is substantial evidence that Wendman does not have a firm grasp of this subject matter. His background is in semiconductor manufacturing, specifically thin films, specifically at Motorola. His specification asserts packing densities of the composite grains to 99.99%. Anyone should know that is mathematically impossible for any random packing. Particle size does not matter; the problem is studied in part because it is scale invariant. Same mistake that Weir made, except Weir claimed 96% CMBT volumetric density in PET matrix was a measured value. Mathematically impossible; voids the EEStor patent automatically upon challenge. Wendman is confused about the types of capacitors and batteries, the charge storage mechanisms within them, and how his materials would be used. There are only three mechanisms. Electrostatic, pseudofaradic, and faradic. Pseudocapacitors include Evans tantalum, and formerly Pinnacle Research' ruthenium hydroxide. All batteries are faradic. Lithium ion 'rocking chair' technology are technically faradic, but come real close to being pseudofaradic. It is possible to have one electrode be electrostatic, and the other faradic. (Axion PbC, Fuji LiC). Recapping's cited 'protonated oxides' are probably incapable of supporting faradic reactions. All true capacitors are electrostatic. These rely on only two basic mechanisms. One is charge separation across a physical dielectric layer (e.g. CMBT in MLCC, or aluminum oxide grown on aluminum in electrolytic caps, or polymer sheets in a thin film cap). The other is Helmholtz layer separation across a phase boundary, for example solid carbon/liquid electrolyte in EDLC, or air/water and water/ice in thunderstorms. Liquid electrolyte could be a ionic liquid, or a conducting polymer gel, as well as a standard liquid. Wendman does not cite liquids; I was curious if he would. Since his grains are not good conductors, they could not be used for the solid side of EDLC's as he specifically claims. So there is a lot of overly broad specification and claims language that will eventually either get corrected by the patent office or cause the applications to later fail or be narrowed on re-examination if issued. A lot of his other general unsupported statements (no references, no calculations, no experiments) fall into the same bucket of overly broad generalizations made without full understanding of the landscape.
Looks like ARPA-E wasted another $1m. Not the first time. They gave Ricardo Signorelli $5.3 million for FastCap Systems. PhD from MIT. Know him well. He and his thesis advisors made a fatal mistake in their 2010 review paper. Theoretical calculation of FastCap energy density used 40-50 uF/cm2 capacitance (correct for sulfuric acid electrolyte) at 3V (correct for organic electrolytes. All aqueous electrolytes break down at 1.2V, and are run at 1V. Organic electrolytes have about 20uF/cm2. So claimed twice what is physically possible, even theoretically. Another grass eating snake.
Bottom line is, the cited voltage in the thread doesn't mean anything by itself, and is ambiguous. And that is all there is. You have the section from my next book on EEStor. I reattach it (slightly edited) so Tom Villars can read it too. Recapping is another grass eating snake when it comes to high energy density high power electrical storage. Unless verifiable measurement of high dielectric constant (say 15000) at high voltage (say 1000-2000) can be shown. And it has not been.
After I pointed out to him that the category under which Recapping received it's funding was for devices with better than lithium ion ED, he wrote another reply:
Yes. And the Arpa category was "high risk translational research". This is very high risk, since it won't work. Arpa actually expects that most of the things in this category won't.
As for DOE experts, they funded Skyonic $25million for a demonstration Skymine, which cannot reduce atmospheric CO2 even though the chemistry works as advertised. Send you that part of the book also. Here, Wendman can make composite capacitor parts. Others have also. He can make high dielectric parts. Others have also. But if he had made high dielectric high voltage parts, he would not need Arpa. He could go get a gajillion dollars from Khosla.
If Wendman had more data than what was in the patent applications, then it should have been included in the applications. For a patent to be valid, there is a requirement that it disclose everything relevant so that one of skill in the art could replicate.
The 'best mode' requirement is 35 USC 112 section 2165. The courts have held that even unintentional failure to disclose the best mode of practice is grounds for rejection or invalidation. Union Carbide v. Borg Warner, 550 F.2nd 555, 193 USPQ 1.
They have not yet shown what Arpa E wants. But have not claimed it in their patent applications either, as pointed out to you this date. Nor represented (so far as I know) to Arpa that they had. If they had shown it, they would probably not have gotten the Arpa grant per Arpa rules. Which rules are a matter of public record.
Unlike EEStor, which did make claims in 2004 patent applications (now issued patents) but cannot back them up as of YE 2011 (seven years later)-- let alone as of the time the claims were originally made. The likely correct technical legal term is inequitable conduct against the patent office by the filing attorney for EEStor. As for inventor Weir, it is likely technical perjury (a sworn but false statement concerning the patent application). You can 'fraud' from there.
Zenn is a different issue, since their representations involve Canadian rather than US securities laws. Maybe in Canada willful ignorance or obvious stupidity are a sufficient defense under their business judgement rules. In the US, Bergeron and Clifford would have probably haave been toast by now. You get my drift...
I stand by my reasoned written conclusions on your site and this email train. Continued lack of EEStor results speaks louder than any words.
Time to stand and deliver.
In the meantime, I noticed that Recapping has updated their ARPA page with an interesting PDF file.
The program fact sheet now includes a chart that I've never noticed before.
This graph should eliminate any doubt about their intention to create something with energy density greater than lithium ion.
The project terminates June 30, 2012. Every indication I have so far indicates they have been successful in their research....what exactly that entails in detail....is TBD.