Apr 12

U.S. Nanowire Lithium-ion Battery Expert Gets a $10 Million Grant…From Saudi Arabia?

 

One of the most popular posts on this site was actually not about the Chevy Volt, but an interview I did with Dr. Yi Cui of Stanford University.

He had developed a silicon nanowire anode for lithium-ion batteries. A result of his unique chemistry were experimental cells that could store 10 times the energy of current lithium ion batteries.

The potential of his breakthrough is clear, car batteries that could easily get 400 mile or more ranges.

Whether it was or was not the result of this site, I have heard that GM has communicated with Dr. Yi, and Bob Lutz even mentioned his technology when he spoke with us at Volt Nation.

Dr. Yi, who is actually a junior faculty member, has just been awarded a $10 million grant to expand his research. Only the grant isn’t from the U.S., it’s from Saudi Arabia.

To be fair, he was one of 10 scientists from around the world chosen for breakthrough research, and he can use the money in his current lab at Stanford. He is though apparently obligated to spend 1 to 3 months per year in Saudi Arabia.

It isn’t known to me whether any inventions stemming from research supported by this grant become in any way property of the Saudis.

You have to wonder though, if Saudi Arabia has the largest known reserves of oil on the planet, why are they so interested in silicon nanowire lithium-ion batteries?

Source (Palo Alto Online )

This entry was posted on Saturday, April 12th, 2008 at 9:18 am and is filed under Battery. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 50


  1. 1
    Brian M

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (9:42 am)

    I guess the Saudis see the writing on the wall. Pretty smart of them if you ask me.


  2. 2
    Grizzly

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (9:47 am)

    That’s a good question, but if it’s a grant then it’s not for equity, it’s in effect a “gift”. However, 10 million isn’t really that much, and you have to wonder why he’s got to spend 1-3 months in Saudi Arabia. Almost makes it look like they’re tying to get their foot in the door.


  3. 3
    matt986

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (10:08 am)

    Maybe they’re coming to the realization that their oil WILL run out someday… Seems like US Oil companies have already realized that.

    I DO hope there is some stipulation in the grant that the technology will NOT belong to Saudi Arabia, or anyone else. Once it’s perfected, it needs to get out there so that it can be produced by many vendors. The world will benefit greatly from this technology.

    One aspect I have not seen mentioned about this technology in relation to it’s storage capacity increases… One could get 10x the range from having 10x the storage… but what about having, say 5x the range with 1/2 the battery size/weight/cost? 😉


  4. 4
    kent beuchert

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (10:09 am)

    Yi’s devices , if they ever are built, are a LONG way off in the future. If the EEStor devices work as advertsied, Cui may have to look for another line of research and give back some of that grant money. The Saudis have always invested in technology in this country from way back – mostly due to the fact that they have so much oil, so few people and can’t find enough ways to spend all
    that money. The Saudis don’t need much money from oil, and would love to see those belligerent radically religious Arab neighbors and organizations lose the source of income that makes them extremely dangerous nuts. The Saudis can undercut anyone’s else prices for oil should the global oil market suffer a depression and they don’t need much income. A huge drop in oil prices would make the Saudi rulers feel a whole lot safer.


  5. 5
    Jason M. Hendler

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (10:09 am)

    Grizzly,

    I am surprised SA didn’t have Yi in SA full time for $10 million, but 1 – 3 months sounds like a good deal for Yi. SA understands “peak oil” and are racing to produce alternative energy sources to sustain their economy when oil is depleted. SA should invest in solar hydrogen generation plants, so that they can export cheap hydrogen.


  6. 6
    George K

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (10:11 am)

    Well, 10 million dollars isn’t much of a dent to the Saudi’s. We import roughly 1.5 million barrels each day from them. If every barrel costs $100, that’s 150 million dollars per day? Wow that’s higher than I thought!

    So $10 million is less than 2 hours worth of US imports to Saudi Arabia.

    I assume they want to diversify. They must see cars like the Volt as a threat to their income.

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/company_level_imports/current/import.html


  7. 7
    nasaman

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (10:11 am)

    Lyle said above, “It isn’t known to me whether any inventions stemming from research supported by this grant become in any way property of the Saudis.” It also isn’t clear from the Palo Alto Online article what strings may be attached ….but we can be SURE the Saudi’s aren’t giving the money away without expecting a significant return on their investment!

    Nearly 30 years ago, the US designed, built, launched & trained the Saudi’s to operate their first venture in space —the “Arabsat” satellite fleet— which employed state-of-the-art American space technology at that time. They’ll gladly pay top dollar to own the best technology money can buy!

    All I can say is, “SELLER BEWARE”!


  8. 8
    Texas

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (10:46 am)

    Here is the on-going thread about this subject:

    http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?t=231

    Please feel free to add your comments.


  9. 9
    OhmExcited

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (11:26 am)

    Lutz said at the Volt reveal that it would use a lot of technology from GE plastics. GE plastics was recently sold to the Saudis. It’s a conspiracy, man!


  10. 10
    Joe

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (12:08 pm)

    What’s wrong with our (US) government? That money should not be coming from a foreign country and of all countries,Saudi Arabia? I just hope this government wakes up!!!! If we don’t change course, this country will be in a grave situation someday. I’m not a pessimist either. I just want this government to wake and do something while it still can.


  11. 11
    GM Volt Fan

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (12:10 pm)

    I think Saudi Arabia is getting concerned that their “light sweet crude” (the cheap, easy to get out of the ground kind) has peaked and is on the downslope. They keep that information secret, so you never know how much oil they really have underground.

    It’s not too surprising that a Saudi Arabia university is giving out grants for things like Dr. Cui’s research on silicon nanowire batteries. The Middle East oil countries are going to spend A LOT on solar R&D and solar power plants in the next few years. That’s very good news. I’m all for that. The more the better. Sure beats having them build a bunch of nuclear plants. Why would they need nuclear plants anyway with all that sun just waiting to be converted to electricity?

    You can’t blame them for liking solar thermal and solar photovoltaic in the Middle East. They are sitting on ANOTHER gold mine of energy wealth that they could export to their neighbors. The Sahara desert will be a booming energy center in the future no doubt about it.

    Desalination plants too … for more drinking water and crop irrigation. If it gets cheap enough, the deserts might be growing crops like they do along the Nile river someday. If they can’t grow regular crops, maybe they can grow lots of switchgrass in the desert for cellulosic ethanol to deal with corn ethanol causing problems with the food supply. Grow switchgrass and other energy crops on the marginal lands … not the prime crop land like in Iowa!

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUKL1079284820080410?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0

    http://www.geotimes.org/apr08/article.html?id=feature_solar.html

    http://www.geotimes.org/apr08/feature_solar5.jpg

    http://www.trec-uk.org.uk/csp.htm

    Dr. Cui’s research on batteries could be applied to the wind and solar industries. There’s a big need for new energy storage and transmission technologies in general … cheaper high capacity batteries, ultracapacitors, superconductors, HVDC transmission lines, etc. Solar needs to be able to store energy so that it can feed the grid around the clock after the sun goes down. Wind farms need to be able to store electricity because the wind tends to blow more at night and TOO much at times … which causes problems with supply meeting demand at the right times. Gotta transfer it long distances with low losses around the region too.

    I kind of doubt that this Saudi Arabian university would have any claims on what any patents that might result from Dr. Cui’s research. They couldn’t bury his invention to protect their oil business I’m sure. They might get a little percentage of the royalties if other companies license Dr. Cui’s technology. Who knows?

    I’d prefer than an American university or the US government give him the $10 million grant but I’m sure Dr. Cui would take it from whoever offers it. I personally just want to see him get VERY busy on his research and get it commercialized SOON if they come up with some revolutionary batteries. Batteries that have TEN times more capacity would be world changing alright.

    Gotta admit, the oil sheik tycoons in the Middle East have more money than they know what to do with these days. $10 million is probably no big deal for them. They don’t have massive budget deficits and a national debt like our government does. The oil sheiks probably have every luxury product you can think of already. Maybe they figure they better invest in other energy related technologies instead of spending it all on frivolous luxuries that future generations of Saudis will resent them for. They already have big problems there with how the royal family lives vs. everyone else. It’s like feudal lords and peasant serfs really.

    The Saudi royals “live large” compared to everyone else that’s for sure. They make J.R. Ewing’s lifestyle in that old TV show “Dallas” look pretty modest. I’m sure their houses outshine anything you’d see on MTV “Cribs”. On “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” there was this one 18 year old son of an oil sheik who gave Mariah Carey a $5 million dollar necklace just because he liked her. They live in a whole different world from the rest of us.

    Investing in alternative energy technologies might be a way to reduce resentments for the price of oil if it keeps going up dramatically. OPEC knows America is totally addicted to oil, so maybe they are trying keep us oil junkies from freaking out at them if they tell us someday that they really ARE on the fast downslope in their oil fields. Maybe the gas tank really IS running low … quarter tank maybe. Who knows, maybe the Saudis wouldn’t tell us if they thought the oil field “gas gauge” was already close to empty.

    Addicts aren’t too happy when they are realize their supplies of drugs are running low. Al Gore said something on “TED” recently that is analogous to what the oil companies are doing now. He said they’re like drug dealer/junkies looking for veins between their toes and other places because they can’t do it in their arms anymore. America needs to go to rehab for oil addiction … no doubt about. At least these days America appears to be on step 1 in rehab and admitting we have a problem that is out of control. 🙂


  12. 12
    Jim I

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (12:37 pm)

    This is my major concern with the entire Volt project. If GM has even a hint that they will not be able to have a supply of battery packs, this project will be closed down very quickly. And what better way to stop the changeover from burning fossil fuels than to buy up the battery manufacturers and future battery technology improvements!


  13. 13
    ThombDbhomb

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (1:05 pm)

    The potential value of Dr. Cui’s work is well over $10M. Dr. Cui must know that. I doubt he would cede any rights for a paltry $10M. IMO, the Saudi’s are buying expertise to educate their domestic science program.


  14. 14
    Mike D

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (1:22 pm)

    Correct me if i’m wrong, but when in history has owning technology created a long term monopoly for ONLY one single company, or group of people? As soon as a product is sold with new technology, any other person or company can simply take it apart and find out how it works. I’m surprised that anyone is worried about the 10 million saudi grant. Worst case, the saudi’s start selling batteries. Batteries that people will take apart and learn from and copy, IF the saudi’s were using breakthrough technology.

    It doesn’t matter what the saudi’s own, it can never STOP anyone else from making batteries. Unless they own all the metal and plastic in the world.

    #10 Joe. What is the government supposed to do? Tell one third party that isn’t committing any crime that they’re not allowed to give money to another 3rd party that isn’t committing a crime? They day the government thinks they’re big enough to push people around like that, is the day that we’re in a grave situation.

    Owning tech means nothing, because as long as a product is make with that tech, people will take it apart and copy it or learn from it.

    Big deal.


  15. 15
    PeteVE

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (1:45 pm)

    #13 MikeD

    I agree with you Mike that it doesn’t matter b/c ppl will just copy or learn on their own. The one thing they can do is get a time to market share on a tech and make these batteries cost more so that their oil is still in demand. buying tech doesn’t always mean they will use it. it is sometimes a way of limiting or stopping the tech with patents. and while time will give us a chance to re-work the tech from another angle, it is simply the timing that could save us all from using their oil ten fold as the tech is ten fold.


  16. 16
    Tom

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (1:50 pm)

    Hello? This is academic research being done at Stanford. Anybody who can figure out how to subscribe to a scientific journal will have access to it, including the Saudis, North Koreans, etc., etc. So what.

    I assume this is just typical funding of the arts and sciences, which rich people (and countries) do all the time. It’s possible that S. A. is worried about global warming just like us.

    #4 Kent:

    >> those belligerent radically religious Arab neighbors

    I hope you realize that most of the radically religious 9/11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia. I hope you also realize that Saudi Arabia very publicly provides safe haven for terrorists. Saudi Arabia has often been criticized for human rights violations and torture like amputations and floggings. They use Islamic law as their only guidance for human rights, so women can legally be stoned for committing adultery. They’re also not allowed to drive, and some other things I can’t remember now. So it’s odd you talk about their belligerent radically religious neighbors.


  17. 17
    Moe

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (2:31 pm)

    Well, for one the Saudis don’t want to give up the energy market they have owned for decades. And two, they want to make it look like, “Hey, we want to make this planet green too!” because right now, I don’t think there are a lot of people in the world that like Saudi Arabia, to say the least. So, I think it’s more like an innocent facemask to cover the tragedies they are causing over the world…. THAT IS OIL!!! lol


  18. 18
    John

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (2:46 pm)

    Here comes the Chevron / NiMH debate again . That risk and those theories will pop up whenever this much money is at stake .


  19. 19
    Nick

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (2:56 pm)

    FYI, in academia “grants” are some times given for an exchange for intellectual property. I’ve never heard of exclusive rights being given in exchange for a grant, but it’s possible.

    I see two realistic motives here:

    1. They want to retard the development and commercialization of this technology. Even if they only get nonexclusive rights to it, Stanford can’t by definition give exclusive rights to the tech to other entities, thus making it less attractive as an investment. If you were a venture capitalist, you would be at lest somewhat deterred in making an investment in a technology you could not exclusively own.

    2. It’s a do-gooder display of support for alternative energy. If it has the side effect of actually retarding progress towards alternative energy, then all the better for them.

    You have to wonder what motivates the researcher to consent to this. On the one hand a $10m grant helps a lot with your tenure case. It relieves him from the unpleasant task of having to fund his lab by continually pandering to multiple funding sources. On the other hand, if the technology is half as good as the hype suggests, it would be pretty easy get venture funding for this and try to cash in big. Typically, grants are to universities and academic researchers only see a small fraction of a grant in the form of summer salary. Perhaps in this case he is getting a direct “gift” in this, also.


  20. 20
    Nick

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (3:01 pm)

    Anyone CAN’T just use read the scientific paper and commercialize this. That is the whole point of patents. You publish and add to scientific knowledge, but keep all commercial rights. It is conceivable therefore, that this grant can impede commercialization if a transfer of a rights is involved. See post 19 for an explanation.


  21. 21
    MetrologyFirst

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (3:03 pm)

    What I understand about how these types of collegial grants are done is that the Saudi University will get acess to the technology, but the originator keeps the legal rights. This is great for Stanford and any other of the universities that got grants.

    My guess is that Saudi Arabia is trying to develop a world class research university with the right contacts and connections. Pretty smart of them; you do have to wonder what is the driver behind the decision. The grants are going out but the university isn’t built yet? Perhaps they realize they need a more diversified scientific footprint to stay relavant in a world that increasingly sees oil countries in a negative light. Not to mention having other sources of advancements other than oil. And that they need it fast.

    They will get MANY home-grown scientists with state of the art education and experience and bench time with world experts. Nothing wrong with that. Other than it should be the US doing this instead. Hopefully our ‘war on science’ will come to an end soon.

    Or we will be beholden to other countries for our financing AND our science. That is scary.


  22. 22
    Mark

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (3:30 pm)

    Is this a ‘gift’ to allow him to continue the research, or a ‘payoff’ that he won’t??


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    ThombDbhomb

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (4:16 pm)

    #21
    MetrologyFirst

    “They will get MANY home-grown scientists with state of the art with world experts. Nothing wrong with that. Other than it should be the US doing this instead.”

    The US is doing this, at least in this case. You see, Dr. Cui is a world expert spending 9 months out of the year in the US. Other domestic scientists will interact with him.


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    Rockyroad

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (4:20 pm)

    4. kent beuchert
    The Saudis don’t need much money from oil, and would love to see those belligerent radically religious Arab neighbors and organizations lose the source of income that makes them extremely dangerous nuts.

    If you believe that I have a bridge to sell you. Though the 1990’s and later the Saudis spent millions building 100s of madrassa schools which teach radical Islam in Pakistan, and they are still doing it. . Many of the graduates go on to join the Taliban in Afghanistan and other Muslim terrorist organizations throughout the world.
    http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2006/09/29/radical_teachings_in_pakistan_schools/


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    Keerthi

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (5:28 pm)

    10x improvement in battery is important as this transmission can then be exported to Pick-ups, Trucks and potentially Rigs.

    Note: I dont like to see it in Hummy or Suvs personally.


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    Rashiid Amul

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (5:53 pm)

    Lyle asks, “You have to wonder though, if Saudi Arabia has the largest known reserves of oil on the planet, why are they so interested in silicon nanowire lithium-ion batteries?”

    I think it is to kill it. Maybe I am being pessimistic, but I don’t trust them or anyone else willing to give a big grant to a technology that is in direct competition. In this case battery technology is in direct competition with oil.


  27. 27
    RB

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (6:01 pm)

    Very wise of Saudi to use a part of current income to be a part of future income. They are good investors.


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    Texas

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (7:15 pm)

    I just want to know what the conditions of the grant are. If it prevents Stanford from obtaining the IP and then getting a start-up going then it would have been extremely well spent money by the Saudis. Yi Cui, Please give us an update on this grant (and your technical progress) and let us know that you will not let your IP fall into the wrong hands.

    To the other posters that said it doesn’t matter about buying the technology I have just one word for you : Patents. Here in the free world companies are prevented from making products that violate patent rights. Why do you think we even have the paten system? Sure companies can reverse engineer products and often do. Even if you have the knowledge doesn’t mean you have the right to use it. Just use the pharmaceutical industry as an example. These companies get extremely rich on successful drug patents. After a long time other companies can begin to sell generic versions of the drug. The generic price is much less less than half price. Thus, the IP (intellectual property) of technology can be more important that the technology itself.


  29. 29
    Ted in Fort Myers

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (7:42 pm)

    I think I heard a Saudi say once, “Trust Me I only have your best interest in Mind”. or something like that.


  30. 30
    Mike

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (7:49 pm)

    Hmmm, speculation about what the purpose of Saudi funding is just that – speculation. Lets talk about some facts — I recommend you all go to Blockbust and pickup the video — Who Killed the Electric Car! Now that movies is all facts and it was pretty dissapointing to me to discover the root cause why we are 60 years behind the ball.


  31. 31
    Grizzly

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (9:42 pm)

    My first reaction was that the Saudis are taking care of their “mother lode”. A cooler head says that this guy’s research isn’t on the verge of reality and the beauty of EV technology is that its potential is almost limitless. This means that even if the Saudis “own” both Stanford and Cui, (both are ulikely to say the least) , they aren’t any closer than a Pluto shot at owning EV technology.

    So should we be concerned? Of course we should and this is only good in every sense of the word. The reality is, as has been stated , the next breakthrough is anyone’s guess. Ultra caps? Non chemical energy storage? If either of these or any other unforeseen technologies come to be (and there will be many) , nanowires are obsolete out of the starting blocks.


  32. 32
    BillR

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (10:26 pm)

    Well, believe it or not, the Saudis are moderate Arabs, and have friendly relations with the US (versus countries like Iran or Syria).

    The Saudis are also very shrewd, and many of their best advisors are educated at Harvard, Yale, etc. They know the value of oil, and that overpricing will lead consumers to alternatives.

    When other OPEC nations in the early 1980’s tried to push oil prices too high (which causes a downturn in demand) the Saudis were the ones who kept reducing their output, while other OPEC countries maintained exports or cheated. Finally, after seeing their exports reduce from 10 million BPD to 4 million BPD, the Saudis opened the spigots, and oil prices plummeted in 1985. They established themselves as the dominant member of OPEC.

    The Saudis know that their oil will not last forever, and for decades have invested their money in infrastructure that suits their country and its topography. Cement plants and fiberglass are two industries that they invested in domestically in the past.

    I believe they are now investing money in companies like Daimler, Airbus, and others, and obviously they see opportunity for Li-Ion batteries, even if it is to manufacture these batteries in the Kingdom.

    I sincerely hope that no intellectual property rights have been sacrificed by this grant, but as far as the Saudis are concerned, for the most part, I’ve always had a great deal of respect for them


  33. 33
    Eric E

     

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    Apr 13th, 2008 (12:20 am)

    Well at least SOMEONE was willing to give him $10 million to continue his reseach.

    I don’t see the US government doing that!


  34. 34
    nasaman

     

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    Apr 13th, 2008 (8:10 am)

    Briefly leaving topic….. I just checked GMNext.com where Lyle’s Volt Nation video headlines a new topic on the Volt and I was surprised to see that very few gm-volt.com folks had posted there …..but that numerous GM/Volt “slashers” have. Maybe others here would care to go over there & counter some of the excessively negative stuff? It’s at….

    http://www.gmnext.com/Details/Thoughts.aspx?id=a787e3e9-30db-4730-af0a-f175a17f68b8

    Returning to topic…..


  35. 35
    Shawn Marshall

     

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    Apr 13th, 2008 (8:19 am)

    $10 million? Can you say spitting in the wind? Think anyone else is working on Lithium doped nanowires now?

    SA work ethic has been destroyed, if it ever existed, by big oil bucks. Don’t worry about SA economic competition, only about the Wahabi poison they permit and encourage in the Muslim world. If we all survive the coming Iranian nuclear debacle, the hatred of Muslim fanatic ascetics will destroy their own societies.


  36. 36
    Just Watching

     

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    Apr 13th, 2008 (1:48 pm)

    I doubt these batteries will be affordable in the near term but if they only cost $100 for a 1 megawatt battery we could not charge them up. Our power grid is already loaded to the max during the summers,


  37. 37
    NorthernPiker

     

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    Apr 13th, 2008 (2:13 pm)

    The ten-fold increase in anode (negative electrode) capacity is a significant advance but it does not necessarily imply an immediate ten-fold increase in battery energy storage capacity unless the other two battery components – the cathode (positive electrode) and the electrolyte – are up to the task, i.e., already capable of handling a ten-fold increase in energy storage. The only near-term capacity improvement that you can count on with this new anode technology is a ten-fold decrease in the anode size. A recently announcement of a 50% improvement in cathode capacity for Li-ion laptop batteries illustrates this point.

    “The electrode material can store 45 percent to 50 percent more energy than the best electrodes in laptop batteries. In terms of an entire battery cell–given that the positive electrode represents less than half of the total weight and volume of a battery cell–the total energy storage of the battery can be improved by 20 percent to 30 percent, Henriksen says. “

    http://www.technologyreview.com/advertisement.aspx?ad=energy&id=30&redirect=%2FEnergy%2F20524%2Fpage1%2F%3Fa%3Df

    I think that the longer life time and likely higher power burst capability implied by Cui’s work are equally important benefits of a nanowire anode.


  38. 38
    NorthernPiker

     

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    Apr 13th, 2008 (2:15 pm)

    Here are some other possible motives for the Saudi largesse:

    1. They view their country as an energy supplier – oil today and solar tomorrow. Then it makes sense that they understand these advances in battery technology and how it will impact them as an energy supplier – today and tomorrow,

    2. With world and Saudi oilfields at maximum output, the Saudis can no longer control OPEC with the threats of increased production. New battery technology may well restore order to the world oil markets and re-establish Saudi dominance of OPEC and influence in the world, including influence with some belligerent arab countries.


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    Nixon

     

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    Apr 13th, 2008 (3:58 pm)

    I would rather see Saudi Arabia handing out the money for battery research than any US oil company. Saudi Arabia has to cut their oil production levels SOON, or they risk permanently damaging their oil fields through over-pumping. They know this, we know this. Reducing the global oil consumption to a level that is realistic and sustainable helps Saudi Arabia too.

    The truth is that long after cars no longer burn oil at all, there will still be huge demands for petroleum based products. Like plastics, fertilizers, lubricants, etc. Saudi Arabia will continue to do just fine selling oil in a post-gasoline car world.


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    robert villeneuve

     

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    Apr 13th, 2008 (6:48 pm)

    Improves Li-Ion Batteries by 30 Percent
    here the web page
    http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,2282479,00.asp


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    JonP

     

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    Apr 14th, 2008 (12:05 am)

    Damn the Saudis are cutting out the middle man……

    I thought it was the refiner (chevron) who was supposed to buy patents in order to supress technology.


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    Don Harmon

     

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    Apr 14th, 2008 (11:21 am)

    If only our government would promote battery research like we promote “freedom” the Saudi’s would not have the need to take the credit for fossil fuel independence. Dr. Yi’s discovery is only a beginning and to take a laboratory experiment and scale it up to a real viable product will take a lot more than $10M. Expect at least 5-7 years and many more millions to get there. In the meantime there are good viable battery solutions already on the market if there becomes a market for Electric Vehicles or PHEV’s. Personally I feel that American car makers should be focusing on PHEV’s for the next 10 years.


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    Glen

     

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    Apr 14th, 2008 (11:22 am)

    Lets hold the conspiracy theories to a minimum. There has been a concerted effort in SA and elsewhere in the middle east to improve their Universities.

    The same goes elsewhere. Universities try and get researchers all the time, in almost every country. If Dr. Cui was enticed by the University of Toronto instead, would we saying that Canada was trying to sabotage or ensnare his discovery to protect the tar sands?


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    Don Harmon

     

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    Apr 14th, 2008 (11:22 am)

    If only our government would promote battery research like we promote “freedom” the Saudi’s would not have the need to take the credit for fossil fuel independence. Dr. Yi’s discovery is only a beginning and to take a laboratory experiment and scale it up to a real viable product will take a lot more than $10M. Expect at least 5-7 years and many more millions to get there. In the meantime there are good viable battery solutions already on the market if there becomes a market for Electric Vehicles or PHEV’s. Personally I feel that American car makers should be focusing on PHEV’s for the next 10 years.

    http://www.lifebatt.com


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    Dave99

     

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    Apr 16th, 2008 (4:16 pm)

    I’ll admit I didn’t read the above messages, so I apologize if this is repeat info…

    Saudi Arabia is heavily investing in a new University that they hope to rapidly build into a leading research facility. To demonstrate how serious they are about jump-starting this thing, many university students received an email about finishing their degree free of cost (I was one of them). The founding provost is from U-Michigan, while the president comes from Brown University. According to their website, a research alliance is in order with U-Texas at Austin.

    http://www.kaust.edu.sa/

    Apparently, someone in Saudi Arabia is seeing the value of having a top-rated university system. Having anyone spend money to increase research, and subsequently expand our knowledge base, shouldn’t be viewed as a negative thing. Although, I hope this stimulates the US to increase our own post-secondary funding to maintain a competitive edge.

    My last point is seeing technology breakthroughs to market. Many of the battery breakthroughs that US researchers have made were not brought to market through US companies. Instead, companies from Japan had taken the first initiative years ago to solve the packing and implementation solutions… Although I have little hard data to back up this statement, these final sentiments come from one of my professors who does research on batteries.


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    Tod

     

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    Apr 18th, 2008 (1:32 pm)

    It looks like investing in the future to me. Some day Saudi Arabia will be dry, and they are always looking for ways to retain the growth of wealth after the oil money dries up. I am sure they are looking at the fact that as oil goes up in price, people will be looking for ways to cut the use of oil and come up with other ways of producing energy.

    They are smart enough to see that by having the control of some of these technologies they will be able to continue to reap the most money out of energy expenditures.

    This is why oil companies invest in battery tech, and the Saudis invest in nanowire tech. It makes sense.


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    JBFALASKA

     

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    Apr 18th, 2008 (8:59 pm)

    Take straight aim at this point – electricity is the next oil. The Sauds are already moving in on our electric utility ownership. Check out the behind the scenes ownership of the electric grid through the sovereign funds and the Private Equity funds they use as pawns.


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    dexter bland

     

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    Apr 20th, 2008 (5:53 pm)

    I think people are being naive if they believe that there is no ulterior motive by the Saudis here. They currently control a market worth hundreds of billions, EVs are a direct threat to this market, if only they could beat the range limitations imposed by the battery.

    Though I’m sure they are bright enough to know that they can’t keep this kind of technology in the box for ever, they will do whatever they can to forestall the day of reckoning. As a previous poster pointed out, they only need to push it back by a couple of hours to make this little investment pay off. In deterring others from bringing it to market they will have achieved that.


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    Don Harmon

     

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    Apr 20th, 2008 (6:04 pm)

    I just don’t get the last poster’s logic? If the Saudis wanted to forestall the development of battery technology why throw $10 M. at a researcher ? That is a pittance for them. If they truly wished to do what you say, the could afford to buy any Patents he has or any real research for whatever they felt it was worth.

    Conspiracy theorists abound these days, and this kind of speculation just makes no sense.

    Don Harmon


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    Doug Atkins

     

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    Oct 25th, 2008 (1:26 pm)

    I’ve commented on all this stuff before. But if the same folks who mucked up our financial system get their hands on this, they’ll surely screw it up too. Then they’ll be asking for another bailout.