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Bye Bye 10X nanowire lithium-ion battery?

15864 Views 23 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Jason M. Hendler
I don’t know what to make of this. Any suggestions?

Let me summarize. The man that is responsible for inventing a battery technology that has the potential to globally replace petroleum as an energy source as been given a grant by Saudi Arabia, the biggest producer of petroleum in the world. Things that make you go hummm. Yi Cui, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford who specializes in nanotechnology will get 2 million dollars a year for 5 years and is required to spend from 3 weeks to 3 months a year in Saudi Arabia doing research. Here are a few motivations I see:

1) Saudi Arabia knows that it’s oil reserves are far smaller than they claim and know they must switch to alternative energy technologies as soon as possible. Why not get the most promising researcher on earth? Hey, energy was good for them in the past, why not in the future. If the US let’s this guy go because we did not give him enough funding then it will be one of the dumbest things we have ever done (or not done). Kind of like letting Manning (either of them!) go in a trade.

2) By lavishly funding him it will effectively keep Yi out of the commercial market for at least the next 5 years. Hey, research is a heck of a lot more fun than getting a product out the door and making deadlines. Yi was talking about starting up a company or licensing out his technology but now he doesn’t have to. Hummm.

3) Saudi Arabia knows this guy is going to be an important patent generating machine. Grab this IP and continue to rule the energy world.

4) Obtain exclusive rights to Yi’s IP and slow down or halt the technologies ability to displace petroleum. It would be bad for Saudi Arabia if petroleum was displaced, don’t you think?

5) Yi knows that his technology is worthless and getting 10 million from Saudi Arabia will keep him in the lab and also buy him some new toys to play with for another 5 years. This would be a shame but if true it would make Yi even smarter than I thought! lol.

Anyway, I’ve been holding my breath over this silicon nanowire battery technology and what Yi is going to do with it. My hope was for him to unconditionally license the IP to several large companies so that they can get this to market as fast as possible with the least possibility of the technology being bought out and covered up. Looks like my concerns were valid. Oh well, we always have algae I guess. Algae will be much more difficult to cover up. Oh, EEstor is also a possibility. However, I think they would be bought out even easier. Perhaps by the government planning to keep their technology secret in order to maintain a military advantage. I’m starting to sound like a conspiracy theorist. You know what they say, even though someone is paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not being watched. ;)

Come on Yi, license your technology out and let the big boys bring it to market as fast as possible. A quick-charge battery with 10X the performance of current lithium-ion (heck, 2X would do it) is the game changer all of us are looking for. At lest give us an update once in a while. :)
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I hope you are right that Yi fully understands how important this technology is and that he needs to make sure it cannot be muffled.

Oh, I thought of another one regarding Saudi Arabia's strategy:

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
Well, we won't know until Yi gives us an update. Can someone please set this guy up a blog?
Excellent idea to e-mail him. I will write an e-mail on behalf of GM-Volt. Would anyone like to ask him a question? I will compile a list and send it out. We might need to get it published in order for him to read it but... I'll start the list:

1) What do you intend to do to make sure this new technology gets to market as fast as possible (even if it is not perfected yet)?

2) How do you intend to keep this technology from being bought out and kept from the public?

Please add your thoughts, comments and questions.
If you were my father or God I might listen to you. Other than that... I'll just keep you off the list.
I think you are over reacting. I was in no way going to misrepresent myself. I was simply going to state that I have compiled some questions from some forum members. Would this be a misrepresentation? Would I require anyone's permission? Should I consult a lawyer first? Perhaps you are thinking too highly of yourself? Oh and I didn't know you were aware of my pay grade. Such a foolish comment.
Does anyone else wonder where the university in S.A. got an extra 10 mil? Did I hear someone say oil company?
Good point. Maybe they were given an open-ended grant and the givers said to invest the money anyway the university wanted without worrying if it completely undermined the Saudi Arabian oil economy. Hummm.

Maybe some people, like Jason, are not interested. In fact, Jason is extremely against this entire thread. Hummm. lol. Of course I'm joking. As I was saying, maybe some people are against learning more about this situation but I think it's important enough to maybe ask a few questions. Wondering if the Volt will come out in Orange may be more important to some but I'm still a little curious about the whole situation. Is that OK with you, Jason?
Knock yourselves out, but oil is a legitimate industry, and has every right to diversify into any other industry that it feels would be beneficial to their bottom line.
You may be right that companies have a legal right to do things to protect themselves and thus help their bottom line. So you are telling me that you would be ok if a Saudi Arabian (or other company) bought out A123's patents and never produced another battery again? Or maybe bought out Yi's revolutionary battery patents and quietly held out on producing any products by keeping them in the lab forever? I'm not ok with this. It may be legal but if you look at the big picture it's shameful, especially if people are aware of the situation and do nothing about it. Again, we know you are not interested so why do you keep commenting here?
You claim you know what Saudi Arabia's intentions are? I have heard it all now. You don't think it would be good for them to have this patent and keep it in their labs until they need it? You are delusional.
Some people are crying conspiracy theories over oil companies and battery technology and others are trying to discredit those that even bring up the thought that a company would even dare to cover up technology for their own benefit. I offer you this simple post from another person. Just the chronology of the events is worth a thousand words. Might not prove anything but maybe, just maybe a small amount of caution might be observed as we move forward. Is that too much to ask? Please read and make up your own minds:

"20. Chris M:

That web page at Cobasys does state that they make "advanced NiMH energy storage systems for hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), electric vehicles (EV), 42-Volt and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) transportation applications." What it fails to mention is the name of any EV manufacturer to whom it actually supplies the batteries.

Do you know of one? Perhaps Zenn or ZAP or Th!nk or Miles or Aptera? Claiming that they COULD be used for that purpose, but actually providing them... are two different things.

Also, perhaps you should write to Wikipedia to correct their assessment of the Toyota/Panasonic issues. For example, you say that "Toyota stopped making the RAV4EV as sales were poor." Yet Wikipedia claims that "there were more RAV4-EV's sold than there were cars available."

Moreover, on the subject of the NiMH batteries, according to Wikipedia:

"Whether or not Toyota wanted to continue production, it was unlikely to be able to do so, because the EV-95 battery was no longer available. Chevron had inherited control of the worldwide patent rights for the NiMH EV-95 battery when it merged with Texaco, which had purchased them from General Motors. Chevron's unit won a $30,000,000 settlement from Toyota and Panasonic, and the production line for the large NiMH batteries was closed down and dismantled. Only smaller NiMH batteries, incapable of powering an electric vehicle or plugging in, are currently allowed by Chevron-Texaco."

Finally, I think your timeline might be off --and the subsequent consequences and conclusions. According to the documents and news releases I can find, this is the chronology:

1994 - General Motors buys controlling interest in Ovonics's NiMH batteries.

1997 - Toyota makes the RAV4-EV available in the U.S.

Oct. 10, 2000 - Texaco purchases GM's controlling interest in Ovonic.

Oct. 16, 2000 - Chevron acquires Texaco.

2001 - CARB repeals the ZEV mandate and GM axes the EV1 program.

2001 - Texaco/Chevron Ovonic sues Toyota/Panasonic for patent infringement.

November, 2002 - Toyota axes the RAV4-EV.

2003 - Texaco/Chevron Ovonic becomes Cobasys.

July 7, 2004 - Toyota/Panasonic settle with Cobasys for $30,000,000.
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