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.