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The Start of an Energy Storage Breakthrough

by | published September 2nd, 2011

Despite soft U.S. economic figures, market gyrations, and the debt ping-pong match going on between Europe and Washington, the American entrepreneurial spirit remains alive and well.

Here is proof of that.

A tiny upstart company based on Odessa, Florida, just made a major move toward revolutionizing the storage of energy.

In the process, the cost of renewable energies – such as solar and wind power – could come down dramatically, making them viable competitors in the energy marketplace.

The problem with renewable energy has always been our inability to store large amounts of what is generated – a shortcoming well known with any production of electricity.

It's especially true for solar power, which is, of course, only available when the sun's out.

That's why the battery market has become the Holy Grail for the entire energy sector. Analysts and investors focus on any small improvement in retaining power.

But there hasn't been anything like this before.

And it just might change the way we do, well, just about everything.

It Used to be the Stuff of Science Fiction

Yesterday, Dais Analytic Corp. (OTC:DLYT) finally secured a patent for what it calls a “Nanoparticle Ultracapacitor.” (As an indication of how new this area is, the company filed the patent more than five years ago!)

The device uses the company's existing proprietary nano-structured materials to create an mechanism projected to have great advantages – both in terms of performance and cost – over existing storage technologies.

The key is the research universe in which this is taking place… one that observers have called the most important to emerge in generations.

Nanotechnology.

This is no longer the stuff of science fiction. For well over a decade now, laboratories around the globe have been pushing the envelope in nanotechnology research.

Nanotechnology encompasses a broad range of research that has a major potential impact on applications as diverse as human stem cell therapy, lighter alloys, smaller components of everything… as well as more powerful lithium and other batteries.

Here's where it starts to sound like something from Star Trek…

Nanotech involves nothing less than changing configurations – at the molecular and atomic levels (nano means “one billionth”) – to fundamentally alter substances and applications.

In the case of what Dais is doing, this means making batteries that are lighter, yet have higher energy density and capacity.

Under a cooperative testing agreement with the University of Florida, the company has developed a new generation FESP (functional energy storage prototype) called NanoCap.

NanoCap is a type of ultracapacitor, or energy storage unit.

According to the company's website, “NanoCap functions differently than a battery because it stores an electrical charge, not chemical energy.”

It provides extraordinary “dielectric constants.” In other words, by means of a decided ability to adjust the presence of an electric field, NanoCap essentially offsets a huge problem – that resistance usually lessens the actual surface area providing benefit in using an electrical charge.

In this way, it allows greater energy storage densities than even the best lithium batteries now on the market (three times greater); it has an increased ability to cycle, which increases efficiency; and it significantly reduces weight, while at the same time providing higher power and energy.

And it does this at equal to or lower cost than anything else on the market.

When fully developed and applied, it holds the promise of widespread use in powering a broad range of applications:

  • most forms of transportation,
  • telecommunication infrastructure,
  • transistors and consumer battery applications in cell phones,
  • computers,
  • electronic networks,
  • smart grids, and
  • energy storage (it's especially useful as a storage media for renewable energy technologies, as it allows steady and predictable release of stored energy into the grid).

This last one is what really interests me.

NanoCap holds significant potential to provide long-term solutions for energy infrastructure problems.

By providing more stored energy without requiring the use of energy sources that contribute to adverse environmental impact, it may create some very desirable – and very profitable – end results: enhanced energy efficiency, cleaner air, and cleaner water.

Still, It's Not Quite Ripe for Investing

For Dais' stock, of course, the bump from all of this is several years off. There is much that needs to be done in research and application before NanoCap has any real profit-making potential.

Then again, you can expect to see the final market impact coming from this and further discoveries by several of these high-tech, small-cap companies.

But for now, the company – as with most development plays – is running at a loss. And it will continue to do so for some time to come.

Despite the technological promise, this is not a stock you should run right off and buy.

For one thing, this is an ultra small cap. (With a market cap of barely $8 million, it's actually considered a “nanocap” company!) There are also liquidity concerns. Trading volume is often too low to sell the shares when it's warranted.

Plus, as with all stocks this small, any buying interest will distort the market price. That means the first few buyers will obtain a decent price, but that, in turn, will move the price up quickly – beyond justified levels – for the next people trying to get in. That leads, in rapid succession, to waves of profit-taking and a plunging stock price.

Don't get me wrong…

This is exciting stuff. It's on the fringes of scientific discovery. But it is not yet a justified target for retail investors.

Still, for those of you who like a little dense reading, you can find the full text of the patent (U.S. Patent Number 7,990,679) at the United States Patent and Trademark Office website here.

Now, if we could just nano our way into plasma energy and figure out how the Star Trek crew gets its warp drive…

Sincerely,

Kent

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  1. H.A. Carrington
    September 2nd, 2011 at 13:47 | #1

    I just received news of a revision of the EIA’ estimate of the Marcellus Shale “undeveloped technically recoverable” gas from 410 trillion cubic feet to use the the U. S. Geological Survey’s figure of 84 trillion cu.ft. The EIA said “We’re going to be taking this number (84 trillion cu.ft.) and using it as our model. Will this materially change the markets attitude on our holdings in the Marcellus?

  2. September 2nd, 2011 at 13:58 | #2

    Hi kent, another great article and advise !

    Have a Great Labor Day Weekend.

    Sincerely, Bob Bartlett

  3. Tib Csabai
    September 2nd, 2011 at 14:37 | #3

    Capacitors, in general, are the best way to store elecetric energy for short periods (they tend to leak over longer periods).
    They can be charged in minutes (not hours as with batteries), they are efficient stores (little energy is lost), and discharge the power quickly when needed.

    Currently Maxwell is the leading manufacturer of capacitors in the US market, and I understood they have a “functioning” version of a “nano-capacitor.” Maxwell’s earnings and market price however are not magnificient! Are they ahead of DAIS already?

    Appreciate any comments on this (though not if it’s from Yahoo Finance).

  4. N. Uhrig
    September 2nd, 2011 at 14:38 | #4

    There appears to be a problem with this patent number. I checked the USPTO site and this number refers to an invention of SICR Microfuses by Roy Carruthers et al. Its status is that it expired as of 3/8/06 as the company did not pay its maintenance. Please provide the correct reference number.

  5. N. Uhrig
    September 2nd, 2011 at 14:42 | #5

    Sorry please ignore previous comment as the filing number and issue numbers are apparently different fields and I have now found the correct patent. Thanks again.

  6. Deepak
    September 2nd, 2011 at 15:01 | #6

    @N. Uhrig
    I cudnt find the Patent either, cud u pls advise how I cud get it. U cud email me on dgupta99@gmail.com. Thanks

  7. Hla Tin
    September 2nd, 2011 at 15:25 | #7

    Deepak,

    Go to http://www.uspto.gov and search Patent # search. You should be able to find it. HT

  8. ugi eere
    September 2nd, 2011 at 16:40 | #8

    Hi
    In a recent email, you gave the symbol of an ETF that tracks the Bent crude index, Could you send me that symbol again????. Thanks for sharing your insights into the energy markets.

  9. September 2nd, 2011 at 18:57 | #9

    Great! Iam confident in the American Creativity. This is part of the new social, political, etc . revolution. A new world!

  10. jedi3001
    September 3rd, 2011 at 06:53 | #10

    As a degreed electrical engineer, I am sceptical about the claims of the “nanocapacitor”. Sounds like a pipe dream. One fellow advertises a unit that plugs into your car cigarette lighter socket to improve gas mileage! Show me the proof. /RAY

  11. Bill
    September 3rd, 2011 at 09:13 | #11

    A work of caution re Dais, during my pre-retirement career as an energy systems analyst, I encountered more than one “breakthrough” technology that seemed to work in the laboratory but failed to successfully scale up to commercial scale.

  12. Jeff Pluim
    September 3rd, 2011 at 09:58 | #12

    I have been following this development for several years. I believe that the ability to mass manufacture this technology is several years, maybe decades, away. I thought that this company received a large grant from the military that has kept them going. There are easier ways to store energy though. How about using electricity from a solar cell to power an electric motor that lifts a weight that can be used as kinetic energy, like the old grandfather clocks did. When you need the energy, release the weight to let the kinetic energy power an electric generator. Not very high tech, but effective. I know from experience that when you try to introduce a new idea to an establishment, the establishment bucks at it. For instance, I have been trying to get mainline physicists to accept the fact that it is possible to travel faster than the speed of light, and I believe that I have proven this, contrary to what Albert Einstein said. This may be off topic, but since you mentioned Star Trek, I’m going to use that foot in the door to run with this. E=(RAe)MC^2 and
    E≠MC^2(AeC) are my formulas to show that when you move a magnetic field with matter, then a nuclear reaction is avoided and if the effective area of the magnetic field is moving at or faster than the speed of light, then the matter can also travel at the speed of light or faster. As for warp drive, if you have a propulsion system that continually accelerates, then you not only will be able to travel at any speed, but if you accelerate at 32 ft/sec^2, then you will have gravity in your space craft.

  13. pablo
    September 4th, 2011 at 08:33 | #13

    If I want to imvest in this company what ,I have to do?

  14. fred
    September 8th, 2011 at 07:38 | #14

    @Jeff Pluim
    Jeff, gravity based accumulation was tested many years ago. Problem is, the losses in these systems are terrible. The most successful system pumped water into a high tower, and the water was then used to power a small turbine.
    That’s what is so exciting about this new system, losses are extremely low.
    And I agree light can travel “faster than light”, but you just go ahead and utilize it in our daily world…. (you will be rich in “no time”)

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