Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Plurion and Dr Know


The Undercover Reporter
Addresses "Dr Know"
on Plurion

Dear Tony, On reflection, would you feel that “Dr Know's” post regarding Plurion deserves a more specific answer than I provided ? Something like the following, with a few links that your readers can check out for themselves ?

An Open Letter to Dr Know!
from An Under Cover Reporter

The senior people involved in building the 1 sq. meter Plurion battery back in 2001/2002 were presumably the authors of the paper titled; Introducing Cerium Based High Energy Redox Batteries authored by R L Clarke, S. Harrison, B. J. Dougherty, S. Mohanta, J.P. Millington.

The paper was presented in April 2002, and I guess that "Dr Know" is one of the authors, though not, of course, the late J.P.M.

His post includes several rather odd comments. The Regenysis (correct spelling) project was discontinued at a very late stage as E.ON were buying into the electricity company that had developed it. The putative reasons for its discontinuation are set out in: http://www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk/ctm/publications/w_papers/documents/131006-32_clean_venture.pdf.

The IP and general know-how relating to the project were acquired by, and are still owned by, VRB Powersystems, (www.vrbpower.com) of Vancouver, manufacturers of a vanadium redox flow battery that works. One large unit was recently purchased by an Irish Wind Farm company, others have been installed in Africa.

It is not clear what “Dr Know” means in referring to "reviewable documents" in the context of Plurion patents. The term is not one we in the patent fraternity use. The patents themselves (incl. applications) are accessible via various patent databases, while the non-patent literature they cite is available in large libraries. His "hint" is obscure. Patents are accessible worldwide, irrespective of which national patent office they were filed at.

“Dr Know” refers to a "bomb" - of course the cancellation of Regenysis came as a shock - but the other players in the game carried on, it didn't affect them. "Burning cash" ? The costs of the Regenysis project were never, as far as I know, published, so I wonder how “Dr Know”knows ?

Plurion has so far burned through $16 million (as quoted by PESWiki) plus maybe another £10 million in Scotland (£9.3 million from ITI). Not chicken feed!

But the most interesting dichotomy is the "another 3 years, maybe more" of which “Dr Know” speaks, contrasted with Dr Iain Vallance's brave assertion, in this blog, that a fully working unit will be delivered in the next 10 months or so. Come on, gentlemen, make up your minds. Is it his figure or yours we're supposed to believe ?

Tony - as usual, you're most welcome to edit as you think fit, but at least your readers can check out the facts for themselves.


My thanks to both "Dr Know" and to the "Under Cover Reporter"for their brilliant contributions to this debate about Plurion and the development of the redox battery. Ed.


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