At the most basic level, C-Motive’s machines utilize the same physical principles as the science experiment we all ran as elementary school students. If you take a balloon and rub it against a wool sweater, you will create a high voltage static charge between the balloon and your hair. If you move the balloon slowly away from your head, you will see that your hair remains attracted to the balloon due to the static charge that has been formed on both surfaces. If you take that ‘charged’ balloon and bring it near a tabletop full of confetti, you will likely see that you can impart motion on the confetti again due to the electrostatic attraction to the charge on the balloon. What C-Motive has done is use these same principles, but magnify the forces generated through a series of multiplicative gains in mechanical, electrical, and electrochemical innovation.

No other company is developing commercially viable electrostatic machines.

C-Motive’s patent protection is diverse, worldwide, and comprehensive. C-Motive owns 15 patents granted and applications, has exclusively licensed an additional 12 patents from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is currently pursuing 20 additional patents, and has over 50 trade secrets.

To learn more about the first principles of electrostatic machines, please see the IEEE paper Macroscale Electrostatic Rotating Machines and Drives: A Review and Multiplicative Gain Performance Strategy authored by C-Motive employees.

Electrostatic Machine Benefits.

Higher efficiency in both motor and generator applications – more range in electric drivetrains, lower utility bills for industrial / manufacturing plants, greater energy generation from renewable generation

Torque generation at low speeds without a gearbox and without any active cooling requirements

Up to 10x the specific torque (Nm/kg) of traditional motors

Silent operation – both audible and electromagnetic noise

Ability to hold a position with virtually no energy losses (<0.2% full power)

Precise motion control with no torque ripple and smooth motion (no cogging torque)

Ability to operate fully water submerged

Scalable up to multi-megawatt size with the same design principles

No rare earth metals or magnets – full domestic supply chain

Modern Electrostatic Design

Within C-Motive machines are a set of cascading and alternating rotor (moving) and stator (affixed) plates. These rotors and stators are made from standard printed circuit boards (PCBs) and have a highly optimized set of conductive metal traces (poles) that radiate out from the center hub on the plates. Rotors contain traces that are energized with alternating high voltage positive and negative charge; stators are designed to carry a three-phase high voltage AC signal. The high voltage between the rotor and stator creates the electrostatic force and thus torque. Motion is created by moving the high voltage AC signal as a ‘wave’ around the stator plates. The electrostatic force then attracts the poles of the rotor plate which are pulled along with the AC wave. By controlling the voltage levels and the speed of the AC wave on the stators, C-Motive is able to control the motor torque, power, and speed levels to the needs of the application.

In addition to these mechanical and electrical innovations, the key secret sauce is the proprietary liquid that fills C-Motive’s machines. This liquid is a special patented formulation that has very specific electrical (dielectric constant, permittivity) and physical (viscosity) properties.  The interaction between plates, high voltage, and dielectric liquid is what delivers the highest torque density and efficiency of any machine in the market. C-Motive’s liquid is safe, non-toxic, and is sourced from commodity chemicals to ensure the overall safety of our products in the field. The lifetime of the liquid easily exceeds 10 years which provides the life, performance, and unmatched energy efficiency that customers desire..

Ben Franklin Did it First.

The series of multiplicative gains (mechanical design, electrical topology, and electrochemistry of the liquid) described above has been built upon the shoulders of others that have studied electrostatic machine designs. In fact, the concept of using electrostatic forces to build a motor was first described by Benjamin Franklin in the mid-1700s. Yet limitations of the day – both power electronics and material science – relegated electrostatic machines as a topic for academic study, but not practical, commercial implementation. Ben Franklin’s design relied on thimbles and Leyden jars; C-Motive’s machines use highly optimized printed circuit boards, modern power electronics, and achieve levels of torque that could never have been dreamt of in the past.