LATEST ARTICLES

Producing Graphene Filaments

In March 2019, Graphene 3D Lab (GGG:  TSX-V) completed a private placement of 9.4 million units of its common stock and warrants at CA$0.06 per unit to raise CA$525,000 in new capital.  The proceeds will be used for working capital and the company begins commercial sales of its graphene conductive filament.  The filaments are designed for three-dimensional printing of electronic circuitry, sensor or radio frequency shielding. The company is under new management that just took the helm in November 2018.  Earlier new sales leadership in sales had been added to accelerate market penetration.  The team is quick to tell potential customers and investors about its products, but...

Neste’s Growing Circular Economies

by Jim Lane In California, waste feedstock from the city of Oakland is now being converted to Neste (NEF.F, NESTE.HE, NTOIF, NTOIY) MY Renewable Diesel and fuels the city’s fleet. The city, Neste, fuel distributor Western States Oil and local collectors for used cooking oil joined forces to gather waste cooking oils from restaurants and other businesses in the Oakland metropolitan area and convert it to fuel the city’s fleet. By making waste more valuable and supporting jobs that collect and treat it, this concept helps the local economy in the city while the cleaner-burning Neste MY Renewable Diesel improves the lives of its...

Graphene Nanoplatlets

Applied Graphene Materials (AGM:  LSE) has developed a process for high-volume production of graphene nanoplatelets or ‘stacks of two-dimensional graphene sheets that can be used in coatings, composites and polymers.  The attributes of nanoplatelets are not as impressive as the single layer of carbon atoms that scientists work with on their laboratory benches.  However, nanoplatelets ‘play’ better than single atoms, dispersing more easily into other materials.  Applied’s management says the promise of graphene is better achieved by being practical in transferring its characteristics to other high value materials. Applied’s graphene nanoplatelets are used in a range of products:  paints, coatings, polymers, composites, thermal pastes, and lubricants.  In...
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Making Graphene Powder

The largest producer of graphene material in Canada is NanoXplore, Inc. (GRA:  TSX-V) with its patented technology to produce graphene powders. The company has capacity to produce 25 metric tons per year in a facility that could be modified to 70 metric tons per year. Early on the company got a boost from Canada’s government with a CA$3.3 million project to reduce the footprint of electric-motor-driven systems using graphene-enhanced engineering plastics.  The project was aimed at support development and adoption of electric vehicles. At the beginning of 2019, NanoXplore raised US$31 million in new capital through a private placement of debt to a group of institutional...

Producing Graphene Materials

Build up of the graphene materials industry has progressed a bit more slowly than originally expected a decade ago as scientists and engineers peered through their electron microscopes at single atoms of carbon and counted their many attributes.  At the time the potential to improve performance in end products like metal alloys and electronics seemed limitless.   Unfortunately, reality has not imitated early dreams.  Those companies that have brought graphene to the commercial market will attest to the challenges of jumping off the laboratory bench and into a factory. Even more frustrating is the sourcing of graphene to use in research, product development and...
graphene superconductor

Graphene-Based Materials

The previous post “Miracle Material” acknowledged the fallout of many of the companies that a decade ago had set out to commercialize that extraordinary form of carbon called graphene.  It is a single atom thick but is a couple hundred times stronger than steel, showing promise for an ultra-lightweight material that could unprecedented performance. Unfortunately, developers found out carbon atoms do not behave as well in a production process as they might on a scientist’s laboratory bench. There are several companies that with perseverance and tenacity have been successful in bringing graphene into our lives. Off the Bench Haydale Graphene Industries (HAYD:  LSE) offers a mix...
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Graphene, Miracle Material

In 2010, when two physicists, Andre Greim and Konstantin Novoselov, won the Nobel Prize for Physics to recognize their work with carbon atoms, there were over 3,000 different companies with ongoing projects to develop commercial materials using their ‘graphene’ breakthrough.  With its hexagon structure of individual carbon atoms, graphene was expected to find applications in so many products, from semiconductors to turbine blades to car tires.  That is because this ‘miracle material’ is the strongest known to man.  Yes, even stronger than its carbon cousin the diamond.  Nine years later most of the throng has fallen by the wayside. Nonetheless, graphene is no bust.  At...

ESG5 Summit brief

A conference hosted in NYC in early April, 2019 ESG5 SUMMIT showcased the issues of current concern to institutional asset managers.  ESG as a term is a rebranding of SRI (socially responsible investing) and CSR (corporate social responsibility) now under broad headings of Environment Social & Governance, to reflect that it is more than just an investing style, but is concerned with risk management and value creation.   ESG strategies are being pursued by a range of participants, including public and private pension funds, mutual funds and ETFs, family offices and sovereign wealth funds, and advisors and advocacy groups. The goals are...
car insurers and community solar

Car Insurers Can Help Community Solar Find EV Customers

By Joe McCabe, P.E. The insurance industry has lots of exposure to climate change. But as Warren Buffet has explained, not so much for companies that do annual policy adjustments, like Berkshire Hathaway. Their exposure is limited because the trends are baked into the premiums. But there is an opportunity for reducing insurance risk due to climate change, and it comes from the insurance industry itself. The business model is to have car insurance salespeople provide leads to virtual electric car charging services. This has perfect demographics because electric vehicle owners are very receptive to solar electricity. Who wouldn't want...
10 for 19 Q1 total returns

Too Good To Last? Ten Clean Energy Stocks For 2019

The first quarter of 2019 saw the market's largest quarterly gain in a decade, and my 10 clean energy stocks model portfolio outperformed both the broad market and the clean energy income ETF I use as a benchmark (see chart above.) Performance that strong makes me nervous, especially since the last time we saw gains like these it was the stock market rebound from the financial crisis.  In this case, while the market was down in the last quarter of 2018, it had only been enough of a decline to blow a little of the foam off the top of...

Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) Tax Equity Conference Brief

I recently attended the Solar Energy Industry Association's (SEIA) Finance and Tax Seminar in New York. The subject matter in this event delved into issues related to tax equity finance.  Each panel session was moderated by a tax attorney or an accountant, and most of the content of the sessions consisted of technical tax law. To place the discipline into context, one speaker noted that the tax equity renewables investing deal volume in 2018 was $2-3B for solar and $9B for wind, and the number of tax equity participants is roughly only 25-35 large corporations.  So unless there are changes...
rebecca white

Algae On The Cusp

By Dr. Rebecca White, Vice President of Operations, iWi (Qualitas Health, Inc.) for Biofuels Digest This Wednesday marks a major milestone in the history of the American algae industry: the first meeting in which the Biomass R&D Board Technical Advisory Committee officials will discuss algae as an agricultural crop. Up until now, the vast majority of governmental funding and support has gone to one particular application of algae: biofuels. The success of biofuels is extremely important. But so is the success of algae in other applications, such as protein, omega-3s and fish and animal feed, which all have the potential to...
Topsoil lost in flood of the Guadalupe river,

Vagrants on the Earth: Implications of Topsoil Loss

“When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.” -Genesis 4:12* In 1970, an agronomist named Norman Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  He advocated hybridization of grains for higher crop yields, ushering in a new era of industrialized agriculture.  The Nobel Committee recognized Borlaug’s work as instrumental in saving a billion people from starvation.  Unfortunately, intensive farming that is part and parcel of the industry may be fostering an acceleration of another big problem. Unsolved it could leave humanity wandering like vagrants on the earth…with very empty bellies. Topsoil...
do well do good card

Are Aspiration’s Deposits Really Fossil Fuel Free?

Fossil Fuel Free Claims If you are reading this, you've probably also seen advertisements for Aspriation's “Fee-free and fossil fuel free” banking services. Like the advertisements the company's product page encourages visitors to “Earn high interest on what you save with an account that is fee-free and fossil fuel free.“ As a professional green money manager, I know that “fossil fuel free” is in the eye of the beholder. For many mutual funds, “fossil fuel free” simply means avoiding the 200 largest fossil fuel companies, but investing in the 201st largest fossil fuel company, even if its primary business is mining...
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Sunpower Optimistic, But Needs Cash

This recent post explored the unusual mating call of a solar panel manufacturer, SunPower Corporation (SPWR:  Nasdaq).  The Company is looking for a partner to bankroll the upgrade of a manufacturing facility in Hillsboro, Oregon acquired in October 2018, in a tie up with one of its rivals, SolarWorld America.  SunPower now has one less competitor and more room to flex its production muscles.  However, capital is still important. The Company suffered a net loss of $811.1 million or $5.76 per share on $1.73 billion in total sales.  Profit margins were negative straight down. Investors could accept the loss without too much worry if the pace of...
http://www.altenergystocks.com/archives/2019/03/sunpowers-mating-call/

Crowded Playground of Solar Panel Makers

The last post discussed the proposition of solar panel manufacturer SunPower Corporation (SPWR:  Nasdaq).  The company is looking for a partner to help build out and operate SunPower’s production facility in Hillsboro, Oregon.  SunPower plans to manufacturer its innovative P-Series panels in Hillsboro to fulfill U.S. orders. The Hillsboro plant was acquired in early 2018, from SolarWorld AG after the Trump administration slapped 30% tariffs on solar panels imported to the U.S.  Domestic production, even at higher local costs, could make sense when compared to such prohibitive import tariffs. SunPower is widely regarded as the go-to source for the highest quality solar cells available with efficiency ratings as...