Monthly Archives: July 2007

A Modest Proposal: Cellulosic Beef

The Future is Cellulosic It is now widely accepted that the future of ethanol is cellulosic: Rather than distilling corn for ethanol to fuel our cars, accepted wisdom is now that we will be able to replace a large fraction of our current fuel consumption with ethanol distilled from agricultural and forestry waste, as well as dedicated energy crops, such as switchgrass and hybrid poplar.  Cellulosic ethanol also has the potential to alleviate the greatest stumbling block of corn ethanol as a potential replacement of gasoline: that there is simply not enough of it.  Corn ethanol will only be...

The Week in Cleantech (Jul. 22 to Jul. 28) – Are Ethanol Stocks About...

On Tuesday, Himanshu Pandya at Financial Nirvana informed us that alternative energy companies were taking advantage of the recent run with stock offerings. As pointed out by Himanshu, shareholders don't currently seem to care too much about value dilution, so companies may as well take advantage of this to raise cheap capital. On Thursday, Angela Barnes at Report on Business argued that cool ethanol stocks could be expected to heat up. While we are no fans of corn-ethanol, the slew of generous support schemes put in place by North American governments to support ethanol growth should eventually positively...

Interview with Dr. Mike Gallagher, President & COO of Westport Innovations

One of the companies I have followed for some time is Westport Innovations, Inc., (TSX:WPT or WPIVF.PK) out of Vancouver. The technology and product suite allows large diesel trucks to run standard diesels on a 95% natural gas mix, enabling fuel switching as well as significantly improved NOx and PM, as well as CO2 emissions. The company's rapid expansions date from a late 1990s joint venture with Cummins (NYSE:CMI), and Westport has led this market sector since then. I had the opportunity at the recent Greenvest 2007 Conference I chaired in San Francisco to hear...

Sprott’s Peak Oil Watch

While browsing the web this morning, I came across a very interesting section on Peak Oil on Sprott Asset Management's website (best viewed with Explorer). Sprott Asset Management is a Toronto-based boutique investment management company that I consider, for lack of a better term, pretty cool. They have taken some relatively unorthodox commodities bets in the past and have often won them. For instance, they spotted the bull market in uranium very early on and did well as a result (PDF document). There are many web-based Peak Oil resources out there, so you may wonder why I decided...

4th Annual Energy Tech Investor Forum on October 3 to 4, 2007 in San...

The following is a Special Information Supplement from our Featured Company sponsor Energy Tech Investor Forum Alternative Energy is not only changing your world, but also the venture investment landscape as we know it and could be the largest economic opportunity of the 21st century.The demand for efficient, clean and reliable energy in its many forms is responsible for creating opportunities across a variety of global economic sectors. The innovation and automation of the Energy industry have given rise to an important area of venture capital investment - the Energy Technology sector. Did you know?...

Performance Contracting Stocks

This is the final article in a series on the WGA Energy Efficient Buildings Workshop. On the morning of day two of the Western Governor's Association Energy Efficient Buildings Workshop, the topic was performance contracting: a way of unlocking the power of a government entity's utility budget to make energy improvements that pay for themselves, but might otherwise never receive the necessary capital.   Despite the dryness of the subject, the room seemed alive with active interest of the participants.  Many of the workshop participants were government officials who are enthusiastic about energy efficiency, but also beaten down by the...

Investing in Efficient Homes: Energy Star, Built Green, and Beyond

This article is part of a series on the WGA Energy Efficient Buildings Workshop. Sam Rashkin One highlight of the conference was Sam Raskin's (the National Director a.k.a. "Scary Man" of the US EPA Energy Star program.)  I recommend his presentation for graphic infrared images of poorly sealed homes, showing how little the insulation is doing to retain heat or cold if the building envelope is not tight.  It will make you think twice about buying a home that hasn't been checked to be tightly sealed. Rashkin believes that the growing affordability of infrared cameras will allow...

Political Developments in Energy Efficiency

This article is part of a series on the WGA Energy Efficient Buildings Workshop. Governor Ritter After arriving slightly late (a gunman had been shot by state troopers outside his office the day before.)   Bill Ritter kicked off the workshop with his thoughts on energy efficiency.  Other than the Governator, I don't know of any other state governor in the US who understands renewable energy as well as Governor Ritter.  And he's dedicated to learning more; when I attended a fundraiser early in his campaign last year, he had not yet heard about plug-in hybrids, but in a...

The WGA Energy Efficient Buildings Workshop

The WGA Energy Efficient Buildings Workshop: Overview The Western Governor's Association (WGA)  held a two day workshop in Denver on July 17 and 18.  Colorado's Governor Bill Ritter kicked off the workshop (with a slightly late start due to the shooting of a deranged gunman outside his office on July 16.)  The workshop was a step towards achieving the WGA Clean and Diversified Energy resolution which includes a call for a 20% increase in Energy Efficiency in their states by 2020.  I attended because I believe: Energy Efficiency can and will do more to meet the challenges...

The Week in Cleantech (Jul. 16 to Jul. 20) – Are Fuel Cells About...

On Monday, the Boston Globe told us about a new report that sheds some doubt on contentions that cleantech is the new darling of venture capitalists. Thanks to the WSJ's Energy Roundup for this one. Red Herring also published an article on this report last week. On Monday, Eli Hoffman at Seeking Alpha told us about Barron's latest five cleantech stock picks. Of those, I am particularly familiar with SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) and Fuel Tech (NASDAQ:FTEK). Both are a bit rich at the moment but I like Fuel Tech's exposure to China, especially at a time when the country...

Global Resource Corporation: Needed Technology; Unanswered Questions About Management

On July 3, The Energy Blog told us about a process of turning old tires back into valuable oil and gasses.  Given the problems of Peak Oil and plastic waste which can mimic almost anything in the environment, I was intrigued, and I had the feeling that other watchers of the alternative energy space would be, too.  After a quick review to make sure that the technology was based on sound science (I believe it is, although that is no guarantee that it can be commercialized), and a search for information about their governance policies and a board list...

The Alternative Energy Stocks Paper Portfolio

Here at AltEnergyStocks we try to give the best advice to help our readers sort quality alternative energy investments from the simply overvalued and the dangerous poseurs.   How well are we doing? Putting Play Money Where our Mouth Is. As regular readers know, both Charles and I invest in many of the same stocks we recommend. I take a broad portfolio approach, with small stakes in almost everything I think is interesting, and larger stakes in companies I'm more bullish about, while Charles has a highly focused portfolio consisting of a small number of companies he expects to perform...

Alternative Energy ETFs – A Good Way To Invest in a Booming Sector

UPDATE 2/23/09: Here are in depth looks at available Clean Energy ETFs and Clean Energy Mutual Funds. Alternative energy is undoubtedly the future and we are just entering the early phases of what will be the next booming industry. Even if the growing consensus over global warming isn’t enough to change human behavior, we really don’t have much choice in the matter. Fossil fuels are becoming more difficult and expensive to find and extract from the earth. Couple lower supply levels with rapidly increasing demand from nations such as China and India and you have the perfect...

ABB: Improving Transmission and Distribution Efficiency

Diamond in the Rough Alternative energy stocks are usually exciting, development stage companies with break-through technology which just might to totally transform the way we live.  Unfortunately, that's a better description of a speculative lottery ticket style company than a solid investment which will provide solid, long-term capital gains.  So it's always a pleasure to find a company whose products are so commonplace that we don't even notice them, even when we see them every day, and yet is involved in essential work to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.  I took this picture in...

The Week In Cleantech, July 9 to July 15

Last week, Paul Davidson at USA Today told us about how Sodium-sulfur (NaS) batteries can increase the reliability and efficiency of the grid. On Monday, Keith Johnson of The Wall Street Journal told us that Wind Turbine Makers can't keep up with demand.   Investment tip: this should be good for 2nd and 3rd-teir turbine makers who otherwise would not be able to sell their products.  I've noticed this in a flurry of turbine sales by Composite Technology Corp.  (CPTC.ob), a company I own not for their turbine business, but instead because I see great potential for their transmission...

On The Economics Of Wind Power

What is a good indicator of whether something is "hot"? When the top weekly in the world runs at least one article about it in every edition it publishes. That is what has been happening with The Economist and alternative energy over the past few months. This week's piece was dedicated to the economics of wind power. Citing studies conducted in the Netherlands and Denmark, two wind power markets that are comparatively more developed than most North American markets (barring maybe Texas), the piece argues that, once a significant part of its initial costs have been paid off,...