Monthly Archives: June 2015

Leather Without The Cow

Flokser launches Artificial Leather based on DuPont Tate & Lyle, BioAmber ingredients Jim Lane In Canada, BioAmber (BIOA) announced that the Flokser Group has successfully developed an innovative artificial leather fabric using bio-based materials supplied by DuPont (DD) Tate & Lyle Bio Products and BioAmber. Flokser has launched this new synthetic leather fabric under its SERTEX brand. The novel fabric comprises a polyester polyol made from BioAmber’s Bio-SA bio-based succinic acid and DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products’ Susterra bio-based 1,3-propanediol. Flokser’s artificial leather fabric has 70% renewable content and delivers improved performance. It provides better scratch resistance...

Ocean Power Technologies Bobs Into The Big Apple

by Debra Fiakas CFA Mid-June 2015, Ocean Power Technologies (OPTT:  Nasdaq) announced final permits had been secured to deploy one of its power buoys off the coast southeast of New York City.  The company has lost no time in laying down mooring lines for the buoy.  The next step is to watch the skies for the best weather conditions to deploy the buoy.  Over the next year, Ocean Power will collect data the power buoy’s performance. Ocean Power Technologies is a developer of ocean wave energy technology.  The company has been...

Commodity Energy Vs. Technology Energy: This Changes Everything

by Garvin Jabusch We now live in a global economy with two fundamentally different types of energy: commodity-based in the form of fossil fuels and uranium, and technology-based, represented primarily by solar and wind. That observation is interesting as far as it goes, but what does it mean? The term renewable (as it pertains to energy) gets used so often that it is easy to forget what it really entails. For starters, tech-based renewables become less expensive over time, as demand for them drives scale, innovation, and improves cost structures in implementation (think about the last couple of computers...

2020 Solar Investment Outlook

If you Hate Money, Don't Invest in Solar! It took the solar industry forty years to reach a cumulative global capacity of 100 gigawatts … By 2020, more than 100 gigawatts will be installed in a single year! According to a new report from the good folks over at Greentech Media, the solar industry will install a mind-blowing 135 gigawatts of solar PV projects all across the globe in less than five years. This will push the cumulative market to nearly 700 gigawatts - or about the size of all the electrical generating capacity in Europe today....

With Oil Price Drop, Ceres Looks To Food

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week Brazilian agriculture technology developer Ceres (CERE:  Nasdaq) made formal plans to shift its focus to seed traits and the food and feed markets and away from energy.  Ceres is not abandoning biofuels as such, but with oil prices at historic low levels, it is not economic enough to justify working capital not to mention new investments.   The company is restructuring operations and reducing personnel in both its U.S. and Brazilian operations.  Ceres management estimates the changes will save between $6 million and $8 million next year. The question investors need to...

Graphene: It Is All In The Strategy

by Debra Fiakas CFA In the recent series of articles on graphene we have found a number of companies working on more efficient production processes and as well as applications for this exceptional material.  So beguiling graphene is  -  conductive, strong and pliable.  Scientists and investors alike have thought certainly graphene can provide that all-important ingredient that enhances value and creates profits.  In this post we look at two more companies that claim real progress in commercializing graphene materials.  Based in the UK, Applied Graphene Materials (AGM:  LON; APGMF:  OTC) reported no sales in 2014 and...

The Pope and the Climates of Justice

by Jake Raden Pope Francis’s encyclical on global warming and environmental degradation, Laudato Si, identifies our disruptive effects on our climate as social justice and spiritual issues. “Those who possess more resources and economic or political power seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms,” he writes, lamenting that those with privilege lack a “sense of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded.” (Image Courtesy of: http://www.cgdev.org/page/mapping-impacts-climate-change) The image above is from the Center for Global Development and it’s one in a series that ranks...

MiX Telematics: Fleet Efficiency, Saftey And Security At An African Discount

by Jan Schalkwijk, CFA In a recent article I wrote about the tech sector in Africa, I mentioned a South Africa company called MiX Telematics Ltd (NYSE:MIXT). There is a dearth of investable tech names in Africa and the worry is that investors would have to stretch to gain exposure to African tech. With this company, no stretching is necessary and it thus provides exposure to the African technology sector without comprising on value or quality. MiX Telematics is a company that provides fleet and mobile asset management solutions, delivered through the Software-as-a-Service "SaaS" model. The company seeks...

How A Part-Time Uber Driver Can Buy A Tesla

By Jeff Siegel “My next car will definitely be a Tesla,” (NASD:TSLA) my Uber driver said with great enthusiasm. As he was driving me from the Hyatt in Newport Beach to John Wayne Airport, a Tesla P85D quietly flew passed us. It was black, shiny, and clearly driven by an individual that was in a hurry. He must've been doing at least 90, and this 20-something part-time Uber drive could barely control his excitement. While I certainly shared his enthusiasm, I was unsure of how a part-time Uber driver (I believe he was a college student driving for Uber to...

BYOB: Bio-Yachts On Butanol

Jim Lane In Washington, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) announced support of the use of fuels blended with up to 16 percent biobutanol in recreational marine engines. This decision follows five years of evaluation performed by NMMA with the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC), under the direction and guidance of the U.S. Department of Energy and Argonne National Laboratory, and in partnership with the US Coast Guard, Gevo and Butamax. During this time, the NMMA has gathered a great amount of data supporting the viability of isobutanol as the preferred renewable fuel blendstock for gasoline-powered marine engines....

Graphene Pixie Dust

by Debra Fiakas CFA Ever since British scientists worked a little magic with some scotch tape, the world has been captivated their discovery of graphene, the single atom thick material that can conduct electricity and is at once strong and bendable.  Investors have been dreaming graphene could be sprinkled across industry like pixie dust, creating valuable new products and driving company valuations to lofty heights.  Reality has been a bit less grand. To be clear, there have been successes.  As noted in the June 9th article, “Graphene in the Oil Patch,” the wonder material has been found...

Graphene From Plasma

by Debra Fiakas CFA The corporate literature of Haydale Graphene Industries, Plc. (HAYD:  AIM) says graphene material could ‘revolutionize the 21st century.’   Unfortunately, finding an economical way to produce graphene has had some wondering if we might have to wait until the 22nd century to finally gain the benefits of graphene’s numerous superior qualities of strength, flexibility and conductivity.  Based in the U.K., Haydale reported an eight-fold increase in sales of its graphene materials in the last six months of 2014.  Granted revenue totaling GBP482,000 (USD$737,460) is still small, but the growth lends new credibility to...

Bob Lutz Is Wrong About Tesla

By Jeff Siegel Does Bob Lutz like Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) or not? The bigwig car exec who probably knows more about the car industry than practically anyone else, has certainly tipped his hat to the electric car-maker and to Elon Musk, but when it comes to the stock, he's perpetually bearish. Of course, I've yet to find anyone who can really make sense of the stock. On a technical basis, it's pretty much always been valued at levels that never really coincided with the reality. But the Tesla story has never been about just the technicals. Tesla's valuation...

EU Cracks Down on Solar Cheats

Doug Young Bottom line: The EU will impose anti-dumping tariffs on all Chinese solar panel makers by year end, and will refuse to negotiate any new agreements to mediate the issue unless Beijing becomes directly involved. A crackdown has officially begun on Chinese solar panel makers who skirted a deal to avoid anti-dumping tariffs in Europe, with word that the EU has taken formal action to punish 3 violators. The action will see anti-dumping tariffs imposed on Canadian Solar (Nasdaq: CSIQ), ReneSola (NYSE: SOL) and ET Solar, reviving a threat they previously avoided by agreeing to voluntarily...

Making the Most Energy from the Wind

Better technology is allowing some wind farm operators to get more out of their existing wind farms by completely repowering the farm - replacing old technology with new - or by conducting performance upgrades on their turbines. Jennifer Runyon There is an old piece of wisdom that states: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." But some wind farm operators, especially in Germany and North America, are finding that advice difficult to heed. That's because technology improvements in turbines coupled with software analytics are revealing that signing up for a performance upgrade could allow them...

Car Charging Group Shifts into ‘Park’

by Debra Fiakas CFA The chief executive officer of Car Charging Group (CCGI:  OTC/PK), Michael Farkas, made an appearance at the Marcum Microcap Investment Conference in New York this week.  Farkas used the forum to brag a bit about this company’s practical accomplishments in providing electric vehicle charging stations and services to residential and commercial customers.  Farkas is particularly proud of snapping up the EV charging network of bankrupt ECOtality (ECTYQ:  OTC/PK) at a price he claims was about two pennies on a dollar of ECOtality’s government-funded assets.   Only thinly disguised was his scorn for government investment to...