Monthly Archives: August 2015

The Velocity of Amyris

Jim Lane What makes Amyris (AMRS), Amyris? We look at the products, the evolution of the story, the partners, the focus on yield, and deeper into the story of Rate. “I mean, man, whither goest thou? Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?” “Whither goest thou?” echoed Dean with his mouth open. We sat and didn’t know what to say; there was nothing to talk about any more. The only thing to do was go.” Jack Kerouac, On the Road Amyris experienced last month what CEO John Melo referred to as “our...

Charitable Investments: How to Grow Your Portfolio While Making a Difference

by Mark Tan The country is currently experiencing a shift toward more sustainable living. In addition to the wide array of whole food markets and hybrid cars available to today’s consumer, many people also want their investments working for the greater good. Although these investments have been around for more than a decade, the past few years have seen substantial growth in the areas of charitable investments, sustainable 401ks, and green bonds. No matter your passion, your financial portfolio can make a difference in the world, while still generating profit for you. Charitable Investing 101...

Gevo and Butamax Make Peace

Jim Lane In Delaware and Colorado, Gevo (GEVO) and Butamax have entered into worldwide patent cross-license and settlement agreements, ending a patent dispute related to technologies for the production of bio-based isobutanol. This settlement ends all of the lawsuits and creates a new relationship between the companies, aimed at leveraging each other’s strengths and accelerating development of competitive supply for bio-based isobutanol. The cross-license agreement grants both parties patent licenses to all fields for isobutanol and is structured to develop robust and sustainable isobutanol markets. The license will be royalty bearing for Butamax in certain fields...

SFC Energy: Growing Remote Power

by Debra Fiakas CFA Fuel cell developer SFC Energy, A.G. (F3C.DE) recently came calling on money managers in New York City.  The company’s chief financial officer Steffen Schneider wants U.S. investors to know SFC has more going for it than simple fuel cells.  True enough the company sells fuel cell components, but it is also capable of delivering complete off-grid energy solutions and integrating full systems. Schneider talks up SFC’s sterling customer list, including Volkswagen, Siemens, Schlumberger, Shell Oil, Arch Coal, Conoco-Phillips, and other industrial users.  Then there are government agencies such as NATO, the FBI in...

Yingli Could Be Gone In A Year

Doug Young Bottom line: China is likely to see 1-2 of its weakest major solar panel makers close over the next year in a campaign led by Beijing, with Yingli as the most likely candidate to make the first exit. A couple of new reports from the Chinese solar sector are shining a spotlight on consolidation that’s still needed before the industry can return to health. One report cites the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the sector regulator, saying more such consolidation is necessary and the pace should accelerate. The second is a technical announcement...

A Little More Respect for Lime Energy

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week Lime Energy (LIME:  Nasdaq) reported exceptional sales growth in the quarter ending June 2015.  Revenue from the company’s energy efficiency solutions was $32 million, increasing and impressive 135% compared to a year ago.  Sales were boosted beginning by the March 2015 acquisition of EnerPath, a provider of software solutions for utility energy efficiency.  However, several of the company’s utility programs were expanded and that drove organic sales as well. Is it time to give Lime some new respect? In the renewable energy sector, efficiency programs are often overlooked...

Fretting Over FutureFuel

by Debra Fiakas CFA Earlier this week FutureFuel Corporation (FF:  NYSE) reported financial results for the second quarter ending June 2015.   Sales of the company’s biodiesel and specialty chemical products increased 53.7% to $104.6 million compared to the prior-year quarter when reported revenue was $68.0 million.  The company delivered a profit as usual, but traders appeared unimpressed.  The stock gapped lower on the news and two days later set a new 52-week low price.  Granted net income was lower year-over-year by 30.9%, coming in at $3.8 million or $0.09 per share.  A closer look...

Propel Fuels’ Sales of Neste Renewable Diesel Jump 15x

Jim Lane West Coast renewable fuel retailer says the launch of 100% drop-in renewable diesel has spiked sales on a per-outlet basis 5X jump in renewable content, and 3X jump in gallons sold. In California, Propel Fuels is reporting a 15X jump in per-outlet sales of renewable fuel for diesel engines, based on a 3X increase in gallons sold of its new Diesel HPR fuel and 5X increase in renewable content for Diesel HPR (100% renewable content, vs the 20 percent renewable content in B20 biodiesel, which Propel formerly sold). With the news, Propel is expanding...

Green Bonds From Terraform Global, SolarCity, and Hannon Armstrong

by the Climate Bonds Team Yieldco TerraForm Global (GLBL) issues a whopping $810m green bond (7 years, 9.75%, B2/B+) TerraForm Global Operating has issued an $810m green bond, with 7-year tenor, 9.75% coupon and ratings of B2 and B+ from Moodys and S&P respectively. TerraForm Global is a recent yieldco spin off (IPO last month) of SunEdison (SUNE) group (have a look here if the yieldco concept is new to you). Terraform Global owns and operates renewable energy assets - solar, wind and hydro - in emerging markets, in the following locations: Solar: China, India, South Africa,...

Green Plains Bets on Ethanol Recovery

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week the Chief Executive Officer of Green Plains Renewable Energy, Inc. (GPRE:  Nasdaq), Todd Becker, revealed during conference calls following its quarter earnings report that the company has been in discussions to sell ethanol to industrial users in Mexico.  It is news that could be music to shareholders ears.  U.S. storage tanks are brim full of ethanol as producers like Green Plains stock pile inventories waiting for better selling prices.  Green Plains has made claims to Mexico sales before, but has never revealed customer names or volumes.  None were named...

LG Chem: Storage Battery Leader

by Debra Fiakas CFA The post “Energy Storage Restart,” which was published last week, discussed the efforts by General Electric (GE:  NYSE) to get back into the market for utility-scale energy storage.  After some difficulties that required the partial closing of its battery manufacturing plant, GE has got back in the game with new contracts wins.  In April 2015, the company won a contract to supply Con Edison Development with an 8-megawatt-hour battery storage system at a solar project in California.  GE will be integrating lithium-ion batteries rather than...

Bosch: a Strange Bedfellow for GE

by Debra Fiakas CFA The post “Energy Storage Restart” highlighted General Electric (GE:  NYSE) efforts to get back into the market for renewable energy storage.  Two of the company’s most recent contract wins requires GE to install lithium-ion batteries rather than its own battery technology.  This serves up an entertaining game of ‘who’s the supplier.’  Indeed, GE has partnered with a variety of companies for battery development and any of those could be candidates.  One of the reasons GE might have won two utility-scale contracts is its ability to manage large, complex...

REG Buys Imperium Renewables

Jim Lane The biggest US biodiesel, renewable diesel producer Renewable Energy Group (REGI), or "REG" buys the biggest US facility in asset deal. The fully-operational 100-million gallon nameplate capacity biorefinery will be renamed REG Grays Harbor. The facility includes 18 million gallons of storage capacity and a terminal that can accommodate feedstock intake and fuel delivery on deep-water PANAMAX class vessels as well as possessing significant rail and truck transport capability. REG will pay Imperium $15M in cash and issue 1.5 million shares of REG common stock in exchange for substantially all of Imperium’s assets. In addition to...

Lower Revenues at Solazyme, But Also Lower Losses and New Customers

Jim Lane In California, Solazyme (SZYM) reported Q2 revenues of $11.7M compared with $15.9M in Q22014. GAAP net loss was $37.2 million for Q2 2015, compared to net loss of $42.9M in the prior year period. The company said that “year over year decline in revenues was due to expected decreases in funded program revenue as well as in product revenue due to the timing of certain Algenist sales activities and slower than anticipated adoption rates for Encapso.” The market responded to the results by slashing the stock price 20 percent in Friday trading. Analyst reaction was more positive,...

ReneSola and Jinko Loosen Their Grip On Beijing Apron Strings

Doug Young  Bottom line: Chinese solar panel makers who can set up profitable offshore factories could be poised for good long-term growth, demonstrating they can survive without support from Beijing. Two new moves on the solar front show that leading Chinese panel makers continue to march offshore in a bid to avoid anti-dumping sanctions in the US and possibly in Europe. One move has ReneSola (NYSE: SOL), one of the most advanced in the offshore migration, announcing a new joint venture in the US. The other has JinkoSolar (NYSE: JKS) landing new financing for a panel manufacturing plant in...

Gevo Boosts Revenue, Gets Favorable Ruling

Jim Lane In Colorado, Gevo (GEVO)  reported Q2 2015 revenues of $8.9M compared with $7.7M for Q2 2014, and Q2 loss of $6.5 million, compared with $9.0 million in Q2 2014. The increase in revenue during 2015 is primarily a result of the production and sale of approximately $8.0 million of ethanol, isobutanol and distiller’s grains at the Luverne plant. Hydrocarbon revenues were $0.8 million, primarily related to the shipment of bio-jet fuel and isooctane during the quarter. The company highlighted a flight planned with Alaska Airlines, an upcoming wood waste-to-fuels flight with an undisclosed airline,...