Supersize My Whopper: Volt Gas Volt’s Fuzzy Math

Jim Lane We were suitably intrigued by the headline, “Renewable Energy Program Could Make Fracking and Biofuels Obsolete.” And so the press release began: “Project Volt Gas Volt, a new green program, shows the potential of storing renewable energy in surplus, which could make nuclear energy, natural gas, fracking, and biofuels seem like energy sources from the past.” If that’s starting to sound like a pitch to fringe interests, read on. “Surplus electricity that is generated by wind farms and solar parks and converted into methane can be stored for months in the existing...

Gevo Raises Money After Win At Supreme Court

Jim Lane Following just one day after a big win in the Supreme Court and a corporate update last week, Gevo (GEVO) announced that it intends to offer and sell, subject to market and other conditions, common stock units. Each common stock unit will consist of one share of common stock, Series A warrants to purchase a certain number of shares of common stock and Series B warrants to purchase a certain number of shares of common stock. The units are to be sold by Gevo subject to market and other conditions in an underwritten public offering. Update!...

War With Iran? Buy Alternative Energy Stocks.

September is starting out as the month of speculation about a massive three day air strike on Iran.  Is Bush ready to attack Iran while our troops are still trying to stabilize both Afghanistan and Iraq?  In February, administration officials were denying it.   The preparations now going on could simply be the stick part of a negotiating strategy; the bad cop to Russia's good cop.  But Bush's chances of successful cooperation with Putin could be better. What if? If Bush does launch a massive three day air strike on Iran, what will that mean for alternative energy stocks?  I...

2012: Game on for 13 biofuels contenders

Jim Lane 13 companies knocking on the door of greatness – will they make the grade? 13 companies. 5 already public – eight filing for IPOs. In the first category, Codexis, Amyris, Gevo, Solazyme and KiOR. In the second category, PetroAlgae, Myriant, Ceres, Mascoma, Genomatica, Elevance Renewable Sciences, Fulcrum Bioenergy and OriginOil. They’ve shown what it takes to get to the threshold of great things – do they have the Right Stuff to succeed at scale? The public companies It’s been a good October for the newly public companies, after a miserable summer. Amyris...

Gevo marching: GEVOgraphy expands to Malaysia; advantaGEVOus ruling in Butamax case

Jim Lane Gevo signs agreement for cellulosic biomass development in Malaysia, as the company secures a crucial win in preliminary injunction battle with Butamax over IP. In Colorado, Gevo (GEVO) signed a collaborative agreement with the intent to site a cellulosic biomass isobutanol facility in Southeast Asia, with the Malaysian government’s East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC), Malaysian Biotechnology Corp (BiotechCorp) and the State Government of Terengganu. The company is in the final stages of evaluating additional partners to complete the biomass to isobutanol value chain. The collaboration offers a diversified feedstock, organized approach and the opportunity...

Codexis, Shell to Part Company

Jim Lane Codexis expects to lose all of Shell funding, win freedom to operate globally (excepting Brazil). Pyrrhic victory or the necessary price of freedom? In California, Codexis (CDXS) announced that it expects to obtain rights from Shell to market its CodeXyme cellulase enzymes to other cellulosic biofuels developers, (excluding Brazil) and that Shell will discontinue its $60 million enzyme R&D program, which will result in the loss of 116 full-time jobs, or a third of the company’s staff. Raizen, the Shell-Cosan JV, will remain Codexis’ largest shareholder. Yesterday, as the company reported Q2 earnings, Codexis CEO John...

Neste Oil: a 5-Minute Guide

Jim Lane Company description: Neste Oil is a refining and marketing company, with a production focus on premium-quality, lower-emission traffic fuels. The company produces a comprehensive range of major petroleum products and is the world’s leading supplier of renewable diesel. The company has operations in 15 countries. Its growth strategy is focused on producing premium- quality renewable diesel fuel. The company had net sales of EUR 11.9 billion in 2010 and employs around 5,000 people. Address: Keilaranta
 P.O. Box 95 00095 NESTE OIL Year founded Established in 1948 Annual Revenues: Around EUR 11.9 billion in 2010 Major Investors Neste Oil’s share is listed on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki with the...

Rentech’s Wood Saw Hits a Knot

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week Rentech, Inc. (RTK:  NYSE) revealed plans to idle its wood pellet production facility in Wawa, Ontario Canada.  To operate efficiently the plant requires additional repairs and upgrades beyond the replacement of conveyors that was completed in Fall 2016.  Beside the fact that the additional repairs were not included in the regular capital budget, Rentech management has apparently determined the expenditure is not economic given profits from Wawa.  When Rentech reports financial results for the fourth quarter ending December 2016, shareholders will be treated to an asset impairment charge for the Wawa facility....

The Cleantech IPO Window – Closed for business?

Jim Lane IPOs are struggling, all across cleantech – and the biofuels IPO queue is long and tiring. Why Kiwano countries may be in your future. And, what is a Kiwano country, anyway? So, amidst all the legislative and policy hoopla last week for advanced biofuels, including winning funding for an energy title in the US Senate’s Farm Bill and the release of the US Bioeconomy strategy, Enerkem’s IPO skidded to a halt and was withdrawn. Sure, it was very early stage – their first commercial wasn’t complete, the company wasn’t producing much in the way of revenue,...

Biobased and Biofuel Investments: A System

Jim Lane A Biofuels and Biobased investment primer: An 18-combination, 8-character system for classifying bio investments Here’s our investment primer on how to size up the risks and the rewards and tune them to meet your goals. And, a system for organizing opportunities. So, you’re thinking about investing in bio? Here’s the good news – you’re not alone. Here’s the bad news – you’re not alone. There are retail, private equity, hedge fund, sovereign wealth, strategic, grower, VC and institutional investors snooping around too, and making active investments. For one thing, carbon’s making a comeback as the...

Renewable Reserve Accounting: building the biofuels balance sheet

Jim Lane Should biofuels have its own reserve accounting system and accompanying balance sheet booster, just as the oil & gas industry has? Ceres CEO Richard Hamilton says “yes”, and explains why, and how. At the Advanced Biofuels Markets conference earlier this month in San Francisco. Richard Hamilton, CEO of Ceres, advanced the remarkable proposition that biofuels companies – on the “level playing field” theory advanced by opponents of government mandates and subsidies, should   have the right to book their reserves of crude renewable oil production, in a parallel to the reserve accounting system which forms the bulk...

Ethanol Producers Vs. California Air Resources Board

by Debra Fiakas CFA Sometime back Poet, LLC, the private producer of ethanol based in Sioux Falls, SD (my home state), filed a lawsuit against the State of California, strenuously objecting to rules related to ‘carbon intensity’ adopted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) When the dust settled, the California rules were still standing and Poet skulked off to the appeals court.  The appeal was filed this week in the California’s Fifth Appellate District in Fresno. Originally approved in 2009, California’s ‘low carbon fuel standard’ (LCFS) is aimed at sorting apples and oranges in the renewable...

Why Only Ethanol?

Where are butanol and other substitutes for gasoline? Jim Lane A reader writes: I’d hoped that the biofuels crowd would have gotten beyond ethanol by now. The industry has made progress creating all kinds of specialty chemicals from renewable sources and more or less successfully brought them to market. There’s jet and diesel in commercial use whether or not they’re yet profitable. However they have made zero commercial progress on anything other than ethanol for gasoline. All the major advances have involved better and better ways to crank out ethanol. I don’t see the auto industry co-operating...

KiOR’s Columbus II: A New World of Profits?

Jim Lane One of biofuels’ hottest companies aims to accelerate path to break-even; is a shortfall in gallons produced in Q2 meaningful? In Texas, KiOR (KIOR) reported a Q2 loss of $38.5M, compared to a Q1 loss of $31.3M. on revenues of $239K, up from $71K in Q1. Net loss for the second quarter of 2012 totaled $23.0 million, or $0.22 per share. The biggest news coming out of the quarterly results is that the company is looking at an additional 500 dry ton/day facility, dubbed “Columbus II”, as an intermediate step between now and building its...

Amyris hits the comeback trail

Jim Lane Biofene production starts up in Paraiso, Brazil – sales expected to commence in Q1 2013 – Total, Temasek, Biolding inject fresh capital. What’s next for biofuels’ “Comeback Kid”? By now, most of the “smart set” that found itself excited about Amyris (AMRS), and about advanced synthetic biofuels during the IPO fever, have moved on. They read Dan Grushkin’s “The Rise And Fall Of The Company That Was Going To Have Us All Using Biofuels” in Fast Company, wrote off Amyris and possibly the entire sector, and presumably migrated their enthusiasm to low-cost natural gas, battery...
butanol

Biofuels Rocking The Boats (and Ships)

Companies that rock the boat often end up leading the way for others. While some companies have paved the way for road transportation and others reached high in the sky for aviation, there are some big boats out there that are also looking for alternative renewable fuels. Here are some companies that are answering the call for the maritime and shipping sectors with viable biofuel alternatives, the technologies and innovations, the rough waves that still lie ahead, and how they can reach that destination on the horizon. Gevo and Butanol We start with Gevo (GEVO) and their butanol. Why butanol? It...