The Best Peak Oil Investments, Part IV: Gas-, Biomass-, and Coal-to-Liquids

Tom Konrad CFA There are many proposed solutions to the liquid fuels scarcity caused be stagnating (and eventually falling) oil supplies combined with growing demand in emerging economies.  Some will be good investments, others won't.  Here is where I'm putting my money, and why.  This fourth part takes a look at the possibility of converting coal,  natural gas or Biomass into gasoline or diesel we can use in unmodified vehicles. In the first three parts of this series, I looked at various substitutes for oil based transportation fuels: Biofuels and Biochemicals Vehicle Electrification...

Why Have Ceres’ Sorghum Plans Soured?

Jim Lane Sorghum Bicolor photo by Matt Lavin As Ceres points towards minimal plantings of its sweet sorghum hybrids in its key market of Brazil for next year, investors ask two questions. Will sweet sorghum realize its vast potential, and when? Just when many observers hoped that Ceres, Inc. (CERE) would dramatically expand hectares planted with its Blade hybrid sweet sorghum, the 2014 planting outlook was released last week and the total hectares crashed from 3000 in 2013 to 1000 in 2014. It’s a far cry...

Codexis and Shell Redraw the Advanced Biofuels Map

Jim Lane Codexis, Shell redefine relationship; Codexis gains global rights; will lay off 133 staff; adopts anti-takeover measures; what does it mean for Shell, Raizen, Iogen, Codexis and Dyadic? What does it say about strategic investors in advanced biofuels? In California, Codexis (CDXS) announced that Shell has granted Codexis a royalty-bearing, non-exclusive license to develop, manufacture, use and sell cellulase enzymes developed under the companies’ Amended and Restated Collaborative Research Agreement. The scope of the New Agreement is worldwide, except Brazil, for enzymes used in the biofuels field. Codexis already has exclusive rights to commercialize its cellulase enzymes...

No Eeyores for KiOR

Jim Lane Analysts are bullish as KiOR’s (KIOR) drop-in biofuels technology transitions to commercial phase – what factors are driving all the good vibes? There are a lot of Eeyores around the advanced biofuels space these days – well, around the United States and to a great extent the EU as a whole, really. Gloomy, pessimistic, chronically depressed. Investors have been, in a similar mood, hammering advanced biofuels and biobased material stocks – in some cases to within a few bucks of cash on hand. KiOR, by contrast, has been generally able to create and sustain its...

Novozymes Ignites Yeast Wars

Novozymes (Copenhagen:NZYM-B; OTC:NVZMY) moved into yeast this week with a new organism, Innova Drive. It’s saccharomyces cerevisae — the workhouse yeast that has been powering wine fermentation since the days of Noah and the Ark. But here’s a new strain engineered to cut fermentation times up to two hours, and yield boosts of up to two percent. A 2% yield increase and a 5% faster rate of production — let’s illustrate it — would mean something like 7.1 million gallons per year of more ethanol from the same standard 100 million gallon nameplate plant. Retailing at up to $10 million dollars, per year (yes,...

Clearfish Research Profiles Pacific Ethanol (PEIX)

Pacific Ethanol (PEIX) is building a refinery in California for corn based ethanol production in the heart of the California agricultural and dairy land (the biggest agricultural and dairy producer in the country). The refinery is supposed to come on line in Q4 2006, and there are plans for 4 more subsequent refineries. As there is unlikely to be any increased ethanol demand in California (see background above), the supply capacity they are bringing online must be able to disrupt the current out-of-state supply and/or undercut the current prices. They are one of the biggest distributors of that alternate...
biofuel dispenser

Trump Takes Down Ethanol in Pincer Move

by Debra Fiakas, CFA The Trump Administration is using tariffs on China goods as a trade war tactic to pressure China into relenting to U.S. trade policy demands.  Unfortunately, the fallout has been heavy and widespread.  Farmers have taken the heaviest hits as China has dropped orders for corn and soybeans.  Ethanol producers have been ensnared in the trade war skirmish as well and in recent weeks have been caught an uncomfortable ‘pincer-like’ squeeze by the Trump Administration. Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency has continued its practice of granting waivers to oil and gas refiners, eliminating the requirement to blend biofuel with the refiners’ petroleum...

ADM Selects Columbus, Nebraska as First Location for Ethanol Expansion

Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. (ADM) announced that it has selected Columbus, Nebraska as the first location for its ethanol capacity expansion. The Company will build a dry corn milling plant with an initial annual capacity of 275 million gallons adjacent to the existing ethanol plant in Columbus. In September, ADM previously announced that it planned to expand ethanol capacity by 500 million gallons through the addition of two dry milling plants at existing ADM ethanol facilities. Construction, expected to be complete in early 2008, is subject to applicable governmental approvals.

Are Ethanol Companies Risky Investments?

By Neal Dikeman, Partner, Jane Capital Partners LLC, and Founding Contributor, Cleantechblog.com. He has no investments in or financial incentive related to ethanol or ethanol stocks. Are ethanol stocks risky long-term investments? We think they are. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of ethanol blended fuels for a whole host of reasons, I just don’t like ethanol as an investment. Here are six solid reasons to be very, very cautious. 1. Demand vs. supply – As with most regulatory driven markets, the demand has come on very fast behind the advent of renewable...

Biofuels M&A: 2017 Review and Outlook

by Bruce Comer, Ocean Park Advisors More industry players chose to develop and build new capacity rather than buy plants The North American biofuels industry experienced the fewest merger and acquisition transactions in recent history in 2017. There were only six M&A transactions, with a total estimated value of more than $100 million. They involved eight plants with 297 million gallons per year (MGPY) of production capacity. Half of these deals were for non-operating plants. A fourth deal was for a sub-scale demonstration plant. Contributing to the limited deal flow, two historically active acquirers, Green Plains and REG, did not close...

The Andersons: E14 Ethanol Blend

by Debra Fiakas CFA The Andersons (ANDE: Nasdaq) is not one of the first companies that comes to mind as an alternative energy company.  However, ANDE has been in the Ethanol Group in our Beach Boys Index for some time.  Ethanol is one of six revenue sources for The Andersons, contributing $743 million to the top line in the year 2012.  That represents about 14% of The Anderson’s total revenue base.  The company produces ethanol in four plants located in the Midwest with a production capacity of 330 million gallons per year. ...

KiOR Shows Its Gallons

KiOR Shows Its Gallons Jim Lane Landmark cellulosic drop-in biofuels producer releases update on early-stage production: is the increasing gallonage enough to silence the critics? Today, we head to the Chapel of Hard Data, and get closer to the music. Nobody walks slower, in public, than at a wedding or a funeral. In the case of KiOR (KIOR), the critics and supporters have been shouting loud as the company makes its slow, public march up the aisle towards steady-state operations. Most observers, sitting in the pews, have been unsure as to whether to be...

What I Sold: Dynamotive Energy Systems (OTC:DYMTF)

This entry continues a series on companies I sold as part of a portfolio cleanup prompted by the mess on Wall Street.  In the first entry I described what I plan to do with the cash, followed by the reasons why I sold Carmanah Technologies and Pacific Ethanol.  UQM Technologies was one I didn't sell.   I have not  mentioned Dynamotive Energy Systems (DYMTF) before.  I have mixed feelings about the company.  They use fast pyrolysis to make cellulosic biofuels, which I believe will prove to be one of the more economic pathways to cellulosic biofuels.  However, I believe that...

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...
CAFE LCFS CAA RFS braid

Low Carbon Fuel Rules: From CAFE to LCFS and Everything In Between

The Whole Darn Low Carbon Landscape. How they Work, How they Work Together, and How they Might Work Better by Joanne Ivancic, executive director, Advanced Biofuels USA The Trump Administration is taking a new look at Obama Administration era Co2 regulations.  On the transportation side, these include reviewing Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards; threatening to take away California’s authority to set their own mileage and pollution controls, including CO2 (carbon dioxide) emission reduction standards; and quarreling with the petroleum and biofuels industries over implementation and enforcement of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Thus, the Clean Air Act (CAA), California’s unique authority...
earnings roundup

Living Endangeredly- Q2 Biobased Earnings Roundup

by Jim Lane In hand we now have the latest earnings reports from what you might call the 8 Pathfinders – eight publicly traded stocks whose second quarter results offer insights into the health and performance of the advanced bioeconomy as 2019 heads towards its closing crescendos. Our 8 Pathfinders – In the world of global renewable diesel at scale, Neste (Neste.HE); pure-play enzymes, Novozymes (NVMB); In pharma and synbio, Codexis (CDXS); as a hybrid play in advanced fuels, Aemetis (AMTX); in advanced marine and jet fuels, Gevo (GEVO); for biodiesel and hydrocarbons, Renewable Energy Group (REGI); in advanced began foods,...