Westport’s New High Pressure Direct Injection System

Earlier this week Westport Fuel Systems (WPRT:  Nasdaq) announced a technology breakthrough with its high pressure direct injection system for truck engines using natural gas as a fuel.  A new cryogenic pump has been development for high-horsepower applications and integrated into Westport’s fuel system, which has apparently been demonstrated at higher cylinder pressures.  The company apparently plans to load the innovation, which it called Westport HPDI 2.0, into next generation diesel engines. Investors interested in renewable energy or focused environmental improvements are probably wondering why this little company outside Vancouver, Canada could be important.  The uncomfortable truth is that the world’s addiction to fossil fuel will not...

New Biodiesel Vehicles and Emissions Reduction Estimates

The makers of the world’s favorite advanced biofuel — a/k/a the biodiesel industry — descended upon Texas to mingle, make and renew ties at the 2018 National Biodiesel Conference. And, to champion new ideas and find new supply chain and distribution partners. Bummer that there wasn’t a biodiesel tax credit extension on offer. (UPDATE: The new budget includes the biodiesel tax credit.) Bummer that diesel’s getting a bad rap in the press. Bummer that Tom Petty isn’t with us any more to sing: “I’ll Stand My Ground, I Won’t Back Down, I know what’s right, got just one life in a world’s that keeps on...

Shipping Panic Creates Preferred Arbitrage Opportunity

Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA Seaspan Worldwide has several classes of publicly traded securities, with different claims on its income streams. The company owns container ships leased under long term contracts to shipping companies.  The shipping industry is in a massive downturn, raising concerns about its customers' ability to pay. The company's preferred shares have sold off more than half as far as its common stock- far more than justified by its relatively low risk. There exists a 5.5% yield opportunity to buy the preferred and hedge the risk by buying puts on the...

Hyundai Charges Up Green Bond With EVs And Hybrids

by the Climate Bonds Team Hyundai Capital Services issues first Korean corporate green bond for hybrids and electric vehicles (5yrs, 2.87%, $500m) Hyundai Capital Services, the subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company (005380.KS) that provides loans and leases for new Hyundai and Kia cars, issued a $500m green bond. The inaugural green deal has a 5-year tenor and fixed semi-annual coupon of 2.87%. Lead underwriters for the deal were Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi, and Credit Agricole. The green issue is the first corporate Korean green bond and only the third out of Korea after KEXIM’s initial...

EPA Says VW Running Massive Clean Air Scam

Jim Lane  VW is facing up to $18.07 billion in fines; recalls, mandatory vehicle emission fixes on the horizon; investigations underway at EPA and in California as “defeat devices” uncovered that evade clean air regulations. In Washington, EPA issued a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act to Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. alleging that four-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars from model years 2009-2015 carry a “defeat device” which circumvents EPA emissions standards for certain air pollutants. Specifically, the EPA alleges that a sophisticated software algorithm on certain Volkswagen vehicles detects...

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...

Bears Are Sniffing At Clean Energy Fuels: Should You?

By Jeff Siegel Clean Energy Fuels (NASDAQ: CLNE) has been having a pretty good year. The stock reached a 2015 high of $10.48 on May 4. Up from $5.03 at the start of the year. But the natural gas fueling company co-founded by legendary oilman T. Boone Pickens took it on the chin today after missing analysts’ estimates for earnings and revenue in Q1. When CLNE first came on the scene, I was a fan. I even recommended the company shortly after it went public. And we did pretty well, eventually clocking out with a gain in...

Tesla Vs. Hydrogen

By Jeff Siegel One of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's dreams may soon be coming to fruition. During his time as governor, while singing the praises of renewable energy progress in the Golden State, the Terminator would often tell tree-hugging Californians about his dream of building a hydrogen highway that would enable hydrogen-powered vehicles to run from Mexico to Canada  via California. Not only did Prius drivers and vegans applaud the governor's dream, but it even got a decent amount of support from former GM Chairman Bob Lutz and President George W. Bush. Since that time, California has managed to build...

Honda Natural Gas Civic Sales Sputter

By Jeff Siegel I learned today that sales of Honda's natural gas Civic tanked 65% in 2014. I didn't even know they were still trying to sell those things! I actually remember a few years ago, attending a car show and talking to a Honda rep who was pushing this thing. I didn't have the heart to tell him he was barking up the wrong tree when he tried to sell me on all the benefits. What benefits? Inferior fuel economy, a clunky ride, and no infrastructure? Sure, there was the special fueling unit that could be installed in...

Electic Vehicle Subsidies May Clear A Lane In Chinese Traffic Jam

Bottom line: Traditional car makers will suffer from weak sales growth and plunging margins in China in 2015 and into 2016, while EV makers will start the new year slow but could see improvement by the end of 2015. A flurry of headlines this week are sending ominous signals for the car industry in the year ahead, with both traditional and new energy vehicle makers likely to face an uphill road as China’s economy slows. The problem could be compounded as big new capacity comes online from many major automakers that have invested billions of dollars on expansion over...

HydroPhi: Turbocharging Trucks With Hydrogen

by Debra Fiakas CFA Casting about for alternatives to burning fossil fuels for energy, hydrogen is a logical candidate.  It is the most abundant chemical on the planet and the energy density of compressed hydrogen is about 5.6 milli-joules per liter.  This compares to 32.4 mj/l for gasoline and 4.3 mj/l for a lithium ion battery.  That is where the romance ends and the realities of hydrogen begin.  Hydrogen poses a safety risks, particularly in transportation and distribution.  Hydrogen gas leaking into the air may spontaneously ignite.  Extremely low temperatures will turn it into a liquid, but that...

Offshore Wind A Big Part Of Why GE Wants Alstom

Who's the Energy Alpha Dog? GE or Siemens? By Jeff Siegel General Electric (NYSE:GE) wants to acquire one of the largest companies in France, and it could get what it wants if Germany doesn't get in the way. Alstom SA (AOMFF), the target of GE's desires, is a French energy and transportation company with a market value of approximately $11.5 billion. It deals in hydroelectric and nuclear power, environmental control systems, wind turbines and battery storage, as well as trains and rail infrastructure. It's a huge company, and GE could spend as much as $13 billion to...

Toyota’s Asset Backed Green Bond: This Is Big

Sean Kidney Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE:TM) will close mid-next week on what will be the world’s first green bond backed by auto loans – electric vehicle and hybrid car loans to be specific. And what a kickstart for that market, at $1.75 billion. According to a report in International Financing Review (IFR), the bond will be in multiple tranches, each at a different ratings level: A2 tranche, A3 and A4 (Moody’s ratings). First thing to know: they told the media a week ago it would be a US$774.675 million bond. Rumour has it that initial investor interest...

MiX Telematics: Global, Green, and Undervalued

MiX Telematics' (NASD:MIXT) fleet management solutions significantly increase road safety and reduce fuel consumption. MiX is well positioned to take advantage of continued rapid growth in the global mobile asset management industry, yet its stock is a much better value than its peers.

The Pros Pick Three Green IT Stocks For 2014

Tom Konrad CFA Green 2014 image via BigStock Being green is not all about wind turbines and solar panels.  In fact, it’s usually greener to be smarter about using what we have than to replace it with something new, no matter how green. My panel of professional green money managers understands this.  When I asked them each for their top three green stock picks for 2014, there were as many picks focused on smarter resource use as there were solar stocks. I recently gave...

Maxwell Technologies in the Balance

Tom Konrad CFA Will Chinese hybrid bus subsidies be renewed?  The answer will be crucial for Maxwell Technologies (NASD:MXWL) in the coming months. I, and most analysts following ultra-capacitor manufacturer Maxwell Technologies, (NASD:MXWL) were considerably surprised at the strength of its third quarter earnings.  China had failed to renew subsidies for hybrid buses in the third quarter, and Chinese hybrid bus manufacturers have long been a significant part of Maxwell’s business. Hybrid bus sales, even without subsidy, ended up better than I expected, accounting for 30% of Maxwell’s ultra-capacitor sales in the quarter.  Also helping results were strong...