Energy Storage: A Bloody Q3 is Creating a Great Buying Opportunity

John Petersen Tom Lehrer is frequently credited with a quip that perfectly summarizes my feeling about the financial markets in the third quarter, "Apart from that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?" During the quarter we were given box seats to classic political opera in two acts. Act One was set in Washington DC while Act Two moved to Europe so we could hear the same tortured songs of woe in a different language. We all know the opera has to end with the immensely popular "Kick the Can Chorus," but we suspended disbelief, bought into...

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...

Lithium Ion Batteries And GEVs Are Faith-based Cures for Oil Addiction

John Petersen Last Tuesday a reader sent me a copy of "Ending the ICE Age," a new industry overview from Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Steven Milunovich on the future of plug-in vehicles, which the newly organized Electrification Coalition has christened grid enabled vehicles, or GEVs. After spending several hours studying the report I concluded that Mr. Milunovich has found the true religion of the new millennium while I'm still an unwashed pagan, or worse yet a heretic. The grim reality is that when you look at American energy policy as a faith-based initiative,...

EVs, Lithium-ion Batteries and Liars Poker

John Petersen Last week I stumbled across a link that led to a 2010 report from the National Research Council titled "Hidden Costs of Energy, Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use." This free 506-page book takes a life-cycle approach – from fuel extraction to energy production, distribution, and use to disposal of waste products – and attempts to quantify the health, climate and other unpriced damages that arise from the use of various energy sources for electricity, transportation and heat. After studying the NRC's discussion of the unpriced health effects, other nonclimate damages and greenhouse gas...

Visual Comparison of Alternative Transportation Fuels

I've recently agreed to do a of couple presentations on "Investing In Green Energy" at conferences this October, and so I've decided it's time to update and expand on some graphs I constructed this spring: I created a pair of graphs which give an overview of how different electricity generation technologies compare.  These are not precise graphs with anything resembling scientific accuracy, but I think they're a useful too for understanding the strengths and weaknesses of various technologies.   This is my attempt to do the same for transportation fuels.  Note that I'm really only talking about cars and trucks...

Gas Price Demand Elasticity

Here is an interesting article on the Carbon Tax Blog about dropping gas usage in the US due to sustained high prices.  As I've said before, now that peaking oil supply has made gasoline supply inelastic, price will have to be set by marginal demand... we're beginning to get a look at what the demand elasticity for gasoline is. But gas prices are not dropping.  US demand may actually be elastic, but world demand is not yet showing elasticity.  In large part, this is because most emerging economies and oil producing company consumers enjoy fixed price oil, courtesy of...
BMW i3 uses batteries with silicon in the anode

The Race For Silicon Anodes

Graphite is the most widely used material for battery anodes.  The anode is the positively charged electron collector in a battery.  It collects and accelerates the electronics emitted by the battery’s cathode.  Graphite gets the anode job because it is has excellent electric conductivity and resists heat and corrosion.  Plus it is light weight, soft and malleable. As satisfied as manufacturers might be with graphite anodes, none would balk at an alternative material that boosts battery performance or reduces cost.  Scientists believe battery capacity can be increased as much as ten times by using silicon for anodes.  It requires six atoms of carbon to bind one...
Envision Solar Tree

Envision’s Off Grid Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

In a recent discussion about the extent to which Demand Charges are an impediment to development of DC fast chargers EV Fast Charging Disincentives, the solutions explored included primarily a) regulatory reform of the rate design & b) technology solutions involving battery based peak shaving. A 3rd solution could be added, for strategies involving charging with behind-the-meter renewable generation.   Solar carports can offer such a solution, with various configurations involving batteries sized to support L2 chargers.   Most of the PV carports are grid-connected but can be islanded.  I recently discovered a system that is completely off-grid.  So far most of the carports...

Plug-in Vehicles, Unconscionable Waste and Pollution Masquerading as Conservation

John Petersen For eighteen months I've been blogging about the energy storage sector and discussing the current and potential markets for batteries and other manufactured energy storage devices. A recurring theme that I've discussed many times is the unrecognized but undeniable truth that while plug-in vehicles masquerade as conservation measures at an individual level, they're incredibly wasteful at a societal level. The conclusion is counter-intuitive and my articles on the subject invariably draw heated criticism from self-anointed defenders of the faith. Their arguments, however, do not change the inescapable truth that plug-in vehicles are one of the most...
Charging EVs and PHEV

List of Electric Vehicle and Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Stocks

Electric Vehicle (EV) and Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PHEV) stocks are publicly traded companies which produce EVs or PHEVs, their components, or charging infrastructure. AeroVironment, Inc. (AVAV) Blink Charging Co. (BLNK) BYD Company, Ltd. (BYDDY) Enova Systems, Inc. (ENVS) EEStor Corporation (ZNNMF) Envision Solar International (EVSI) GreenPower Motor Co. (GPV.V) Kandi Technologies Corp. (KNDI) Leo Motors (LEOM) Nio Inc. (NIO) Tesla Motors, Inc. (TSLA) UQM Technologies (UQM) Valeo SA (FR.PA, VLEEF, VLEEY) VMoto Limited (VMT.AX) Workhorse Group Inc. (WKHS) ZAP (ZAAP) If you know of any EV or PHEV stock that is not listed here, but which should be, please let us know in the comments. Also for stocks in the list that you think should be...
demand charge impacts on DC Fast Charger costs

EV Fast Charging Disincentives

by Daryl Roberts DC Fast Chargers (DCFCs) and Tesla superchargers are a key element in electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure that could facilitate wider adoption of EVs by enabling recharging that comes to resemble the time currently taken for gas station stops, and thereby reducing “range anxiety” for drivers. However, the pricing structure for electrical costs incurred at commercial DC fast chargers is currently prohibitive, because it includes a special fee called a “demand charge”. Rate design in a number of states includes this additional charge, based on the “peak rate” on electric power consumed in kW. In New York,...

The Alternative Energy Fallacy

John Petersen In 2009, the world produced some 13.2 billion metric tons of hydrocarbons, or about 4,200 pounds for every man, woman and child on the planet. Burning those hydrocarbons poured roughly 31.3 billion metric tons of CO2 into our atmosphere. The basic premise of alternative energy is that widespread deployments of wind turbines, solar panels and electric vehicles will slash hydrocarbon consumption, reduce CO2 emissions and give us a cleaner, greener and healthier planet. That premise, however, is fatally flawed because our planet cannot produce enough non-ferrous industrial metals to make a meaningful difference and the prices...

What A Portfolio Approach To Climate Policy Means for Your Stock Portfolio

Portfolio theory can lend insights into which carbon abatement strategies policymakers should pursue.  If policymakers listen, what will it mean for green investors? Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA Good Info, Not Enough Analysis I've now read most of my review copy of Investment Opportunities for a Low Carbon World.  The quality of the information is generally excellent, as Charles has described in his reviews of the Wind and Solar and Efficiency and Geothermal chapters.  As a resource on the state of Cleantech industries, it's generally excellent.  As an investing resource, however, it leaves something to be desired.  Each chapter is written...

Why Long Range EVs Can Never Be Cost Effective

by John Petersen America’s love affair with the automobile has always been based on the freedom of the road and the ability to hop in the car and drive wherever we want to go; be it to the corner store to buy a loaf of bread or out to the lake for a long weekend. Even though most of our trips are short, people invariably want the flexibility to go for a long drive when the open road beckons. Unfortunately, that mentality is disastrous when it comes to EV economics. I’ve been writing about energy...

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...

Grid Enabled Vehicles – I Told You So!

John Petersen On Monday of this week the Electrification Coalition, a newly organized industrial lobby that styles itself as a "nonpartisan, not-for-profit group of business leaders committed to promoting policies and actions that facilitate the deployment of electric vehicles on a mass scale in order to combat the economic, environmental, and national security dangers caused by our nation’s dependence on petroleum" released a 170 page policy paper titled, "Electrification Roadmap, Revolutionizing Transportation and Achieving Energy Security." Like most industrial lobbies jostling for position at the Federal trough, the coalition's core membership includes a baker's dozen...