Stop-Start Idle Elimination – Slashing Fuel Consumption By Up To 17%

John Petersen I've written several articles over the last year that explain why idle elimination is a crucial first step in the global effort to increase fuel efficiency and curb CO2 emissions. For readers who are new to my blog, or confused by a torrent of news stories and analysts reports that wax poetic on the expected benefits, costs and challenges of gee-whiz vehicles that are "coming soon to a showroom near you," altenergymag.com describes stop-start systems, or micro-hybrids, as follows: "These are conventional vehicles powered either by gasoline or diesel engines in which the 12-volt starter...

Are Energy Storage Investors Chasing Their Tails?

John Petersen I didn't learn about normal bell shaped curves in kindergarten but I developed a pretty solid understanding of the concept by the second or third grade because at report-card time A's were worth a quarter, B's were worth a dime and C's had no value at all. By the time I reached college I was chasing the right hand tail of the bell curve on my own initiative. Law school and the competitive nature of my profession merely pushed my drive for the right hand tail up a notch. Old habits die hard, so I...

First Hybrid Fuel Cell Vehicle Goes on Sale from ZAP

ZAP (ZAPZ) unveiled a hydrogen fuel cell powered pickup as well as a new lithium battery technology at the Consumer Electronics Show. ZAP is forming a new division of the Company to focus on advanced energy technologies alongside its efforts to market advanced transportation. ZAP's fuel cell technology partner, Anuvu Incorporated, converted the Nissan Frontier 4-door pick-up truck on display at CES. An innovative hybrid fuel cell system powers the vehicle on hydrogen and electricity.

Stop-start Idle Elimination Crossed The Chasm While Everyone Was Distracted

John Petersen John Lennon once quipped, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." A classic example of the phenomenon is the quiet emergence of stop-start idle elimination as standard equipment on new vehicles while politicians, pundits, the media and mechanical monkeys beat the drum and played the kazoo for the amazing EV sideshow. Stop-start is more than a vague promise of hope and change. It's a reality that's sweeping through the auto industry today and will conserve more gasoline in 2013 than all of the worlds HEVs and plug-in vehicles combined....

List of Fuel Cell Stocks

Fuel cell stocks are publicly traded companies whose business involves fuel cells, devices for efficiently converting the energy in a fuel (often hydrogen) directly into electricity by chemical means, without combustion. Applications include road transport, large-scale energy storage and short-haul transport such as forklifts. This list was last updated on 1/16/2020 AFC Energy (AFC.L) Ballard Power Corporation (BLDP) Bloom Energy Corporation (BE) Cell Impact AB (CI-B.ST) Ceres Power Holdings PLC (CPWHF) Enova Systems (ENVS) FuelCell Energy (FCEL) ITM Power (ITM.L) McPhy Energy SA (MCPHY: PA) Neah Power Systems (NPWZ) Plug Power (PLUG) Proton Power Systems (PPS.L) SFC Energy AG (F3C.DE) If you know of any fuel cell stock that is not listed here and...

Maxwell’s 54% Q2 Growth: An Outlier, Not A Trend

Tom Konrad CFA When I wrote about Maxwell Technologies’(NASD:MXWL) earnings restatement earlier this month, I predicted that third quarter (Q3) earnings would be much worse than recent trends were leading investors to believe.  I expected the stock would decline as analysts revised their expectations to reflect Maxwell’s weak short term prospects, allowing me to exit my short position, which I still hold. Sure enough, analysts have reduced their earnings expectations.  Analyst consensus earnings expectations for Q3 have reversed from 13 cents to a 10 cent loss, while expectations for 2013 have plunged from 46 cents to 6 cents....

Can ZBB Grab a Piece of the Energy Storage Pie?

by Debra Fiakas CFA There are a lot of different technologies in the energy storage space.  ZBB Energy (ZBB:  NYSE) has staked its future on zinc bromide.  Batteries using zinc-bromide consist of a zinc negative electrode and a bromine positive electrode with a porous separator in between them.  Unlike conventional batteries, these electrodes do not take part in the reactions but merely serve as substrates for the energy reactions.  Thus there is no loss of performance from repeated cycling causing electrode material deterioration.  The zinc-bromine battery can provide two to three times the energy density...

Electric Vehicles Will Increase China’s Air Pollution

John Petersen Last week the American Chemical Society published a white paper in Environmental Science & Technology from a team of researchers at Tsinghua University, Beijing, and the Argonne National Laboratory Center for Transportation Research titled "Environmental Implication of Electric Vehicles in China." This white paper concludes that: Implementing electric vehicles in China will increase national CO2, SO2 and NOX emissions; and Gasoline HEVs are more environmentally friendly, more commercially mature, and less cost-intensive. The following graph comes from page 4 of the white paper and compares the relative fleet wide CO2 emissions for gasoline ICEs,...

Electro Energy and In-Q-Tel Announce Strategic Relationship and Development Agreement for Bipolar Lithium Battery...

Electro Energy Inc (EEEI) and In-Q-Tel, a private not-for-profit venture group funded by the Central Intelligence Agency, today announced the establishment of a strategic relationship, including a technology development agreement. In-Q-Tel's mission is to identify and invest in companies developing cutting-edge technologies that serve United States national security interests. This means that they like what they see with this next generation battery technology.

Maxwell Announces An Important Stop-Start Design Win

John Petersen On October 20th, Maxwell Technologies (MXWL) announced that it has commenced volume deliveries of BOOSTCAP® ultracapacitors to Continental AG (CTTAY.PK) for use in a new stop-start idle elimination system for diesel passenger cars made by PSA Peugeot-Citroen (PEUGY.PK). According to Continental, Peugeot-Citroen plans to sell about a million cars equipped with this technology over the next three years. While the Maxwell design win has been rumored for months, it's great to have confirmation that stop-start is here, it's now and it will become a major new energy storage market over the next three to five years....

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...
redox flow

Vanadium Flow Battery Companies

The recent post “Lithium Technology Dominates Large Energy Storage Projects” featured companies offering utility-scale lithium battery systems. Industry research firm Navigant estimates that lithium-ion technology accounts for almost 30% of non-pumped storage capacity developed since 2011.  This might be due in part to the dramatic decreases in cost for lithium ion batteries.  A study completed by Bloomberg New Energy Finance found that the ‘levelized’ cost of energy for lithium ion batteries has fallen by 76% to $187 per megawatt hour in the first quarter 2019 from $800/MWh in 2012. Is the story over for utility-scale storage?  Should investors look for lithium ion battery manufacturers and forget...

Tax Payer Investment in Advanced Batteries

by Debra Fiakas CFA For better or worse various government agencies in the United States have provided significant financial support for advanced battery development and production.  The federal government has a goal of deploying one million plug-in hybrid electric vehicles by the year 2015.  The replacement of gas-burning cars and trucks is expected to reduce economic dependence upon foreign oil and reduce carbon emissions that threaten our health and climate.  We all understand this line of reasoning. Public funds for battery development have been channeled through a mix of contracts for products and services, research grants, loan...

The Obama Fast Track for HEVs

John PetersenToday I'm going to begin with an apology because I've done a terrible job of describing the basics of hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) technology for energy storage investors. Many of my earlier articles dove straight into the mind-numbing details of battery technology without first providing an overview of what those batteries will be used for. In other words I'm guilty of putting the cart before the horse. It's time for me to make amends. While the differences between HEV technologies have always been important to automobile manufacturers, the public's understanding of those differences is limited. That...

Alice in EVland Part III; Cost Benefit Analysis For Dummies

John Petersen Sometimes I think bloggers like me are the real dummies. We spend so much time delving into the minutiae of a stock or sector that we manage to obscure the big picture with too much detail. I've certainly been guilty of that particular flaw over the last couple years and want to offer an apology to readers I've confused rather than enlightened. Yesterday a reader sent me a copy of a presentation that Exide Technologies (XIDE) used in its December 2010 Investor Meetings. The slide on page 6 of the presentation did a great job...

Energy Storage on the Smart Grid Will Be 99.45% Cheap and 0.55% Cool

7.17.09 Storage Week John Petersen Infocast’s Storage Week was all I had hoped it would be, and more. While I thoroughly enjoyed serving on three discussion panels and was warmly received by roughly 250 attendees, including executives of companies that I've occasionally criticized, the most important value for me came from the opportunity to hear four days of high-level presentations by industry executives, national thought leaders and policymakers who repeatedly stressed that: From a utility perspective grid-based energy storage is the functional equivalent of an instantly...