How Growing HEV Markets Will Impact Battery Manufacturing Revenues

John Petersen For the last three weeks I've been writing about why rising oil prices, tightened CO2 emission standards in Europe and accelerated CAFE standards in the U.S. will combine to foster rapid implementation of hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) technology in the automotive industry and result in huge revenue increases for all automotive battery manufacturers. These articles have generated record numbers of comments and questions from readers that want a clearer understanding of what the rapidly changing demand picture means for battery investors. While I generally try to avoid revenue forecasts because they require pricing assumptions...

Why Advanced Lithium Ion Batteries Won’t Be Recycled

John Petersen One of the most pervasive and enduring myths in the energy storage sector is that a robust recycling infrastructure for used lithium-ion batteries will be built before the wonder-batteries that are being manufactured today for the first generation of plug-in vehicles reach the end of their useful lives. In the worst case scenario, advocates suggest used lithium-ion batteries will be stockpiled until there are enough used batteries to justify the build-out of recycling infrastructure. The numbers tell a very different story. For several years the single minded obsession of all lithium-ion battery developers...

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...

Toward a More Stable Grid: New Technological Solutions for an Old Problem

By: Matthew Hoff For power providers, grid stabilization has been a rising concern in recent years, especially because of the increasing use of intermittent energy sources such as wind turbines. Maintaining a stabilized energy grid is difficult because of the unpredictability of these intermittent energy sources. If wind turbines, for example, are supplying 5% of the overall power for the electric grid and the turbines stop moving because the air grows still, the grid has to find a way to kick into overdrive to compensate for this sudden decrease in energy. It's not as easy as it sounds....

Why Energy Storage Investors Must Understand Resource Constraints

John Petersen This Saturday marks the second anniversary of my blog, which began with an article titled Lithium-ion Batteries and Centerfolds. Over time my archive has grown to 142 articles on energy storage devices, the companies that make them and their crucial role as enabling technologies for wind and solar power, transportation and the smart grid. While cleantech bloggers usually focus on new technologies that might be game-changers, I'd rather focus on major enhancements to proven technologies from established industry leaders. The reason is simple, hot new technologies have limited investment value if the world can't produce enough...

Stop-Start Realities and EV Fantasies

John Petersen Last week Johnson Controls (JCI) released the results of a nationwide survey that found that 97 percent of Americans are ready for micro-hybrids with stop-start idle elimination, the most sensible automotive innovation in years. A micro-hybrid turns the engine off to save fuel and eliminate exhaust emissions when it's stopped in traffic and automatically restarts the engine when necessary. While the overwhelmingly positive consumer response didn't surprise me, JCI's short-term growth forecast for micro-hybrids did. I've been writing about the rapidly evolving micro-hybrid space since 2008 and during that time the market penetration forecasts have...

Ballard Terminates Azure Hydrogen Licenses; Can It Find A Better China Partner?

by Debra Fiakas CFA Before the open of the first trading day of 2015, fuel cell developer Ballard Power Systems (BLDP:  Nasdaq) announced the termination of technology licenses to Azure Hydrogen, which was to have been Ballard’s introduction to the China market. The license agreements covered the sale of Ballard’s bus power module and telecom backup power system.  Ballard has charged Azure with breaching the agreements and the two companies have apparently not been able to come to alternative terms.  Azure had made sales in the China and not all of the equipment had been paid. ...

Exide’s Recent Price Collapse Was Unjustified

John Petersen After the market closed on Monday, Exide Technologies (XIDE) released surprisingly poor second quarter results, a $3.6 million loss that included a $5.7 million charge for several years of reporting irregularities at a small Portuguese recycling subsidiary. The market's reaction was absolutely savage as the stock collapsed from Monday's close of $4.48 to Friday's close of $3.01. In my view, the reaction was unjustified and has set up a tremendous buying opportunity for investors who are willing to look beyond the headlines and focus on core business fundamentals. To put things in perspective, Exide's...

Lithium-ion Batteries Are Too Valuable To Waste On Plug-in Vehicles

John Petersen In November 2006, a slick issue-oriented documentary asked the provocative question "Who Killed the Electric Car" and argued that General Motors' EV1 project was terminated because of collusion between the auto and oil industries. The truth is nobody killed the electric car. It died in infancy from congenital birth defects and the same flaws that killed the EV1 will probably kill Tesla Motors, Fisker Automotive, Nissan's (NSANY) Leaf and GM's Volt. This is not a question of cost, performance, abuse tolerance or cycle-life. It's a fundamental flaw in the economics of using batteries to replace a...

Electro Energy Inc. Announces New Development Agreement With In-Q-Tel

Electro Energy Inc (EEEI) and In-Q-Tel, a private, not-for-profit venture group funded by the Central Intelligence Agency, today announced a new technology development agreement for advanced rechargeable bipolar lithium ion (BPLI) batteries. The resulting BPLI battery is intended to exhibit both high-specific energy and high-specific power, due to the efficiency of the EEEI bipolar cell and battery design. In previous work, EEEI has demonstrated BPLI cells with a specific energy greater than 200 Wh/kg and an energy density greater than 400 Wh/l. The development will be conducted at EEEI's battery manufacturing facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado. ...

Storage: The Best Renewable Energy Integration Strategy?

Tom Konrad, Ph.D. In order to electrify transportation, well need batteries, with ultracapacitors and compressed air playing supporting roles.  Based on cost, John has been making the case that the batteries for economical cars are more likely to be advanced lead-acid (PbA) than the media darling, Lithium-ion (Li-ion.)  I generally agree, especially since recycling Li-ion batteries is an expensive and difficult process, although I see a future where both cars and oil are simply more expensive, and we have far fewer of them. But transportation is only one application for energy storage...

Cheap is Still Beating Cool In Energy Storage

John Petersen In November 2008 I wrote an article titled "Alternative Energy Storage: Cheap Will Beat Cool" where I created a short list of 13 pure play energy storage companies that I divided into two classes; companies with cheap chemistries and companies with cool chemistries. My premise was simple, the best affordable technology always wins out over best available technology and companies that cater to the masses have greater profit potential than companies that cater to the elite. The following graph compares the performance of my original groups and the Dow since the date of that article. ...

Hydrogenics Supplies Hydrogen Generator to Russian Utility

Hydrogenics Corp (HYGS) announced that the company has supplied an onsite electrolysis-based HySTAT-A Hydrogen Plant to OAO NSCHK, a state-owned utility in Novorsibirsk, Russia. The high-purity hydrogen produced by the 240Nm3/hr hydrogen generator will be used in the chemical processes used in this nuclear power plant. Installation and commissioning is scheduled for Spring, 2006.

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...

Why The McCain Proposal Will Do Nothing For Battery Technology

On Monday, John McCain, in a drive to build his environmental credentials, pledged that if he were elected he would initiate a contest to come up with a car battery design that leapfrogs current technology and makes electric car and plug-in hybrids a reality. The winner would get a $300 million prize, or about $1 per American, which according to McCain is a small price to pay for the benefits this technology would yield. A politician would only make such a pledge for one of two reasons: (a) he has no insight into how innovation occurs in an...

Axion Power: Is There Light At The End Of The PIPE?

Tom Konrad, CFA A light at the end of the PIPE? Photo by Tom Check In my last article, Axion Power’s Potential For Explosive Growth, I outlined a number of near-term business opportunities for Axion Power International, (OTC:AXPW) any one of which could catapult the company into profitability in 2014, and more than one of which could produce significant revenue growth this year.  While I’m quite bullish about Axion’s prospects, I concluded with a skeptical comment about Axion’s stock:  f I owned the stock today, I would be a seller at the current...