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...

Vanadium Flow Battery Stocks: Barely A Dribble

by Debra Fiakas CFA   The previous post “Investing With The Flow Battery” introduced a series of articles on flow batteries for grid-scale energy storage.  Investors focused on renewable investments should at least consider the implications of storage requirements in evaluating renewable energy technologies even if storage developers are not considered portfolio-worthy.  Owners of grid-connected solar and wind power systems must design a network that can meet the highest peak load of the year even if a large part of the generating capacity sits idle for extended periods.  Storage technologies convert electrical power into chemical or mechanical energy...
SS Battery Diagram

In Search Of Solid State Battery Stocks

by Debra Fiakas, CFA Greater energy density or the amount of energy stored is the mission of every battery developer.  The higher the energy density, the longer a battery can serve its owner.  Scientists have been adjusting circulating chemistry, cloaking electrodes in exotic metals, and otherwise tinkering with conventional battery designs.  Debate even spills over into the raw material supply chain as it has recently over the use of expensive and sometimes difficult to source cobalt as an additive to lithium ion battery designs.   Others are trying to tame silicon for use in battery anodes. Perhaps the most daring developers have abandoned conventional battery design...

Batteries for HEVs, Batteries for EVs

I'm a longtime fan of electric vehicles (EVs) as well as Plug in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs), in all their variations.  When it comes to investing, I think the best way to invest  in on the growth of electric transportation is batteries, partly because pure play battery companies exist (although my top battery pick, Electro Energy (EEEID) , has been one of my poorest performers, in a classic case of a cheaply priced company getting even cheaper. Given these interests, I was speaking to the President of Porous Power Technologies, a private battery components firm a couple weeks ago...

List of Battery Stocks

Battery stocks are publicly traded companies whose business involves the manufacture of batteries, battery components, or battery management systems used to store electricity through electrochemical means. This list was last updated on 12/30/2019. Advanced Battery Technologies Inc (ABAT) Albermarle Corp (ALB) Axion Power International (AXPW) BioSolar, Inc. (BSRC) BYD Company, Ltd. (BYDDY) China BAK Battery (CBAK) Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (300750.SZ) Eguana Technologies Inc. (EGT.V) Electrovaya, Inc. (EFL.TO) EnerSys (ENS) EnSync, Inc. (ESNC) Flux Power Holdings, Inc (FLUX) Global X Lithium ETF (LIT) Highpower International (HPJ) Johnson Controls (JCI) Lithium Technology Corporation (LTHUQ) Livent Corporation (LTHM) mPhase Technologies (XDSL) Nano One Materials Corp. (NNO.V) NGK Insulators Ltd. (NGKIF, 5333.T) OM Group (OMG) Powin Energy Corp. (PWON) Redflow Limited (RFX.AX) Saft Group (SGPEF) Ultralife Batteries...

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...

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...

Grid-based Energy Storage: Widely Misunderstood Challenges and Opportunities

John Petersen The most widely misunderstood subject in the field of energy storage is the potential for grid-based applications. They fire the imagination because the grid is so pervasive and the need is so great. They also present immense challenges to storage technology developers because the fundamental economic value per unit of grid-based energy storage is very low. While the subject of grid-based storage provides rich fodder for media reports and political posturing, the reality bears little relation to the perception. On March 9th, Lux Research published a sorely needed reality check in a new report titled "Grid...

Exide: Bargain Basement Battery Stock Ready to Start

Tom Konrad CFA Exide's Sundancer Electric Car.  Photo by Frank Lodge, EPA.  Public Domain NOTE: Since this article was first published, Exide Technologies (NASD:XIDE) stock has risen 22% from $2.31 to $2.82, but much of that rise was due to media confusion about a positive Credit Suisse research report on the unrelated Indian company Exide Industries, Ltd.  Details here. Exide Technologies (NASD:XIDE) is shutting down its battery recycling plant in Frisco, Texas, and selling the surrounding 180...
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...

Electric Vehicles and the Natural Resource Cliff

John Petersen We all love to whine and complain about oil prices because we buy gasoline regularly and that makes the price changes obvious. To solve this overwhelming problem, myopic visionaries with rose colored glasses propose a simple solution – convert personal transportation from vehicles powered by oil to vehicles powered by clean, free and renewable electricity from the wind and sun. Like most fairy tales, it can't happen in real life which means it won't. This is not a technology issue. It's a raw materials issue and electric vehicles cannot solve the problem. In the first...

ETS Interview: The Will the Real Transportation Fuel of the Future Step Forward

For macro reasons, I think that the next generation liquid fuels may be cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel or renewable diesel from algae.  But those fuels will increasingly be sharing the roads with the long term transportation fuel of the future: electricity from renewable sources, especially wind.  Wind will be important for electric transportation and electric transportation will be important for wind because, when you're already going to be charging batteries, you may as well do it when the electricity is cheap, which will be when the wind is blowing..   Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) neatly solve the main barrier...

USPS Study: EV Economics Depend On Smart-Grid Revenue

John Petersen On August 28th, the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Postal Service published the results of a feasibility study titled, "Electrification of Delivery Vehicles." While the feasibility study reaches a foregone conclusion and recommends the purchase of a 3,000 unit demonstration fleet, I was surprised by the high level of Federal subsidies the Inspector General thought necessary to bring EVs within Postal Service capital investment policies. I was even more surprised by the conclusion that the tipping point in the economic analysis was revenue from ancillary vehicle to grid, or V2G, services. The...

Investing With The Flow Battery

by Debra Fiakas CFA   The looming threat of global warming has nearly everyone  -  except perhaps those bickering with each other in the Whitehouse  -  scrambling for lower carbon energy sources.  Intermittancy remains a stumbling block for several of the lower-carbon renewable energy sources, particularly wind and solar energy systems.  To be a serious contributor to grid-connected power systems these energy sources need utility scale batteries that can store energy when the sun is down or winds have died away.  Unfortunately, with current technology the cost of such battery capacity increases the levelized cost of energy (LCOE)...

DOE Reports That Lithium-ion Batteries Are Not Ready for Prime Time

by John Petersen Last month the DOE released its 2008 Annual Progress Report for the Energy Storage Research and Development Vehicle Technologies Program. This report is a frank and relatively upbeat assessment of the current status of Li-ion battery research and development that also provides a stark wake-up call for investors in energy storage stocks. The reality check has been done and the DOE’s verdict is clear: Lithium-ion batteries are not ready for prime time. In its description of ongoing research efforts to develop high-power batteries for HEVs, the DOE said: “High-power energy storage devices...