Bosch: a Strange Bedfellow for GE

by Debra Fiakas CFA The post “Energy Storage Restart” highlighted General Electric (GE:  NYSE) efforts to get back into the market for renewable energy storage.  Two of the company’s most recent contract wins requires GE to install lithium-ion batteries rather than its own battery technology.  This serves up an entertaining game of ‘who’s the supplier.’  Indeed, GE has partnered with a variety of companies for battery development and any of those could be candidates.  One of the reasons GE might have won two utility-scale contracts is its ability to manage large, complex...

Electro Energy Receives U.S. Dept. of Energy Contract to Continue Development of Bipolar Nickel...

Electro Energy Inc (EEEI) announced receipt of a $1,050,000 contract with the U.S. DoE for the further development of its Bipolar Nickel Metal Hydride energy storage battery. These 2nd generation prototype test units, rated from 150 Volts, 20AHr to 500 Volts, 6AHr, will be constructed and tested at EEEI, and subsequently delivered to Sandia for further testing. Units of this size have potential applications for utility, wind, solar and customer side load regulation and back up power. This stock has been in a long term down trend and this contract was a much needed win to...

Congress Approves Billions in Energy Storage Incentives

On Friday, the House of Representatives and Senate passed H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and sent the bill to President Obama for his signature. The impact on companies that manufacture advanced batteries and other energy storage devices will be staggering. The principal energy storage appropriations include: $2,000,000,000 for grants to manufacturers of advanced battery systems and vehicle batteries that are produced in the United States, including advanced lithium ion batteries, hybrid electrical systems, component manufacturers, and software designers;  $4,500,000,000 for grants for “Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability” including activities to modernize the electric...

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...

Bob Lutz Is Wrong About Tesla

By Jeff Siegel Does Bob Lutz like Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) or not? The bigwig car exec who probably knows more about the car industry than practically anyone else, has certainly tipped his hat to the electric car-maker and to Elon Musk, but when it comes to the stock, he's perpetually bearish. Of course, I've yet to find anyone who can really make sense of the stock. On a technical basis, it's pretty much always been valued at levels that never really coincided with the reality. But the Tesla story has never been about just the technicals. Tesla's valuation...
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...

NanoMarkets LLC Forecasts $8.3 Billion Annual Market For Smart Grid Batteries By 2016

In August of last year I wrote an article titled "Grid-based Energy Storage: Birth of a Giant." Over the last 12 months I've written a series of follow-on articles that discuss the principal classes of manufactured energy storage devices and the companies that are making or planning to make products for smart grid energy storage applications. My entire archive of articles on the energy storage sector is available here. One of the biggest problems I've encountered over the last year has been a dearth of reliable third party information that can help investors understand the breadth and...

Active Power – A Solid Investment Opportunity And A Valuable Object Lesson For Investors

John Petersen In December 2008 I went hunting for opportunities in the energy storage sector and selected six pure-play stocks that seemed seriously undervalued. I bought Enersys (ENS) at $6.00, Exide Technologies (XIDE) at $2.00 and Active Power (ACPW) at $0.26. While Enersys and Exide have been fabulous performers with appreciation to date of 442% and 397%, respectively, Active Power has been the runaway champion with appreciation to date of 923%. My other three picks have performed poorly. C&D Technologies (CHHP.PK) is down 96% and finalizing a restructuring that will give 95% of its equity to...

An Elephant Hunter’s Theory About Axion Power’s Price Surge

An Elephant Hunter's Theory About Axion Power's Price Surge John Petersen Over the last few days I've been inundated with questions from readers who want to know why Axion Power International (AXPW.OB) has smoothly surged from a low of $0.25 on December 30th to a closing price of $0.58 yesterday. The short answer is the stock is finally emerging from the mother of all supply and demand imbalances and the persistent sellers that punished the price over the last 20 months are almost out of the picture. Since I believe we're witnessing the beginning of an entirely...

Lithium Technology Corporation (LTHU.PK)

Quite a while ago, I promised readers that  I'd write an article looking into Lithium Technology Corporation (LTHU.PK,) in addition to articles I've already written on US Geothermal (HTM) and Evergreen Solar (ESLR)  Lithium Tech is a provider of custom lithium rechargeable batteries for military, national security, stationary power, and transportation applications.  Investors hoping for the big score probably have their eyes on the transportation applications, which should drive demand for lithium-ion batteries over the next decade.  That's all wonderful, but since August, we've had a financial meltdown, prompting me to focus much more on companies' need to raise...

Ener1 Nanotech Unit Prepares to Commercialize Revolutionary Battery Electrodes

ENER1 INC (ENEI) has established and equipped a pilot nanotechnology-based manufacturing facility to fabricate electrodes for high discharge rate, lithium-ion batteries. The company's battery subsidiary, EnerDel, Inc., in which Delphi Corporation holds a 19.5% interest, is in discussions with automotive OEMs regarding evaluation of samples for use in hybrid electric vehicles where the high discharge rate characteristic is viewed as key to performance and cost. EnerDel also plans to explore applications of this technology in other markets.

Why Energy Storage Stocks Should be an Easy Double for Investors

For several months I’ve been writing about manufactured energy storage devices and the companies that develop and manufacture them. My basic theme has been that these devices are fundamental enabling technologies for cleantech, the sixth industrial revolution. I’ve repeatedly said that profound economic changes were rapidly evolving and that energy storage would be a major investment theme for decades to come, but even my unbridled optimism could not keep pace with the realities. While most investors have been focusing on obvious problems like bad mortgages, tight credit and recessions, immense changes in the energy sector have gone almost...

Micro-hybrids And The Multi-Billion Dollar Battery Battle

John Petersen Last week the stock of A123 Systems (AONE) soared 52% in a day after it announced that an enhanced chemistry would improve the cold and hot weather performance of its LiFePO4 batteries, reduce the need for ancillary temperature control systems and make them more competitive in a rapidly evolving micro-hybrid battery market that's dominated by lead-acid battery manufacturers like Johnson Controls (JCI) and Exide Technologies (XIDE). Investors seem to understand that micro-hybrids will generate several billion dollars of incremental annual revenue for battery manufacturers by 2015, but they haven't quite figured out who the winners will...

2005 U.S. Energy Department Budget Provides for $2 Million for Continuation of Development of...

Electro Energy Inc (EEEI) announced that the Fiscal Year 2005 budget for the U.S. Department of Energy, signed earlier this month by President George Bush, provides $2 million for the continued development of bipolar nickel- metal hydride batteries for energy storage applications. "The funding provided by the U.S. Congress in the 2005 DOE budget will allow us to continue the development of batteries for utility energy storage applications, including power regulation, and bulk energy storage..." stated Martin Klein, Electro Energy's CEO. "This source of funds is a significant complement to the funds we have raised in our recent...

Geneva Motor Show Highlights – The Revenge of the Internal Combustion Engine

John Petersen March is Motor Show time in Geneva and it was fascinating to witness the shift in emphasis away from plug-in vehicles as European automakers highlighted their accomplishments in fuel efficiency technologies like HEVs, micro-hybrids and dual fuel drivetrains that can switch back and forth between gasoline and compressed natural gas. While there were modest displays for Tesla (TSLA), Fisker and other emerging brick-makers, and space was set aside for the obligatory plug-ins that most real manufacturers are toying with, the substantial majority of front-line vehicles at display entrances and halo cars on turntables were HEVs...

How PHEVs and EVs Will Sabotage America’s Drive For Energy Independence

John Petersen Yesterday I asked a frequent commenter and staunch electric vehicle advocate whether he ever questioned the ethics of building an EV that can save one owner 400 gallons of gas per year while using enough batteries to build ten Prius-class hybrids that could save their owners a combined total of 1,600 gallons of gas per year. I then spent an hour in stunned silence as the critical importance of that question crystallized in my mind. I didn't get a responsive answer from the commenter, but I did get one of those rare moments of clarity...