Axion Power’s Potential For Explosive Growth

Tom Konrad, CFA Axion Power International, Inc. (OTC:AXPW) has been developing its patented PbC lead-carbon battery technology, and in 2013 those efforts seem on the verge of paying off.   Unfortunately, Axion’s financing situation makes me unwilling to recommend its stock as an investment in the near term, but I do consider it one to watch.  This article will take a look at Axion’s technology and near term potential markets.  A follow-up article (published here) will discuss the company’s financing situation, and the things which will need to change before I consider the stock an...

Shares in Altair Nanotechnologies Purchased

I purchased shares in Altair Nanomaterials (ALTI) this morning for both my personal portfolio and also the mutual fund. ALTI is a holding company that specializes in nanomaterials and also contains a life sciences division. The materials company has research in high performance batteries, fuel cells, and photovoltaics. Altair announced earnings today and the stock is up on the morning trading. Revenue Increases 68 Percent for Third Quarter and 230 Percent for Nine-Month Period "An increase in revenue of 230 percent for the first three quarters of 2005 is representative of the significant progress Altair has...

A Tale of Two Battery Companies

John Petersen The last few weeks have offered a fascinating object lesson for believers in Benjamin Graham's theory that "In the short run the market acts like a voting machine, but in the long run it acts like a weighing machine." Since January 4th I've watched in awe as Exide Technologies (XIDE) lost roughly 30% of its market value and Ener1 (HEV) lost closer to 40%. The difference is that Exide took a voting machine beat down because it lost a well-known but financially immaterial customer while Ener1 seems to be caught in the early stages of a...

Ultralife Batteries, Inc. Awarded $7.4 Million Battery Contract by U.S. Defense Department

Ultralife Batteries Inc (ULBI) has been awarded a new production contract for its BA-5390/U battery valued at approximately $7.4 million, by the U.S. Defense Department. This contract is independent of the Next Gen II, Phase IV five-year battery contract for the BA-5390 and four other rectangular military batteries, which the company was awarded in December 2004. Deliveries under this $7.4 million contract are required to be completed by May 14.

Lux Research Dissects Lithium-ion Battery Mythology

John Petersen We all know that you can't have a cost-effective electric car without a cost-effective battery. We also know that a small but vocal hodgepodge of ideologues, activists, politicians and dreamers wants everyone to believe that rapid and stunning advances in lithium-ion batteries will finally make the dream a reality after a century of one abject failure after another. I frequently caution readers that it won't be anywhere near as easy as the proponents claim. In a new report titled "Searching for Innovations to Cut Li-ion Battery Costs" Lux Research did a yeoman's...

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...

Battery Manufacturers, Burger Joints and Secret Sauce

John Petersen In September I received an e-mail from France Innovation Scientifique & Transfert SA advertising their new IP Overview of Lithium Metal Phosphate Batteries - 2010/04. While I don't usually pay attention to e-mail pitches for costly reports, the FIST solicitation caught my eye because the abstract explained that roughly 1,100 patent applications have been filed for lithium metal phosphate chemistry since Dr. Goodenough's key patent issued in 1996. It's enough to give a guy a whole new perspective on this T-shirt from EV World. It also raises a couple critical issues that many...

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...

Toyota’s Straight Talk On Plug-in Vehicles

John Petersen Most investors know that Toyota Motors (TM) is the world's biggest manufacturer of hybrid electric vehicles, or HEVs. Since 1997, Toyota has sold over two million cars using its Hybrid Synergy Drive® and earned a sterling reputation for fuel efficiency and customer satisfaction. What many don't realize is that Toyota is also the world's biggest manufacturer of advanced automotive battery packs. Toyota entered the battery business in 1996 when it bought a 40% interest in Panasonic EV Energy, a joint venture company that was formed to make NiMH batteries and battery packs for the Prius. Over...

Plug-in Vehicles Are A Luxury No Nation Can Afford

John Petersen I'm going to apologize up front for revisiting a topic that inevitably draws furious comment from readers who just don't get it, or who refuse to get it. I understand that it's painful to learn that politicians, environmental advocates and the mainstream media have been lying about critical issues, but that doesn't make exposing the lies less important. So I'm going to endure the slings and arrows of the eco-religious one more time and use a new example to show that plug-in vehicles are a luxury no nation can afford. Ener1 (HEV) is a pure-play...

Energy Conversion 4Q Sales Disappoint

Energy Conversion Devices Inc (ENER) announced quarterly results on Monday. They beat Wall Street expecations with a less than expected loss, but did not meet sales estimates. They posted a loss of $6.9 million, or 23 cents per share, for the three months ended June 30, compared with a year-ago loss of $11.5 million, or 44 cents per share. The company's loss from continuing operations was 22 cents per share. Wall Street estimates on the loss were 26 cents a share. The stock is currently trading down over 4% in pre-market trading. I have been looking for a...

GE Enters the Grid-based Energy Storage Business

John Petersen I've been writing about the rapidly evolving market for manufactured energy storage devices in grid-based applications since last August when I published Grid-based Energy Storage: Birth of a Giant. At the time, only a handful of smaller public companies were working on grid-based storage solutions including Maxwell Technologies (MXWL), Beacon Power (BCON), Altair Nanotechnologies (ALTI), Active Power (ACPW) and Axion Power International (AXPW.OB). Last November, France's Saft Group (SGPEF.PK) announced a partnership with Switzerland's ABB Group (ABB) to develop and commercialize utility scale solutions. Yesterday, General Electric (GE) joined the fray when it announced plans to...

Electro Energy Delivers Silent Watch Battery System

Electro Energy Inc (EEEI) announced the delivery of a Bipolar Battery System to the U.S. Army Communications and Electronics Command (CECOM), to be tested and demonstrated under the Silent Watch Program. The EEEI bipolar battery system was built under the Company's contract with the U.S. Army Manufacturing Technology (Mantech) Program. The EEEI system, comprised of three 1kW modules, could be operated individually or as a complete system with a 3kW power capability, which would provide on-board vehicle electrical power to operate in Silent Watch Mode for three hours compared to the existing lead acid capability of 45 minutes....

Altair Nanotechnologies Awarded $250,000 Grant for Advancement of Its Alternative Energy Program

Altair Nanomaterials (ALTI) announced that it has been awarded a $250,000 grant from the Indiana Advanced Energy Technologies Program (AETP) initiative. The grant funding must be used to manufacture products containing products that are not currently in the U.S. market, and that are above industry standard in terms of energy efficiency (e.g. hybrid automobiles, fuel cells) and/or incorporate an innovative technology, such as nanotechnology, that allows the product to save energy. The grant money will be used for test equipment for the manufacturing of lithium ion cells, batteries, and battery packs. The stock gapped open this...

Cleantech, Optimism Squared and the Family Reunion Investment Test

Last November, Merrill Lynch released "The Sixth Revolution: The Coming of Cleantech," a thematic report from strategist Steven Milunovich that heralded cleantech as a new investment theme and forecast a coming age of plenty. A few days later venture capital icon Vinod Khosla warned a Palo Alto audience “500 million people on earth enjoy a lifestyle that 9 billion people will want in 2050.” The differences between these two informed viewpoints are more than a little stark, but they highlight a frightening truth about cleantech: for the first time in human history the fundamental drivers of a technological revolution...

Investment Opportunities in Large Scale Electricity Storage

The Economist had two great articles last week on two of may favorite themes in renewable energy, which I missed getting to Charles in time for  The Week in Cleantech.  Both deal with modernizing the grid to deal with the vagaries of wind.  The first is an in depth look at electricity transmission via High Voltage DC, a subject I recently wrote about in an article on ABB.  The second dealt with compressed air energy storage (CAES) which is the second cheapest way to store electricity, after pumped hydro.  Unfortunately, I have not found good ways for the stock...