Shares in Energy Conversion Devices Purchased

Energy Conversion Devices Inc (ENER) opened up trading this morning with a gap down to the $33 level. For the last hour it has been steadily rising up from this point. As I said in my earlier post, I have been looking for a good entry point in this company and feel that the near term support of $33 is an ideal area to place an order. The stock has been on a run for several months and it is always hard to take a new position in a stock that has already seen dramatic increases...

Grid-scale Energy Storage: Lux Predicts $113.5 Billion in Global Demand by 2017

John Petersen Last month Lux Research released a bottom-up evaluation of the cost effectiveness of eight energy storage technologies in six grid-scale applications throughout 44 countries, including all 50 U.S. states. Their report titled "Grid Storage under the Microscope: Using Local Knowledge to Forecast Global Demand" predicts that annual global demand for grid-scale energy storage will reach an astounding 185.4 gigawatt-hours (GWh) by 2017 and represent a $113.5 billion incremental revenue opportunity for an industry that currently generates sales of $50 to $60 billion a year. In the grid-scale sector alone, Lux predicts an average...

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...

Electric Vehicles – The Opportunity of Which Decade?

John Petersen Hardly a day passes without some talking head breathlessly describing electric vehicles as the opportunity of the decade. The fine point most investors miss, however, is that the decade they're describing won't begin until 2020 and for the next seven to ten years electric vehicle manufacturers like Tesla Motors (TSLA) and lithium-ion battery manufacturers like Ener1 (HEV) and A123 Systems (AONE) will hemorrhage cash as they try to traverse the trough of disillusionment that runs through the cruel black heart of the valley of death. The following graph is a stylized view of the...

Johnson Controls Forecasts Enormous Stop-Start Growth

John Petersen On June 27th Johnson Controls (JCI) hosted their 2011 Power Solutions Analyst Day and unveiled their expectations for the future of stop-start idle elimination systems. After noting that all automakers are developing a range of powertrains, JCI used this graph to emphasize their view that the overwhelming bulk of alternative powertrain vehicles over the next five years will have simple, cost effective and fuel efficient stop-start systems. You don't see much about stop-start systems in the mainstream media because politicians and reporters are too enchanted with plug-in vehicles and other exotica...

Bernstein and Ricardo Report: Cheap Will Beat Cool in Vehicle Electrification

John Petersen On September 26, 2011, Bernstein Research and Ricardo plc published a 450 page analytical report titled, "Global Autos: Don't Believe the Hype – Analyzing the Costs & Potential of Fuel-Efficient Technology," which combines best in class securities research from Bernstein with the deep automotive expertise of Ricardo, a global leader in engineering, product innovation and strategic consulting. The result is the most comprehensive, detailed and eminently reasonable forecast of short-, medium- and long-term trends in advanced automotive powertrain technology that I've had the pleasure to read. It's devoid of axe grinding or cheer-leading and...

Lead-Carbon Batteries: A Game Changer for Alternative Energy Storage – Part II

I woke up this morning with a dreadful case of writer’s block and feared that I might have to take a week or two off while awaiting the end of the current SEC reporting cycle. Mercifully, one of my readers sent an e-mail message that asked some pointed questions about lead-carbon battery technologies and the relative strengths and weaknesses of the principal lead-carbon battery developers. So instead of dashing off a quick reply, I thought it might be interesting to share both the message and a detailed response. Besides, it seems like a great way to kill two...

Lux Boosts Their Micro-Hybrid Vehicle Forecast to 39,000,000 Cars a Year By 2017

John Petersen A couple days ago Lux Research published a new report titled “Every Last Drop: Micro‐ And Mild Hybrids Drive a Huge Market for Fuel‐Efficient Vehicles” that focuses on rapidly growing markets for micro-hybrid vehicles and their battery systems. During 2011, automakers sold an estimated 5,000,000 micro-hybrids worldwide, mainly in Europe. By 2017, Lux forecasts global micro-hybrid sales of 39,000,000 cars a year and a $6.3 billion annual market for their battery systems, which represents an across the board average of $161 per vehicle compared to an auto industry average of less than $60 per...

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...

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...

Culling My Energy Storage Tracking Group

John Petersen In my second quarter update I deleted China Ritar Power (CRTP.PK) from my energy storage tracking list because of its decision to terminate its SEC registration during a period when China-based companies with US listings were bogged down in a dense fog of suspicion. Since then the carnage in the energy storage sector has been far worse than I expected and it's time to permanently remove the companies highlighted in pink from my energy storage and vehicle electrification tracking list for the reasons described below. Current Culls In March of this year...

High Conviction Paired Trade – Short Tesla Motors And Buy Exide Technologies, The Sequel

John Petersen Last November I broke with tradition for the first time in over 30 years and suggested a paired trade that bought Exide Technologies (XIDE) and shorted Tesla Motors (TSLA). Over the following three months, investors who made the trade and bought four Exide shares while shorting one Tesla share pocketed the following gains. 16-Nov-2010 16-Feb 2011 Net Entry Exit Gain Buy Four Exide -$29.76 $49.68 $19.92 Short One Tesla $30.80 ...

The Rocky Road to Lithium Ion Battery Commercialization

by Debra Fiakas CFA A bit of history… Schematic of a Lithium Ion Battery by Materialsgrp, via Wikimedia Commons Lithium ion batteries are a relatively recent innovation.  Scientists and engineers first began working with lithium applications in the 1970s.  A number of companies and laboratories worked through the next decade to perfect lithium ion batteries, using various materials for the business ends of a battery  -  the anode and the cathode.  It was not until the mid 1980s that developers settled on cobalt as...

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.

Paper Batteries

by Debra Fiakas CFA A comment left recently on one of my earlier articles mentioned Vendum Batteries, Inc. (VNDB:  OTC/BB), a developmental stage company working on battery power solutions.  When looking into Vendum I expected the usual flowery promises investors hear from every other battery developer  -  some new metal alloy for the electrodes, an alternative electrolyte, or maybe a creative form factor.    However, Vendum is not just any battery “wanna-be.” Ok, Vendum does have an alternative electrode, but it is not just a tweak of the usual metal mixes.  It also has an alternative form factor,...

Investment Ideas From the One-House Grid

In June, I wrote how intermittent power sources such as photovoltaics and wind would have to compete with baseload technologies such as IGCC "Clean Coal" and nuclear for capacity on the grid.  The key problem is that neither baseload technologies nor intermittent technologies are able to match themselves to the fluctuations of demand.  This creates a need for technologies which can fill the varying gaps between supply from these sources, and normal energy use.  From the comments, it seems like I was not completely clear how intermittent and baseload power cause problems for each other, so I will start...