Four Green Money Managers’ Top Stock Picks

Green money managers' stock picks after the Japanese nuclear crisis. Even as the nuclear disaster in Japan unfolds, it's clear that the world's energy industry will be forever changed. Russian reactors were never considered safe, but a Japanese to have a nuclear meltdown is an entirely different story. Market Reaction Since Monday, nuclear stocks and ETFs have been plummeting. As of Wednesday night, The Market Vectors Uranium + Nuclear Energy ETF (NYSE:NLR), the iShares S&P Global Nuclear Energy Index (NASD:NUCL), PowerShares Global Nuclear Energy Portfolio ETF (NYSE:PKN), and the Global X Uranium ETF (NYSE:URA) are down...
Biogas as a source of hydrogen

There’s Hydrogen In That There Biogas

I don’t suppose that anyone actually dreams of hydrogen, but in the bio-economy there just isn’t quite enough of it and we read about it and sometimes think about it so much that we might as well be dreaming about it. For those newer to the field, one of the problems of using biomass to make a fuel is that a carbohydrate contains around 53% oxygen by weight and needs about 16% more hydrogen that it contains to make a hydrocarbon fuel. That’s one of the reasons that biofuels are often esters (such as biodiesel) or alcohols (such as ethanol),...

Grid-Based Energy Storage; A $200 Billion Opportunity

John Petersen Yesterday a reader sent me a copy of an exhaustive new study titled "Energy Storage for the Electricity Grid: Benefits and Market Potential Assessment Guide" that was commissioned by the DOE's Energy Storage Systems Program and prepared by Jim Eyer and Garth Corey. I've been following the work in progress on this report since last summer and have eagerly awaited an opportunity to shift away from the overhyped electric vehicle market and focus instead on a far larger market where cost, performance and substantive business merit will be the only drivers. It looks like my time...

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...

Alice In EVland; Six Impossible Things

John Petersen Many of my regular readers know I'm a working securities lawyer, a humble scrivener who writes reams of deathless prose that private companies use to raise money from investors, and public companies file with the SEC in the form of registration and proxy statements, and annual, quarterly and current reports. I've spent a couple years as an oil company executive and a few more as board chairman of an advanced lead-acid battery technology developer. The balance of my 30-year career has been devoted to natural resource and technology-based businesses that needed somebody elses' money to pursue...

Active Power Receives Order from Leading Solar Energy Company

Active Power Inc (ACPW) announced that it has received an order for its new CoolAir DC product from one of the leading producers of photovoltaic modules in Europe. CoolAir DC uses thermal energy and compressed air to provide power, can be cycled regularly without a loss in performance and is environmentally friendly. By using solar energy to heat the thermal storage unit (TSU) and compress air in the storage tanks, energy can be captured and used at a later time. The share price of ACPW has recently retested the trendline and I will be adding to...

Energy Storage: Q1 2012 Winners and Losers

John Petersen The first quarter of 2012 was the best of times for shareholders of companies that are developing and manufacturing cheap energy storage products like lead-acid batteries, but the worst of times for shareholders of pure-play lithium-ion battery developers. The following table tracks stock price performance in the energy storage and electric vehicle sectors for the first quarter of 2012 and for the twelve months ended March 31st. Long-term readers will notice that the current list is a good deal shorter than it was in March of last year because of my decisions to...

What I Learned During Last Week’s Visit With ePower

John Petersen Last week I spent a couple days with ePower Engine Systems working my way through a variety of business and technical due diligence issues. As always happens with new clients, it was a full immersion course in how ePower’s technology works, what the documented performance of the current tractor is, and how that performance is expected to change as ePower: transitions from a four cylinder engine designed for stationary use to an EPA compliant six cylinder engine designed for the trucking industry; automates a new charge control system that will opportunistically charge the batteries in...

Ener1 And Delphi Sign LOI To Form Lithium Battery Joint Venture

ENER1 INC (ENEI) and Delphi Corp. (DPH), today entered into a non-binding letter of intent to create a joint venture to leverage their combined expertise in lithium batteries. Delphi and Ener1 will be negotiating definitive agreements and conducting due diligence in the coming weeks. "The combination of Ener1's vapor deposition process and its nanotechnology for production of high-rate, low-cost lithium batteries with Delphi-developed high energy capacity technology would allow the venture to have a key advantage in penetrating its target lithium battery markets," — Kevin Fitzgerald, Ener1's CEO. ENEI is up over 14% on this news...

An Elephant Hunter’s Thesis for Axion Power

John Petersen Last Friday I breathed a sigh of relief as my core position in Axion Power International (AXPW.OB) regained the price level it established in the first quarter of 2010. The last 12 months have been a stockholder's worst nightmare as supply and demand dynamics pushed Axion's stock price down into the $0.50 range and kept it there. Since it looks like new buyers have finally eaten their way through the excess supply, now seems like an opportune time to unwrap my crystal ball and lay out an elephant hunter's thesis for Axion's stock price outlook over...

Maxwell Technologies Provides Ultracapacitors for General Hydrogen

Maxwell Technologies (MXWL) announced that General Hydrogen Corporation, a leading developer of hydrogen fuel cell-based power systems for electric forklifts, has placed a 200,000 unit, three-year, purchase order for BOOSTCAP® ultracapacitors to enhance performance and energy management in its Hydricity® Pack technology. The purchase order is part of a strategic supply agreement through which General Hydrogen will source ultracapacitors exclusively from Maxwell and receive strategic pricing if volume thresholds specified in the purchase order are reached.

Hidden Gems? Why Green Investors Should Look at Daewoo Shipbuilding and Ener1

Part 2 of 2 Bill Paul Neither Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. Ltd., which trades OTC under the symbol DWOTF, nor Ener1 Inc., which trades on NASDAQ under the symbol HEV, is an obvious candidate for having hidden potential. Heck, Daewoo isn’t even a green energy stock. Or is it? Lost in the hubbub of Copenhagen and Congress, there’s been important news about both these companies that strongly suggests – at least to me – that each has plenty of undiscovered potential that will really start paying off over the next 18 to 24...

Maxwell Announces An Important Stop-Start Design Win

John Petersen On October 20th, Maxwell Technologies (MXWL) announced that it has commenced volume deliveries of BOOSTCAP® ultracapacitors to Continental AG (CTTAY.PK) for use in a new stop-start idle elimination system for diesel passenger cars made by PSA Peugeot-Citroen (PEUGY.PK). According to Continental, Peugeot-Citroen plans to sell about a million cars equipped with this technology over the next three years. While the Maxwell design win has been rumored for months, it's great to have confirmation that stop-start is here, it's now and it will become a major new energy storage market over the next three to five years....

Hydrogenics Corp: Splitting Water

by Debra Fiakas, CFA Most investors, if they have heard of Hydrogenics Corporation (HYGS: Nasdaq) at all, consider them a fuel cell producer. However, about two-thirds of the company’s revenue comes from the design and manufacture of hydrogen generation products based on water electrolysis technology - a somewhat unique, but valuable electrochemical technology that could make important contributions to the world’s future energy base. Electrolysis or the splitting of water molecules using an electric current produces hydrogen and oxygen - two elements that have market potential in a variety of industrial and power markets. It stands in...

Metal-Air Battery Stocks

by Debra Fiakas CFA A small Israeli battery developer, Phinergy, is getting attention in the press for a road test of a Citreon C1 car outfitted with Phinergy’s metal-air batteries.  Confined mostly to military applications, metal-air batteries have not gained as much attention as lithium-ion applications. Indeed, the Citreon is principally powered by a lithium-ion power package that has been installed in the trunk.  Phinergy’s metal-air batteries are to be used as a range extender. Long-use is really the metal-air battery’s main attraction.  Like regular batteries Phinergy’s metal-air battery has an anode.  It is made from...

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...