A123 Keeps Powering Forward on its IPO

John Petersen A123 Systems filed another amendment to the registration statement for its proposed IPO on August 19th. With this amendment, A123 is much clearer on its anticipated Federal funding than it was in earlier filings. In addition to discussing the recent DOE announcement that they'll receive $249.1 million in ARRA battery manufacturing grants, they've reduced their estimate of the ATVM guaranteed loans that they'll be eligible for from $1 billion in their July filing to $235 million in the current filing. This most recent number is specific enough to indicate that it reflects ongoing negotiations rather than...

Yankee Graphite

Several graphite developers have made plans to integrate forward into the hottest segment of the market  -  battery-grade graphite.  According to Industrial Minerals, spherical graphite suitable for lithium ion battery anodes is priced in a range of $2,700 to $2,800 per metric ton in China where many battery manufacturers are located.  This compares quite well to the range of about $655 to $790 per metric ton for flake graphite concentrate. The integration strategy has sent the sector into a frenzy of activity to prove their graphite meets expectations of battery manufacturers.  The only graphite deposit in the U.S. mainland is under development by Westwater Resources...

EESAT And Energy Storage Opportunities On The Smart Grid

John Petersen Last week I appeared as a luncheon speaker at EESAT 2009, a biennial international technical conference sponsored by the DOE, Sandia National Laboratories and the Electricity Storage Association that focuses on storage technologies for utility applications. The conference included dozens of high-level technical presentations from storage technology developers and was far and away the best-organized event I've ever attended. The only notable absence was a large contingent of buyers, which left some participants wondering whether they were preaching to the choir. Nevertheless, I was encouraged by rapid growth in the number and size of utility-scale demonstration...

Arotech Receives Battery Development Contract from Leading UAV Supplier

Arotech Corporation (ARTX) announced that its Electric Fuel subsidiary has been awarded a development contract to develop a high energy density rechargeable Lithium Battery and Smart Charger from a world leading supplier of Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs). The batteries and chargers will be used to power the company's man-packed, hand-launched UAV, used for close range, over-the-hill reconnaissance missions.

Feel-Good Government Grants Leading Cleantech Astray

David Gold Grants for smart grid projects. Grants for battery manufacturing lines. Loan guarantees for renewable energy project development. Grants to private companies for energy efficiency projects. And with each it seems that the cleantech world cheers. Yet for all our desire to create sustainability in our consumption and use of energy, this model of getting us there is not only unsustainable but is of questionable value. I want to emphasize that I am speaking about government grants to the private sector where the government is not the end customer and...

ePower’s Series Hybrid Electric Drive – Unmatched Fuel Economy for Heavy Trucks

John Petersen Over the last couple weeks there’s been a lot of message board chatter about ePower Engine Systems, a transportation technology company that has selected the PbC® battery from Axion Power International (AXPW) for its series hybrid electric drivetrain for over-the-road freight haulers who drive heavy Class 8 tractors. Since I introduced ePower to Axion and have tracked their progress for a couple years, I called ePower’s CEO Andy Claypole to ask his permission to share what I’ve learned about ePower’s hybrid electric drivetrain. After a series of phone calls and e-mails, Andy graciously...

Opportunities in the Energy Storage Sector

John Petersen Since I discussed dilution risks in emerging energy storage companies last week, today I'm going to shift gears and offer an overview of the opportunities that have developed in larger pure-play energy storage companies since last September. The following graph tracks the 18-month composite performance of the five categories I defined in Battery Investing for Beginners, Part II and shows how they stacked up against the Dow Jones Average. To understand what's happened in the storage sector over the last 18 months it's helpful to remember a few key dates. First, we had...

Take A Bromide For Flow Battery Frustration

by Debra Fiakas CFA The most recent article Vanadium Flow Battery Stocks: Barely A Dribble may have disappointed some investors who were expecting more opportunity for a stake in building energy storage.  Large scale energy storage is an idea to which many in the utility industry speak, but few power producers have made significant investments beyond lithium ion batteries.  Flow batteries have long been touted as a cost-effective and technically superior alternative for wind or solar power storage or for load-balancing efforts on the electric grid, as examples.  In the last post we looked at the flow battery...

How Aggregation Will Destroy Niche Markets for Smart Grid Energy Storage

John Petersen Last week I introduced a new study titled "Energy Storage for the Electricity Grid: Benefits and Potential Market Assessment" that was commissioned by the DOE's Energy Storage Systems Program, identified seventeen discrete storage applications for the electricity grid, discussed the technical requirements of each application and summarized the potential economic benefits. If the Yahoo! message boards are any indication, investors are already jumping to inaccurate and wildly optimistic conclusions because they don't understand that many storage applications are synergistic and every storage system purchaser will try to maximize the value of its investment by capturing...

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...

Hydrogenics Awarded Contract by Gas Natural to Deliver Hydrogen Station to Spanish Wind Farm

Hydrogenics Corp (HYGS) announced that they have been awarded a contract for over EUR 500,000 to deliver a hydrogen station to Gas Natural SDG, a Spanish-based energy services multinational with approximately ten million customers in Spain, Latin America, Italy and France (www.gasnatural.com). Gas Natural will use a Hydrogenics' HySTAT(TM)-A Hydrogen Station at the Sotavento Galicia wind farm to produce up to 60 Nm3/hr of hydrogen. The hydrogen will be used to fuel an internal combustion engine generator, which in turn will supply electricity to the electric grid.

DOE Energy Storage Subsidies: Heavenly Grants and Hellish Loans

Much of the buzz in the energy storage sector is focused on DOE administered subsidy programs and what they will mean for investors in smaller public companies. The buzz began when Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 ("EPACT") authorized $2 billion in loan guarantees for innovative energy technologies. It ramped up rapidly when the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 authorized another $2.5 billion in loan guarantees under the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing ("ATVM") program. It reached a crescendo when the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 ("ARRA") authorized $7 billion in smart grid,...

Investors Push The Hydrogenics Reset Button

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week shares of Hydrogenics Corp. (HYGS:  Nasdaq) took a steep dip down.  Earlier in the week the company filed a shelf registration statement to raise up to $100 million in new capital over the next two years.  Then before the last day of trading began the company issued new guidance for the year 2014, suggesting weaker sales in the first quarter than previously expected but reaffirming expectations for the full year. The statement replaced an earlier shelf registration statement for a $25 million capital raise.    The filing came as no surprise to...

Beacon Power to Present on Two Flywheel Energy Storage Topics at POWER-GEN Renewable Energy...

Beacon Power Corp (BCON) is scheduled to deliver two presentations at conference sessions next week at the 2nd Annual POWER-GEN Renewable Energy Conference and Exhibition, held at the Las Vegas Hilton from March 1-3. Both presentations will focus on the role of flywheel energy storage systems, and Beacon's patented technology in particular, in critical power grid applications.

Maxwell Stakes its Claim in a $2.7 Billion Niche Market

John Petersen Last Wednesday Maxwell Technologies (MXWL) announced the launch of a new ultracapacitor product that insures reliable engine starting for commercial trucks and other heavy vehicles. According to the Energy Information Administration, the existing US fleet includes 4.2 million heavy-duty diesel trucks. All of these vehicles are subject to strict anti-idling laws and regulations that strain their battery systems and increase the risk that the engine won't be able to start when it needs to. While a dead battery is a pain for the average consumer, it can cause a world of problems for a commercial truck...

Beacon Power Announces Third-Quarter 2005 Results

Beacon Power Corp (BCON) reported revenue of $304,064, compared to revenue of $80,902 in the third quarter of 2004, an increase of $223,162, or 276%. Revenues for the nine months ending September 30, 2005, were $1,258,503, compared to $264,793 for the same period in 2004, an increase of $993,710, or 375%. Beacon Power reported a net loss of $2.1 million, or ($0.04) per share, compared to a net loss of $1.9 million or ($0.04) per share for the third quarter of 2005 and 2004, respectively, representing an increase of approximately $0.2 million or 16%. They ended the...