News Archives


July 09, 2007

IEA wakes up and smells the Peak Oil

 That Polyanna of energy price prediction, the International Energy Agency
(IEA), issued a new report today which, while it still does not acknowledge peak oil, predicts a supply crunch in the 2010-12 time range.

    Despite four years of high oil prices, this report sees increasing market tightness beyond 2010, with OPEC spare capacity declining to minimal levels by 2012,'' the IEA said in its Medium-Term Oil Market Report, which is published every six months. ``Low OPEC spare capacity and slow non-OPEC production growth are of significant concern
I was blown away... as were most energy stocks today. Big movers among stocks I've mentioned recently:

Beacon Power (BCON) up 24%

Lighting Science (LSGP) up 28%

M~Wave (Blue Sun Biodiesel) (MWAV) up 13%

Satcon (SATC) up 18%

As usual, moves in Renewable Energy companies are driven by changes in oil price sentiment, even if they are involved in electricity, which is not (yet) a substitute for oil.  If investors were truly rational (they're far from it), only M~Wave would have seen a big move today.  Although true rationality would have seen none of these moves, because most of us know that the IEA won't see peak oil coming until it's about five years in the rear view mirror.


Article from Bloomberg


and/or his clients have positions in these companies mentioned here: BCON, LSGP,

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October 03, 2006

A Round-Up of Alternative Energy News

Here is a round-up of some news and information I have come across in my readings:

Venture Capital in Alternative Energy
Rob May at CleanTechVC made a great post about venture capital investments in energy technologies.Here are some excerpts from his post:

  • US energy technology VC investments are at $1.7B so far in 2006 -- compare this with $0.9B for all of 2005
  • solar tech has received more than 10% of all energy technology VC investments so far this year. Interestingly, while investments in fuel cell technology have been generally flat or dropping over the past year, battery-related investments have been growing very quickly.
  • ethanol-related VC investments have received more than $400mm, or just about one quarter of all energy tech investment
  • other fuels-related investment areas -- biodiesel, fuels-related biotech, and new drive train technologies have collectively received less than $100mm so far this year. Such investments clearly are not receiving the same level of attention in the rush to invest in ethanol-related opportunities.

New Materials in the Solar Industry
Tyler Hamilton at Clean Break points us to an article at about change in materials in solar industry. Today, 90% of solar panels today are made from crystalline silicon. A group of new companies, (NanoSolar, HelioVolt, and Miasoleccount) believe that CIGS-based (copper indium gallium selenide) thin film cells cost less to produce and are easier to install. I could not find any of the companies mentioned as being publicly traded yet but they certainly deserve being watched.

Texas Invests 10 Billion in Wind Power
Clean Edge has a press release of 10 Billion Wind Energy Partnership. Very interesting and encouraging but I must say the press release was thin on details of how the money would be spent. There was a statement in there that reads "over the next 20 years". By averaging this out , this would be approximately 500 million a year. No small amount.

A couple of interesting tidbits from that release:

  • Texas has abundant wind energy, particularly in West Texas and along the gulf cost.
  • earlier this summer Texas surpassed California as the nation’s leader in wind generation capacity

Energy Conversion Devices Review at Motley Fool
A couple of weeks back, The Motley Fool did had a critical article about Energy Conversion Devices, ENER. Stehpen Ellis, the author gives Energy Conversion devices a 1 out of 6 for execution in market areas outlined in 2001. He backs up his view with revenue and income numbers which is always a plus.

Battery-Powered Harley
TreeHugger has short piece on an electric Harley. The bike goes up to 60 miles powered by a huge, 560 pound battery and has a side car which holds a battery-recharging biodiesel generator. Yeah, it's big but technology has to start somewhere. Getting the size of the battery and side car down will certainly improve efficiency. Carl Vogel of Vogelbilt has said he would like to start producing electric motorcycles by 2007.

September 19, 2006

Ammonia Fueled Irrigation Pump System Announcement by Hydrogen Engine Center

Jeff, one of our readers alerted me to an announcement that is definitley worth sharing.

Hydrogen Engine Center, Inc., one of the stocks (HYEG) on the stocks page made an announcement that they will be working with Sawtelle & Rosprim to design and build the world's first Ammonia Fueled Irrigation Pump System. This is intended to help California meet its new emissions requirements scheduled to go into effect in 2010.

Hydrogen Engine Center, (HEC), is building a prototype system based on HEC's ammonia-fuelled engines and Sawtelle's pumps. They want to test the prototype for the California irrigation season in 2007 and if all goes well, they are hope to sell the system to California in 2008.

A few other interesting things from that press release:

  • ammonia is the second most prevalent chemical in the world.
  • an infrastructure for ammonia is already in place
  • ammonia pipelines can be found in many areas of the United States, including Iowa, and distribution of the fuel is already established.

    Will be interesting to see what happens with this, HEC is seeing a nice pop today of almost 10%.

    Jeff also let me know that the ammonia announcement follows the news last month that HEC entered an agreement with Grasim to fuel generators using waste hydrogen from their chlorine manufacturing process.

    Thanks Jeff for letting us know.

  • August 31, 2005

    Energy Prices Continue to Soar Due to Katrina

    The impact of Katrina to the gulf coast has caused a corresponding impact to the cost of energy. Up to 90% of output from the Gulf Of Mexico remains closed today and the uncertainty surrounding how long it will take to get back online drove crude oil prices above $70. This region supplies approximately 25% of all US energy and is home to nearly 10% of US refinery capacity.

    This short term impact on the cost of oil has many of the Alternative Energy stocks up with double digit percent gains yesterday.

    Be very careful at this time. Many people will see stocks like Ballard up over 12% yesterday and will be anxious to start adding money to these stocks. If your a long term investor, now is not the time to be buying these stocks. The Katrina emergency has everyone rushing to find a place to put their money. These stocks will eventually settle down and I would be looking for lower prices after the emergency has ended.

    If you already hold some of these positions, you may want to take some of your profits at this point or put some protective stop losses so that you can capture these gains. The entire energy sector has become a trading market and a little patience will enable you to put money into this sector with a lower cost basis.

    In the meantime here is a list of agencies that are taking money for Katrina relief efforts.
    American Red Cross
    Salvation Army
    United Way
    Louisiana SPCA

    August 12, 2004

    China's First Auto Works Chooses Enova for Hybrid Drive Systems

    Enova Systems Inc (ENVA)announced today that it has entered into a development and sales agreement with China's First Auto Works (FAW) for parallel hybrid drive systems for their hybrid buses. FAW signed a two-phase development agreement with Enova for hybrid-electric motors and power controllers for its newest hybrid buses.

    Enova is working with both FAW and the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) of Texas to integrate and validate the new Enova parallel hybrid drive system for these buses. [ more ]

    Western GeoPower Project Moves Ahead

    Western GeoPower Corp (WGPWF) has received approval to start drilling on their new Geothermal energy operation facility at South Meager in Canada. This new facility could amount to over 100 MW capacity. [ full story at ]

    GeoPower expects to have the South Meager plant ready for commercial generation by mid-2007.

    Astris Energi Pays Down Debenture -- Now Debt Free

    Astris Energi Inc. (ASRNF), the world's leading alkaline fuel cell (AFC) technology company, announced today it has paid down an existing debenture thus eliminating Astris' only long-term financial liability. [ more ]

    August 11, 2004

    Solar power homes required in California?

    California officials are proposing that half of all new homes in the state be running on solar energy in 10 years, an effort spurred by $100 million in annual incentives paid for by electricity consumers. [ ]

    This type of legislation would be a boon for the solar energy companies in California.

    kyocera_logo.gifIn related news Kyocera Corp (KYO) announced today that it will begin large-scale assembly of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules this fall at its maquiladora facility in Tijuana, Mexico, with plans to establish a regional office in San Diego for solar system engineering and marketing. [ more ]

    August 10, 2004

    Ford to test Fuel Cell vehicles in October

    Ford Motor Co. will begin testing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) in October in California, Florida, Michigan and British Columbia, Canada, the firm said yesterday. [ ]

    August 09, 2004

    Nation's First Completely Solar-powered CVB Website Prepares to Launch

    On September 1, 2004, the Portland Oregon Visitors Association (POVA) is scheduled to become the nation's first convention and visitors bureau (CVB) to launch a website 100 percent powered by solar energy. That's right, in a city renowned for its lush, abundant rainfall, the local CVB's website— —is transitioning to a completely solar-powered energy source. [ more ]

    Sumitomo Corporation Obtains Approval for Hydrogen Storage System Built by QTWW

    Sumitomo Corporation has announced that is has obtained Japan's first certification for a 700-bar (10,000psi) pressurized hydrogen storage system for fuel cell vehicles in collaboration with Suzuki in July 2004. [ more ]

    qtww_logo.gifThe hydrogen storage system that Sumitomo is using is produced by
    Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide Inc (QTWW). This is the third country where Quantum hydrogen storage system has been approved for use.

    August 04, 2004

    Vectrix Fuel Cell Scooter Debut

    dev_fuel_cellsm2.jpgVectrix debut their fuel-cell-equipped prototype at the Fuel Cell Seminar in Miami Beach, Fla. in November of this year. They plan to bring this new scooter to market by 2006. [ more ]

    Vectrix is 50% owned by Parker Hannifin Corp (PH).

    Hannifin provides the compressor that is twice as efficient and twice as durable as competing technologies. Parker Hannifin engineers say that it could serve as a cathode air compressor or as a hydrogen recirculation pump on all kinds of fuel cells, both in vehicles and stationary power applications. [ more ]

    gpbatteries_logo.gifThey are also utilizing battery technology from GP Batteries, a division of Gold Peak Industries Ltd (GPINY).

    August 02, 2004

    Ballard Power Posts Narrower Loss in 2Q

    ballard_logo_B.gifBallard Power (BLDP) has announced that second-quarter losses narrowed year-over-year to post better-than-expected results, but revenue declined across many business segments on lower volumes and decreased demand.

    Revenue fell to $21.2 million from $29.1 million for the same period in 2003, primarily due to lower product revenue as a result of completing deliveries of heavy-duty bus engines to the European Fuel Cell Bus Project in 2003. The significant decline in engineering service revenue in the latest quarter was due to the development phase of the current generation light-duty fuel cell engine program nearing completion and the next generation light-duty fuel cell engine program being in the early stages. [ more ]

    August 01, 2004

    Western states take lead in the drive for renewable energy

    The political climate for many of the western states are slowly starting to change to see the need for conversion to renewable energy sources. These test installations for Solar, Geothermal, and Wind energy are now producing real power for these areas. The key for us is to find the vendors that supply these installations. As the funding increases in these test beds, our growth will increase.

    Here is a good article from the about the various western states initiatives.

    "California's goal is to produce 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2017. New Mexico is aiming for 10 percent by 2011. Texas, despite its oil industry, has set a goal of 2.7 percent by 2009. A referendum headed for the Colorado ballot in November would require the state to get to 10 percent by 2015." [ full story at ]

    July 31, 2004

    ‘Hydrogen economy’ is a ruse—all hype, no hope

    An editorial article from South Carolina's expresses concern for funding for Fuel Cell research. The guess columnist expresses his concerns and feels that they would be better served looking at Biomass alternatives.

    An abstract of this opinion article is show below, with a link to the full story.

    A growing group of distinguished scientists sees the “hydrogen economy� as a ruse � a distraction from the much more viable alternative of biofuels. Nor has the hydrogen illusion escaped the notice of astute investors, as the major fuel-cell companies have seen their share prices drop by half over the past four months from what were already severely depressed values. [ full story at ]

    Since we are investing in both, we are still not concerned about a move towards Biomass alternatives. He is also missing one point in his editorial. These Biomass fuels can also be used to generate Hydrogen for our fuel stacks.

    July 30, 2004

    Honda to Launch New Fuel Cell Car in N. America Late 2004

    hondafcx.jpgJapan's Honda Motor Co. said Thursday it will start sales of a fuel cell vehicle equipped with a cell stack capable of operating at subzero temperatures in North America in the second half of this year. [ full story at ]

    The Honda fuel cells utilize the Ballard Power (BLDP) fuel cell stacks for their fuel cell equipped vehicles.

    Biological Drive: One man's quest to put corn in your car

    AutoWeek has an article about one man's quest to travel the entire United States using anything but gasoline to power his variety of alternative fuel vehicles. Featured are bio-diesel Hummers and RVs, a solar-powered canoe, and an poop-powered scooter

    [ full story at ]

    July 29, 2004

    Clean Electricity From Sugar Cane Using Fuel Cell Technology

    intelligent_energy_logo.jpgIntelligent Energy Inc., a leading energy solutions business, today announces that it has successfully completed trials of its ethanol based fuel cell technology system. These trials show that sufficient electricity can be generated for a rural home from equipment little larger than a shoebox, using fuel derived from sugar cane. [ full press release ]

    Kerry's High-Wattage Energy Plan discusses John Kerry's plan to increase alternative energy usage for the country.

    John Kerry's blueprint for energy independence doesn't suffer from lack of ambition. In early August, he'll unveil an energy plan that he says can break America's addiction to foreign oil, revitalize the U.S. auto industry, help farmers and coal miners, fight global warming, and create jobs -- all for just $2 billion per year. "We can live in an America that is energy independent," Kerry promises. [ full story at ]

    July 28, 2004

    Hydrogenics Signs New Agreement With John Deere to Advance the Commercialization of Fuel Cells

    Hydrogenics Corp (HYGS) announced that it has entered into a five-year agreement with Deere & Company (DE) to continue research and development efforts in the use of hydrogen and fuel cells in commercial vehicles. The five-year agreement incorporates both qualitative and quantitative commitments, and builds on the success of earlier joint projects involving the integration of Hydrogenics' HyPM(TM) fuel cell power module technology into Deere vehicles. [ more ]

    GE expects $1 billion a year in solar sales

    Citing recent success in alternative power, GE Energy, a subsidiary of General Electric Co (GE) is hoping to boost its solar energy sales to $1 billion annually by the end of the decade, the head of GE's solar business said. [ more ]

    FuelCell Energy and LOGANEnergy to Sell Direct FuelCell(R) Power Plants

    fcel_logo.gifFuelcell Energy Inc (FCEL) and LOGANEnergy Corp have joined forces to develop and sell commercial fuel cell power plants, with a focus on megawatt-class systems.

    The two companies have signed a Market Development Agreement whereby FuelCell Energy will provide the power plants along with related engineering and technical support. LOGAN will contribute its expertise in developing fuel cell power plants for commercial and industrial customers, along with site-specific duties such as permitting, utility interconnections and power plant installation. [ more ]

    July 26, 2004

    ReliOn Selects Fuel Cell Product Manufacturer

    relion.jpgReliOn, the leading provider of high reliability fuel cell solutions for backup power applications, announced that Celestica Inc (CLS), a world leader in electronics manufacturing services (EMS), will serve as EMS provider for ReliOn's fuel cell products going forward. [ more ]

    ReliOn is a privately funded Washington corporation. However, as their business grows, their OEM partners will grow as well.

    July 21, 2004

    Pacific Fuel Cell Corp. Announces United States Department of Energy STTR Award

    Pacific Fuel Cell Corp (PFCE)announced that it has been selected by the United States Department of Energy for a Phase I STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) grant. The intended start date is September 1, 2004. [ more ]

    I can't seem to find a website for Pacific Fuel Cell corp. I can't believe a publicly held company doesn't have a website. Post a comment if you can find it.

    Medis Technologies Awarded New Fuel Patent for Fuel Cell Products

    mdtl_logo.gifMedis Technologies Ltd. (MDTL) announced today that it has been issued a new patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (U.S. Patent #6,758,871 "Liquid Fuel Compositions for Electrochemical Fuel Cells") for its proprietary fuel. This is the third U.S. patent issued with respect to the fuel used in Medis' proprietary fuel cell technology and this patent relates to the composition of that fuel. Additional patents that cover other aspects of the fuel and its use in Medis' fuel cell are still pending. [ more ]

    July 14, 2004

    SatCon Receives over $1.0 Million in New Fuel Cell Electronics Orders

    satcon_logo.gifSatCon Technology Corporation(R) (SATC), a manufacturer of electronic power control systems, today announced that its Power Systems division in Canada received new purchase orders this month totaling in excess of $1.0 million for its fuel cell Power Conditioning Units (PCU's). Delivery of the units is scheduled during this calendar year. [ full story ]

    Satcon currently trades at 4x book value and is currently testing a key support level around $2.00.

    Ford Research Vehicle Points the Way Towards Viable Fuel Cell Technology

    Ford engineers have equipped the Ford Focus C-MAX with a prototype hydrogen internal combustion engine (H2 ICE). The vehicle was unveiled on July 12th at the Research Conference of the German Car Manufacturer Association (VDA) in Stuttgart, which was attended by the German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. [ full story at ]

    The Ford fuel cell team has been using the Ballard Power (BLDP) fuel cell stacks for their line of fuel cell cars.

    July 09, 2004

    Homemade Bio-Diesel Maker In A Taxing Situation

    An Eastern Iowan made his own fuel to save money, but now the state says not so fast. The state wants to make sure it doesn't miss out on its tax money...

    ...The tax would be 22 and a half cents a gallon. The same as diesel. He makes anywhere from five to twenty gallons of biodiesel a month. At the most, it would mean an additional four dollars to the state each month. Toal-Rossi says, "I'm not opposed to paying the tax, it's really the paperwork that's more of a hassle for me." [ full story ]

    Never underestimate the inefficiency of the government. In Maryland, they give you a tax break (courtesy of the Soy Bean farmer lobby) for the use of Bio Fuels. This is one issue that needs to be addressed at the Federal level if we ever hope to ease our reliance on foreign oil.

    July 08, 2004

    Chrysler, Ford Boost Investment in Fuel-Cell Maker (Update4) has the following article on Ballard Power (BLDP)

    DaimlerChrysler AG and Ford Motor Co. agreed to invest $100 million in Ballard Power Systems Inc., the biggest maker of fuel cells for automobiles, and restructure their alliance with the money-losing company to speed up development of the alternative energy devices. [ full story ]

    In the article there is an interesting quote from Ballard's CEO.

    "We think we have a line of sight now to a commercial product in the early part of the next decade... There no question that fuel cells will replace piston engines."

    FuelCell Energy to provide 250-kilowatt Fuel Cell Power Plant for Democratic National Convention

    fcel_logo.gifFuelCell Energy, Inc. (FCEL), a leading manufacturer of stationary fuel cell power plants for distributed generation, today announced that it will be providing a 250-kilowatt Direct FuelCell(R) (DFC(R)) power plant as part of a temporary distributed generation micro-grid for the Democratic National Convention to be held at the Fleet Center in Boston July 26-29, 2004. The Company's DFC300A power plant will operate on natural gas supplied by Keyspan Energy and will be combined with generators to provide power for the Fleet Center and media stations. FuelCell Energy's DFC power plant, which generates electricity electrochemically and without combustion, will produce 99.9 percent less harmful air pollution and 59 percent less carbon dioxide than traditional combustion-based fossil fuel power plants, and will use half as much fuel per kilowatt hour of electricity than conventional power plants. [ more ]

    July 06, 2004

    IdaTech Signs Italian Agent for Fuel Cell Systems

    idacorp_logo.gifIDACORP (IDA) is a holding company that has businesses in electrical generation, financial services, and telecommunications services. The IdaTech division that focuses on production of fuel cell systems has recently signed an Italian firm to represent them in the Italian market.

    Press Release Monday June 28, 8:00 am ET
    IdaTech has entered into an agency agreement with Italian energy engineering firm, RENCO S.p.A (RENCO) for the market development and distribution of IdaTech's fuel cell systems and hydrogen generation products. [ more ]

    IDA is a well run utility paying a 4% dividend. They have recently crossed back over their 50 day moving average and they are currently trading at book value. Even though this company is not 100% in the Alternative Energy space, they have a firm footing for future growth and the backend holdings help to keep the stock's value as you wait. The dividend doesn't hurt either. This company is currently on my watch list for purchase in the near future.

    $18.4 Million Funding Round Positions PolyFuel for Portable Fuel Cell Market Launch

    pf_logo_sm.gifPolyFuel announced additional funding for their portable fuel cell technology. They are currently a privately held company backed by several venture capital firms. I'm keeping this company on my radar screen because these venture firms will eventually want to take this company public.

    Here is an excerpt from this most recent PR announcement. Click the link to read the full press release.

    PolyFuel, Inc., the world leader in membrane technology for portable fuel cells, today announced it has closed an $18.4 million, third round of funding, bringing total investment in the 5-year-old startup to approximately $40 million. This round, led by CDP Capital - Private Equity includes existing investors Mayfield, Ventures West, Technology Partners, Intel Capital, and Chrysalix Energy as well as new investors Conduit Ventures Limited, KTB Ventures, Hotung Venture Partners, Yasuda Enterprise Development, and BiNEXT, a part of the Daesung Group. [ full press release ]

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