HydroPhi: Turbocharging Trucks With Hydrogen

by Debra Fiakas CFA Casting about for alternatives to burning fossil fuels for energy, hydrogen is a logical candidate.  It is the most abundant chemical on the planet and the energy density of compressed hydrogen is about 5.6 milli-joules per liter.  This compares to 32.4 mj/l for gasoline and 4.3 mj/l for a lithium ion battery.  That is where the romance ends and the realities of hydrogen begin.  Hydrogen poses a safety risks, particularly in transportation and distribution.  Hydrogen gas leaking into the air may spontaneously ignite.  Extremely low temperatures will turn it into a liquid, but that...

Axion Power – A Battery Manufacturer Charging Forward

John Petersen Last week Debra Fiakas of Crystal Equity Research published an article titled "No Battery Producer Left Behind" that was based on old information about the relationship between Exide Technologies (XIDE) and Axion Power International (AXPW) and reached several erroneous conclusions. Since I'm a former Axion director, the stock is my biggest holding and I follow the company like a hawk, Tom Konrad asked me to clarify the record and present a high level overview of Axion's business history, stock market dynamics and technical accomplishments over the last four years. Since Tom's request is a...

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...

How Are We Doing On Our Stimulus Plan Stocks So Far?

A few weeks ago, I wrote a series of two articles on the yet-to-be-unveiled Obama stimulus package for the economy, arguing that things pointed in the direction of massive infrastructure spending with a green twist. I argued that this would benefit a certain categories of rail-related stocks and electric grid stocks. How am I doing relative to the market as a whole, which has had several positive trading days for the past while on the back of the eventual stimulus plan?    Railway Stocks I discussed four railway stocks in an article published on October 18....

More Common Sense in Energy Storage Investing

John Petersen Since last week's article, Common Sense in Energy Storage Investing, was well-received by readers who've recently discovered this blog and want to better understand the energy storage sector, I've decided to continue with the theme and drill down deeper into some broad issues. Most of today's material is pretty basic stuff, but when the hype machine starts spinning a firm grasp on economic reality and investment fundamentals can be important to investors that want to avoid a boom and bust bubble like we had in corn ethanol. In the fall of 2008 I confessed to...

Hyundai Charges Up Green Bond With EVs And Hybrids

by the Climate Bonds Team Hyundai Capital Services issues first Korean corporate green bond for hybrids and electric vehicles (5yrs, 2.87%, $500m) Hyundai Capital Services, the subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company (005380.KS) that provides loans and leases for new Hyundai and Kia cars, issued a $500m green bond. The inaugural green deal has a 5-year tenor and fixed semi-annual coupon of 2.87%. Lead underwriters for the deal were Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi, and Credit Agricole. The green issue is the first corporate Korean green bond and only the third out of Korea after KEXIM’s initial...

Investing in Mode-Shifting: Preparing for a Peak Oil World

Technology cannot save us Technology will not save us from peak oil, but the invisible hand of economics will.  It's easy to get excited about all the amazing new vehicles the world's car-makers are promising us.  Even if we believe manufacturers' hype, the Cadillac SRX your neighbor bought last week will be on the road for at least a couple decades, and all the fuel saved by your next plug-in hybrid will not make up for the amount it guzzles. I, and many others, believe that the Western World will soon have to cope with much...

Fool.com comments on ENER

The Motley Fool finally had something good to say about an alternative energy stock. It just so happens to be for one I purchased earlier this morning. Don't look now, but Energy Conversion Devices might just prove to be that rare bird an alternative energy play with actual products and a reasonable chance of living up to lofty investor expectations. ... It would appear to me that hybrid vehicle batteries are the biggest near-term opportunity. Although the company didn't specify the customers, it has acknowledged receiving production orders for battery packs. They say that...

Hyundai-Enova Innovative Technology Center Completes 60 kW GenSet for Heavy-Duty Series Hybrid Vehicles

Hyundai-Enova Innovative Technology Center, Inc., (HE-ITC) a joint venture between Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd of South Korea and Enova Systems, Inc. (ENVA), announced today that it has completed development of a 60 kW GenSet for Heavy-Duty Series Hybrid Vehicles in conjunction with Enova Systems. The 60 kW GenSet is an integral component of Enova's HybridPower Series Hybrid, recently introduced at the Electric Drive Transportation Association's annual symposium in Orlando Florida. This leading-edge hybrid technology is the HE-ITC's first commercial product to be developed and produced by the joint research and development alliance between the two companies.

Grid Enabled Vehicles – I Told You So!

John Petersen On Monday of this week the Electrification Coalition, a newly organized industrial lobby that styles itself as a "nonpartisan, not-for-profit group of business leaders committed to promoting policies and actions that facilitate the deployment of electric vehicles on a mass scale in order to combat the economic, environmental, and national security dangers caused by our nation’s dependence on petroleum" released a 170 page policy paper titled, "Electrification Roadmap, Revolutionizing Transportation and Achieving Energy Security." Like most industrial lobbies jostling for position at the Federal trough, the coalition's core membership includes a baker's dozen...

Automotive Batteries, Short-term Revenue Growth Favors Lead-acid By 6 To 1

Last week, an article in Green Car Congress summarized a market forecast that Dr. Menahem Anderman presented at this month's Advanced Automotive Battery Conference in Long Beach, California. In his presentation, Dr. Anderman evaluated the market for HEVs in 2011, projected a $1,230 million market for automotive NiMH batteries, and projected a $320 million market for automotive Li-ion batteries. The following graph comes from Green Car Congress, is based on data from Dr. Anderman's AABC presentation, and shows both unit sales and market value of the Li-ion batteries that will be used in HEVs by 2011 (click on the...

EPA Says VW Running Massive Clean Air Scam

Jim Lane  VW is facing up to $18.07 billion in fines; recalls, mandatory vehicle emission fixes on the horizon; investigations underway at EPA and in California as “defeat devices” uncovered that evade clean air regulations. In Washington, EPA issued a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act to Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. alleging that four-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars from model years 2009-2015 carry a “defeat device” which circumvents EPA emissions standards for certain air pollutants. Specifically, the EPA alleges that a sophisticated software algorithm on certain Volkswagen vehicles detects...

Zoltek: High in Fiber, Low in Valuation

by Debra Fiakas CFA   The Stohr DSR has an all carbon fiber body (Photo credit: Rhots/Wikimedia Commons)   Zoltek Companies (ZOLT:  Nasdaq) is in the business of fibers, mostly carbon fibers.  Plain, simple fibers may not seem very impressive.  However, Zoltek’s carbon fibers are in wide demand for renewable energy applications such as wind turbines blades and deep sea oil and gas wells.  After two years swimming in red ink, Zoltek has managed to bring sales back up to 2008 levels.  The company earned $22.9 million in...

A PHEV – EV Demand Curve

The logic behind Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) is that they combine the best characteristics of a Electric Vehicles (EVs), most importantly efficiency, which brings with it much lower operating costs and lower net emissions and no tailpipe emissions, with the benefits of a liquid fuel vehicle, mainly the range available with energy-dense liquid fuels. But how important is range to car buyers?  PHEV advocates say that 80% of all daily car use is less than 50 miles, which is easily achievable with today's electric vehicle (EV) technology.  The freeway-capable EVs being developed today have a range between 100 and...

Ten Alternative Energy Speculations for 2008: LEDs and Ultracaps

Investing in Renewable Energy Stocks seldom fails to be exciting, although it can lead to crushing losses as well as mouthwatering gains (Think Ethanol stocks and Thin Film Solar in 2007.)  With this in mind, I usually emphasize that the majority of most investors portfolios should be targeted towards larger, profitable companies, especially those focused on Energy Efficiency rather than the more sexy Renewable Energy technologies.  This is the philosophy behind Alternative Energy Stocks' Blue Chip Portfolio: companies which aren't sexy, but which still are well positioned to take advantage of rising oil prices and increasing efforts to reduce...

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...
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