Visual Comparison of Alternative Transportation Fuels

I've recently agreed to do a of couple presentations on "Investing In Green Energy" at conferences this October, and so I've decided it's time to update and expand on some graphs I constructed this spring: I created a pair of graphs which give an overview of how different electricity generation technologies compare.  These are not precise graphs with anything resembling scientific accuracy, but I think they're a useful too for understanding the strengths and weaknesses of various technologies.   This is my attempt to do the same for transportation fuels.  Note that I'm really only talking about cars and trucks...

What A Portfolio Approach To Climate Policy Means for Your Stock Portfolio

Portfolio theory can lend insights into which carbon abatement strategies policymakers should pursue.  If policymakers listen, what will it mean for green investors? Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA Good Info, Not Enough Analysis I've now read most of my review copy of Investment Opportunities for a Low Carbon World.  The quality of the information is generally excellent, as Charles has described in his reviews of the Wind and Solar and Efficiency and Geothermal chapters.  As a resource on the state of Cleantech industries, it's generally excellent.  As an investing resource, however, it leaves something to be desired.  Each chapter is written...
UQM Fuel Cell comperssor

Shareholders Cry Foul as UQM Agrees to Buyout

UQM Technologies (UQM:  NYSE) has agreed to be acquired by Danfoss Power Solutions for $1.71 per share in cash, providing a deal value near $100 million.  UQM leadership expects timely review by government authorities and has recommended approval of the deal by shareholders.  A date has not been set for the required shareholder vote.  Assuming all goes according to schedule, a deal closing is possible sometime in the second quarter 2019. Electric propulsion and generation technologies are at the core of UQM’s solutions for manufacturing, transportation and power industries.  The substitution of electric motors for combustion engines has been driving demand for the UQM’s products.  Market opportunities have abounded...
smart roadway infographic

Roadway Revolution: Meet the Smart Highways of the Future

by Giles Kirkland Even though many states seem to enter the “construction season” every spring, there’s still a significant backlog of vital repairs and improvements needed for state roads, interstates and bridges – around $420 billion worth as of 2017. Not only are our roads falling apart, there are greater numbers of people in more vehicles on them. But what if, instead of simply following same repaving or rebuilding formula that never seems to catch up, municipalities get “smarter” with their fixes? Smart cars use the newest technologies to save energy, improve safety, and assist in navigation. Missing from many of the...

Plug-in Vehicles, Unconscionable Waste and Pollution Masquerading as Conservation

John Petersen For eighteen months I've been blogging about the energy storage sector and discussing the current and potential markets for batteries and other manufactured energy storage devices. A recurring theme that I've discussed many times is the unrecognized but undeniable truth that while plug-in vehicles masquerade as conservation measures at an individual level, they're incredibly wasteful at a societal level. The conclusion is counter-intuitive and my articles on the subject invariably draw heated criticism from self-anointed defenders of the faith. Their arguments, however, do not change the inescapable truth that plug-in vehicles are one of the most...

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...

Gas Price Demand Elasticity

Here is an interesting article on the Carbon Tax Blog about dropping gas usage in the US due to sustained high prices.  As I've said before, now that peaking oil supply has made gasoline supply inelastic, price will have to be set by marginal demand... we're beginning to get a look at what the demand elasticity for gasoline is. But gas prices are not dropping.  US demand may actually be elastic, but world demand is not yet showing elasticity.  In large part, this is because most emerging economies and oil producing company consumers enjoy fixed price oil, courtesy of...

The Alternative Energy Fallacy

John Petersen In 2009, the world produced some 13.2 billion metric tons of hydrocarbons, or about 4,200 pounds for every man, woman and child on the planet. Burning those hydrocarbons poured roughly 31.3 billion metric tons of CO2 into our atmosphere. The basic premise of alternative energy is that widespread deployments of wind turbines, solar panels and electric vehicles will slash hydrocarbon consumption, reduce CO2 emissions and give us a cleaner, greener and healthier planet. That premise, however, is fatally flawed because our planet cannot produce enough non-ferrous industrial metals to make a meaningful difference and the prices...

Westport’s New High Pressure Direct Injection System

Earlier this week Westport Fuel Systems (WPRT:  Nasdaq) announced a technology breakthrough with its high pressure direct injection system for truck engines using natural gas as a fuel.  A new cryogenic pump has been development for high-horsepower applications and integrated into Westport’s fuel system, which has apparently been demonstrated at higher cylinder pressures.  The company apparently plans to load the innovation, which it called Westport HPDI 2.0, into next generation diesel engines. Investors interested in renewable energy or focused environmental improvements are probably wondering why this little company outside Vancouver, Canada could be important.  The uncomfortable truth is that the world’s addiction to fossil fuel will not...

Manufacturers Going All Out for Self-driving Car Tech

There is a clutch of self-driving cars and cars with autonomous driving features on the market today.  Drivers just cannot seem to get enough of them.  Apparently, the idea of zooming down the highway with little to no responsibility holds considerable appeal.  Then again, maybe it is the novelty of the idea that will eventually give way to the next fad. In August 2018, Cox Automotive revealed the results of a survey that found fewer Americans are embracing self-driving technology than previously thought.  A surprising 49% of respondents said they would NEVER own a fully-autonomous car.  This is up from 30% naysayers two years ago. Views...

Newsweek Special Report

"Experts generally agree that our current reliance on fossil fuels is unsustainable. Already oil is near $50 per barrel, and the great millions of Chinese and Indians destined to take to the road in the next decades have not yet gotten behind the wheel." This week Newsweek has written several special reports about alternative energy in all its forms. All of these reports can be found at the following link.
BWEN logo

Rapidly Growing Alternative Energy Companies

The last post highlighted several companies in the alternative energy, conservation and environment technology fields that have delivered exceptional price performance over the last year.  Prospects for growth in sales or earnings appeared to be key drivers of the price movement.  It makes sense to seek indicators of growth as cues for those companies that may become tomorrow’s price movers. Crystal Equity Research’s novel alternative energy indices were a good place to go on a ‘quest for growth.’ Beach Boys Index  -  Biodiesel The two analysts who publish estimates for Renewable Energy Group (REGI:  Nasdaq)apparently expect a surge in growth in the current year followed by a leveling...

Why Long Range EVs Can Never Be Cost Effective

by John Petersen America’s love affair with the automobile has always been based on the freedom of the road and the ability to hop in the car and drive wherever we want to go; be it to the corner store to buy a loaf of bread or out to the lake for a long weekend. Even though most of our trips are short, people invariably want the flexibility to go for a long drive when the open road beckons. Unfortunately, that mentality is disastrous when it comes to EV economics. I’ve been writing about energy...

Epic Changes Are Coming in the Electric Power, Transportation and Energy Storage Sectors

John Petersen Epic is the only word I can use to describe an evolving tragedy that killed tens of thousands of people, inflicted hundreds of billions in property damage, destroyed 3.5% of Japan's base-load power generating capacity in a heartbeat and will cause recurring aftershocks in the global electric power, transportation and energy storage sectors for decades. While I'd love to believe the worst is behind us, I fear the times of trouble have just begun. Since it's clear that Japan will have to turn inward and serve the urgent needs of its own population first, the...

Hydrogen Fuel Is Not Dead

John Lounsbury With the furor over the potential for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric cars recently, one might think the hydrogen car was dead. Nothing could be further from the truth. Feasibility at an affordable price appears to be established and market availability of hydrogen powered cars may come sooner than you think. Many issues remain to be addressed and this article will try to cover them. The problems to be overcome are not insurmountable, but are also not trivial. These problems include the economics of hydrogen production, transportation, distribution and...
EVs

Surprisingly Affordable Electric Vehicles

When will electric vehicles cost the same or less than gas cars? If you are buying a used vehicle, the answer is “Today.” If you are considering buying a used car, cost is clearly important to you.  That’s why you should seriously consider a used electric vehicle (EVs). Lists of cars that lose their value fastest (a good thing if you are a used car buyer) are full of electric vehicles and luxury vehicles.  The first generation of electric vehicles including GM's (GM) Chevy Volt and the Nissan (NSANY) Leaf regularly appear on lists of cars that depreciate quickly. Less...
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