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Robert Rhodes  

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  • Clean Energy Fuels Should Make It Through The Valley Of Death [View article]
    The political instability around oil and need to hedge is a major factor I didn't fully appreciate when I became interested in this topic and natural gas as an alternative for diesel. Every major transportation company has too factor this in. UPS did. This stock has definitely seen a short vs. long dynamic play out. We will see. Been interesting: a lot of factors at play.
    Mar 6, 2015. 01:56 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Update: Clean Energy Fuels Reports Q3 '14 Earnings [View article]
    Maybe porting NG into smaller engines and using spark ignition isn't that big a deal and that is why there is a proliferation of these conversion companies on older engines ... the issue of larger loads remains unaddressed, and with larger loads comes the need for more fuel and issues of larger pistons and more room to create knocking ... arguably supporting LNG and HPDI 2.0. Regardless, time will tell. Good luck in your long and short investments.
    Oct 28, 2014. 01:02 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Clean Energy Fuels Likely To Rally Strongly Through Year End [View article]
    Agree. the issue is getting from production of HPDI 2.0 with Delphi to sales and the bottom line.
    Oct 28, 2014. 12:49 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Update: Clean Energy Fuels Reports Q3 '14 Earnings [View article]
    Thanks Effen: my understanding is Westport's HPDI and certainly HPDI 2.0 eliminates this problem because of the spontaneous nature of the explosion thanks to the diesel which ignites under pressure (which is why no spark is needed in diesel engines) and takes care of lighting the natural gas in a uniform manner.
    Oct 28, 2014. 12:31 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Update: Clean Energy Fuels Reports Q3 '14 Earnings [View article]
    Truck engines Badlwincng, not industry. That's my point: you can build a spark CNG engine, but correct me with examples that you can build a long lasting, reliable, high torque, low weight, efficient 15L+ plus spark engine that is suitable for vehicles (not a compressor station etc where size and weight don't matter). That's where HPDI 2.0 from Westport makes sense. I suppose the other side of the coin is, even if you can, why do so when you have the parts, engines, distribution network, etc of diesel engines that can simply be converted to natural gas instead of trying to design and sell a brand new product line. Again, correct me please as this is core to Westport's patent portfolio.
    Oct 26, 2014. 01:46 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Update: Clean Energy Fuels Reports Q3 '14 Earnings [View article]
    Takeover. It's already written if Cummins pencils the numbers and they make sense in 2017 at a 1.7 multiple. The Westport Cummins partnership has been subject to multiple "Joint Venture" agreements and has been around a bit of time now. At first Cummins provided the engines at cost or a steep discount, then, in the last round when the Joint Venture agreement was "modified" again in last two years, they factored in a "profit margin" on each unit "sold" to the Westport/Cummins plant. Nothing is free and Cummins is the house. Cummins supported creation of a market with its engines (by comping a bunch of engines in the beginning) and positioned itself in front of the wave and now is cashing in first before the Westport/Cummins venture gets paid. As all hoped the Westport/Cummins NG spark engines are selling well and that Joint Venture agreement (or some other technical document though I think it was the JV), also states that Cummins has the right to buy it at a multiple of 1.7, I believe in 2017. (You would have to go back and read my three articles and more importantly the comments to pull the exact 100% certain and accurate number and source, or read the JVs). As there is no valuable patents surrounding "spark ignition" NG engines, Westport should consider itself lucky Cummins picked it. This sort of leads to the 15L issue. The Westport guy who I spoke to over a year ago gave me the impression there were technical difficulties with creating a spark ignition lower pressure long running 15l engines on natural gas. I'm no scientist but I understand the nature of explosive things (science and ill spent childhood) and the general gist is burning lower pressure CNG produces hot spots (gas not burning sufficiently evenly) and early engine failure (before a million miles kind of thing) as a result of these "hot spots" in the burn started by a spark. Apparently, this is part of the reason why they created the higher pressure HPDI 2.0 engines and used a bit of diesel and pressure to ignite the little higher pressured bit of NG is good and worth it ... it produced a more even burn akin to a spontaneous explosion (diesel spontaneously ignites without need for a spark under pressure) that works very well in the high performance setting of today's modern lightweight diesel truck engines where revolutions, torque and weight are highly sensitive and relevant. If you think about it, why bother patenting these HPDI 2.0 engines if you never needed to mix diesel in the engine to begin with. Hey, just make bigger spark CNG engines right? My understanding is larger CNG truck engines run into limitations at somewhere between 13-15L, which is why HPDI 2.0 takes over and is designed for 10L-100L engines. Again, you can create a spark 15L engine, but making it work efficiently and within the parameters of a truck is a different issue. It's why Westport's patents are valuable. It would be nice if the market buys into their technology before they go bankrupt but with HPDI 2.0 in works, an answer is coming. :) I'm LONG (5 years) on CLNE and WPRT and am seriously considering doubling down if some other investments work out but its a risk bet. "Safe" bet is or was Cummins. Good company. :)
    Oct 25, 2014. 04:09 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Update: Clean Energy Fuels Reports Q3 '14 Earnings [View article]
    That is an interesting remark mikey2006. If your saying ISIS will produce a resurgence of national legislation like in the early 1970's, focused on avoiding OPEC dominance, that is certainly a wild card in the gridlock that has plagued the feds. Many who are aware and get energy geopolitics think another national fuel source is a good idea. The problem is smelters and plastic makers also like the cheap fuel, don't want to share and have financial clout in politics. For now the states lead the infrastructure game. We will see.
    Oct 24, 2014. 01:20 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Clean Energy Fuels Likely To Rally Strongly Through Year End [View article]
    The political reasons to export energy instead of consume it nationally cannot be ignored, especially surrounding Europe. When I first became interested in this topic I didn't fully appreciate this. It is one of the reasons why individual states have shouldered the infrastructure build out for NG as a transportation fuel. Feds is also gridlocked because competing industries (metal smelting, plastics and power for example) don't want other hands in their pie, in my opinion. Interesting times.
    Oct 22, 2014. 01:39 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Clean Energy Fuels Likely To Rally Strongly Through Year End [View article]
    Thanks whassup44, per article 2 deferred to Feb. Very interesting. Thank you.
    Oct 21, 2014. 11:00 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Clean Energy Fuels Likely To Rally Strongly Through Year End [View article]
    Followed the Miami-Dade Florida deal from the legislative angle in terms of Florida's new interstate gas line being installed and the pro State level development of NG as a fuel. Can you shed some more light, or links on this contract you are speaking of? It would certainly give a foothold on the east coast similar to CLNE in California and of course match up with the GE LNG plant they were discussing, at one point, putting in Florida (I assume the pipeline would feed it). Didn't know they were dangling 1000 OTR trucks, thought it focused on buses? Thanks.
    Oct 20, 2014. 10:58 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Clean Energy Fuels: The Battle Of Bears Versus Bulls [View article]
    Wisconsin Energy Corp just bought Integrys, who owns Trillium. This is part of the regulated State utility electric and gas giants making their way into the fuel market via CNG | LNG market as their pipelines and purchasing power give them a distinct advantage as the infrastructure is already in place and they already buy volume. The State regulation board's answer to prevent monopolies | cartels (a fair legal argument) is to require these State large energy conglomerates to mark up their product to prevent unfair competition with private companies, like CLNE, who do not have the advantage of supplying the State's general population with NG already. I saw this start in Oregon and picked up the issue and wrote fairly comprehensively about it over last year in their newsletters. Recommend for all to read. I am sure this matter will eventually make its way into the Federal Courts when the right test case comes around. Monopolies and unfair competition in the energy markets is part of the reason FERC and a whole body of case law exists. How this plays out remains to be seen but it is an interesting piece of data. Certainly it appears there is a growing and robust market for CNG | LNG and State utilities are moving into it to get a foothold in transportation. Will CLNE die because of this? Who knows. There are so many fueling contracts flying around right now, let alone with 15L+ HPDI 2.0 in the works
    that this story is far from over if you believe it is a long tale. Frankly, this State regulated utility issue needs an article: just haven't had the time. Sorry, but anytime anyone mentions Trillium, it reminds me of this lurking issue.
    Sep 11, 2014. 02:53 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Clean Energy Fuels: The Battle Of Bears Versus Bulls [View article]
    Funny. So Westport's marketing is wrong? Ok, directly per Westport on 081914:

    "It is correct that the HPDI 2.0 system can accommodate CNG, and the writer is also correct that the HPDI engine actually runs on compressed natural gas at about 3,500 psi pressure. But it’s important to make a distinction between what the engine runs on, and how the fuel is stored on the chassis. All natural gas engines run on the fuel in gaseous form, at low pressures for spark ignited and dual fuel systems and at high pressure for WestportTM HPDI.

    Low pressure systems can use CNG fuel storage systems, which start at 3,500 psi when full but will run down to about 200 psi as they empty. A pressure regulator is used to maintain the correct fuel pressure to the engine. Low pressure systems can also use LNG, either by maintaining saturated fuel at about 150-200 psi in the LNG tank, or by using a fuel pump (like Westport iCE PACKTM) or pressure builder.

    Most high pressure systems use LNG fuel for storage as it is most efficient to compress the fuel when it is a liquid and then vaporize it to deliver gas to the engine at the required pressure. However, it is also possible to use a CNG storage tank augmented with a compressor to deliver high pressure gas to the engine. Our early HPDI systems used a system like this.

    We believe that LNG will be the preferred fuel for heavy duty trucking and rail applications due to its higher energy density and because LNG fuel tanks are lighter weight and lower cost than CNG tanks in most high capacity fuel systems. The goal of the Westport HPDI system is maximum efficiency, so our product development is focused on LNG fuel storage. However, we continually look at CNG options and there is no technical reason why we, or others, could not release a CNG fuel storage system for HPDI if future market conditions made that attractive.

    We believe that LNG and CNG both have a place in the market, depending on various factors such as range, weight, grading of terrain, etc. At the end, it is a customer’s choice. Westport has a wide range of technologies and patents, not just HPDI. Westport’s patents include combustion technologies (HPDI, spark ignited, dual fuel, spark ignited direct injection, etc.), electronics, components and fuel systems, as well as fuel storage and delivery.

    For more information, please visit"
    Aug 19, 2014. 07:41 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Clean Energy Fuels: The Battle Of Bears Versus Bulls [View article]
    Wrong Baldwincng, though common sense indicates your mostly right in practice. New HPDI 2.0 is in fact CNG OR LNG. Just to clarify for others: the HPDI 2.0 is designed to be used on diesel engines sized from 15l-100L (the next step up from 12L that spark ignition presently tops out at). It basically changes the injectors (and adds supporting parts and equipment) to allow natural gas and diesel to be ported out the same injector. Injector squirts little bit of diesel and lot of NG gas. Delphi (huge plus in my mind: won't be supply issues) agreed to manufacture for them. Arguably, given the engine sizes, this product must be fueled with LNG or the storage will be enormous or provide short turn times but technically it can run either CNG or LNG for those unique applications where CNG make sense. There are a number of benefits for HPDI 2.0 that everyone considering this space should be familiar with, but one of my personal favorites is the technology allows engine braking that replicate diesel: essential in my mind for larger weight. Answer at bottom of this press release under "features".
    Aug 13, 2014. 12:01 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Clean Energy Fuels: The Battle Of Bears Versus Bulls [View article]
    Westport Innovations' CEO Discusses Q4 2013 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

    David Demers - Chief Executive Officer:
    "So it’s really hard for me to give you a specific mix, vision. Our sense, talking to fleets, frankly, is that in 2014, with the 12 liter in North America, it’s likely going to be 60-40, 50-50. It’s not going to be 90-10 the way some people are talking."
    Aug 12, 2014. 12:48 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Clean Energy Fuels: A Turnaround You Shouldn't Miss [View article]
    Some thoughts on this point: draw down of US NG reserves indicate that $4 gas is not profitable on scale: but anyone watching or listening to gas companies knows this. US storage facilities are limited and primitive at best (salt caverns, pipe etc) so drill and cap, them uncap when profitable makes a lot of sense.
    At $4.50 a number of companies can sell a lot of gas for profit and will compete to do so as the asset is just sitting in ground otherwise. Look at UPL figures for example. Look at their reserves at 4 vs 4.50 vs $5? Gas traders thought the run up would be worse: all were surprised at the rate the draw down is being refilled. What they forgot was (1) drilling for oil produces gas and (2) capped wells get uncapped when its profitable and a lot of wells got capped when price went below $4 to drive prices back up. Gas as byproduct of oil production will continue to keep the numbers slower and lower than gas companies would like in my opinion. World prices are still battling with being indexed to oil (depending on where you are looking at) vs. US Hub prices based on production cost and profit.
    The export of NG is a matter of national security once it hits a border and the export percentages are set by Feds. via FERC I believe. Be it Mexico by pipe or shipped to allied countries by boat, just because companies can sell some of it, does not mean they will get to sell all of it. NG for transport is far from over. Iraq issues, Libya, etc. only serves to remind company boards that mitigating some of their risk with some CNG/LNG makes sense. Look at production countries and cross reference with unstable governments and add up the capacity for problems. Pretty interesting and I am not the first person to notice this. US government has known this for 40 years and so do any company boards who consume energy on scale.
    Jul 1, 2014. 12:15 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
More on CLNE by Robert Rhodes