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T. A. "Ike" Kiefer

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  • Solazyme Repositions Up The Value Chain Amidst Moema's Setback [View article]
    This is the second time they have retreated from their "bread and butter" business. The first promise to investors was biofuels.
    Nov 17, 2014. 02:52 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Opportunistic Trading Pushes Solazyme To New Lows [View article]
    Whatever happened to SZYM enthusiasts Geosteam and Str8ghtShooter? Did they bail over the summer or just go silent?
    Nov 6, 2014. 06:52 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Opportunistic Trading Pushes Solazyme To New Lows [View article]
    This is what I was beating Kevin up about back in April. Their 10-K numbers didn't add up. .
    Nov 6, 2014. 06:13 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Opportunistic Trading Pushes Solazyme To New Lows [View article]
    Must have been thinking about Columbine.
    Nov 6, 2014. 10:22 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Opportunistic Trading Pushes Solazyme To New Lows [View article]
    Wolfson to face the flames.
    Nov 6, 2014. 10:21 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Opportunistic Trading Pushes Solazyme To New Lows [View article]
    It has been obvious that Solazyme has never been able to compute EROI. Now it appears they don't understand ROI either. Dillon may have jumped ship in time to keep him clear of lawsuits. Harrison is going to face the flames. Waiting to see how Kevin puts lipstick on this pig.
    Nov 6, 2014. 10:15 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Opportunistic Trading Pushes Solazyme To New Lows [View article]
    Investors shouldn't come to Seeking Alpha looking for apologists or fanboys to reinforce their preconceptions, they should come looking for new information and insights that lead to accurate predictions of future stock price and market share. SA should implement a credibility ranking system that scores all commentors by the net price performance to-date of any stock they talk up or down subsequent to the price of that stock when the comment was made. The score should collectivize the performance of all stocks upon which one comments. This is essentially what the crowdsourcing study did when they evaluated the worth of Seeking Alpha ( ). Such a system should be implemented retroactively to apply to all archived comments. Investors would thus be able to quickly determine how much weight to give any particular commentor or author, and would more easily spot the shills and fools. The reimbursement rate for clicks should be tied to empirical predictive performance, not how the commenter tickles the ears of an audience looking for reinforcement.
    Oct 13, 2014. 11:13 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • KiOR Illustrates The Futility Of Cellulosic Biofuels [View article]
    From KiOR’s 10-Q filed Monday:

    "As of March 31, 2014, the Company has suspended all optimization projects in order to bring the Columbus facility to a safe, idle state and has not demonstrated any additional research and development progress or any demonstrable progress towards achieving its financing performance milestones. The Company does not believe it can restart the Columbus facility on an economically viable basis at this time and therefore cannot be certain as to whether it will be able to successfully secure additional financing or the ultimate timing of such additional financing. In addition, even if the Company meets the first two performance milestones described above, Khosla must determine, in its sole discretion, that the purchase of additional notes is appropriate for the Company to continue its operations before the Company can make additional borrowings under the 2014 Note Purchase Agreement.

    If the Company successfully achieves its performance milestones that allow it to receive the full amount under the 2014 Note Purchase Agreement in the near term, it expects to be able to fund its operations and meet its obligations until approximately August 31, 2014, but will need to raise additional funds to continue its operations beyond that date. If the Company is not successful in achieving its performance milestones or if it is otherwise unable to raise additional funds beyond approximately August 31, 2014, the Company will not have adequate liquidity to fund its operations and meet its obligations (including its debt payment obligations), in which case it will likely be forced to voluntarily seek protection under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code (or an involuntary petition for bankruptcy may be filed against the Company). Even if the Company is able to achieve such performance milestones or secure any additional financing, any investment may require significant changes to the Company’s current business structure, including, but not limited to: a change in the focus of its business; suspension of some or all of its operations; delaying or scaling back its business plan, including its research and development programs; reductions in headcount, overhead and other operating costs; and the longer-term or permanent closing of its Columbus facility, each of which would have a material adverse effect on its business, prospects and financial condition.

    On October 18, 2013, the Company entered into a Senior Secured Convertible Promissory Note Purchase Agreement that was amended on October 20, 2013 and March 31, 2014 (the “October 2013 Note Purchase Agreement”) with Khosla Ventures III, LP (“KV III”), Khosla and VNK Management, LLC (“VNK” and, collectively with Khosla and KV III, the “Purchasers”) and KV III in its capacity as agent for the Purchasers. Also, on October 18, 2013, the Company entered into a Class A Common Stock Purchase Agreement (the “Stock Purchase Agreement”) with Gates Ventures, LLC (“Gates”) to purchase shares of the Company’s Class A Common Stock (such shares of Class A Common Stock, the “Gates Shares”).

    The Company’s private placements with Khosla and Gates involve two tranches. The commitment by Gates to close a second tranche will terminate on June 30, 2014 and the Company does not expect to be able to satisfy the closing conditions for that tranche in time to meet the deadline. Any funds from the second tranche of the Khosla private placement is unlikely to come in the near term because in order to close the second tranche the Company must, among other things, raise $400 million from one or more offerings, private placements or other financing transactions.

    As of March 31, 2014, the Company had cash and cash equivalents of $4.2 million. As of April 30, 2014 the Company had cash and cash equivalents of $3.3 million."

    Will Khosla throw away any more money on KiOR out of pride, or has he finally learned something about biofuels? Fred Cannon & Co. are done either way, it's only the date on the headstone that remains to be determined.
    May 14, 2014. 12:53 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme Advances Its Agenda On Multiple Fronts [View article]
    A discussion of fuels production, past and future, fills a good portion of Solazyme's 10-K. While you say "fuels are NOT a focus of the company," here is what Solazyme says: "Near term, our focus in fuels is providing oils that will be used as high-value fuel additives and blendstocks, an area which allows us to target attractive selling prices while offering enhanced performance and sustainability to customers;" and "we intend to continue cultivating partnerships to develop tailored oil applications with a fuels focus as well as to deliver fuels or fuel blends that span marine, on-road, and aviation industries."

    Please don't accuse me of not reading what you are not reading.
    May 1, 2014. 03:50 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme Advances Its Agenda On Multiple Fronts [View article]
    My ASP and product quantity questions are about all production of Solazyme for all of 2013 and how they arrived at their $20 million in product revenue. The only firm ASP data that you or Solazyme has revealed as far as I have found is for Clinton and the first quarter of 2014. All the other ASPs you and they have put out are "estimated" or "targets." I have also not found any production quantity data for 2013, and so I keep asking you and others to supply it so we can justify this end-of-year claim. Instead of answering, you point people to 2011 predictions of ASP. Is there some reason you or Solazyme don't want investors to know the details of performance for 2013?

    Your statement that "The company could cease all operations today apart from Algenist and become a net income positive cosmetic company if it wanted to," is probably the best business strategy for Solazyme. However, with an accumulated deficit f $306.3 million and an annual net loss of $116.4 million against gross revenues of $40 million in 2013, success is still far from certain.
    Apr 30, 2014. 08:11 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme Advances Its Agenda On Multiple Fronts [View article]
    I've mentioned perfume before as a recommended strategy for Solazyme. Amyris is about to start manufacturing patchouli fragrance oil. Read what I actually write, not what others put in my mouth. I am not out to trash Solazyme or KiOR or Amyris or Gevo per se, I am about exposing false promises and perpetual motion schemes and pied pipers leading people down the primrose path. Biofuels is one of the feel good epic follies that many in the world are finally starting to recognize for what it is after a huge amount of damage has already been done. I would rather Solazyme and everyone on this forum invest their effort and money wisely on things that will mutually prosper us all rather than be victimized by schemes that attempt to violate the laws of physics and the principles of economics, while raising food prices and consuming land and water resources and threatening biodiversity and actually increasing pollution and GHG emissions and the overall consumption of finite fossil fuels. Good intentions and investment brochure promises count for zero. It's the actual performance and consequences that matter. It's study after study documenting the actual performance and the actual consequences and tracing these back to the thermodynamic and chemical and biological limits that brought me to my positions. Solazyme is unusual in having a particular prophet that regularly pumps out Madison Avenue quality puff pieces as if employed by their board, and I admit it is hard not to pounce on such soft targets.
    Apr 30, 2014. 07:18 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme Advances Its Agenda On Multiple Fronts [View article]
    I appreciate your scholarly tone above, but you make many sweeping statements that are non-factual or counter-factual.

    You say "Producing biobased chemicals from sugar feedstock is enormously more efficient than producing first-generation biofuels from the same sugar." On what basis do you make this blanket claim? For example, are you saying that producing biobutanol is more efficient than producing bioethanol? Do you mean cost-efficient or yield-efficient? To date it has proved to be neither more economically viable nor higher yield than than either corn ethanol or fossil fuel-based butanol.

    You say "Solazyme and Amyris fuels have been shown to reduce emissions when blended with their petrol companions compared to 100% petrol or X% EtOH." I can only assume you mean tailpipe emissions. Tailpipe emissions for both refined fossil fuels and biofuels can be made to be lower than the emissions of standard formulation gasoline or diesel -- it's just a matter of how much you want to pay for upgrading the feedstock to such a fuel. However, it is the lifecycle emissions that matter to the environment and climate. Fuel production processes with low EROI have have much higher embedded emissions from all the energy used during their creation, and this more than offsets the tiny reductions in tailpipe emissions.

    I find it hard to understand the efficiency argument for a chemical or fuel that is made from intensively-cultivated corn that is fertilized, harvested, and processed with fossil fuel energy; that requires hundreds of times more land and water per unit of product delivered than fossil fuel-based alternatives, whose low energy density feedstock must be collected by hundreds of trucks from a large area to concentrate enough at a single plant to make it worth processing: which must be chemically and mechanically separated from fiber and germ and protein; then be ground into starch flour; then acid-processed into sugar syrup; then shipped with fossil fuel energy to a plant to be purified into bio lab-grade purified dextrose; then injected into a steam-sterilized 500,000-liter bioreactor with a starter culture of expensively engineered and infection-vulnerable GMO organisms and a large volume of sterilized water for a 3-day or so batch fermentation period that yields something less than the initial sugar volume back as biomass, and only a fraction of that as the desired product lipids; which must then be extracted from within the bodies of each microscopic cell; and then be chemically converted from triglycerides to the desired compounds; which for fuel-compatible hydrocarbons requires transesterification, hydro-deoxygenation, cracking, isomerization, and fractionation; and then must still be blended with 50% to 90% refined petroleum fuel to meet military and civilian fuel standards.

    The lowest price Amyris ever sold its fuel for in the US was $29/gallon, Solazyme $61.33/gal. This does not compare well to the price of refined petroleum diesel and argues that their processes are considerably less efficient. In fact, upgrading biofuel lipids and alcohols to true hydrocarbons, regardless of feedstock, is a hugely negative energy process and also produces copious amounts of CO2.

    As to BioAmber, 68% of their emissions reductions are from how they scored the carbon intensity of Ontario's power grid compared to the US grid and has absolutely nothing to do with their production pathway or product ( They similarly gave themselves emissions credits for using waste steam from a nearby CHP plant -- again, something that has nothing to do with their pathway or product. An oil refinery could claim similar reductions in emissions by moving its plant to their site in Ontario. And the final kicker is that 100% of this is fantasy -- it is based on modeling, not actual performance. This plant doesn't yet exist. It is still under construction ( and who knows if its performance will meet expectations or miss them by a mile as is not uncommon in the biochemical industry.

    If you are interested in the literature research behind my claims, look at this paper (
    Apr 30, 2014. 06:37 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme Advances Its Agenda On Multiple Fronts [View article]
    The low-volume, high-margin area of neutraceuticals is Solazyme's best hope, as I've repeatedly stated -- including in this thread. Perfume might also be a good venue for them to pursue. The upper limit for price for such products is more a function of marketing than of performance, and is little impacted by EROI. Of course you understand your calculation based on a retail price several layers removed from Solazyme's contribution of raw triglycerides provides very little information about their wholesale ASP, and even less about their margin.
    Apr 30, 2014. 02:41 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme Advances Its Agenda On Multiple Fronts [View article]
    I'm glad if a few investors in this forum updated their knowledge of Solazyme from pre-IPO to 2014 and learned about the feedstock of their favorite microalgae, and built a little more context about the possibilities of Encapso. If they are wise, they will figure out the implications and act on them. The only one who should be threatened by their flock learning the truth and where to find it on their own is a priest.
    Apr 29, 2014. 02:30 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • There Goes The Biofuels Mandate [View article]
    Dr. Ben-Reuven,
    Still no answer to my question on your comment above. I would genuinely like to hear your opinion.
    Apr 26, 2014. 09:55 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment